Soon after he took City Weekly’s readers poll SLAMMy award for Best Stand-Up Comic in 2001, born-and-raised Utahn Dean Evans moved his bag of jokes and Irish dreadlocks straight to Los Angeles in order to seriously pursue the funny business. Fortunately, he returns to The UT sporadically to kill on local stages—City Weekly caught up with Evans on the eve of his latest visit.
City Weekly: You moved to Hollywood to pursue a career in comedy and become a Big Ass Star. How’s that coming along?
Dean Evans: OK, first, I never said I was going to be a “Big Ass Star.” It goes in spurts. I’m working really hard and getting a lot of stage time—The Improv, the Comedy Store, the Laugh Factory; I also did the Boston Comedy Festival this year. Fast track to fame? No. Going to a lot of bars—with no “membership” crap—and having a good time? Oh yeah! Living in Utah really helped me: I’m so used to fake people that Hollywood is no problem. Also, now that I live in L.A., I’ve learned how to shoot a gun better.
CW: Is the Hollywood System finally ready to embrace the vast untapped comedy-gold vein that is Mormon underwear jokes?
DE: God, I wish! No, I’ve done some stuff about Utah and being from there, but not much. I know this may come as a shock, but the rest of the world doesn’t care about Utah.
CW: You auditioned for NBC’s Last Comic Standing—what was that like?
DE: The expression “learning experience” comes to mind. It was on the old Johnny Carson soundstage, so that was pretty cool. When I got to the stage, I’m standing in front of two guys. One I didn’t know, the other booked the Tonight Show—no pressure! I did my two-minute bit to total silence and was thanked. When I watched the first episode on TV, I saw a comedian buddy of mine being hammered by the judges, so I guess I got off lucky.
CW: Hypothetically, could a dreadlocked leprechaun, such as yourself, take down a jokeless Asian “comic,” such as Last Comic Standing winner Dat Phan, in a stand-up stand-off?
DE: In a short set, he would be tough to beat. But in a longer set, I know I could take him. He’s a really nice guy. I’m good friends with his roommate and have met him numerous times. I rooted for Dat just because I like it when nice guys win.
CW: Besides performing and being rejected for reality shows, do you have any other creative outlets?
DE: I really like writing; I can take my time and focus a bit more. I recently sent a full-length Smallville script to The WB to audition for a writing tutorship. The best part is, unlike performing live, I don’t have drunks next to my computer yelling at me: “Nice prepositional phrase, ass!” or “Get a thesaurus, you loser!”
CW: Are you, in fact, representin’ for Utah on the West Coast, or just frontin’ like you’ve been down with Cali from Day One?
DE: When I lived in Utah, I never told anyone I was from there. Not that I was embarrassed—some of my best shows have been at Wiseguys; I always look forward to coming back—it’s just I didn’t have time for the 900 stupid-ass questions on the road: “You Mormon? Why do they do this? You a polygamist?” I just happen to be from one of the weirder places in America. I’ve done some gigs where I’ve poked fun at Utah and had people come up to me afterward and say, “I used to live there! Your jokes were right on!” I like that. Bonding in pain.