Veteran stand-up Dave Attell brings new act to Borgata
From 2001 to 2004, comedian Dave Attell had what some would consider a dream job. As the host of Comedy Central's Insomniac with Dave Attell, the Queens, New York, native would wander the streets of an American city in the wee hours of the morning, frequently stopping at bars, clubs and third-shift workplaces to drink, interact, and crack jokes with the average folks he stumbled upon. As the night progressed, the hilarity factor would usually rise along with Attell's blood alcohol level.
The 45 episodes of Insomniac are still re-run on Comedy Central, securing Attell's status as a cult hero in the pantheon of frat-boy humorists. But as a comedy veteran who has spent over 20 years on the stand-up circuit, Attell, who performs Saturday, July 18, at Borgata's Music Box, says he's especially gratified when audiences respond to his material and not just his Insomniac persona.
"The people that come up to me and talk to me about my HBO special, or one of my CDs or DVDs -- those are the ones that really keep me going, because I realize that they're really legitimate comedy fans and they follow what I'm doing," the 44-year-old Attell tells AC Weekly. "Otherwise, I'd feel like I'm just D-level reality TV guy that people know."
Fans might be familiar with Attell's work from a number of HBO comedy specials, frequent talk-show guest appearances, or any number of Comedy Central programs, including the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn, or the short lived update of The Gong Show that Attell hosted. But Insomniac remains the show with which Attell is most closely associated.
"I love that the people who liked that show come out to see me, but I know they're a little disappointed when they see me just doing jokes," Attell says. "I can't do on stage what I did on that show -- I'd get arrested."
Insomniac's increasing popularity was one of the reasons the show stopped production. By the third season, attempts to film the type of spontaneous interactions that had made it so unpredictable and funny were regularly interrupted by fans who recognized Attell and wanted to be on the show.
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