Stand-up News
August 6, 2022


August 6, 2022

Abdul Basit Hashmi


by Standworld staff writer Abdul Basit Hasmi

Dave Attell grew up in the small community of Rockville Centre on Long Island, New York. After he graduated in 1987 with a degree in Communication from New York University, Dave headed for venues that offered stand-up comedian open-mike nights, flunking his very first appearance at Governors Comedy Cabaret in Long Island. Not one to take ‘no’ for an answer, Dave supported himself with mundane day jobs while working as many late night open-mic gigs as possible. He said that the crowd at these late night gigs responded quite well to some of his ‘more–twisted’ material, which suited him just fine.

In 1987 Dave found his way on to the Rosie O’Donnell television show, ‘Stand Up Spotlight’ on VH1, following in the footsteps of other comedians with early appearances on the show. He kept himself busy until he scored his first appearance on ‘The Late Show with David Letterman’ on November 23, 1993. This appearance provided the 25-year old Dave with the big break that he’d been hoping for.

He was spotted by Lorne Michaels, creator of ‘Saturday Night Live’, who liked what he was seeing, and Dave ended up working as a writer and sometimes performer for the show’s 1993 – 1994 season. What followed was a prolific career as an entertainer on television and in the movies, both as a writer and as a performer. Some of his more notable television appearances as a stand-up comedian and as an actor in the decade before the turn of the century include the ‘HBO Comedy Showcase’ and the ‘Young Comedians Special’ in 1995, the ‘HBO Comedy Half-Hour’ in 1996, ‘Live at Jongleurs’ in 1997, ‘Mr. Vegas All-Night Party starring Drew Carey’ in 1997. He also participated in the ‘NY Friars Club Roast of Drew Carey’ in 1998. 

Finally, after twenty-three years of working his fingers to the funny bone, Dave Attell had the opportunity to air his own television series. He grabbed it with both hands, and ‘Late Night Insomniac with Dave Attell’ crashed onto the scene, premiering in August 2001 on the Comedy Central Network. The half-hour episode featured Dave traveling late at night to a bunch of different cities, doing a gig at a local comedy club and stopping at nearby restaurants to meet other night shift employees. His laid-back habit of cracking jokes and taking pics with bystanders helped turn the show into a major hit with viewers, and the show ran until November 2004. It included the filming of a set of special hour-long shows in Brazil, England, Germany and Japan. Dave continued appearing in movies and on television shows, including a very brief stint hosting ‘The Gong Show with Dave Attell’. Unfortunately, the show washed out, lasting only eight episodes.

Dave Attell has been on a number of very successful national stand-up comedy tours. The first was in 2003 together with Lewis Black on the, ‘Comedy Central Live Starring Dave Attell and Lewis Black’. In 2005, in collaboration with Clear Channel Music and Comedy Central, Dave Attell took his signature show on the road. The ‘Comedy Central Live Presents Dave Attell: The Insomniac Tour’ launched on April 20, 2005 at the Nashville War Memorial Auditorium. The tour visited venues in more than thirty-five cities across the country, ending is Las Vegas on July 3, 2005. He also took part in a USO tour in 2009, taking stand-up comedy to American troops stationed in Afghanistan, and has continued to regularly participate in USO tours. 2011 saw Dave get together with Bill Burr, Jim Breuer and Jim Norton on the ‘Anti-Social Network Tour’. The tour was so successful that they did a rinse repeat in 2012. In 2014, he did another tour special, ‘Road Work’, filming his appearances in comedy clubs in Massachusetts, Minneapolis, New Jersey, New Orleans and Philadelphia.

He has been part of the tagalong group of stand-up comedians on other tours, too. Judd Apatow decided to throw a seven-city ‘Trainwreck Comedy Tour’ in 2015, and invited Dave Attell, Amy Schumer, Mike Birbiglia, Vanessa Bayer, and Colin Quinn. More recently, he’s been sharing the stage with Jeff Ross on the ‘Bumping Mic’s’ tour in 2021, taking their popular Netflix show on the road.

Dave has a bunch of tour shows lined up for 2022, details of which are available on the ConcertPass. Indeed, it’s almost impossible to pinpoint an instance when this busy, busy, busy comedian isn’t working on a comedy gig somewhere, or on a television show or acting in a movie.

With his impressive experience and stand-up comedy skill set, it is surprising to discover that Dave Attell does not have his own podcast show. He’s frequently appeared as a guest on a number of podcasts, though, all of which are available on Spotify as well as several other download options. Loads of his other shows are available for streaming on Netflix, so there is no reason at all to miss out on your laughs. His album ‘Dave Attell’s The Insomniac Tour: Uncensored’ is available on DVD from Amazon, it’s a must have for true stand-up fans!

Also, here’s Jeff Ross talking about Dave on Your Mom’s House about Mike Binder’s favorite comedy act, ‘Bumping Mics’.

Also, make sure you get out and see Dave live. It’s a true treat. There’s a reason he’s pretty much every comedian you love favorite comic.

Dave Attell tour dates.