Thank you for taking your time and granting this interview with No Strings Attached- ENews.
NSAEN: How old were you when you started doing stand-up comedy?
NSAEN: When did you start comedy and how funny were you as a kid?
DW: I realized I had humor when Eddie Murphy burst upon the scene and took comedy to a new level. He inspired the desire to make people laugh from a different perspective so that made me think I can do that too.
NSAEN: Who is your biggest influence as a comedian?
DW: I have several in my early stages. George Willborn had a major influence on my development as a performer.
NSAEN: How long have you been a professional comedian?
DW: Twenty years. I went pro the first month I started.
NSAEN: Any odd jobs you have done in the past to support yourself and shape your career?
DW: I worked at City Hall in Chicago. They used to call me “Eddie” because I was funny around the building. That was around the time “48Hours” came out. I wore suits all the time, even when I was a gofer. Since “Reggie Hammond” came home from jail in a suit in the movie the comparison began. I also owned and operated a Subway Sandwich shop in 1990 (Pre Jared, the fat customer who lost a ton eating Subway subs). The chain hadn’t caught on in Chicago yet, so I had to sell the store. I’d never even worked fast food before and found myself baking bread and making subs.
NSAEN: How do you find the material you use on stage?
DW: Life. Life provides ample material everyday. There’s something funny to talk about. That’s why the website Youtube is so popular. If you keep a camera handy or rolling during real life, you will catch something funny. My brain is the camera, so all day I catch some material that comes to me from the sky. I have no idea why I think up this stuff.
NSAEN: Who is your “muse” or does the muse find you?
DW: I don’t really have a muse. If I had to say, I’d say a recurring audience is my motivation because if you have repeat customers or “regulars” you can’t use the same jokes. Taking that into consideration, they are my muse.
NSAEN: How did your family handle your decision to get into comedy?
DW: They were surprised. I was a quiet child, basically, so I caught a few people off guard.
NSAEN: Show business is not a nine-to-five job. How does it affect your personal life?
DW: It allows me to have a personal life. On average I only work four hours a week onstage. So if I’m not traveling I have lots of personal time.
NSAEN: You have toured and worked with a lot of famous comedians, who is your favorite and why?
DW: I can’t say a favorite due to the different things they bring to the table; but I met some amazing people doing stand up. Far too many to mention, but I like Chris Rock, D.L. Hughley, Dave Chapelle, Ellen, Cedric, Bernie, Steve (I opened for the King of Comedy tour). Then there are some equally talented comics with lower profiles: Tony Roberts, Rob Stapleton, Kyle Grooms, Marvin Dixon, Deon Cole, Mark Simmons.
NSAEN: Being from Chicago, do you feel Chicago is compatible with other major cities such as NY or LA to start a career in show business?
DW: I believe Chicago is the sole reason I do standup. Had I not been in the Chicago area I wouldn’t have had some of my most successful achievements. They can be directly attributed to being in Chicago when I started. For greater aspirations you have to go to one of those cities.
NSAEN: Are the stand-up opportunities here in Chicago as plentiful as in NY or LA?
DW: It depends. You can find a place nightly in Chicago.
NSAEN: Where are the best places you have ever performed and why?
DW: Madison Square Garden (sold out) during the King of Comedy tour, the United Center, the Comic Strip in Edmonton, Tom Joyner’s Cruise (great mature audience). The Star Plaza Theater in Merrillville, IN is always good. Every seat is good and they have great acoustics.
NSAEN: What are your goals and dreams for the next five years?
DW: To become a nationally respected headliner, acting in film and/or television, The Tonight Show, and an HBO Special.
NSAEN: I heard that you are interested in acting and currently pursuing auditions in Hollywood, is that true?
DW: Somewhat; I haven’t pursued Hollywood auditions, but I have a role in a Hollywood film scheduled to shoot early fall.
NSAEN: Any new projects in the works?
DW: I’m awaiting confirmation for a half hour special on Comedy Central. I’m also preparing material to shoot my first real performance DVD. Beyond that I’m just touring and taking life as it comes, one joke at a time.
NSAEN: What is your ultimate goal in your comedy career?
DW: Film, TV, and host Family Feud. They’ve never had an African American host (I’m kidding). I want to take stand up to its highest level so I can semi-retire to Vegas, where old comedians go to die.
NSAEN: What advice would you give the new generation of comedians?
DW: Learn the craft. Be original. Never take your audience for granted.
NSAEN: Three things you can’t live without?
DW: My son, my jokes, and my faith.
NSAEN: Anything you’d like to add?
DW: I’ll see you when I look at you.
Thank you and we wish you success and funny times for the future!