The Black White Supremacist, it's so simple, yet so shocking.
Yeah, it's one of those jokes that you think someone should have already done this, why hasn't anyone done this before? But then you realize that no on has.
That piece has a lot of weight to it, a lot of gravity.
Yeah, it's crazy, I think if you're watching television nowadays, that a lot of it is devoid of any opinion, and, I don't know, we're living in this crazy Muzak world, you know. But now, with this show, it reflects how a certain age group and demographic thinks or what they relate to is made by people in their demographic, for people who are like us. And we're real specific about it, when we write we don't think "How's the critic at the New York Times going to feel about this? We're talking about people who look like us and feel like us.
Are you worried about the content though, that type of racial humor?
At moments, man, at moments. I'm not going to lie to you and say I didn't, I did. But ultimately, I know my intentions, I feel I'm a pretty well-intentioned person, it's never meant to hurt anybody, it's just one guy's opinion. And people have to remember they can control the world around them. If they don't like it, you've really got to turn the station. They have the power to do that.
People ultimately do have the control.
Right, but they always act like they're held hostage. 'There's too much violence on television, how am I going to raise my kid?' Get rid of your TV! I mean people, we've all got choices. And then the people that are critical of it, it's like, it doesn't bother me so much, I mean, I kind of respect the kind of person that has the heart to watch that and be offended and call and try to affect change. I just question their priorities, I mean, the news is way more offensive that anything I'm gonna do. So if you really want to change something, change something that's really important.
What's the process for writing the show, how do you and Neal do it, is it collaborative or do you work separately?
Actually, it's very collaborative. Often times it's the two of us sitting in front of the computer, one of us will have an idea and we'll just talk it out, flesh it out, the rule being, generally, that if it makes us both laugh, it's definitely out of the ballpark. And then, sometimes we disagree on stuff, but even then, we challenge each other in that way, but in comedy, all comedians, the better ones, have somebody that they get and that gets them, it's mutual, and Neal is one of the only people that I can sit down with and I can tell him a joke that I'm thinking about doing, and normally, I couldn't have a discussion like that with anybody. It's this thing, you can tell somebody a joke, say to them 'Ah, I have this idea for a joke,' then tell them, and they'll be like ‘Oh, that's not funny,' and you know it's funny. And you always wish 'Oh, why did I tell this person?' And it's because they lack the vision to see it's funny.
So you two are on the same wavelength?
Right, but if he says something's funny, usually I can wrap my mind around an idea of his, and he can wrap his mind around an idea of mine, we just know each other well enough.
How'd you two first meet?
I met Neal in '91, '92, he was working the door at the Boston Comedy Club. He was a freshman at NYU film school, which he dropped out of later that year. I was like the new comedian, and we were both 17 at the time, so we would, we were naturally friends.
Both of us were just starting out in our careers respectively. Then Neal moved to L.A., started writing on the sketch show All That for Nickelodeon, and he wrote on some MTV dating shows, shit like that, and I was kind of doing my thing, and we remained friends throughout. And I said when I get a good opportunity, you'll be the dude I'll call. And when I made that Half Baked deal, I pitched a movie and they bought it, they were like, who're you gonna call?
Does that shock you, you seemed shocked just now when you said they bought it?
At the time, I was on such a roll that I didn't appreciate the fact that a movie I pitched was about to be made, just because I believed in the strength of the idea it seemed natural.
What I find so interesting about you Dave is that, despite all these high profile movie roles, as a stand-up, you've been bubbling under the surface for years! You've been “the next big thing” for years!
I have been on the verge for a decade, but it's the kind of thing, I think it's if the way you do your thing is out of the norm enough, they'll never know what to do with you. And because I was so young, I always waited for them to figure out what to do with me. And I think with this show, this was one of the first times where I stepped out and said 'Let me show you what to do.' Half Baked was another moment like that, when I thought let me do it myself. And in retrospect, I just learned that that's when I have the most success. I'll always be funny if I'm doing a bit part in Martin's (Lawrence) movie or Eddie's (Murphy) movie, you know what I mean? I pick those roles, they're really easy roles to score, but to get your own voice out there is a really challenging thing to do. And someone has to really believe in your voice enough that they would go against their own instincts as programmers to just let me do, just be myself and 'do you.'