Q&A: Comedian Dave Hill

We chat with "professional moron" Dave Hill who will slay all comers at the Funhouse Lounge tomorrow night!

By John Chandler March 20, 2013

Dave Hill relaxes with one of his axes.

It really burns my tollhouse cookies that more people aren't aware of the genius of New York comedian Dave Hill. He's the author of the screamingly funny book Tasteful Nudes, a bitchin' guitarist with his band Valley Lodge, an erotic short-story writer, and, in my opinion the funniest man on Twitter @mrdavehill. He was also a guest on Live Wire! last year, so Portland audiences should be up to speed by now. Hill's performing at the Funhouse Lounge tomorrow (Thursday) night, and he was gracious enough to answer a few questions from the road (specifically Copenhagen). Adult language warning: Hill is a very uninhibited fellow and some of the words that he uses probably should not be shared with impressionable family members. Proceed with caution.

Culturephile: What are you doing in Copenhagen? You travel like a maniac. Do you have massive amounts of frequent flier miles? Favorite airline? How do you alleviate boredom whilst traveling?
Hill: Against all odds, I’ve been asked to speak at a school in Copenhagen, or at least that’s what they told me I’m doing. I haven’t discounted the possibility that this may be just an elaborate ruse to get me over there, so I can be hunted for sport by deranged billionaires with crossbows and weird hats on a closed range or maybe used for twisted medical experiments or something. I guess I’ll find out what the deal is when they pick me up at the airport. Either way, I’m getting some cash, and I’m told the hotel is right there in the heart of it, so I really can’t lose on this one, I figure. 

I should have massive amounts of frequent flier miles but I’m horrible with keeping track of that stuff. Todd Barry (this is the celebrity namedropping portion of this interview) is always schooling me on how to find out what airlines are part of an “alliance” or whatever so I can really cash in, but I’m too slow to follow it. I’m just happy to be out of the house mostly.

As for a favorite airline, any airline that’s not US–based tends to be pretty enjoyable, as they seem really open to the idea of keeping me drunk at no additional cost to me or my loved ones if that’s my angle on a particular flight. British Airways and Lufthansa are always fun and everyone has adorable accents, which I’m a sucker for. The sex is great too—coach, business class, first class—it don’t make no matter.

I’m easily entertained, so I’m almost never bored while traveling. I see an ad for a nose hair trimmer in the SkyMall catalog or something, and that’ll keep me going for an hour at least.

According to your twitter accounting, it seems that no matter where you are or what time of day it is, chances are pretty good that you'll be having sex or partying hard. Do you have any advice for the rest of us on how to achieve similar goals?
It’s true. At any given point of the day, I’m either just about to do some boning or am just hosing off after a serious session. Or I’m partying super, super hard, which is great for me. As for advice for others, I’d say just do your best to open your heart to love. And your pants to sex. And by all means moisturize and stay hydrated at all times. It really makes a difference.

Author Malcolm Gladwell recently said, "He is my idol." And he was talking about you! He seems like a pretty particular guy. How'd you pull that off?
Malcolm and I live in the same neighborhood and he is one of the craziest motherf**kers I have ever met in my entire life. We have been having lunch together every Tuesday for about as long as I can remember. One time I invented this drinking game called the Tipping Point that is too complicated to explain here but, trust me, it is so, so fun if the drinks are strong enough, there is a single occupancy bathroom in whatever bar or restaurant you’re hanging out in, and you’ve got at least a couple rolls of duct tape. I never expected him to run with the concept like he did, but I sure do get a kick out of it. As for being his idol, it’s probably true but that motherf**ker is saying the craziest shit all the time, so I don’t even know what to think sometimes.

I have a hard time describing your profession to those who aren't cool enough to know who you are. Can you help me out? Exactly, what are you, and does your title involve numerous slash marks?
I like to think of myself as a professional moron, or maybe an entertainer in the Wayne Newton sense of the word only without nearly as good hair or complexion. But in more detail, I guess I’m a comedian/writer/musician/thinking man/man-about-town/highly boneable public figure that wouldn’t mind crashing on your couch if that’s cool. And let’s not forget all the charity work.

Is it true you're going to have a recurring role on Lena Dunham's Girls or is that still "under discussion?"
I wish I had a recurring role on Girls! Did you hear something?! I don’t know what the holdup is: I live in New York where they film it. And if you can find someone more willing to whip it out on camera, I’d sure as hell like to meet him. Call me, Lena—the people need this.

Dave Hill with Amy Miller Funhouse Lounge 
March 21 at 8 pm
What TV shows have you appeared on?
With the exception of my brilliant-but-cancelled television program, The King of Miami (now on Hulu!), in which I totally starred, most of my television appearances have been obscure and brief but just long enough to still make me the most famous guy from my high school class, which is ultimately what really matters. I’ve done a bunch of hosting stuff on Cinemax and HBO, playing tennis with the Williams sisters and other things I’m completely unqualified to do. I’ve also been on Human Giant, Attack of the Show, Would You Rather with Graham Norton?, Best Week Ever, Smoking Gun TV, Inside Amy Schumer, Big Morning Buzz Live and various other programs made available to you by your basic cable provider. Despite all this, I am still able to move freely and without being molested too much most days. 

If you could have a "shred-off" with any guitarist living or dead, who would it be and why?
Oh man, that’s a tough one. I guess I’d pick someone who could destroy me, so I could at least get to see and hear them totally shred before I got sent home whimpering. Shredding is a pretty specific thing that a lot of my favorite guitar players like Jimmy Page and Johnny Marr don’t really get involved with that much, but as far as guys I like that totally shred, I’d go with Eddie Van Halen (of course), Yngwie Malmsteen, J Mascis, Paul Gilbert, Buckethead, Warren DeMartini, or Slash maybe. If I had to pick one though, it would probably be Eddie Van Halen. He’s a genius and what he does goes beyond just playing the guitar. Holy shit.

You have a remarkable wardrobe. Who will you be wearing in Portland?
Thank you. I will probably pick up a few things from the floor, figure out which smells best, and go with that. Janeane Garofalo (second namedropping portion of this interview) just taught me about Febreze so it’s opened up a whole new world for me.

Do you have any Portland-specific jokes, and when are you guest-starring on Portlandia?
I don’t have any Portland specific jokes at the moment. I feel like Portlandia has got that market cornered pretty awesomely. But maybe I’ll come up with a thing about beards or something when I pull into town. 

As for when I’m guest-starring on Portlandia, that’s a good question. I love the show and I’ve known Fred Armisen for years, since the '90s even. Hopefully both Fred and Lena Dunham will read this and the prophecy will be fulfilled. I have another high school reunion coming up soon so I could really use the boost.

Bob Saget is playing the same night in Portland that you are. Why should people go see you instead of Saget, who has been called "America's Most Beloved Funnyman?"
Bob Saget is in town?! I love him. What time is he on?!


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