DNA is also one hell of a funny guy. Comedian DNA like many aspiring talents has had to work some odd jobs to support his comedy. Composer Philip Glass drove a New York taxi for 12 years. Chris Rock worked at Red Lobster. DNA, as a child growing up in New Jersey, put on $2 comedy and magic shows in his
basement, nursery schools and nursing homes. Later he opened for Ralph Nader, was rejected by “The Gong Show,” became Timothy Leary’s chauffeur, was a mayoral candidate, novelist, a comedy traffic-school instructor, but he never stopped working towards his dream of doing stand up comedy.
After winning the “Showtime College Comedy Laff-Off” at Chico State University in 1990, DNA spent a few years performing around Northern California in grange halls and cheap dives. In 2005, comedy drew him to Santa Cruz where for the last five years he has hosted a weekly comedy show every Thursday at the Blue Lagoon. He will soon be adding a Tuesday night event to the line-up. These 90-minute comedy shows will feature the best of local and Bay Area comics, and will be setup like professional showcases with his favorite headliners who have appeared on Jimmy Kimmel, David Letterman and Comedy Central. He also stage-manages the wildly successful, comedy show “Planet Cruz,” hosts his own
comedy show called “Comikaze” and performs around the Bay Area sometimes solo and sometimes with his rotating band of talent the Pawns of Comedy.
Kirby Scudder: How is the state of comedy in Santa Cruz?
DNA: For a place this size, it’s not bad. I wouldn’t call Santa Cruz a comedy town in the traditional sense, but we have some pretty good talent coming from here. There are some young comedians coming out of the University who are on the national stage doing some great work. We have the Crows Nest which has been hosting comedy every Sunday for a long time. It’s been going for over 30 years. Before the Crows Nest, it was the Albatross which is one of the longest running weekly rooms in California. It was started by John Fox who started comedy completions. The first cable stand up show on Showtime was a John Fox presentation. We are probably on the outer spoke of Bay Area comedy, but in some ways we are on our own hub. One of the more successful comedy events here is “Planet Cruz” with Richard Stockton for which I stage-manage. He has really been able to make that work in Santa Cruz for quite a few years now. I had a great comedy line-up last year at the first Fringe Festival and will be doing that again this year. I run a weekly room that is going really well and I am adding a second night.
KS: Do you see a day when Santa Cruz would have its own comedy club?
DNA: I come from a stand-up comedy perspective. It’s tough because if you put on a show you have to be a hell of a promoter. I tend to do a lot of guerilla marketing and my show is free. For 5 years now, I have built the show up where I never have less than 30 people which is a really good crowd. I have people come from four hours away and all over the Bay Area, because there are no rooms that get 40 people every week. We have established something good here, but to have a comedy club where you have headliners Thursday, Friday, Saturday, two shows a night. How are you going to do that every weekend? It seems a little tough. And then over the hill you’re competing with Roosters in Sunnyvale. I am not sure that you could find the investment money or the right people to organize it that would make it successful. I don’t so much see a comedy club here, but can see a day where we have a hugely successful comedy festival.
For more information about DNA go to www.votedna.com
If you would like to see DNA perform you can see him at The MUSE Launch Party tonight, Thursday, February 28th from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Santa Cruz Institute of Contemporary Art, 1050 River Street. #127 at Tannery Arts Center.