Dan Cummins: ‘Road House’ Swayze would kick ‘Red Dawn’ Swayze’s ass
For the sake of comedy, the mistake — so glaring now with the benefit of hindsight — stays in the column.
Luckily, in this week’s edition of Inside Jokes comedian Dan Cummins handled my error the way one would expect a funny person to — he made it funny. Then he went on to answer the question that I rewrote a couple of times before emailing it to him with an extra word erroneously included.
Could we have edited it? Sure, but that would have deprived you of even MORE FUNNY and rest assured that Cummins and I both want you to enjoy the maximum amount grins, smiles, chuckles, tee-hee-hees and hardy-har-hars.
Cummins is from Riggins, Idaho, has CDs — including one brilliantly titled “Crazy With A Capital F” — and Comedy Central specials to his credit and has made numerous appearances on the late night talk show circuit. Our interview begins with Cummins talking about his hometown and ends with a debate on who is tougher: Jed from “Red Dawn” or Dalton from “Road House.” Cummins definitely has an opinion.
Enjoy the interview and don’t forget The Best Tweet I Can Find In Five Minutes at the end.
TC: Do you ever get back to Riggins?
DC: I get back several times a year. My grandparents on my mom’s side live in Riggins and my mom still works in Riggins and lives 30 miles away in an even smaller town, Whitebird, with my stepdad. My kids live most of the year with their mom in Spokane, Wash., and, a lot of times when I visit them during the school year, I bring ’em down to Riggins.
I don’t know if I could ever live there again, but it’s nice to spend time there. Sometimes I daydream about buying my grandparents’ house someday (which I guess is a dark daydream since it requires them to die first), or getting some other house (nicer daydream) and spending part of every year there as part family vacation, part writer’s retreat.
TC: “Crazy With A Capital F” is a damn good title for a comedy album. Can you think of any album titles that top it?
DC: Ha. Thanks. I’m still amazed by how many people don’t know what the F stands for.
My favorite might be David Cross’s “Shut Up, You Fucking Baby.” I really like the title of Louis C.K.’s new one, “Oh My God” also. “Life Is Worth Losing” by Carlin is also fantastic. Summed up his perspective perfectly.
TC: What is your favorite thing about living in Santa Monica?
DC: I love Santa Monica. I really do. I love the weather, the relaxed beach city vibe, the shopping and lots of nice restaurants. And there are an insane amount of homeless drug addicts to always remind you that the world is full of horribleness and, that if you don’t keep working hard, you could soon find yourself on a park bench strung out on heroin with last week’s shit still in your pants. I appreciate that mixture of paradise and pressure.
TC: You’ve played colleges and clubs all over the world. Did you ever, or do you still, get nervous before shows?
DC: Funny, I was thinking about this the other day and, right now, no, I don’t get too nervous. And I don’t think that’s a good thing. I’ve gotten real comfortable taking chances on stage and I don’t fear failure like I used to. So maybe I need to take bigger chances, push my creativity harder.
To be honest, one show just doesn’t mean as much as it used to. My life has changed a lot since I started out. I have two kids now, I’m still rebuilding my life after a divorce, I want to own a house again and remarry (I have an amazing girlfriend!). I worry about big things now like the health of my family and financial security, but I think I should start getting nervous again.
I want to be a truly great comic, and I don’t think I’m there yet. I think I need to hold myself to a higher standard and get nervous that I’m not good enough to pull it off. When I record my next album, I want people to tell their friends to check it out, say stuff like, “His other stuff is good too, but this shit is fucking epic!” And yes, I want people who are super comfortable with vulgarity to be the ones who like it most. I’m a big fan of cursing. Big. Fucking. Fan.
TC: Are your kids are funny?
DC: Are my “kids are funny”? I don’t know what you mean by that. I can only understand grammatically perfect sentences. (What if I really ended this question here? How big of a dick would I be? Ten inches, 11 even?)
Anyway, yes, my kids are funny. Both are obsessed with jokes at the moment and my daughter Monroe wants to do what I do. Here’s one she told me last night (verbatim — I recorded it on my iPhone):
Her: Knock knock.
Me: Who’s there?
Me: Sassy who?
Her: Sassy pants!
Her next one was a lot more abstract, and, considerably darker…
Her: Knock knock
Me: Who’s there?
Me: Maybe who?
Her: Let us in! It’s cold out here! It’s burning, freezing. I am a pig! I keep interrupting and you’ll die!
TC: Like you, I’m a huge fan of the “Red Dawn” and “Road House” version of Patrick Swayze. Do you think Jed would kick Dalton’s ass or vice versa or is it a draw?
DC: Ha. First off, I like where your head’s at. Great question! Maybe the best and most important interview question I’ve ever had.
I’m gonna go — strongly — with Dalton. Jed’s a tough kid, real tough, but he’s not a hardened, trained fighter. He’s just a Wolverine living a small town life doing his best to keep his ragtag crew of classmates alive against those goddamn Cuban Russian Communist bastards. He’s a tragic victim of circumstance.
Dalton, on the other hand, he’s been around the block. He’s chosen a life of combat. He’s been fighting week in and week out for years, and everyone is bigger than him. EVERYONE!! And, he has Sam Elliot for a mustachioed mentor, something Jed sadly had to live without. Oh, and he doesn’t die in the end. That’s also important.
Here it is, The Best Tweet I Can Find In Five Minutes:
Just saw a beaten down man in Costco parking lot loading a box full of diapers & tampons into a minivan but go ahead, get married.
— Danny Zuker (@DannyZuker) April 23, 2013