Comedian Dougie Almeida on George Clooney, Florida Audiences, and Beating Up Hecklers
This coming Saturday at Just the Funny in Coral Gables, local comedy promoters the Have-Nots assembled a group of nine up-and-coming Florida comics to represent Miami in a taping for L.A.-based comedy content provider ComedyTime.tv. Nestled among some local favorites, such as Jessica Gross and Daniel Reskin, is New York transplant Dougie "Always Dangerous" Almeida.
The stout comedian is a former ISKA heavyweight muay thai kickboxer (10-0 record) who earned the seemingly ironic nickname "Always Dangerous." The laid-back comic's onstage presence is the same as that of your uncle who plants himself in a lawn chair during the Fourth of July to smoke cigar after cigar and keep family and friends entertained with jokes about his own weight and his Asian wife's inability to properly say his name. Dougie comes off about as dangerous as a spork, but then again, we've never seen him angry.
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Along with his standup, Almeida hosts an online morning radio show called Wake Up Late With Dougie on the WEI Network. We assume it caters to both stoners and 60-year-old retirees, who oddly have a similar sense of humor.
While we're secretly rooting for Doug's return to the ring to defend his undefeated record, we were able to shoot him some questions before his upcoming comedy event. Here, he talks about his standup, being a New Yorker in Florida, and the truth behind his marrying an Asian woman.
You were a heavyweight muay thai kickboxer before making your name in standup. Is it ever tempting to break out a swift kick to the jaw of a really obnoxious heckler?
It's funny you should ask that. One night I was doing a show in Daytona in a room that is notoriously not policed by the management. I had someone heckling me the entire 30 minutes of my set. After countless attempts of dealing with it professionally, I advised him that the only way he might shut up is if someone just knocked him out. It was at that time that the heckler stood up and pointed out that he had a prosthetic leg, looking for sympathy from the. Without missing a beat, another member of the audience shouted out,"Sweep the leg, Dougie!"
Where's your favorite place to do standup?
New York City. There's just something about being in the city, riding the subway, and walking into a room like the Comic Strip, Broadway Comedy Club, or Dangerfield's, seeing all the photos on the wall of my idols. Also, It's very challenging in the city. You never know who is in the audience. One night the room can be filled with locals and another night the audience can be tourists from around the world. You have to be versatile with your set. You can't tell jokes about Denny's when the room is filled with German tourists.
How do you think your New York roots influence your reception in Florida? Is it like an outsider's perspective?
Well, that depends on what part of Florida I'm doing a show. South Florida has plenty of transplanted New Yorkers and I get a warm reception. However, drive just a few hours north and it's completely different. The emcee will announce, "Originally from Queens, NY..." and you'll hear someone in the crowd, like that TV ad for Pace salsa: "New York City??" There are certain parts of Northern Florida that I could win a George Clooney look-alike-contest.
If you had to choose between your radio show and your standup, which would you pick?
That's a tough question. Being on stage is better than any drug. Tell a joke, crowd laughs. It's an immediate fulfillment. However, like all jobs, comedy has its challenges. Like traveling and getting booked. Radio, on the other hand, has much less cost and travel, but you don't get to hear people laughing at home listening in. In a perfect world, I'd love to see my radio career take off, which would more than likely help me get more gigs around the country.
We promise not to tell, but did you marry an Asian woman just so you could get away with telling jokes about Asian people?
Yes, and I'm gaining weight so that I can tell more fat-guy jokes. And I'm also seeing if it will be possible to turn myself black so I can go with some urban humor.
You'll be taped for ComedyTime.tv. What's your dream outcome?
My dream outcome, like any up and coming comic, is to be discovered. Here's what I'd love to happen: receive a call from David Letterman asking me to do a spot on the Late Show. Then get a call from HBO asking if I'd like the role of Tony Soprano in the movie version of The Sopranos.
The Have-Nots present ComedyTime.tv Live Taping Saturday, February 23, at 10:15 p.m. Just the Funny Theater, 3119 Coral Way, Coral Gables. Visit justthefunny.com or call 305-693-8669.
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