Dov Davidoff: Vulnerability is Good. (It Can Set You Apart)
Ep. 304 on The James Altucher Show
Dov’s mom was a wacko who belonged to a cult and spent most of her money on freeze dried foods. She was waiting for the apocalypse.
And his father ran a junkyard. He was gay. And emotionally abusive to Dov. So one of the jokes Dov tells on stage is about his parent’s relationship. He says his mom knew that her husband was gay. But somehow, her biggest problem with him was that he ate too much sugar.
The situation is incredibly odd. And undeniably funny.
But he doesn’t talk about it in his stand up at all.
I wondered why.
I remember seeing Dov on stage. He was creating this weird, sort of anger or tension with his subject.
Example: He was trashing his wife, right in front of her. And she was laughing. (I was confused.)
But this is Dov’s interpretation of comedy. And that’s really why I was interviewing him.
“I don’t think of it as trashing. I think of it as telling the truth. And that truth may be a little challenging to hear, but if I’m being honest then that’s the truth. You can talk about anything if you can make it funny.”
Comedy became a self defense mechanism for Dov to deal with the pain.
It’s sort of indirect. Because he never talks about this in his comedy…
“I’m learning to access more of the sadness and the fear that I’ve associated with my own core insecurities. I’m learning to show more of that because, if I don’t, the art form won’t evolve.”
“What do you mean?” I asked him. “What does it mean the art form won’t evolve?”
He told me the difference between being an entertainer and an artist. To Dov, “comedian” doesn’t stop at laughs. It has to explore the whole truth.
He said he wants his comedy to be complex. Valley, Peak, Valley, Peak. Laughter to sadness. And back up again.
“My childhood had more violence and more profanity and it was a much more difficult place to be,” Dov said.
“I’m sure you have a lot of great, funny stories about growing up, but you don’t necessarily tell those in your stand-up.”
“I don’t have that many…” he said. “They all are so sad to me.”
And he started laughing. I think because we laugh when dealing with our sick truths.
Some of these stories are in his book, “Road Dog: Life and Reflections from the Road as a Stand-up Comic.”
Different pains take different expressions. “I’m doing some material now about my father. And about couples therapy. I mean anything can be funny if told right. But I don’t have a joke about the junkyard. I don’t have a joke about my grandfather. These were deeply funny places and people, but…”
He paused. Or maybe I interrupted him.
And then he said, “I’m trying to write more from that place. My voice has got to acknowledge the loneliness and sadness associated with the reason I had to get into comedy in the first place.”
I hope he finds this.
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