Where is home for a comedian? Is it the crowd? The state where they were raised? Or the stage they told their very first joke? For the 2nd Comedy Hype Digital Cover, comedian Dino Archie of Fresno, California helps navigate us to the answer: “Home Is Where The Laughter Is.” You may be asking yourself Dino who? Where do I know him from? Outside of a few late night television appearances, Dino has been making a name for himself outside of the U.S. market. He’s set up a collective of supporters in Vancouver, Canada but recently returned to the States to live.
We first stumbled across Dino back in 2015 when he decided to go an unconventional route with his then stand-up material. By piecing together a collective of his live stand-up recordings, he went on to produce the comedy album, Choosy Lover. The project moved differently than previous comedy albums before it’s time because it had no price attached. In the midst of Choosy Lover’s release, Dino’s career had him miles away in the city of Vancouver. Comedians, as Dino likes to say, are much like Pirates; making stops in different cities, passing along fellow pirates (comedians), and on a never ending quest in search of a big score. Weeks before the release of this cover story, we caught up with Dino over the phone as his journey found him in Norway, telling jokes for people who shared a different language. Despite him being miles away he still managed to find home.
When you come to my comedy show I want you to walk away with an experience… That’s what I’m going for…
“This is my second time in this part of the world; the first time was 10 years ago when I went to visit my brother playing basketball overseas. I took my nephew. We went to Germany and Poland. So now ten years later I’m doing stand-up. And this is the first time I’very been out here for my dream.”, Dino shared after just walking into his hotel room. For a comedian to travel and get paid to tell jokes is one of comedy’s ultimate rewards. The early stages of comedy, at best offers an appetizer, drink, and maybe $20 in your pocket before the end of the night. Dino clearly has passed that stage. He has joined those who didn’t give up and now have fined tuned their comedy into a mobile office. But where is home for these road warriors?
As he sat in the confines of his hotel room, Dino brought things full circle over the phone. He and his fellow comedians are in fact pirates. And these pirates are always on the move. “The idea of a pirate is such a weird job but it seems like being a comic feels like that…like you don’t really feel like you belong to any place… you just go. You’re like a pirate without a ship.”
The statement was eye opening. He’s right. Comedy by far is one of the toughest forms of entertainment. Much like pirates, comedians are the rebels of the sea. Saying exactly how they feel. You choose right and they go left. To hear Dino explain his journey through that lens it was clearly understood. So if he’s a pirate then what is his treasure? One can notice that his treasure was the experience and stories he now has to pass along the way. “Travel, it could really be life changing man… A lot of who I’ve become was formed out there in Vancouver… That’s one of the most effective ways to learning how people are. The travel has been key to that.. We comedians are coming as ambassadors of good will. I’m coming to your place as a stranger to make you laugh..”
When Dino does take it to the stage you hear that–experiences. Stories. No matter his background you hear someone who comes off relatable. You don’t see color with Dino, you see a person, “My act is based off me”. So despite him being in another country he was able to make connections amongst the people of his current stop in Norway. He made them laugh and he in return built bonds with fellow pirates.
“My jokes were well received, when I touched down I had it in the back of my head if they would or would not get my jokes. But once I did the first show I was like, “Oh they do get it”! Even watching the other comedians all speaking Norwegian you can see their rhythm. There was one dude who had a Louis CK, Bill Burr vibe. It was a really cool experience to be in the world that way. And that’s what I mean by the term, pirates. Those are my partners for tonight. These Norwegian goons. They’re comedy goons like my comedy goons in Toronto or my low life comedy goons in LA or Vancouver. We just cross paths for the weekend then we dip and go somewhere else. Instead of hitting the seas we just hit a different city.” Now travel isn’t the only treasure in it for Dino. Like most comedians, he hopes to build a nice sized audience that gets his point of view and as he says it, “buys his snake oil”. For a comedian to have their own creative platform to share their perspective continuosly is definitely on the menu of things to do “I have a hard time seeing years ahead, but the way the tide is currently going , there are some cool things in the works. I definitely was influenced by comedy through TV and movies. That’s something I’m working on. I want to keep everything fresh. I don’t want to abuse the idea of making everything seem regular. I think traveling out here is fresh. The thing I’m working on now is something I can create and put other comedians on internationally. I wanted to do this since high school. But I didn’t know what the snake oil would be”.
As a comedian it always feels weird to be in a good place…. As an artist you want some off-balance
While Dino continued our talk over the phone he added another layer to his narrative that you may have caught. While traveling the many places, he like the rest of us makes sure to keep his snake oil in tow. No, not actual snake oil, but “the thing” that we all sell with the intention to get ahead. As dark as it may come off, snake oil is a mere innocent expression of saying someone’s thing that they have packaged up to sell. Dino’s current snake oil of choice is his words on stage. If you scan through his social media pages, he makes small references to this thing called snake oil. “Whenever you’re telling someone, ‘hey come look at me,’ you’re selling something. I feel like everybody is selling something. I don’t think anything is wrong with that. Snake oil is the funniest way to see it. What I sell is honesty so I can sleep good at night. But I feel that everybody has signed into that contract to put an image together and sell you on it. Some are not paid in money, some are paid in likes”.
Just as we wrapped up our conversation over the phone, Dino went on to share that the sun began stretching itself into his hotel room. As if it was a simple reminder that things were becoming more clear. Comedy has become much more than a quick hobby for many. Comedy has become a teacher, a guide, a travel companion, and what Dino’s story reveals; it has become a home for those on the go. You can’t help but notice that his stops in new places all have the same motive: laughter. Home is where the laughter is.
Story By Jon W. (@JWill_Knight)
Photos By Brandon Bacquie (@B.Bacquie)
– COMEDY HYPE