Editor’s note: Some content in this feature includes suggestive or adult references.
“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes ‘Awww!”
“On the Road”, Jack Kerouac
Listening to the comedy of Bill Dawes is a lot like a watching a fireworks display; just when you think you’ve seen it all, here comes the aerials and fountains to blow your mind. Dawes is the true definition of yin and yang; a dichotomy of ambition. Currently based out of Los Angeles, Dawes is an actor-comic-writer who was raised in Alexandria, Virginia. As a student at T.C. Williams High School, Dawes was one of three Caucasian players on their nationally ranked football team and the only Caucasian on their mile-relay track team and breakdance squad.
More than an athlete, Dawes made his way to Princeton graduating cum laude with a degree in aerospace engineering. Eventually, entertainment won out over engineering and Dawes headed to NYU Graduate School to study acting.
Dawes cut his chops in theatre, performing in a laundry list of productions on and off Broadway.
The Laugh Factory in Times Square became his permanent hang, as emcee and resident comic.
This summer Dawes will appear in the Broadway production of “Lombardi”, the first play ever produced by the National Football League. He can be seen in the newly released DVD hit, “I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell,” and several TV shows, including “Sex in The City”, “Oz,” “Law and Order,” “Damages,” and “All My Children.” A stand-up comedy special he wrote with Jamie Kennedy entitled “Uncomfortable,” will air this summer on Comedy Central.
Dawes is in Honolulu this week for a concert at Pipeline Café on Thursday May 6th. We caught up with Dawes while he was looking for a new pair of swim trunks for his Hawai‘i jaunt.
What’s your best childhood memory?
When I asked Susannah Ulrich to “go with me” in 7th grade and she said “yes.” I was so excited, I bruised my palm from high-fiving. C’mon, don’t be a pervert!
What was your worst childhood memory?
When Susannah Ulrich dumped me two months later. I listened to so much emo music after. It’s alright because now she’s married and miserable, so every once in a while I call her and say “naneenaneebooboo!”
What’s the best thing you remember about the last time you were in Honolulu?
Last time I came to O‘ahu to see a girl I was dating. I made her pull her Jeep over on the side of the road and we had sex in a bunch of palm fronds overlooking the water. That’s probably Tuesday for the natives, but for me it was one of life’s unforgettable moments.
When did you start doing stand-up?
I started doing stand-up in 2003. I was scared sh!tless, so my friend plied me with about 7 shots, then I went up to an open mike and slurrily bombed. But I was I hooked….not on stand-up — on Jaeger bombs.
What other career (if any) were you interested in?
I wanted to be a professional soccer player but I wasn’t good enough. I wanted to be a veterinarian but after digging through cow s!#t for a summer, I realized I wasn’t cut out for “work.”
What/where was the best concert you’ve done to date?
The last show I did for the troops in Iraq in 2007. I was in Baghdad and the last show was in front of about 6000 soldiers. The USO warned me that I should stay away from a joke I do titled “The Nestle Knockout,” that was exceptionally dirty. But they were having so much fun, I couldn’t help but tell it. The next day, the USO told me I was banned. It was worth it — the troops loved the bit. And yes, it describes a sexual act.
Is there any material that’s off limits to you?
Off limits? Uhhh… What does that mean? I stay away from politics because I find it’s too divisive. I’m always amazed when I find out Republicans go to comedy shows too.
You do jokes about your ex-girlfriends. Do you end relationships on good terms or does it end up only good for comedy material?
The great thing about having a string of sh!tty relationships is the wealth of material it provides. I will say that most relationships go bad because of me, not them. Apparently, they complain I don’t “listen” or something like that or that I rarely pay attention.
What attracts you in men and women? Are you more of a guy’s guy or a ladies’ man?
I’ve always wanted to be a guy’s guy but I’m just not. It sucks. Getting drunk, watching the game, and wearing NFL jerseys is an awesome idea in theory to me, but in reality, I look at those guys like they’re a scrambled Rubik’s Cube or the 3rd season of LOST.