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The creation of the DC Comedy Writers group...

READERSVOICE.COM: Do you aim to create a comedy style in Washington DC that is different in some way from New York or Chicago, or are you just playing it by ear and seeing what happens?

MANDY DALTON: I think the style (if there is one) is already evolving well without me, but I think our group might be contributing to it. Strangely enough, it is not a political kind of comedy here. We have some satire groups and comics who are famous, but that really is not the vast majority of the work. I can’t put my finger on it, but DC comedy is starting to find a voice that is funny and edgy (it definitely has a point of view) but it is not as mean spirited as it can be in other cities. We have a scene here that is much more collaborative than NY, Chicago, or LA. I think the group was born out of that trend; we just happen to be in a good position to help take it forward.

DC already has a great bunch of comic voices, and many famous comics came out of here: Wanda Sykes, Patton Oswald, Lewis Black, Dave Chapelle to name a few.

RV: In the first podcast from the DC Comedy Writers Group, one comedian talks about how she found a joke funny because it was a character saying something that was unintentionally funny. Do you think the best standup comedy is a character or persona being unintentionally funny, or do you also like straight observations of funny things by comedians?

MD: I don’t like that the set up of this question is “either or.” I think the best comics do both. Mitch Hedberg comes to mind. A hilarious “character” or “persona” who also had some great observations that he twisted into one liners. It’s always great to have the “happy accident” and to know how to play “the moment of failure” so that even if a joke flopped, there is a bigger laugh when the comic recognizes the failure.

My own comedy mixes both observational and character based material. I come from a tradition in clowning that originated in Europe. Some physical comedy, some character based comedy, some observational stuff. I love being the lovable idiot on stage.

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– copyright Simon Sandal.