I first interviewed David Dean Bottrell last year when he was starring in his one-man show David Dean Bottrell makes love. Now, David is back with a brand-new show David Dean Bottrell Is Working: One Man's Search for Employment and The Meaning of Life. Combining his prodigious body of work as an actor, writer and director, David has created an evening of outrageous, sometimes heart-breaking and always side-splitting true stories that provide a rare look into an entertainers quest for a middle class life in Hollywood. David Dean Bottrell is Working is directed by Jim Fall and produced by Lee Costello.
David Dean Bottrell Is Working: One Man's Search for Employment and The Meaning of Life plays at the Acme Comedy Theater in Los Angeles, CA (135 N la Brea Ave) on February 20 and 27 and March 6 and 13. Click here for tickets!
1. Last time we spoke, you were performing your one-man show David Dean Bottrell makes love. What did you enjoy most about the run? Is this a show you would perform again? That show changed my life. I’d never done anything like it. I was initially terrified by the idea of standing out there all by myself for 70 minutes. But then it began to feel like this totally natural thing to do. Love is such a universal constant in people’s lives. That show had something for everybody. I was so lucky to have gotten the press and the audiences that I got. We extended four times. I’m definitely hoping to bring it back again under the right circumstances.
2. Now you are gearing up for your brand-new show David Dean Bottrell is Working: One Man's Search for Employment and the Meaning of Life! How did come up with the title and concept for this show? After the last show, so many people kept asking what’s next? I used to write a pretty popular blog about being middle-class in Hollywood. I began to wonder if there was a show in there somewhere. The script has morphed quite a bit as I’ve been writing it so that it’s not completely about show business anymore. It’s reminded me of the big questions we all ask ourselves like "Is this what I really want to be doing with my life?" or "Does this have any meaning?" My career has had a lot of bumps in it and I’ve met some crazy people. One night I sat down and wrote the first story and it just sort of took off from there.
3. What excites you about performing at the Acme Comedy Theater? It’s a beautiful space. One of the nicest I’ve ever worked in. We’ve definitely upped the game this time out. I also love that it has such a great history of really funny people performing on that stage. I feel excited every time I’m in there.
4. Without giving too much of the show away, what has been the hardest part about in your search for employment? How have you gotten through these hard times? Show business ain’t for sissies. It’s really tough to open yourself up to all that inevitable rejection. The whole experience is so ironic. In order to survive you have to have a skin like a rhinoceros, but in order to be any good you have to be open and vulnerable. It can drive you bat-shit-crazy. You have to really love it to sustain a career.
5. What job have you taken to makes ends meet? When I was first starting out I did a ton of jobs. I was a waiter, a bartender, a telemarketer. I cleaned apartments. I worked in a real estate office. I was a bike messenger. I sold marijuana for a while. You name it.
6. During our last interview we talked about who inspired you to become a writer/performer. Who's work do you admire now that makes you want to keep doing what you do? My current heroes are Louis C.K. and Tina Fey. They literally "wrote" their way into their current careers. I admire anybody who can employ themselves instead of waiting for somebody to do it for them.
7. In one of your earlier stage shows, Streep Tease, a long-running homage to Meryl Streep, you hysterically performed the entire plot of Out of Africa in six minutes flat. How did you decide to do this show? Did Meryl ever come see this show? Have you ever found out what she thought of it? When I was asked to do it, I knew I wanted to do "Out of Africa," because I remembered loving it. Then when I rented it again, I realized it’s almost 3 hours long! That’s when I had the idea of trying to do the whole story of the film in 6 minutes. Ms. Streep never came to see the show, but her agents at CAA did. She was asked about it in an interview and was very gracious. She said she didn’t want to see it because she had no interest in seeing any show that was all about her. I thought that was a very classy answer and from what little I know about her, it sounded truthful.
8. How would you want someone to pay homage to you? By buying a ticket to this show! Which opens February 20th!
9. What advice would you give someone who was looking to make it in Hollywood? Learn to love the whole package. All of it. Including the part where you look for work, because you will spend much of your career doing exactly that.
10. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? Funny you should ask that because one of the stories in my new show is about my childhood obsession with super heroes! I can tell you that 20 years of sitting in L.A. traffic has made long for the power of flight! I’m still hoping that one morning I’ll wake up and be able to take flight.