I’ve been watching stand-up comedy shows for years now and anybody that knows me can tell you that I’m really picky when it comes to Stand-up. You guys have to realize how hard it is to do stand-up. It’s not just being on stage telling jokes. There’s a lot of work a stand-up comedian needs to put in to shine on stage and make people laugh.
You need to study people’s mentality, what makes them laugh and then, only then you start practicing your routine and still that’s no guarantee that someone will even smile at your joke. Can you try imagining that? Most people can’t deal with one person not liking them, let alone an entire room.
You need a lot of courage and a little bit of craziness to do stand-up comedy and that’s a fact. Dealing with people every single day, putting yourself literally and figuratively out there, on stage, taking criticism and still being able to do it over and over again, when you know maybe it was not your best show, that’s impressive and deserves respect. I cripple at the thought of being on stage trying to make people laugh and each person who even tries to take on this job, needs to be encouraged.
Dragoș, a Romanian stand-up comedian who lives in Berlin is one of those rare people who I enjoy watching on stage. „How did I find out about Dragoș” you ask? Here’s how: one night I was bored, there was nothing on Netflix that got my attention and while I was going through my phone I realized I had TikTok installed. So I said „Ok, let’s try it. What can possibly go wrong?”.
After a few scrolls, the app recommended one of Dragos’s videos and that’s how I first heard about him.
Obviously I started to watch other videos as well and when I say Dragoș is so different from all the Stand-up comedians I follow, it’s no joke. He’s the first one to engage so much with the public when he does stand-up and besides the fact that it’s cool, it’s very risky for a stand-up comedian to do that because they can’t know what reaction to expect.
I think more people should know about Dragoș and this is why I asked him if he would accept this interview. We touched base on some interesting points about stand-up, the fact that he moved to Berlin to do this job, the cultural change and so much more.
Here’s the entire interview.
I’ve noticed that in your routine you involve a lot the audience. Did it work out in your favor every time? How do you bounce back if a joke does not sit well with the crowd?
Most of the time I host the shows so I am the MC and it is my role to rest the room if a particular comedian fails. Hence, all the crowd interaction.
My job in that role where I interact is to mostly listen and stall for time while I think of something funny to say. If I can’t, I just jump into material. Bouncing back is usually just acknowledging that the joke didn’t work and moving on.
From all the countries you’ve been to, where was your greatest performance?
I think Denmark, Copenhagen was the most enjoyable – just because it’s super diverse and super international most people have moved there for jobs and have a common understanding of culture shock issue and integration problems also you can go darker and they don’t care.
As a stand-up comedian did you ever had times when you wished you did better on stage? How do you learn from those situations?
I record and re-watch every show so basically every show I find something that could have been done better, lol. I just watch it and keep in mind not to repeat what I didn’t like the next time.
Taking into consideration that you make a lot of jokes about race/culture, would you apologize because of a joke you made in one of your shows if someone would ask you to?
A lot of times it’s much easier to apologize especially this way „I’m sorry you feel that way” just because you don’t like apples doesn’t mean you apples should apologize to you. Maybe try some pears or cherries.
Do you think being a stand-up comedian is something that anyone can learn to do or is it a gift? Why so?
Stand-up comedy is 100% not a gift – it’s just a lot of trial and error – anyone can pick it up – you just gotta be willing to put in the time and, do it, watch it, re-watch it, write, rewrite etc. The more time you put into it the better you get.
How do you feel about stand-up comedians speaking about politics? Is it too much or you see a teachable moment in there?
I don’t really do too much political stuff – maybe some social issues, here and there. The problem with politics is that material about politics has a very short shelf life – there might be a jackass in power now but in two years he’ll be gone and another one will take his place and that material is now useless.
It takes a long time to perfect a joke and you don’t to throw it away super-fast and a lot of times politics stand-up is just echo chamber comedy. You’re not gonna go do anti-Trump jokes in front of a Trump crowd you’re gonna do them in front of a Pro trump crowd because it’s easy laughs and what’s the fun in that.
Why live in Germany and not România? And what are the main differences between stand-up comedians from these two countries in your opinion?
I want to do stand-up in English and there is no scene for this in România, the main difference is the language. Also there are more comedians doing it in English and it can get a bit more competitive in English I think.
What is the most common stereotype you know about comedians? How would you demolish it?
Well the most common is that it’s not viable career path I guess – and so far it’s true lol – especially in Europe if you do stand-up in English, there is no iUmor Europe. There is no TV channel to get exposure. There is YouTube and TikTok so hopefully that will be enough. Well the only way to demolish it, is by succeeding I guess.
If you were to choose another career, what would it be?
Scriptwriter or Film Director – I think it would be fun to bring a story to live in a more vivid way. A big part of comedy is writing so there is some overlap but I think it would be interesting career alternative.
What can you tell us about this period of time with less comedy shows because of the pandemic? Did you miss the stage? And what other solutions did you find to keep your moral up?
It has for sure been frustrating and I have focused on writing material but since I can’t test it as easily hasn’t been as much fun, I had about 5TB if footage and I spent a lot of time watching myself do standup lol and trying to understand how to improve, so hopefully when things restart you will see a different Dragos comedy wise.
I also used the time to work and grow my social media presence, which many shy away from but is very much needed.