Brazilian American stand-up comedian Eric DaSilva is recording his live CD/DVD Jan 25... again. After technical complications, Eric embraced chaos to include footage from multiple shows at multiple venues, weaving them together similar to Chris Rock's Kill the Messenger. The recently-closed PAX will re-open for one night to support the local comedy scene.
After performing nerd-tailored sets at a local animation/comic convention, amidst the poetic backdrop of awkward teens romping in cosplay, the gregarious comic sat down with New Times to give us the straight dope on Miami's newest comedy special.
You're a New York comic. How did you find yourself representing Miami?
I was born in New York and grew up [in Miami], then went back to New York to do something different. I'm a different comic than I was when I first left. Now I know who I am, I got the years under my belt, I have something to say. It's just fun to be able to express yourself, and it's such a cool scene down here in South Florida... I'm glad to be a part of it.
And what are your thoughts on the South Florida comedy scene?
I like it, man. I wish there was more. I wish South Florida supported stand-up comedy more. There's great comedy cities like LA and New York and Seattle, and I think Miami has the potential to do that. Comedy feels like... if you tell someone to come to a comedy show here, if you aren't famous, it feels like you're asking for a favor. Like, can you spot me five bucks?
You initially filmed at the Backroom at the Fillmore. Why couldn't you use the first recording?
A couple things. There were a lot of technical issues that we weren't aware of, and it made what we wanted to do incomplete. I was kind of bummed out about it, but at the afterparty the incredible [film crew and arts collective] Artistic Vibes basically said, 'Listen, we want to make sure you get the vision you got' and suggested a collaborative process like Chris Rock's Kill the Messenger.
What's the story with PAX reopening for one night?
I teamed up with Sean Ramrattan of Laugh It Up Productions and we were going to do a show at PAX in January, but it closed down in December. So we were looking for other venues and Sean went above and beyond, got a hold of the new owners, did a presentation, and pitched them the show for one night. So thanks so much to Laugh It Up, there's no way it could have happened without them.
You released your first CD, Adorably Offensive, in April of last year. How was that experience?
It was crazy, man. I've been doing comedy for just over 10 years now. And the reason I left South Florida is I was told by club owners that I was too... either being too smart or too weird, no one can relate to you. And this was before being a nerd was cool, so I was a larger outcast than everybody else. And finally I did a show with Rich Voss and he said, "try New York"... New York broke me and then made me a better comic. And I figured if I'm going to record my first hour, I'm going to go back to Miami. I hadn't been back for nine years, and I want to be the guy who can come back to any room in South Florida and make it work. It ended being a great album, I had so much fun recording it.
What do you want to do differently on this album? How has your style grown?
If the first album is where I figured out who I was, the second album is me settling in. I totally know who I am now. And that's the problem. [laughs] I do the hour on the road now, but for the DVD I wanted to make it different and fun and special. I'm incorporating a live musician with me. Sort of like a soundtrack to what I'm saying. I figure, if you're gonna see me for an hour on TV, I figure shit should be happening instead of me just talking. It's going to tell a story... a fucked up, dirty story. I have two kids now, and I looked at myself in the mirror and said 'who the fuck are you?" and it started from there.
Recording an album is a major career step. What makes a comedian ready for an official release?
Confidence and boredom. It is for me. I know when I have the hour I've been doing and it's been working great, but at the same time I wanted to move on to new material. So I said, let me officially put that to rest and move on. And I'll bring back certain jokes if the crowd wants stuff, but 92% of what I'm doing is the hour I have now, and the whole time I'm writing the next hour. So as soon as this recording is done, I drop 85% keep 15% and see how the new stuff levels out.
Not many comedians record albums down here. Dave Williamson in 2011 and Nery Saenz in 2012. Why are these events rare?
There's not enough people supporting comedy to give everyone a chance to develop comedy to move on to the next step. So unless you are on the road a lot or hit it big in a moment, a lot of guys are still refining that 15-25 [minutes] because when their exposure is so limited, they can't grow. There's a lot of great things happening but it's not allowing people to progress at a rapid level. When you go to NY or LA you've got all these locations. You can just plow through, but here you get maybe one show every day a week, instead of five shows every day.
And all of these recordings were produced by the comedy group the Have-Nots. How was working with them?
Have-Nots is great. They put on a hell of a show. I've worked with them continually, they're really good with organization and structure. They're fantastic.
How long do you expect the editing process to take?
Way longer. It took me four months for my CD and all we had was just two shows. And basically you have to see if the audio is an issue and if the other show could replace that moment, you know, that's the way it is. And I had an embarrassment of riches where both shows were great so it literally came down to which laugh I liked more. This show - because it's so many locations ... you have to take into account which phrase, turn, moment will lead into the next. So a lot longer!
So when can we expect it?
It will probably release end of this year.
And the title, NOT A Beautiful Mind?
I should be a better person. [laughs] And I'm struggling. I really want to be a better person... it's an ideal goal. It's like an alcoholic - I just take it day by day.
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