Dave Mencarelli is a standup comedian, a veteran local radio DJ, and the general manager at the Laugh Factory comedy club located inside the Silver Legacy. He’ll take the stage at the Laugh Factory Oct. 13-16; visit www.caesars.com/silver-legacy-reno/shows to get tickets and learn more.
Were you a class clown or smartass in school?
Smartass among my group of friends, but never class clown, because to be honest with you, I never liked to have any attention on me. I failed my high school senior speech class, because I wouldn’t give the speech. I didn’t want to be in front of people, and that’s what stopped me from doing standup for a long time. I didn’t start until I was 32. I took a comedy class, and it felt safe in the class with the eight or nine other people in it. Then I started going to the open mics and realized that these guys weren’t very funny—but the girls were buying them drinks and wanted to hang out with them. I thought “Oh, well, I can do it for attention.” I had stage fright for many years until I found CBD gummies about four years ago.
Who are some of your influences?
Brian Regan, even before I ever wanted to do comedy. My dad was a big comedy fan, so he exposed me to a lot of stuff. Growing up, my dad and I were watching Carlin, Pryor, Bob Newhart, Johnny Carson and guys like that. I saw all these guys on the Carson show all the time; they were so great. Also, I saw Seinfeld early on. My grandparents had the Bob Newhart comedy albums, and I loved his stuff. He was very subtle and low-key, and I definitely love him. Robin Williams was an early influence, and guys like Andrew Dice Clay.
A little boy says to his mother, “Mom, when I grow up, I’d like to be a comedian.” She replies to the little boy, “Well, honey, you know you can’t do both.” What are your thoughts on that?
It’s true, but not true. You have to know how to manage your money pretty well. The guys who are successful have grown up enough to be good money managers—but you do have to keep that childlike sense of wonder to be successful. You have to keep that world view of all the silliness and the fun of being a kid. Kids love burp and fart jokes.
How do you deal with hecklers?
I was having a really bad set up in Boise one time, and there are only 10 people in the room, and about 10 minutes into my set, some guy yelled “What time does the band start?” I said, “You know, sir, we have a lot in common, because I was wondering that, too! It’s fucking excruciating up here.” Then I go, “What’s your name?” He didn’t answer me, and I went, “OK, cool; I’m not mad at you, brother.” I was just trying to kill him with kindness. I went along for a couple more minutes with my set, and then he said, “Why aren’t you saying something, asshole?” I go, “You know what? I would do that, but I wanna be friends with you.” Then I cleared my throat, and I go, “Why don’t you just shut your cock holster, you fucking meat whistle?” He got up and left with four other people. I felt bad for the club, as he just walked out with half the crowd that was paying for drinks. I apologized to the club manager. He said, “Don’t worry; the guy was drunk and out of line.” I can usually deal with them with kindness, but sometimes people are so drunk that you just can’t. Sometimes the people with them tell them to shut up.”
What are some of your observations about living in Reno?
It’s so nice to live in Reno, where you can see not just one guy pushing a shopping cart with a twin mattress in it and a parrot on his shoulder, but multiple guys like that. There’s so much romanticism here, so much old Reno. I love the slogan “Biggest Little City.” That’s, like, “Man, you know, I’ve got the biggest little wanker in the room; does that impress you?” I don’t understand what “biggest little” means. It’s just kind of confusing. But Reno itself is confusing, so I think that “the biggest little” is the perfect slogan. I play Vegas a couple of times a year, but I’m so happy to be back in Reno when I’m done. So many people say that Reno is like Vegas’ little brother that got in a really bad car accident. I love everything that Reno offers—the culture and the craziness and the weirdness. I just love it here, man.