DJ Dangler at Indiana Comic Con 2015
DJ Dangler is a stand up comedian and an Indiana native currently residing in Los Angeles. When he was little, DJ thought clowns were a race of people. Now he tours around the country performing at a variety of venues and works full time as a stand up comedian. He is also the creator and star of the web series Max Dick Kicker.
We interviewed him about running and performing in the comedy show at Indiana Comic Con in Indianapolis on March 13th and 14th.
Interview and Photos by Pauline Shypula
Did Indiana Comic Con approach you or was it the other way around?
They got a hold of me. An acquaintance contacted me and set me up with the lady in charge of all of the panelists who asked if it was something I wanted to do. I chomped at the opportunity. If it was a trap, I didn’t just sniff at the bait; I wrapped it around my ankle and hung myself around a tree.
This was my first Con, period. Well, that’s not exactly true. I went to a bacon convention in Columbus, Ohio two years ago. They call it “Ba-Con,” which is hilarious and way funnier than anything I could ever make up. It was fun, but it wasn’t as good as this one. I hope I’m not throwing any of those Ba-Con folk under the bus because it was still terrific, just smaller in scope.
What was it like doing comedy at a convention?
It was dynamite. It was such a friendly audience – such a receptive and embracing crowd. I really like my job; I love telling jokes to anybody, but half of comedy is making a connection. This experience was weird because that connection was already made. It took me a little by surprise because you get so used to establishing a rhythm. You set up how jokes work for them and then you do a joke that’s just for you and another joke that’s for everybody. I didn’t have to do that for these guys because the jokes that are for me were also for everybody there. I felt like we were already buddies and normally that can make it difficult, but it was real fun.
What were some of the other advantages of doing a show at comic con?
I got to learn a little bit about what it’s like to be happy. Normally, I have a little bit of a chip on my shoulder when I’m on stage. It’s something that kind of needs to manifest to get through thinking that everybody needs to pay attention to me. When it can truly come from a place of just warmth and happiness, I don’t exactly know how to operate when things are going my way.
The show also just felt real honest. Nerdy is so chic right now that I don’t think people realize it used to be something you hid from the public. It wasn’t even that long ago, maybe 15 years ago. Like, to illustrate that David Spade was the lamest, douchiest guy in high school, SNL put him in a Ghostbusters t-shirt. Now it’s super cool to wear a Ghostbusters t-shirt. I’ve clearly come to terms with my nerdiness and the people I like the most are more comfortable dressed up like super heroes rather than pretending they don’t want to be all the time.
I already talk about comic books and video games in my real life. I would say I talk about comic books the way people who talk too much about their sports team talk about their sports team. Some people just do that and you’re like, “Shut the goddamn up about the Steelers.” If you’re somebody talking about the high school pull Notre Dame had, never talk to anyone again. That being said, who’s your favorite B-list X-Man? Mine’s Maggot. Nobody likes Maggot and his real name is Japheth. I know that because people don’t enjoy my company.
What were some of the disadvantages?
It took me a second to realize that geek culture is very protective of itself. Everybody is on the same team. Comic Con is a very safe place for grownups that love Pokemen, so if I wanted to bust balls on grownups that like Pokemen, this was not the place to do it. Here I talk about how friendly it was, it made me act friendlier, too. I don’t think anybody demands that I be a nice guy, it doesn’t fit my motif, but I was still a little more embracing of the culture.
It was also interesting to realize that I wasn’t the brightest guy in the room. I knew I could lose trivia to these folks and I’m not a guy that loses trivia games. I was very much a gunslinger walking into a town full of fucking gunslingers, man. For example; I like to draw pictures in my notebook. I’m not bad, but it was great knowing nobody there wanted to look through my notebook and see my little scribbles because I was in a world full of people with much better notebooks than mine. It was delightful, but at the same time, I lost a little bit of my identity.
I remember you saying you picked up a few fans there.
I think so. I hope a lot of the people who saw me liked me. I don’t mean that they just had a good time, but they want to see my show.
This was kind of my act, though I was definitely friendlier and I realized that I didn’t tell any relationship jokes or girlfriend jokes or political jokes or real world jokes. I just talked about shit I like. I hope the audiences this week got to see a comic they could connect with and I think that’s where fans usually come from, good fans anyway.
Why did you choose the comics that performed with you?
I picked the nerdiest, good comics that I know and not the best nerdy comics that I know. And I think that’s the right pick because there’s a balance. I picked the folks who would most enjoy being there and I still wanted to show off. I’m sure every comic I had on there has wanted to go to comic con before, so I got to share that with my nerd friends. I’m not big on sharing, so this was a good chance to get some niceness out of the way. Blegh.
Did you get any backstage perks?
We got free passes to the Con and that was more than enough. I got the impression that other folks could have asked for more, but I was so happy to be there. The highest praise I can give to someone or something is not rocking the boat. I get bored all the time and I’m an instigator, but in this case, I just clocked in to do my job.
What else did you enjoy at Comic Con outside of the comedy show?
This is such a cop out, but the best part was the people watching, seeing three or four people get together and have a blast playing dress up. I specifically enjoyed the artist panel and running into some really great artists making books I had never heard of before. I’m very excited about Arsenic Lullaby. I also got a great deal on some trades. As a guy who spends too much money on comic books, it was nice to pick up a steal. There was also a place full of t-shirts and it was like walking through the Internet sites I would go to. I wish I could have spent more, but I’m poor. Comic Con is great, but like most things, probably better with money.
Are you going to include anything from Comic Con into your act?
Absolutely, I will definitely talk about Comic Con in my act and, full disclosure; I’ll probably be a little meaner than I really am. I’ve got to do stand-up at a swingers’ club before and it will be funny juxtaposing those two in the future. I already worked it into a joke about how everyone at Comic Con was way more fuckable than the people at the swingers’ party.
If nothing else, I’ve got so many great pictures and posters and bull shit to post so that people can see me working in a fun environment. It looked like a success and it was great to be part of an event that big and exciting and something I already love and believe in. That’s kind of the definition of success, right?
Is there anything else you want to add about the weekend?
Gambit’s a terrible X-Man.
This post was originally published on another site on March 23, 2015