DC in the Glass City: Comedian Curry returns for gigWritten by Jeff McGinnis | | email@example.com
Toledoans have had the chance to see comic Don “D.C.” Curry before, as part of the Royal Comedy Tour that rolled through town a few years ago. But his upcoming gig at the Funny Bone at Fat Fish Blue in Perrysburg — where he’ll be performing from July 12-15 — will be the first time he’ll get to work a club in the area.
Since Curry’s last Toledo gig was so limited, he doesn’t have a lot of memories of the Glass City — which is not necessarily a bad thing. “You remember some things that are bad about some places, but I don’t remember anything bad about Toledo,” Curry said with a laugh in an interview with Toledo Free Press.
For a veteran comic like Curry, who has more than 27 years in the business behind him, a gig in a comedy club like the Funny Bone is more of a natural habitat than the Royal Comedy Tour could provide. “The main difference is the time restraint when you’re on concert, so you really don’t get a chance to develop stories, because you’re so limited, time-wise. You gotta get on and you gotta get off. So you get on and you compact a lot of stuff to get it in.
“Of course, there’s more money in concerts, but I actually prefer the clubs, man,” Curry stated. “I think comedy is more suited for an intimate setting, and the clubs provide that. They give you a chance to really stretch out.”
Curry has the ability to adapt to whatever the environment, however. Nearly three decades of seasoning as a performer have given him a great many tools in his comedic arsenal, he noted.
“It gives you a broader sense of human humor, if you would. Meaning humor that pertains, basically, to the population no matter where you are. So it localizes you when you travel. And you find out, likewise, that other segments of society — there are some things that are different between different people, but there are some things that are universal, no matter where you go. And I think that’s a major development in comedy — you develop a sense of what’s universal.”
Asked to describe the feelings being onstage as a comic can give a performer, Curry considers his performance in athletic terms.
“Sports-wise, I would compare it to golf. It’s all on you. You know, it’s not like a band, where you can blame it on the music,” he said with a laugh. “And you can’t call on the band for help. It’s all on you. And I’ve compared it to acting, which I’ve done some acting. But in acting, you may or may not agree with the content or what you’re saying … but in stand-up comedy, you’re the writer, you’re the producer, you’re the performer and you’ve got nobody to blame but yourself.”
Curry’s expertise at delivering punchlines is not limited to the club stage, though — he has experience in a wide array of performance arenas, including five years as a comic commentator on the radio in Dallas. He credits his days on the air with helping to polish his onstage technique.
“I think my radio experience helped me more with being descriptive, and I’d recommend it to any young comedian. Because what you have to do — and I know some physical comics that are very funny, but it’s just not particularly my cup of tea. And in a radio situation, you have to paint the picture without them seeing you. So, it’s all — there is no visual at all. So you have to develop the picture, and I think radio forces you to do that.”
In addition to the requisite stand-up specials and talk-show appearances, Curry’s also appeared on film as the crazy Uncle Elroy in the “Friday” sequels, as well as a recurring role on the popular mid-’90s sitcom “Grace Under Fire.”
“Normally, a comic will have a little leeway,” Curry said, remembering his sitcom experiences. “But you’re acting. And I recognize stand-up is a form of acting, but you have the opportunity to make it real and direct it as you would prefer it to be. And there’s an instant gratification in stand-up, that you don’t get necessarily from acting.”
In the end though, for Curry it all comes back to his life in front of the club audiences. “A lot of people view stand-up as a vehicle to become something. But I’m a stand-up comic. Acting’s fine, I enjoy it, and I take it seriously when I get those opportunities. But I’m a stand-up comic at heart.”