DJ Real : Comedian You Should Know
The ‘Comedian You Should Know’ series highlights funny people performing in San Francisco and New York. We’d like to give some dedicated press to people who make us laugh in these cities. DJ Real is a musician and comedian whose act can only be described as…original and hilarious. He’ll be performing at the Kinda Late Show Roast of Broke Ass Stuart Dec 17th.
The word ‘innovative’ is typically over used in the bay area, in this case it actually applies. ‘DJ Real‘ uses a combination of technology and sound that keeps you laughing while at the same time wondering ‘how is he doing that?’ It’s an act that leverages both comedy and nerd power, he plays several electronic instruments, utilizes pre-loaded sound bites and dialogue, while working the crowd and weaving in traditional jokes as well. When I saw him perform at Doc’s Lab the crowd could not stop giggling, even the band couldn’t stop laughing at his antics. You can’t really label him as a “prop comic”, his act is just too different. Is there a category for tech/music comic yet? Maybe there is now.
Nick Stargu (my parents call me DJ REAL)
where are you from?
Hard Hittin New Britain, CT
why san francisco?
I moved here from CT to be with a girl I was in love with. Oof…and then we broke up…who knew the deep abyss of depression could be so…deep?
After that I shifted all of my energy to performing. When I started comedy in San Francisco around 2007, I got to see some really amazing acts (Will Franken, Mary Van Note, Alex Koll, Brent Weinbach). And I learned a lot from watching them. This scene is perfect for trying new things and experimenting. I started performing at The Dark Room (RIP) with my new comedy buds in a group called ‘Things We Made’ and began to hone my ridiculous act. There’s still a handful of spaces, like Lost Weekend Video, that are especially set up to support the more alternative shows, and it’s really helped me shape what I do now. I’m lucky to get to be here still, despite some of the gross people that have been moving in and messing things up. As a side note, as a comic in SF, if you’re lucky enough to be at a show with Kaseem Bentley, you’ll get treated to some of the most creative insults ever uttered. He’s the real San Francisco treat!
why do you do what you do?
Deep question! I ask myself that all day.
When started out with my act back in the early 2000’s, the primary goal was to weird people out, but then they laughed. When that happened, I said, “Well crap, this is what I want to do…” I still weird people out though. I really like the process of creating weird things in my room and then showing them to a room full of people, like a show and tell situation.
whats the worst you ever bombed on stage?
A few years ago I did my dumb act for a Demo Day at 500 Startups in front of a room of investors. The intention was to loosen them up and then have these startup kids demo their apps. I thought it could be horrible going into it. Daytime, office lighting, a projector blaring on the wall behind me. The second I start performing I look out and the entire crowd has their head buried in a laptop. Straight up silence. Beginning of bit, silence, end of bit, silence. It was a living horror movie. And I had another 15 minutes to go! Luckily, the “booker” had the sense to cancel the next day’s performance. I got paid for both days despite the overwhelming embarrassment that everyone felt. Score!
Can you name all the instruments and devices you use in your performance?
Ha! Oh boy, it’s about to get nerdy…ok:
I have a guitar and mic that run into my Native Instrument Komplete interface.
That all connects to Mainstage, which I run off my laptop to host all the songs, sounds and midi info.
I have an Oxygen midi controller and Electronic Wind Instrument that plug into the computer to trigger ridiculousness.
I also use an iRig Blueboard bluetooth foot pedal as midi trigger for playing and stopping patches
I know, it’s way too much stuff. You might be asking, “But, DJ REAL, you’ve got all this crap onstage…are you funny?” Nope!
Who are your top 5 comedians?
This is a whack question. I’ll just list some of the people I really admire that have given me one or more asthma attacks over the years:
Steve Martin (Please get this Steve Martin: The Television Stuff DVD box set – http://amzn.com/B0089BSMWA
Andy Kaufman (Watching documentaries about him when I was younger gave me the guts to get super weird on stage)
Don Martin (illustrator at Mad Magazine) (A single cell from a Don Martin comic is funnier than I’ll ever be) http://amzn.com/0762430508
Ron Lynch (I’ve seen his act so many times …and I always laugh like it’s the first time. He is one of the few performers out there who makes me feel pure joy being in the audience. I told him this once and it freaked him out. We’re still cool)
Nathan Fielder (Everything he does is completely perfect and hysterical) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r3-Y31ONZuI
Who is a performer you’re embarrassed to like?
I stumbled across the New Age musician IASOS a few years back and was enamored by so many things about his website. http://www.iasos.com/
What began as an ironic affection changed when I started listening to his music. It’s actually really good if you’re into ambient/new age – https://open.spotify.com/album/59hWFsFOPOrXQMeTiXYGLr
I would totally go see him live, but I’m not sure I’d bring a friend to the super hippy situation that would ensue
Did you ever have a crazy night out in San Francisco?
Hmmmmm…. This wasn’t a “fun” crazy night out in SF, but it was freaky…One time I was walking with comedian Sean Keane on 18th St. on the way to South Van Ness late night after a show. We heard what sounded like a woman being attacked from behind a dumpster in the dimly lit parking lot of Whiz Burgers Drive-In. We were freaking out as we got closer, yelling wildly “What’s going on!?” and “We’re calling the cops!”. Then a veerrrrry large woman and a verrrrry tiny man came out from behind the dumpster. The difference in size between the two was incredible. She said he was trying to take advantage of her. He claimed she stole his wallet which had his green card (turns out that she had). Then she punched him in the head which knocked him down for a bit. At this point she asked to use my phone to call her boyfriend. When we offered to call the cops instead, both of them ran away. We determined that this was probably some kind of weird con or some sex work gone bad situation, and walked back to the venue freaked out. That may also be the night I had my first panic attack.
Whats coming up for you?
I’m finishing up my 5th studio new album “They’ll Say Yes”, which comes out Jan 2016.