Interview: Dave Horwitz

DavidHorwitz

Art by Sayada

Dave Horwitz is a comedian and writer from Massachusetts, now livin’ out that dream in LA. In 2010 he co-wrote the book Dealbreaker : The Definitive List of Dating Offenses. He makes hilarious videos, wrote for the first season of Dont Trust the B—- in Apartment 23, and is now writing for the upcoming ABC show How to Live with Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life). You can find him performing at the UCBLA Theatre on the first Wednesday of each month with his sketch team, A Kiss From Daddy, or on his super hilarious Twitter.

inconnu: How did you get involved with UCB? What’s your favorite part about it all?

Dave Horwitz: I took a few workshops at UCBNY with my college sketch/improv team and fell in love with it. One of the workshops was with Chris Gethard, who was and continues to be a major inspiration and one of the funniest people I’ve ever met. Once I was out in LA, my friends and I started performing at UCBLA’s weekly open mic sketch show, Not Too Shabby. The hosts, Paul Rust and Neil Campbell, were incredibly supportive and invited us back week in and week out. Before we knew it, we were taking classes and Neil and Paul were directing our full length show. Now we all perform in some capacity at the theatre pretty regularly. My favorite thing about it is getting to do an all new sketch show with my group, A Kiss From Daddy, on the first Wednesday of every month. They’re the funniest people in the world to me. I never laugh harder than when we’re doing dumb bits in rehearsals.

inconnu: You’ve talked about how 30 Rock distinguished itself by being jam packed with  jokes on jokes. Do you think this format of a show has a future in mainstream television, or was it more of a one-time deal?

DH: I think the future of subversive, joke-driven comedies is cable and Netflix/Hulu/Amazon. Shows like Archer could never live on a network because a network’s bottom line seems to put heart before jokes. Modern Family walks that line very carefully, and I think that’s why it’s such a big hit. I like that show, but their characters seem engineered for you to like and care about them. I think the genius of a show like 30 Rock was that it was more concerned with crafting a perfect joke, and caring about the characters (which I did, deeply) almost felt like a happy accident.

inconnu: If you had to pick one ultimate dealbreaker, what would it be?

DH: I always answer this question the same way, and that’s No Sense Of Humor. This could also be Terrible Sense of Humor. All a relationship is is a long series of conversations. Conversations at restaurants, in cars, on walks, in bed, everywhere. If I don’t feel like I’m spending time in those conversations laughing or making someone laugh, I’m wasting my time. Ooh, also, dat ass.

inconnu: Tell us one “inconnu” (unknown) thing about yourself.

DH: I sleep in a coffin. People might not know that about me because it’s not true.

inconnu: You’ve wrote for Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23 [RIP] and, recently, How to Live with Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life), but you also do a lot of improv and shorter sketch writing. Could you talk a little bit about the advantages or disadvantages of the two? Do you like one better than the other?

DH: Sketch writing and performing is incredibly fulfilling to me, because I receive a short blast of approval or disapproval for my work. At the time I’m writing this, I have a show in 3 days. In it, I have a monologue that I wrote and will act in. I’ll stand on stage and say the words I’ve written for maybe 3 minutes. People will laugh or they won’t laugh and that will be that. Maybe if I’m lucky I’ll go to the bar next door and someone will compliment me on what I did. Beyond that, it pretty much lives or dies up there. With television writing, it’s exciting to craft a full story, but it takes a lot longer and the process is winding. Stories can take days to “break” and from there they need to be outlined, and those outlines need to be approved by a studio and a network, sometimes separately. The places your little piece of paper needs to travel on a network sitcom are many, and at the end it might not look the same as when you sent it off to begin with. Scripts need to be rewritten several times, and usually for good reason, and once it’s shot it’s usually many months before it airs. Sketches, personal essays, tweets, and any other kind of writing I control myself is appealing because it’s instant gratification and I have total control. With TV there’s more waiting.

inconnu: Any strategies for defeating writers block?

DH: Easy, just quit. If you’re not a writer you can’t get writers block. If that’s not an option, just write anything. If I’m stuck on a specific thing, I’ll open a textedit document (or let’s be honest, an empty tumblr post) and just babble until I’ve hit something. It’s an excellent trick for jogging your brain back into writing mode.

inconnu: If you could have five people over for dinner, dead or alive, who would they be and what would you eat?

DH: All I have for this one is joke answers. What does that mean? Any time I try to answer it for real I keep thinking that David Byrne would be there, but then I think maybe I don’t want to meet one of my idols at dinner. I have this weird thing with famous people where I want them to meet me though some display of my skills. If I’m going to meet David Byrne it’s not going to be over some Ramen or Pizza, it’s going to be because I’m playing drums for his band, or his band with Love This Giant (w/Annie Clark). Maybe I’m too high strung to host a fantasy dinner party. I’d be like, “Jennifer Lawrence, stop talking to Phil Hartmann and pay attention to me! Do you like my shirt? Also, someone should check on Slimer.” Yeah, before you jump down my throat, Slimer counts as a person, as he is a ghost and therefore was once alive and human. A gross, terrible human.


inconnu: Could you write a short personal ad for the lady in this stock photo?

dep_6279608-Portrait-of-young-smiling-woman-holding-dog

DH: Girl With Dog Superglued To Hands Seeks Rubbing Alcohol Or Nail Polish Remover Or Seriously Anything You’ve Got, I’m Pretty Desperate At This Point And No I Don’t Want To Go Into It But Let’s Just Say It Was A Prank Gone Wrong And It’s A Very Long Story. Also, No Smokers.

inconnu: What are your thoughts on the Disney channel show Dog With A Blog ? (Bringing the wonderful world of blogging to all the little children and all.)

DH: I can’t believe that I am about to type “Dog With A Blog.” Yup. There it is. I typed that. I typed “Dog With A Blog” in an interview. Because that’s a real show. On television. That kids watch. I’m so conflicted. On one hand I love dogs and I write in a blog, so you’d think I’d be really happy about this. On the other hand, I feel insulted just by thinking about that show. What happens in it? A dog can type? And it has thoughts that it writes down in a blog? On the “web?” I think most children’s television is so stupid and crass that this is really no worse than anything else. Look, just bring back Pete and Pete. Otherwise future generations are just going to Idiocracy out until we’re all kicking each other in the balls until we pass out, wake up, eat a bag of dirt, and do it all over again.

You can read more of Dave’s jokes and thoughts on his blog.

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About Joanna Harkins

co-founder and editor-at-large of inconnu

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