For the first time since 2004, there is a new television in my home.
It didn’t just appear. I bought it, for $160.49, on Sunday and I visited a different store on the same day to buy a Google Chromecast so that I could watch something other than my top-notch1 collection of DVDs.
After having to make two old man phone calls to get everything set up, I streamed Dave Chappelle’s new Netflix specials, continued enjoying “Love” on Netflix, watched the latest episodes of “Crashing” and “Animals” on HBO GO and then popped in my “Juno” DVD, which I’ve seen 70 times, probably. Time did not exist, until I finished watching all this outstanding programming on my new, flat screen and saw that it was 3 a.m.
Even for a night owl like me, that’s late. For a brief moment, I worried that I might become a slave to this new-to-me technology. Would the TV and the Chromecast and all the DVDs I’ve already seen consume every waking moment, rendering me useless to my employer, my family and friends, and to my faithful, intelligent, beautiful Raleigh and Company readers?
Just as the fear was close to taking over, I snapped out of my panic and remembered that all these technological trinkets aren’t in control. I am, and shortly after that realization, I reminded myself that I had an interview with stand-up comedian Chad Daniels on Tuesday.
Daniels is a real person, not a character on TV, although he has done Conan O’Brien’s late night talk show several times and has a Comedy Central Presents half-hour to his credit.
During our Tuesday evening interview, Daniels, who lives in Minnesota and headlines Goodnights Comedy Club in Raleigh this week, discussed different definitions of success, how he prepared for parenting a teenage daughter, the many reasons he is excited about his first trip to Raleigh and more.
Enjoy the interview, follow Daniels on Twitter and don’t forget The Best Tweet I Can Find in Five Minutes at the end.
Tony Castleberry: Do you think you’re better at writing jokes or telling them?
Chad Daniels: That’s an interesting question.
TC: Thank you.
CD: I think I’m better at, well how about this — I think I’m better at writing jokes while I’m on stage. [interviewer laughs] Because a lot of my stuff, I’ll come up with an idea and I’ll write it down, but I think some of my best lines probably come from when I’m just on stage kind of riffing with the crowd.
TC: Do you feel like that’s something that evolved over time or did you sense you were good at it from the beginning of your career?
CD: I think it evolved because early on, I would write my jokes out and I would practice them. I would go up at an open mic and tell them kind of as is. I wouldn’t really veer from the script.
As I’ve gotten older and more comfortable and more confident, I can just go up with an idea and riff on it, and kind of see where the crowd is going with it.
TC: I talked to Andy Woodhull about being a full-time, touring comedian and not living in New York or Los Angeles and I wanted to get your perspective on it too. Do you think you might have missed opportunities because you weren’t living in those cities?
CD: I don’t really think about that because, you always see those movies, right? Where people wanna switch lives and they think it’s gonna be better on the other side and, dang it, by the end of that movie, everyone is trying to get back. [interviewer laughs] For me, I think about, had I moved to LA or New York, what would I have missed with my kids? I don’t think about what I would have missed in my career. When I think about missing things, I think about what would I have missed in my personal life.
All I ever wanted to do was stand-up when I was little, and I get to do that. I also get to have my kids where they want to live. I get to have a really nice balance in my life. I don’t think I’d trade it.
TC: Andy echoed that and he also mentioned that, in this day and age with the internet and the way we can travel, none of us are really that far from anywhere. It isn’t necessary to be in New York or LA to be successful, right?
CD: I don’t think so, and I think success is one of those words like normal. You ever hear somebody say, “That’s not normal.” Well, what the hell is normal?
TC: [laughs] Right.
CD: So, what is success really? Is it your picture on a magazine or is it doing what you’ve always wanted to do and putting food on the table?
To get back to what you were saying about travel and the internet, I used to go out to LA and audition and do all that stuff, and that kind of wore me out. So, if I can leave on the weekends and do stand-up comedy and come back and hang out with my kids…you know, I have to drive three hours to the airport. I get a lot of work done on that three-hour commute. When I’m home and the kids are here, I’m not having to be on my computer or my phone all the time. I used to really look down on that commute, but now it’s like, why not take advantage of it?
I have a daughter that just turned 13 so I listen to just about every podcast ever made about 13-year-old girls because I am preparing myself. I feel like the floodwaters are coming and I’ve been sandbagging frantically.
TC: [laughs] Well, better to do it now than be surprised by it, right?
CD: Yeah, that’s true. She doesn’t even know this, but when the day comes, I’ve been to the store. I’ve been down the aisle for 13-year-old girls, and I have supplies in the closet just in case. I’m ready.
TC: I think that’s smart. I saw you did some shows with Jimmy Pardo this month. Does he make you laugh off stage? He strikes me as somebody who just oozes funny all the time.
CD: Yeah, he’s really funny. I’ve never actually worked, like, comedy with him, but I did his podcast (“Never Not Funny”) when we were both in Portland at the same time, and when I do “Conan” he warms up the crowd for Conan so we get to hang out. He can turn it on, for sure. When you’re at “Conan,” you can see him (and) he’s just like a mile a minute, but he’s in the zone, you know?
Before the podcast taping, he and his partner (Matt Belknap) had a really tough travel day and everything, so it was like down to earth, but he is still lightning quick. I mean, he became a comedian for a reason. He’s successful for a reason. Sometimes people expect you to turn that off, but that’s who the person is, so why would they? There are times when he comes out of nowhere with something really quick, and it will just wipe me out it’s so funny.
TC: Have you played Raleigh or Goodnights before and if so, does anything about the club or the city stand out for you?
CD: I never have, so I’m gonna have to pass on all the follow-ups.
TC: OK. Well, the club is great. What, if anything, have you heard about it and are you looking forward to this week?
CD: I’m absolutely looking forward to this week. It was one of the clubs, right when I started, approximately 100 years ago…I guess it was more like 18, but it was one of the clubs to get into. In fact, it was so hard to get into as a new guy that I just kind of gave up on it.
Now that I’m working the Helium clubs, they offered the club and I’m really looking forward to it. A lot of my friends have been there and they’ve said, “Good crowds. Smart crowds. They’ll give you a pretty long leash to try some stuff. They’ll listen.”
I’m excited to come down, and also I saw that Saturday it was supposed to be 80 degrees (in Raleigh). I haven’t seen 80 degrees in, I don’t know, six months. Living in Minnesota, we just dream about it. Everybody’s calendars have beaches on them and stuff like that, so I’m excited. I’m ready to come down and feel some warmth.
TC: We’ll keep it as warm as we can for you, man.
Here it is, The Best Tweet I Can Find in Five Minutes:
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