Drennon Davis, Creator of the Imaginary Radio Program – a high concept blend of stand-up, sketch and music – was recently named one of LA Weekly’s Top 10 Comedy Acts to Watch in 2014. So were pleasantly surprised when the man who the Times UK called “a bit of a genius” agreed to chat with ‘lil old Savage Henry.
Isaac Kozell: Hey Drennon! You just did SXSW. How was that whole experience?
Drennon Davis: SXSW was in a nutshell, a shell of mixed nuts. It sucks because I’m allergic to some kinds of nuts so I constantly have to wonder, “Is this is the SXSW experience that is going to kill me?” This time we got lucky. The shows were awesome, the tacos were gorgeous but every time we walked outside of our little bubble, it seemed like the festival was trying to kill us. A few of my friends almost got run over by a drunk driver. So I have a little beef with the fest. But the Dorito’s Tent was AWESOME!!! Totally almost worth the app I had to download to get into it.
IK: Take me back to when Imaginary Radio was just a glimmer in your eye. How did it get started and what have been some of its significant milestones?
DD: Well, I guess the Imaginary Radio started back when I first started doing stand-up and character-based comedy in San Francisco. I’d get on the stage wherever I could and do a few minutes in every set just pretending to scan a radio dial, making fun of music and commercials, local DJ’s, shit like that. Early on, Molly, the booker at the SF Punch Line, took a liking to my weird style of comedy, which was definitely a big milestone to its growth. When I moved to LA, I got the desire to do entire 15-45 minute sets of nothing but the radio. It was fun for me because I could bounce around from character to character, playing whatever kind of music I wanted with no other justification other than make some static noise in between ideas. It officially turned into the Imaginary Radio Program shortly after at Meltdown Comics, when I started inviting my incredible friends to do stuff with me on the stations. Just some of the most talented comedic sweethearts on the planet. Some are even becoming an institution to the show. Now, we’re touring in festivals, which is fun, when we’re not almost getting run over by drunk drivers. I’m almost over it, I swear.
IK: What do you like best about the San Francisco comedy scene?
DD: It’s such a great city. It’s small, so the scene tends to be very close knit and supportive but it’s also very progressive because it’s so concentrated and cultured. I think that no matter what era of San Francisco’s comedy scene you look at, we’re always known to produce a unique brand of comedy because it’s attraction to the artists and free spirits of the world. And that’s what I like about the SF scene. Sorry that wasn’t funny.
IK: You’re clearly doing something different with your comedy. Who else is doing work that you find truly unique and progressive?
DD: So many awesome people. I feel like anyone who I work with is that way. Weirdos tend to attract each other. I love Maria Bamford; just incredibly creative and smart. The Pajama Men are fantastic. Two guys from Albuquerque doing brilliant sketch comedy who, for some reason, are bigger in the UK than in their home country. Just way too many people to name them all.
IK: What is the status of Long Legs?
DD: That’s rad that you know about The Long Legs! Well, the first dozen cartoons are on Liquid TV on Hulu. I tried making one every once in awhile just because I love the characters so much but it was just too time consuming. I’m talking with a few companies about making it a more regular thing. In the meantime, here’s Larry’s super hero/villian alter-ego, Spidermin Spider.
IK: You recently tweeted: “Back in LA! Getting ready for TV taping #2 for the week! #grateful” Can you discuss what that was in reference to?
DD: Oh, unfortunately not yet. Ask me later!
IK: How mysterious! “Drink Beer Like a Baby Deer” seems to have really taken off. Why do you think people relate so much to the way baby deer consume beverages?
DD: I’m really grateful for it’s success but I have also learned that there are plenty of people (old people) who look at me as if I’m speaking a different language when I sing that one. Like anything, it’s not for everybody but I’m thrilled that some people understand the need to suckle on a beer bottle, as a fawn to a deer boob.
IK: Do you have any creative primers? Like go-to methods of kickstarting the idea process?
DD: I write down all of my ideas throughout the day in my phone, whether it’s a song, sketch, whatever. Then I’ll pitch stuff to friends and writing partners and work on the strongest ideas. Or, I’ll try to play around with them on my own, depending on the idea.
IK: What is your dream job?
DD: Dream job would be to just continue creating really fun shows with people who give me brain boners.
IK: What are some exciting shows or projects that you have coming up?
DD: The Imaginary Radio Program is still doing the festivals and it’s got a new monthly home in LA at the Virgil which I’m excited about. I’m working on some really fun show ideas with some artists and companies whom I respect a lot. I’ve been court ordered to be tight-lipped about it at the moment but I’ll let you know when things aren’t so damn vague!