Our newest column, The Bocchetti Files, features comedian Mike Bocchetti talking one-on-one with his friends and fellow comedians about whatever crosses his mind. His pick for his very first interview, comedian Dave Hill. You can hear Dave weekly on his radio show, the God Damned Dave Hill Show. He’s also currently writing a new book, and working on a tv pilot with Rich Vulture from The Mighty Boosh, that is being produced by Steve Carell and will shoot this Spring.
I’ve known Dave about 2 years I met him when he was a guest on the Artie Lange Show and we just clicked as friends. I picked Dave to interview, because he is uniquely funny and a risk taker like I am, and I just like different stuff.
Mike Bocchetti: Dave, I think you’re a great comic and musician. Given the choice, what would you rather be. A famous comic or a famous musician?
Dave Hill: Maybe a famous comic because you don’t have to carry anything. I guess if I were really a famous musician I wouldn’t have to carry anything either. Someone else would.
Mike Bocchetti: Do you feel like doing a concert is like…what I love about music is that bands doing the Garden, that’s a lot different than a comic doing the Garden.
Dave Hill: Yeah, I like playing music live but I feel like comedy is more in the moment. When I’m doing comedy, I’m not thinking about anything else. But with music you can be sitting there playing, singing, and you drift off and you’re like ‘ahhh I forgot to pick up my laundry.’ But with comedy, that never happens. But music, you can kind of be like, I played this song a hundred times, I know…
Mike Bocchetti: Maybe that’s why Led Zeppelin looked like they were thinking about other stuff sometimes. Dave how long were you doing comedy before you moved to NY?
Dave Hill: I didn’t do comedy before I moved to New York; I started doing comedy in New York and I think I’m a good example of what’s great about New York. I just came here, and one thing led to another. I always liked comedy, but I never thought I would become a comedian. I came here, I got a writing job and then you just meet people. I was in Cleveland before, and I knew a few writers and I thought, ‘I’d like to try comedy but I had no idea where I would even do it or how.’ And then I came to New York about ten years ago, and a friend was like, ‘oh I have a show, why don’t you try and do something.’ So like I just did it and no one threw anything at me. And then I just did it again. I didn’t have any goals. I never thought about any of that stuff. I was just thinking, ‘maybe someone else will ask me to do a gig.’ I never thought past the next gig. Eventually things started happening and now I think, ‘oh I want to do this and that’ but when I started it was never like that. If anything I thought it would help me with my social anxiety a little bit. Like maybe if I can get on stage and talk it will be easier to go to a dinner party, I wont be as nervous.
Mike Bochetti: Dave, you came into this with a great thing because when I first started in 89, I thought I was going to sell the Garden out like Dice.
Dave Hill: You know, there’s all sorts of examples but if you look at the really great comedians, it takes a long time. I feel like I’m just getting started, ten years into it. I feel like I”m kind of figuring out a little bit what works and I’m able to make a living out of it which is nice, but I think I got a lot to learn and a lot of work to put in before…I think I’m just learning.
Mike Bocchetti: It never ends, no matter what level you’re at. Look at Louis CK for example. He does a new hour every year now almost. I’m sure he writes all day. So Dave, if you could change anything about yourself, what would it be?
Dave Hill: I would say, maybe, being more in the moment.Just not be as anxious and have as many mental problems, you know?
Mike Bocchetti: Yeah if you have Mel Brook’s mind it helps in this business….
Dave Hill: Yeah, I guess, I know very few creative people who don’t have some issue. But I feel like I spend some part of each day trying to figure out how can I not be miserable or whatever, but I got this puppy that’s squirming in my lap. She’s been a lot of help with that cause I like, now I”m like I gotta get my work done, and the rest of the time its like, ahh she’s trying to take a shit in my laundry again. So yeah I don’t have as much time to think about existential crises and things like that with this little fucker around.
Mike Bocchetti: As an artist, what do you think can touch people more. Your comedy or your music?
Dave Hill: I don’t know. It would seem that. Personally it seems like I touch more people with comedy, by far. I’m able to travel the world and do shows and people come out. I mean I’m not selling out the Garden but I’m able to go to different countries around America and people will come out. I don’t know if I could do that with music.
I used to play in bands full-time all the time. Everyone in the band is guys who toured in bands for years and all that, and we’re all , none of us are 22 years old anymore. The other three guys, Pete Rob and Eddie are married and have kids and a couple of them have day jobs. So it’s a bit more casual. I think of music as more, it’s more, fantasy land for me. When I’m writing songs and stuff I just think oh what song would I want to hear when I’m walking around my apartment. So I kind of just write … Comedy is the same way, I don’t think about what someone else is going to think is funny. I do what I think is funny. But with music, I guess the difference is, I don’t sit and read my jokes or listen to recordings of myself telling jokes, but when I finish a song that I like, I”m like oh cool. That’s fun to listen to. I don’t sit and listen to it over and over, I”m like, oh I’m glad I did that. And the weird thing now, the way music works I”m actually able to make a little bit of money from music in ways that I couldn’t when I was really trying to make a living from music. Also there’s different aspects to it like the physical aspects of playing the guitar. I really like that. I have 20 guitars here in my apartment and I can go in the back room and just play for a while and it’s just a fun thing to do.
Mike Bocchetti: Who was the most famous person you ever worked with and what was that like?
In my mind, it would be Dick Cavett because I think of him as just a legend. Some younger people might not be familiar with him; though they should be. But he comes to mind. We’ve become good friends now over the years. He’s always been a hero of mine and to be able to work with him on occasion, whether it be to do something live, or we shot a few things together, he’s always pretty awesome. I’ve not had bad experiences with many famous people. A couple come to mind where maybe I caught them at the wrong moment and they were not nice. Dick Cavett I would say, he’s the king and one of the smartest funniest and best humans ever to walk the earth.
Mike Bocchetti: That’s awesome. Where do you see yourself in the next few years as a performer?
Dave Hill: Hopefully doing more of everything. I just want to be the best Dave Hill I can be so whatever that is. I’m not looking to somebody else to see what they’re doing. I’m just kind of like doing what I like to do and trying to make the most of that. I like to perform live and I hope I can do more of that and perform for more people. I’ve just been opening a few shows for Ryan Adams. He’s playing to like 2000 people every night so that’s really fun to do shows that big because I obviously don’t do shows that big on my own. And then in April I go to Norway for some comedy shows and then I do a run of shows in London. I love going to other countries. My dream with music is to become the new bandleader for the new Colbert Show on CBS. That’s my…
Mike Bocchetti: …we should start a twitter campaign…
Dave Hill: …people have been doing it on their own which is nice. I would like to see that happen cause I’m a huge fan of his and I feel like I have the skills. And I have the outfits, perhaps most importantly.
You can hear Dave Hill weekly on his radio show, the God Damned Dave Hill Show on Monday nights from 9pm to midnight on WFMU, and follow what Dave is up to on his website, davehillonline.com.