“The So-and-So Profiles” shines a spotlight on stand-up comedian Doug Mellard, a recent transplant from Austin who is currently making a name for himself here in Los Angeles.
1. How did you come into being a comedian? Is this something you always knew you wanted to do?
Well, I’m naturally funny. It oozes out of me. It’s just part of my being. I’m just hilarious all the time.
Honestly, I don’t like real work. I like to tell jokes and make people laugh. I got into it through Mitch Hedberg, a very funny comedian that passed away a few years back.
2. Where was your first gig?
It was called the Easy Rhino.
It was this tiny bar that existed for a very short time in Austin, Texas. I was too much of a scairty cat to get on an actual comedy stage so I invited a bunch of friends out to watch me do standup.
They noticed I brought a lot of people so they were like, “Can you bring more people? Can you keep doing this?”
Instantly I started doing shows every couple weeks for a $50 bar tab and $50. And I was doing an hour before I really had two minutes of actual decent material. It was the worst crap imaginable.
I’m so glad there’s no evidence of that anymore because it was so bad. It was so different from what I do now.
3. What type of venues do you most like to perform in?
I love comedy clubs but since I moved out to LA I like the alternative dive bars. Anywhere where there’s a microphone, I’m going to have fun. I’m at a point now where I can just get up there and have fun no matter where I am.
4. What is your dream venue?
Carnegie Hall would be nice because Andy Kaufman is one of my heroes and he did that epic show there. The Rose Bowl would be cool. That’s next on my list.
I would love to do a huge theatre. I like that vibe. I like that huge stage.
5. What is your approach to comedy?
I always laugh at inappropriate times. I find a lot of humor in dark places. There’s humor in everything if you really look for it. I just don’t really take anything too seriously. It’s just no way to live. You gotta have fun. Life is short.
I’m doing a little bit different stuff where I’m bringing my real life into it and just the insanity that ensues in my day to day.
6. How does your on-stage persona compare to your off-stage persona?
It’s not much different. Some of the stuff I say I don’t necessarily do in real life. Onstage I might say things that might be offensive but I don’t really mean it. It’s basically just telling people to laugh at life.
I’m always trying to be funny. Onstage there’s a reason for it. I like to mess with people.
The biggest difference is some things I might say onstage and then I get offstage and I’m like, “I totally made that up.” or “I don’t condone whatever I just said.
I have a joke where I say “I witnessed a murder once…through the scope of my rifle.”
Obviously I’ve never murdered anyone.
7. What is your particular brand of comedy?
My brand of comedy is indescribable. I’m going to describe it to you now.
If you could mosh The Three Stooges with Bill Cosby and Kirk Cameron and Alan Thicke, Neil Patrick Harris, Kermit the Frog, Beeker, Animal, Abe Vigoda and maybe Freddy Kruger.
It’s insane. I’m actually in a transitional period where I mostly do a lot of one-liners. I really like the one-liners because it’s instant gratification. It’s so fun to immediately get that laugh and if that joke doesn’t work, eight seconds later the next joke will. I just go-go-go. I’m all ADD. I just take the reigns off and just go.
I’m trying to get into more storytelling. With stories it’s a scary thing. Sometimes you’re waiting a couple of minutes for that first laugh.
It’s fun to mix it up.
8. What is your struggle in pursuing stand-up comedy full-time? Is there a struggle?
No struggles. I’m rich. I’m a genius.
I’ve been doing it full-time, but I need to find a day job where I can make ends meet.
9. What keeps you from giving up?
I love it too much. It’s an addiction. I don’t have a back-up plan. This is it. This is what I chose to do. This is what I love. I can’t see myself doing anything else and if I did anything else within six months I’d go crazy and be right back on stage.
If I quit, I’d still be writing constantly. That part of your brain never goes away.
10. What has been your greatest performing experience?
I’m going to say Fun Fun Fun Fest because I got to stage dive and do a set shirtless. I had people holding me at one point. There was nothing cooler than that. Every comedian wants to be a rock ‘n’ roller and every rock ‘n’ roller wants to be a comedian. I got to do a little bit of both that day and it was awesome. Hopefully I’ll be there in 2012.
Dirty Dancing was my favorite moment on stage. I was doing a farewell show in Austin at the Velveeta Room and I didn’t want to end it with my normal act. I wanted to do something different to say goodbye to Austin so my friend Mindy and I reenacted the final scene of Dirty Dancing.
11. What has been your worst performing experience?
Knoxville, Tennessee. I do a bit about it. I did this club that was shut down two weeks later.
I went up there and meet the manager and I ask for a drink. I was asking him general questions like how much time do you want me to do exactly, when’s the light, when are you going to give me the light, where’s the green room and all that.
He’s this big redneck named Bubba. He’s like, “Do you see that hole in the wall?”
“If you screw around here – you’re dead.”
But it’s actually a really cool town. I’ve met a couple cool people there outside of that.
12. Do you have a particular warm-up routine?
I have to have music playing. A lot of times real crazy heavy stuff like heavy rock or heavy hip-hop and then a little bit mixed in with some goofy stuff to keep me loose.
And I pace a lot. I like to get really pumped up to where sometimes I may be a little too much.
13. Does your audience ever affect your set? You have a set in mind then you read the audience. Do you alter it at all or just power through?
You definitely have to alter. It depends on the gig but you’ll feel out an audience. Sometimes you’re just dead set like, “I want to do this new material.” or “I have to do this joke.”
There’s cases where an audience just isn’t into you and that’s okay but you still want to do your favorite jokes.
You get up there and you start to change but it’s like, “Alright, if I’m going to do this for you guys, I gotta throw out this joke for me.” You gotta entertain yourself too up there.
14. Who are your professional inspirations? Have you met them?
I mentioned Mitch Hedberg already. Steven Wright. There’s a lot. Paul F. Tompkins. Doug Benson. Brendon Walsh. Matt Bearden. Jimmie Roulette. A lot of them are people I started out with.
My old roommate Chuck Watkins. Dan Cummins -- who I host a radio show with. Tom Saunders -- who’s also on the show. A lot of these are just people who are in my day to day.
You gotta keep your inspirations close and keep positive people close to you. It’s too easy in show business to get down when you hear negative people. So you keep your inspirational comedians close to you.
It’s not necessarily all comedians that I’m even inspired by. It’s just people that are good to be around.
15. What is your favorite joke that you tell?
Three Bears. Easily.
“…And Papa Bear said, ‘My porridge is too hot!’ and Mama Bear said, ‘My porridge is too cold!’ and little cute Baby Bear said, ‘My real dad wouldn’t have bought store-brand porridge you SON OF A BITCH! THIS IS BULLSHIT! I WILL MURDER YOU! I want my real dad back!’”
16. What inspires your comedy?
It’s really just my ADD. Comedy comes to me. A lot of times comedians don’t choose to be in comedy. Comedy chooses them. I lead one of those lives where I don’t have a normal day.
I got my sense of humor from my grandpa Al.
He has four daughters and one time he brought home a dead deer on Christmas Eve and threw it on the table and said he shot Rudolph. He was so funny.
My parents are both super funny in their own ways. Everybody in my family – my brother Wes and my brother Jason.
Alcohol. Also inspirational.
17. What is your ultimate goal -- if you haven't already achieved it?
To get a check for 40 billion dollars and to live on Pluto now that it’s not considered a planet and reestablish Pluto as a fuckin’ planet!
I’m going to start my own civilization on Pluto that just embodies my comedy and everything about Doug. That’s my ultimate goal.
I am very close with my family. To make my family proud is really the ultimate goal. And they are proud. But to make them more proud so that they’re like, “Look at Doug’s planet Pluto. That’s pretty cool.”
18. How would your comedy best be adapted into a sitcom?
I would want something that follows my insane life. I really have a freakin’ insane life. I’ve gotten in a bar fight with a girl before. That’s a long story.
All my friends have insane stories. Just follow me around and watch. I love to mess with people. Like Andy Kaufman. He was the king of that. We could really tear some stuff up that way.
Live Action or Animated?
Live action would be fun because people would want to see me because I’m beautiful. I know people are just humoring me by putting me on stage. I know I’m adorable. I don’t care. I’ll use it.
Animation would be fun because my ADD goes off. You could animate the tangents. Maybe a mix. It’d be cool to do a mix.
Single camera or multi-camera?
Single camera to let me off the reigns a little bit more -- although you can always feed off the audience.
19. What is the title of your sitcom?
I like that -- “What is the Title of My Sitcom?"
This wine was a terrible idea.
20. What’s next for Doug Mellard?
I’ve got a lot of creative projects that I’m working on I’m really excited about. I like having other projects to work on creatively to bounce around like if I get stuck on stand-up I’m going to switch gears creatively. That’s what I do. That’s how I have fun. Just writing. Any form of writing. It’s so fun. Books, scripts, whatever.
I have a radio show called “Naked and Fearless” with Dan Cummings and Tom Saunders. That’s every Monday on Sirius XM 97 Blue Collar Radio at 3pm Pacific.
I’m working on a book called “Roundhouse Kicks and Nachos: A Guide to Dating” – how I’ve used this pickup line with girls so many times.
Doug also hosts a live comedy show at the Good Luck Bar in Silver Lake every other Tuesday with his aforementioned old roommate Chuck Watkins.
Original Fiction from a Sitcom Mind > The Halls of Shambala > The Non-Fiction Archives: 2012-2014 > The So-and-So Profiles >