By Tony Wittkowski | Local Government Reporter | The Times Herald
LEXINGTON – Dave Landau is funny, and history proves it.
Thirteen years ago, the comedian got his first break in Detroit in the Second City’s Conservatory doing improv comedy and acting. From there, Landau transitioned to stand-up, which led to appearances on Comedy Central’s “Live At Gotham” and showings on two consecutive seasons of NBC’s “Last Comic Standing.”
The Gross Pointe Woods native has been touring the country ever since and will make a return to Michigan, taking the stage at 8 p.m. Saturday in the Lexington Village Theatre.
“I love Michigan, it’s my favorite place to perform,” he said. “What keeps me coming back is just the crowds and the way people are around here.”
Landau says he writes his jokes from his own shortcomings and faults, from his family and from pop culture.
“At this point, I do a lot of stories about my life,” he said. “It used to be about crazy stuff I did as a younger kid. But now my main source of material comes from daily life. Currently, I’m sleep deprived because I have a newborn.”
Starting out, Landau admits the success wasn’t always there.
The comedian was considered to be a one-line comic. Over time he became more personal with his material and evolved into a story-teller of sorts.
Landau said he began to craft his form of stand-up through a mixture of his comedic idols including Eddie Murphy, Dave Chappelle, Steven Wright and Rodney Dangerfield.
“I have been able to open for some of my heroes,” he said. “I was lucky enough to open for Chappelle a few times. He’s really cool and a really laid-back guy. A lot like you see on stage.”
What brought him to the big stage was his appearances on “Last Comic Standing,” a reality television show where the goal of the program is to select the funniest comedian from a large group of candidates.
While Landau received a lot of exposure by opening one of the seasons with a five-minute intro, he said he was a bit disappointed not to have made it into the top five.
His last go-round looked promising, but ended because Roseanne Barr “didn’t get a joke.”
“I didn’t think you could offend Roseanne, but apparently you can,” he said. “I got a lot of fans from it. Keenan Ivory Wayans is one of my heroes and he liked my stuff, so that was a career highlight for me.”
The producers seemed to like him as they kept inviting him back.
Landau has been branching out from his comedic roots as well.
He is currently touring after producing and writing a movie online called “The King,” which used all Michigan actors and musicians. It’s about a kid who gets his first car and proceeds to get into all kinds of shenanigans and hijinks as a result of it.
The movie — which Landau considers to be semi-autobiographical — was released online and is available to watch at http://www.movietheking.com.
Landau just became a dad seven weeks ago and still can’t believe what he does for a living.
“It’s cool, I always wanted do stand-up as a kid,” he said. “I didn’t know I could be paid for something I got kicked out of class for. To be here and make a living is just really rewarding.”
As for now, Landau remains focused on his touring schedule — with Lexington in sight.
“I want (the audience) to relate to me,” Landau said. “I’m going to include stuff that will be about as Michigan as you’re going to get.”
(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on April 30, 2015)