Sep 4, 2013
09:18 AM
Arts & Entertainment

Comedian, Writer and Musician Dave Hill Visits R.J. Julia Booksellers in Madison

Comedian, Writer and Musician Dave Hill Visits R.J. Julia Booksellers in Madison

Dave Hill.

Known best as a stand-up comedian and TV/Internet parodist, Dave Hill is also a writer (for The New York Times, Salon and Huffington Post), longtime musician (his current band, Valley Lodge, releases its first album this month), contributor to National Public Radio’s “This American Life” and host of the chat-variety show, “The Dave Hill Explosion,” at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatres in New York and Los Angeles. On Sept. 5, he’ll discuss his book, Tasteful Nudes . . . and Other Misguided Attempts at Personal Growth and Validation at R.J. Julia Booksellers in Madison.
On audience reaction to Tasteful Nudes: “It’s been nice because a lot of the book is just funny stories. Hopefully, they’re funny; I guess I leave that judgement to the reader. But people have really responded to the serious things—I talk about my mother dying, and my experiences with depression and anxiety, things like that. People who only knew me from my stand-up or Twitter feed were pleasantly surprised that there was more to the book than just silliness. I wanted it to be a book people would read whether they were a comedy fan or not.”
On writing the serious stuff: “I knew I was writing about things a lot of people have experienced, so I didn’t want to write about those unless I could say something new. Especially in the chapter on depression, because to say a privileged white guy has problems with that, it’s like, ‘Who cares?’ My favorite response was that Dick Cavett—I can’t believe I’ve become friends with him, it’s such a thrill—told me that it was the first thing he ever read on mental illness that was really funny but didn’t diminish the subject at all. He’s been pretty open about his own experience with depression.”
On who does the best interview parodies, he or Stephen Colbert: “Oh, I love Stephen Colbert; I’m totally not worthy. I look up to him, he’s great, and also a very nice man in real life. But I’d fight him to the death if it came down to it . . . no, not really. I’m a lover, not a fighter.”
On his rock idols, The Kinks: “I love
their songwriting and their whole aes­thetic—their lyrics are almost like
com­edy records. Their songs are really “British”; that may be why they never became as popular in the States. I guess I’m an Anglophile — I spend a lot of time in the U.K., and my favorite thing is to put an old Kinks record on my headphones and just walk around. My friends make fun of that.”
On having yet to meet another rock idol, Slade guitarist Dave Hill: “Oh, I wish. I’ve tried to get both him and [former lead vocalist] Noddy Holder on ‘The Dave Hill Explosion’ a number of times, but it hasn’t worked out. He’s the only other Dave Hill in this world that I respect. I’m happy because I seem to be the preeminent Dave Hill in America —though there are two other comedians with that name, which is especially frustrating.”
On being a Twitterverse icon: “When I started, I didn’t understand it, so I was tweeting what I had for breakfast. Then I started making those ‘Coolest People to Follow’ lists, so I decided I better pay more attention. I still can’t get verified—that’s like a badge of authenticity. I have 45,000 followers, and they won’t give me that. I’m a grown man; I shouldn’t let this get to me.”
On his theory of social media: “It’s all a conspiracy to break us down to a preverbal society. I go crazy when I go on a lot of these so-called news websites and can’t even read a story—I have to watch a video. I hate doing that; I came to read.”
On his favorite forms of expression: “I like writing because I don’t have to leave the house. I like being onstage, but I don’t look forward to performing too much. I’m kind of a quiet and shy person in real life. Although I love playing music. With stand-up you have to be fully in the moment and connected to the audience; it’s hard to do. With music, you can be a little distracted and still play a song. I’ll sometimes think, ‘God, I forgot to pick up my laundry today!’ in the middle of one. That’s probably just me.” 

R.J. Julia Booksellers is located at 768 Boston Post Rd. (Route 1) in Madison. For more information, call the shop at 203-245-3959 or see the website. For tips on where to dine, get coffee or have the best lifestyle and shopping experiences in and near Madision, see our new Best of Connecticut 2013.

Comedian, Writer and Musician Dave Hill Visits R.J. Julia Booksellers in Madison

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