We had the good fortune of connecting with Dallas McLaughlin and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dallas, is there something you can share with us that those outside of the industry might not be aware of?
It’s not that glamorous. As an actor, writer and comedian I find myself in lots of fun situations, and around an incredible amount of talented and hilarious people, but backstage is a lot different than on stage. Small dressing rooms, greenrooms that smell like sadness and old cigarettes. Sometimes there is no greenroom and you’re either in the audience or outside. The pay is never great, but it does get better. Most people see you on stage or hear you wrote for this show or that commercial and think you must be a millionaire. Often the opposite is true.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Being someone who works in a creative environment is never easy and never will be! Kind of the nature of the gig. The industry is always changing, someone is always coming along behind you who can do it better, quicker, funnier, and oh yea – they’re younger! Comedy and art are subjective so you’re always trying new things, trying to carve out a niche that you and your audience can both agree on. It’s like trying to order a pizza for 300 people and asking everyone’s opinions on toppings. It sounds impossible, but when you can make it happen you’ll never be happier. It’s a feeling of elation on par with eating the perfect cookie. The biggest challenge for me is figuring out how to put my personal stamp on everything I say and do. It’s a journey that most of the time sucks! It’s draining, it’s filled with failure. And, I fail more than I succeed, but I can’t stop trying. I don’t know how to do anything else, other than make people laugh or smile or whatever they wanna do! Other than the biggest challenge is staying relevant and to never have to have a ‘real’ job. I remember an interview one time with Don Rickles, who was asked why he kept touring into his 70’s, and he said, “There’s no finish line.” That’s crazy! But, it’s true. Being an artist isn’t like being an accountant or a lawyer, where you work for 35 years, and then you get to retire. Being an artist is hoping, HOPING, that you’ve done enough, that you’ve worked and hustled enough, so that when you turn 65 you have any money in the bank, and you don’t end up some drunk in a ripped up tuxedo walking the streets yelling, “ONE TIME I OPENED FOR PATTON OSWALT!”
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Well, most people would say the beach, and if we’re talking a week then sure. We could spend a day at Moonlight or Coronado (very underrated beach) or something. But, if we’re talking a day then first thing is having breakfast at either Hash House, get a coffee to go at Heartwork or Dark Horse and swing by the beach for a look. Then we’d hit El Cotixan on the Genessee Ave (next to the Circle K and across from the DMV) for California Burritos. We’d hit a day game at PETCO, then head to Fall Brewing for a post game drink. Quick nap. Grab some ramen on Convoy then head to the Casbah or depending on the night see some comedy or some storytelling at Whistle Stop.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I mean keeping this to one person isn’t gonna happen, so I’ll make it quick: Bill Doyle, my high school theatre teacher, is a genius and even better human. He taught me how to actually act and how to care for everyone on stage. My wife, Samantha, is my greatest cheerleader and places a lot of faith in the fact that I won’t let us go broke. My mom, Lynn, always had my back, and always instilled me a belief that as long as I tried I’d never be disappointed. A San Diego institution, So Say We All, made me a writer as opposed to an idiot. And, lastly my friends, all comedians or actors or writers, they’ve been my same group of friends since high school. All we’ve ever wanted to do was entertain and to have a core group around you to toss fart jokes off of at any hour is a pretty special thing.
crowd photo: Erika Shasky Yellow jacket: @fresco_luna others no photog