Most comedians steer clear of the woke rules that govern modern life.
Not Dave Landau.
The stand-up comedian and “Louder with Crowder” player finds the funny wherever it may be, from political hypocrisies to Identity Politics run wild.
That free spirit powers “Normal World,” Landau’s bid for sketch comedy fame. The showcase, available on YouTube, serves up a half hour of satirical bits, quasi-horror beats and jokes you won’t hear on “Saturday Night Live.”
HiT reached out to Landau to learn more about the series, his thoughts on “offensive” comedy and if his politics have changed since teaming with Anthony Cumia and Steven Crowder.
HiT: You’re a touring comedian and member of “Louder with Crowder” — what inspired you to take on a new project like “Normal World?”
Landau: Sketch and film were actually my first loves. I started making sketches when I was around five on my Dad’s Zenith camcorder. They were basically just my favorite skits from ‘SNL’ like John Belushi In Samurai Hotel or Dan Aykroyd as Julia Child bleeding everywhere.
Eventually I discovered in ‘Living Color’ and ‘Kids in the Hall.’ [Sketch comedy] is my favorite medium. Right out of high school I started taking classes at The Second City Detroit chapter as well as The Planet Ant Theatre, and I studied film for a year.
When me, Angela Boggs, and Bryce Olejniczak were trying to come up with a series to produce, we kept coming back to sketch.
HiT: The debut episode has a touch of “Black Mirror,” the irreverence of old “SNL” and even a bit of horror. What’s your vision for the show?
Landau: Matt McClowry, who co-wrote the series, grew up with the same love of comedy that I did. We share that sensibility. We both enjoy dark and direct humor. The fact that we’re really living in a dystopian society now is what we wanted to capture. Everything today is completely insane, and we kind of all just accept it.
It’s great fodder for comedy. The vision, though, belonged to the director Bryce Olejniczak who is a massive talent. He was able to create the “Normal World” far better than we could have even imagined. Ken Kuykendall was also an editor on the project and made every sketch look next level.
Everyone who helped on it went above and beyond because we all had fun collaborating on the project. We do want the show to get picked up somewhere so, we figured the best way to show everyone what we’re capable of producing, was by actually making it.
HiT: Most mainstream comedians steer clear of Identity Politics, the woke revolution and related topics. You don’t, obviously. What’s your approach with this material, and do you fear offending select audiences while writing/performing comedy?
Landau: No. I think when comedy wants to “own the left” it’s just as bad as what ‘SNL’ has become. It’s an echo chamber and it’s boring. I don’t worry about offending anyone because we’re not coming from a place that is meant to be mean.
We’re happy to insult all sides of the political sphere. Comedy needs to have an edge and some sense of danger for me to enjoy it. If you’re just pandering to an audience, you’re not actually doing comedy.
My approach is to just do what I find funny. It’s 2023, people will be offended anyway, so why write comedy around trying to guess what will upset people most and then leaving it out?
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HiT: You’re looking for a platform to embrace the show and share it with the public. Do you have any ideal landing spots? Could YouTube remain its hope for the foreseeable future?
Landau: We’re just releasing the first episode for now so only time will tell. I just want to release the whole series with someone who gets us.
HiT: You’ve spent time with both Anthony Cumia and Steven Crowder, both unabashedly to the Right. You’ve been center Left in the past … do you even label your views at this point, or have you drifted to the Right by default as the progressives shifted further Left, a la Adam Carolla?
Landau: I don’t think my politics have changed much, but the landscape has for sure. Anyone on the far left seems to think I’m hard right, and anyone on the far right seems to think I’m too left.
I don’t really believe in either side. At least not the extremes. They go so far away from each that they actually circle back and touch tips in the men’s room. They become the exact same thing. People yelling about how only their point should be heard and respected.
I don’t believe for a minute that politicians give a s*** about me, and I know that sounds bleak but I’ve never been proved otherwise. We pay taxes so “our representatives” can further divide us. It makes them rich and bleeds us all dry.
HiT: This site routinely covers comedians whose work is censored, deplatformed or demonitized by Big Tech … have you dealt with that recently, and are you hopeful this trend will ease in the coming months?
Landau: I’ve dealt with it a lot, and the problem is the censorship always seems to be over an idea that’s not mainstream or a joke taken too literally or out of context. Comedy seems to be weaponized against people, and it truly exists for the opposite reason.
Comedy is a breath of fresh air when everything seems too stressful, ridiculous or difficult, hence “Normal World”