Today we’d like to introduce you to Dan Danzy.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Dan. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I started stand up comedy at the age of 18 in 2006 in Beaumont, TX. I moved to Dallas in 2010. I had a terrible drinking problem that led me to banishments from venues. I’ve been sober for four years (five years in November) since sobriety. I’m unbanished from those venues, became runner up at the Improvs Funniest Comic in Texas 2018, and am a professional working comic, video game streamer, writer, and content creator. I’m currently standing up again through the pandemic while being high risk due to asthma.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Stand up comedy is never a smooth road. When starting out, you’re constantly putting yourself under pressure and stress trying to “find the funny” and at the same time trying to get to a professional level while trying not to get ahead of yourself. When you do get to the professional level, you’re still putting yourself under pressure and stress over material AND trying to adapt to the social climate around you so that you can better connect with your audience. I imagine those at a famous level are still stressed because of the need to stay relevant plus they have “people” and representation they need to adhere to.
A lot of my struggles along the way were a maturity issue. I started young and because of childhood trauma caused by a parent passing, I had some development issues with my personality. I was very immature and very open to drugs and alcohol. After I turned 21, the alcohol abuse significantly started increasing. I thought I was just being a normal 20 something year old but alcohol was affecting my already underdeveloped self-awareness. I never got into comedy trouble early on in my career but the whole “he’s just a kid” reason wears off more the older you get. My drinking got worse, with that the professionalism, and with that the bookings became less and less a thing. At 24, it seemed like I was getting in trouble with every venue I was performing at whether I did something drunkenly stupid on stage or being disrespectful to bookers and promoters.
Eventually, it all catches up with you, I got 2 DWIs before I even hit 28 and I found myself barely performing. I got my stuff together in 2015. I stayed away from booze, reconnected with my comedy community and comedy family, and went at comedy like I did in my beginning years. It was a struggle to fight “the need” for alcohol, it was struggle to have people’s opinions change and restablish trust, and it was struggle to face all that and still “find the funny.”
Nowadays, alcohol is no big deal, but with the pandemic and being high risk, the struggle is the anxiety and paranoia building up in your head of “Am I gonna catch it? Did I just catch?” and try to convince yourself you’re fine because of a mask and a pair of gloves. So that added stress ALONG with “find the funny” and adapting is the new thing. I think I’m doing fine? I don’t know though….and to tell you the truth it feels weird typing all that out lol.
We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
Along with stand up comedy, I’m a writer and video game streamer on twitch.
I’ve written a few commercial advertisements for small businesses here and there. Businesses closing or businesses just struggling during this time has made that stalled a bit. I’ve also written Web series and sketches on Funny or Die, I don’t do much of that anymore unless someone contacts me with a premise I feel is solid.
I started streaming on Twitch two years ago as a way to deal with anxiety, I wasn’t expecting much out of it. I figured why not? I’m a gamer, I get along with other gamers, it sure beats sitting down and being in my head all afternoon/night. I became an affiliate within a week and have friends all over the country and the world. I forget sometimes I make money at it, I love doing it because it’s a great way to hang out with other nerds and express creativity.
I don’t know what sets me apart other than I try to be genuine. I think with streaming or creating live content, once you start making money you feel like it’s a job and making money becomes the priority. I look at it like I look at standing up, money is cool, but meeting new people and connecting with new people is a better and more fulfilling feeling.
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
Well first and foremost, to live, lol.
I don’t know, I’d like to continue doing stand up to see just how far I can go without really trying to become “famous” or have my own Netflix special. I mostly want to help open micers and young comics develop into professionals, I like seeing others succeed and like seeing them happy because as performers in the same industry when we’re happy, we’re more fun to be around with and write with. When everyone is united, bouncing ideas off one another and what not we’re not only improving but we’re helping how the industry sees our city local scene as a whole. I guess I’d like to do what I can to put Dallas more on the map. I’m looking forward to seeing not only the opportunities that come my way but the opportunities my friends are offered because overall, it helps the image of the Dallas comedy scene.
As far as writing and twitch streaming, I’m looking forward to any and all opportunities that come from that as well. I’ve met a lot of interesting people in those fields, all forms of life, people I can be creative with and do projects with. So wherever those go, I’m fine with. I don’t need much, right now I’m very much at peace with myself so anything along the way it’s like “oh ok cool, let’s do it.”
- Website: dandanzy.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: dandanzycomedy
- Facebook: facebook.com/dandanzy
- Twitter: dandanzy
- Other: twitch.tv/rednebulapictures