The evolution of David Spade post pandemic

Howie Nave
Special to the Tribune
Howie Nave with comedian/actor David Spade. (Provided)

When I asked comedian/actor David Spade what it felt like having those first shows canceled last year and did he think it would last this long?

“Montbleu was probably my first cancellation, it was March a year ago,” Spade said. “I go ‘are you guys going to move my show in the summer?’ And then they said no, we’re gonna do it in March of this year and I’m like, ‘A whole year?’ And then guess what? They had to move me again. If you had told me that back then I would’ve freaked out. I couldn’t get my head around it.”

Everything changed for all of us and even in the world of comedy we had friends that kind of went over the deep end all in the name of their politics the longer this thing dragged out. When I mentioned I had to start unfollowing friends because their rhetoric had turned into a one-way thread of anger he agreed.

“I took a break too,” he said. “It’s so different now. When I grew up on Saturday Night Live we were just laughing at political stuff and whatever else we’d be talking about. No one really knew who was a democrat or what and it wasn’t a big deal. And suddenly now it will make or break a friendship so yeah, it’s very scary.”

So you won’t be bringing up politics in your show, Spade (laughs)?

“Uh, no. I’ll do some stuff about the ‘pandie’ and how I turned into a pandie man around my house trying to fix everything because hey, they couldn’t send anyone over and then the tiers and the vaccine and then I’ll go into, ‘Believe me it’s not political’ I don’t want any opinion on anything.”

He asked me how Rob (Schneider) did being the first comedic act back up here in Tahoe since the pandemic and I told him the audience really enjoyed him pushing the edge on a number of topics.

“Rob’s kinda ballsy, yeah,” Spade said. “I’m much different. My act is a skim job. It’s just goofy stuff because I’m afraid of being canceled on every other joke.”

Spade joined the cast of Saturday Night Live in 1990 with the help of fellow comedian Dennis Miller first as a writer before becoming a regular cast member. His wry sarcastic delivery produced some pretty memorable sketches, my favorite being his “Hollywood Minute” routine where as a reporter he roasted celebrities with numerous one-liners.

A lot of folks may not know this but Spade over the years created these mini sarcastic video/audio bits of pop culture (many of them found on the Funny or Die site co-founded by comedian Will Ferrell) that are perfect for radio. A personal favorite of mine is his take on the ABC reality show, “The Bachelor” and all its spinoffs.

Spade has lambasted those shows on his Instagram and on his former late night show, “Lights Out with David Spade.” Hilarious. And you know what the irony of all this is? He’s been asked to guest host one of their shows, I think “Bachelor in Paradise.” I gotta wonder if those execs know his sarcastic feelings toward all of those shows? I hope he does host one and shred it accordingly.

I also hope these wits of dry sarcasm find its way into his stand up. I asked him how he was working out new material during the lockdown?

“Well, that’s why I was trying stuff out on Instagram because I had no outlet for things that I thought of so I’d just say them,” he said. “And then when you’re actually allowed to go do stuff you have to be more professional and get it together so I was able to do stuff when the Comedy Store finally opened. I’ve been practicing for this show a lot as I didn’t wanna go up there and half-ass it ya know? I really wanted to get ready but it’s hard because when you do a long set when practicing the pacing is different like this joke goes after this one and this one goes at the end so I try to strategize putting it all together to make an act that makes sense.”

Speaking of acting, Spade’s acting career started during his SNL days with movies such as “Tommy Boy” and “Grown Ups” moving into television sitcoms a la “Just Shoot Me!” and “Rules of Engagement” among others. He also supplied voice work for animated films like “The Emperor’s New Groove” and “Hotel Transylvania” to name a few.

He has also developed a new following in the world of streaming online with shows such as “The Wrong Missy” on Netflix. As Spade put it, “With ‘The Wrong Missy’ there’s a whole new crowd of people coming in so that’s awesome and that show was a top 10 of all time on Netflix, Howie. I’ve booked a lot of dates and am working on a new podcast so we’ll see what happens.”

It’s pretty gratifying talking to a fellow comedian and hearing in their voice the excitement just wanting to get back out on stage and feel an audience laugh again. Like Spade it was pretty frustrating waiting when we were going to be given the green light to perform again and California was one of the tougher states to allow things to open up while other states like Nevada and Texas were already allowing folks to see live entertainment.

“Yeah, with Gov. Newsom I remember in the summer when they finally started releasing when you could go out with the first tier, remember that?” Spade asked. “And I thought, this is going to be great. And then you found out the things that were being allowed to open up were like a rock quarry, archery repair shop and I’m like what (laughs)? Uh yeah, a caterpillar sanctuary? I go, ‘Anything like what I do?’ No, no, that’s still a year away.”

Comedian David Spade will be performing at Bally’s Lake Tahoe (formerly Montbleu) at 8 p.m. Saturday, July 17. Doors will open at 7 p.m. and tickets cost $40. The show is recommended for mature audiences only, and any minors in attendance must be accompanied by an adult.

For more information, call 1-800-BE-LUCKY.

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