Dan Schwab’s sense of humor is the unique, quick-witted kind only comedians and cartoonists possess, which is probably how he came to be both.
He’s the Keys Weekly’s new cartoonist and said he’s been drawing since his parents would let him hold sharp objects, and drawing cartoons since he could draw Snoopy, around the age of 7. “Then, when I could draw dinosaurs. Then, when I could draw a dinosaur eating Snoopy,” he said.
As a standup comedian, Schwab performs at Bottlecap most weekends and got into being on stage after seeing a former friend’s act.
“He tanked it. I thought I could to better. Eight years later, I went for it. Been struggling ever since,” Schwab said. “Thanks a bunch, guy-I-haven’t-talked-to-in-20-years.”
Schwab said he also worked with comedian Aziz Ansari on the East Side of New York City for a while, performing.
“Brushing him off was the worst mistake I ever made. Especially when he asked me to go with him on a college tour,” he said.
Shortly thereafter, Schwab moved to Key West. When asked what brought him here, he said, “This is an island that is fueled by acceptance and a certain amount of serendipity. There are not always many locations that offer that. I’m always going to love a place that loves back.”
Full name? There are waaaay too many sarcastic answers to this. Mostly involving “Star Trek” rankings. So I’ll just say, Daniel Alan Schwab. But I will cut anyone that calls me as such.
Hometown: Woodbridge, New Jersey. Home of the strip mall Italian restaurant. Great to dine next to a laundromat. Nothing pairs with Veal Parmesan quite like the scent of Tide.
Who are some of your idols, whether comedians or cartoonists? Comics? Patton Oswalt, Brian Regan, and Jim Gaffigan. Oswalt is a wordsmith. Regan and Gaffigan can make comedy work without working blue. But I love working blue. (“Working blue” means cursing and discussing things that people do not discuss in polite society.) Cartoonists? Berke Breathed and Garry Trudeau. They are both fantastic artists, and they employ political statements expertly.
What is your favorite thing to sketch? Naked socialites on early 20th century ocean liners doomed to sink.
Where have your cartoons appeared? The Key West Citizen, Conch Color, News-Barometer, and … does the restroom wall at Green Parrot count as a publication?
Who is your favorite comic book character? The “Thing” from the Fantastic Four. There is this one seminal (in my opinion) issue of his “Two-in-One” series where he was in a fight and he held his own because he refused to give up. Just kept fighting because he knew the fate of the world was at stake. If I could get that comic cover tattooed on me, I would.
What’s your favorite graphic novel? “Watchmen.” By far. That and “Dark Knight” led us into the realm of non-cheesy comics.
What else do you do besides cartooning and standup? I am a docent at the “Museum of Macaroni & Paper Plate Art.” Actually, we’re having a fundraiser soon. We need funding for glue. Lots of Elmer’s Glue.
When it comes to standup, what’s your theme, or the thing you talk about most? Mostly the intricacies of “Razzles.” So they’re a candy AND they’re a gum? Holey moley! How far progress has gotten us!
Your Twitter, @KeyToons, is a combination of comedy and political humor, and then has a serious side with a bit of #metoo movement commentary. What’s the deal? No real deal, aside from the marginalization of women that seems to have increased in recent years. I’m always going to make noise about those that are underpaid, underappreciated, and not looked upon as equals. Let’s avoid a dystopia. (Sorry this answer was not funny, but this is serious sh*t.)
Did it surprise or upset you when the allegations came out against Louis C.K.? I wrote him off. And he was one of my heroes for 20 years. I appreciated the fact he owned up to it. But, wow… where do you draw the line? It’s so hard watching Mel Gibson in films when you know who he is as a person. So many people are f’ed up. I guess it’s about degrees.
What does your perfect day in Key West entail? Booty. Just Cray-Zee booty. No… sorry. I meant breakfast at Blue Heaven, followed by some stand-up paddleboarding, and a nice merlot at a wine bar. ALSO THE BOOTY!!!!
Do you have any pets? I have an awesome mini-dachshund named Artie that I love the heck out of. He pretty much just tolerates me at best.
Since you’re a movie buff after working at the Tropic Cinema for nine years, what movies would you suggest? One classic, one underrated indie film, and one everyone should see at least once?
1.“Ghostbusters” — saw it 20 times in the theater. The memory will leave me upon the wisp of my dying breath. 2. Loaded question. Hard to say what people consider “underrated” when it comes to indie. Anyone that loves indie is going to claim ANY film is underrated. But for me, because I’m from Jersey, “Clerks.” Met the cast in Redbank, N.J., when they had just done “Mallrats.” So I have a tether. 3. “It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World.” If you have not seen this brilliance, I don’t want to know you, or we need to sit on my couch for two hours.
You’re blindfolded, standing on stage, and only have one joke to tell and no idea who your audience is. What is the joke you tell? “Are my pants down? Can anyone see my weiner?”
What’s the weakest subject comedians address? Anything that can be found via the internet. If it’s easily Google-able, don’t do it. Low-hanging fruit can get laughs, but do you wanna be that kinda comic? Bill Hicks always said, “Play from your fucking heart.”
Under what circumstances will you be fired as the Weekly cartoonist? Rampage. Look up Michael Douglas in “Falling Down.”
Favorite guilty pleasure? “Charmed.” That witchy TV show. Dunno why, but it’s always had my love.
Which TV movie or superhero character is your alter ego? Super hero-wise? Ralph Hinkley as “Greatest American Hero.” He did not know what the shit he was doing, but he made it work.
What did you want to be when you grew up? Are you assuming I’ve grown up?
Dream meal: you are sitting at a diner counter eating, who walks in and sits next to you? Christina Hendricks bringing gravy fries, and she gets mad because I’m really focusing on the gravy fries.
If you could take one item on a deserted island … ? I guess something I wouldn’t eventually try to have sex with. Probably not a volleyball. So probably an 8-by-10 photo of Jeff Sessions. Talk about boner-killer.
Finish these sentences… My autobiography would be titled … “How to Achieve Nothing in 3 Easy Steps.”
At the end of the rainbow there is … Leprechauns giving you refund tickets.