Stand-up News
August 29, 2022


August 29, 2022

Mike Binder

Tim Dillon spends a portion of his new Netflix special deriding people who like to see themselves as heroes. Especially nurses. And, a self-described narcissist, he declares himself in the title to be the “real hero”. He’s not serious, of course — as he sometimes has to point out when the audience isn’t quite sure how to react to one of his jokes. But he might not be entirely wrong. Dillon is a funny fucker. I have a ton of respect for him. He’s a brave dude and I love that about him. (He did give me some shit about my Comedy Store doc, which was fine, but was sad because I was all set to interview him the day before the shut down for the pandemic.) He takes no prisoners though, and stand-up needs that.


Tim was born (January 22, 1985) and raised in Island Park, New York. His childhood there wasn’t exactly standard-issue, and, like a lot of comedians, he has no compunctions about mining it for material. There’s plenty there: tales of his schizophrenic mother and difficult father, his ruined trip to Disney World (guess who was responsible for ruining it), white-trash pig-outs at Pizza Hut, and getting fired from Sesame Street. 

That’s right — a former child actor, his first big break in show biz came at the tender age of 9, dancing the polka with Snuffleupagus! But after only 2 episodes, he was dropped in favor of a younger cast. (Ouch.) He calls himself a “failed” child actor. If it’s any consolation, Tim: I think if you’re on PBS getting down with Snuffy, you’ve made it, big time. He also toured as part of a production of Annie Get Your Gun, playing “Little Jake”.

But by the time he hit his teens, his life had taken a turn for the worse. At just 12 years old, he was doing drugs and hanging out in crack houses. He insists he learned valuable lessons from those experiences — though he wouldn’t necessarily recommend them.

After high school, he tried and dropped out of community college before getting a job selling subprime mortgages. He tells the sad-but-funny truth of how he was dumb enough to sell one to himself, which landed him in major trouble when the 2008 financial crisis hit.

At 25, Tim had an epiphany of sorts and made some big life changes. Within the span of a few months, he quit drinking and doing drugs (he’s been sober ever since), came out as gay to his parents, and started doing stand-up comedy. And that’s where he really hit his stride. 

While he was in NYC building his stand-up career, he also sold copiers from a call center, which no doubt provided him with an extra kick of motivation to succeed in comedy. Another temporary job was giving bus tours of the city. He refused to do the usual spiel, opting to highlight the residences of the rich and famous rather than the Empire State Building. Later he was able to start doing his very own comedic tours of NYC in a double-decker bus. This time around he was at liberty to take whatever route he wanted and say whatever he wanted while doing it. I’d opt for the latter version any day!

In 2016 he was featured as a “new face” at Montreal Comedy Festival; the same year he was named New York’s Funniest at Caroline’s NY Comedy Festival. His success on stage led to a half-hour Comedy Network special and a 15-minute set for The Comedy Lineup on Netflix.


Tim is a frequent podcast guest, and also hosts his own, The Tim Dillon Show. (In a previous incarnation it was known as “Tim Dillon is Going to Hell” and co-hosted by Ray Kump.) The show has over 42,000 Patreon subscribers and is one of the platform’s most popular podcasts. Now earning something to the tune of $2.6 million a year on that avenue alone.



On the show, he hilariously rants and rambles about culture, politics, entertainment and whatever else is on his mind. It’s co-produced by Ben Avery (Dillon’s best friend) who also appears on camera as a sort of sidekick. Ben refers to himself as the “laugh track”. He’s the Anderson Cooper to Tim’s Kathy Griffin (pre-breakup), shoulders bobbing up and down as he shakes with uncontrollable giggling.

Sometimes Tim gets serious and uses the show as a forum to express his real opinions on issues he’s clearly well-informed and passionate about. Like a lot of comedians, he’s surprisingly full of wisdom. You almost wish he’d get serious more often. But comedy can be to serious stuff, the ½ cup handful of chocolate chips your mom gave you to chase the teaspoon of Sudafed: the ratio is important, and we all know you can never have too many chocolate chips.


Dillon’s a great example of how we’re in the Rogan era of star making in stand-up. I wouldn’t be writing about him right now if Rogan hadn’t had him on. Rogan’s Carson. That’s all there is to it. Rogan’s Carson and Tim got on and killed. A few times. They have great chemistry together. I also think his Rogan shots gave him the confidence he exudes in his own bits on his podcast which I love.


Tim’s latest stand-up special, Tim Dillon: Real Hero, debuted on Netflix this month (August 2022). His no-holds-barred, no topic off-limits style is on full display during his rants as he insults the audience, fellow comedians, his family, himself, and… well, basically everyone. He’s intent on making sure comedy survives wokeism and he’s doing a fine job. The real hero, indeed.


Want to see Tim live? If you’re in Toronto or Salt Lake City you’re in luck. He’ll be at the Just For Laughs Festival in Toronto on Friday, September 30th. Next up are three nights at the Wiseguys Comedy Club in Salt Lake City (November 3rd, 4th and 5th).


By the way, if you see him, run into him, tell the fuck how much you enjoyed the one photo of him in the Comedy Store documentary. Thanks.