Comedian is headed toward Vegas for a meltdown or a filmed-for-TV show.
By JIM CARNES
Dave Attell really doesn't like to sleep. With his hit Comedy Central series "Insomniac" on hiatus, you'd think he'd take a nap, or something. Instead, he's worked his way through most of a 35-city stand-up tour on his way to Las Vegas, where he'll film a feature-length concert special for Comedy Central.
The tour is officially called Comedy Central Live Presents Dave Attell: The Insomniac Tour. Unofficially, it's referred to as "No Sleep 'til Vegas." Attell sometimes calls it the "30 Days Til Rehab" tour.
"I've got a lot of names for it," he said.
Basically, it's a lot of time spent on a bus, a couple of hours on stage and more hours on a bus until he hits Las Vegas.
"I wanted to shoot along the way, but that's really hard," Attell said.
That means new episodes of "Insomniac" will wait awhile. "There's a lot of prep work for a thing like this (tour)," he said. "It's pretty expensive to go out, too. The bus doesn't run on laughter."
Attell is feeling the pressure. "It's cool to roll around on a bus," he said, but "the older you get (he's now 40), the harder it is to think of funny stuff.
"I like doing stand-up, you know, but there's a lot on me this time. I'm the star. I have to get people out. It's my name that needs to sell the tickets, but it's sort of Comedy Central's show."
Attell frequently plays comedy clubs, but this tour is all theaters. That's another pressure.
"Theater shows are cool," he said. "It's good to be in nice surroundings with a big audience that isn't necessarily drunk. But I like the clubs. Clubs are way better for me because they're less pressure. If you get 500 people in a club, you're a master. If you get 500 people in a theater, you're a disaster."
Attell's friend Sean Rouse is opening shows for him on the tour. The Las Vegas blowout will add comics Doug Stanhope, Dane Cook and Greg Giraldo for a concert film Attell compared to the Blue Collar Comedy Tour, "except we're not all Southern ... or all that alike, really. I think the thread that runs through it is me. It's like my party in Vegas."
On "Insomniac," Attell visits exotic and not-so-exotic locales where people work what's commonly called "the graveyard shift."
In his stand-up act, he gives voice to infrequently discussed subjects: race, sex, drinking, getting stoned, general stupidity. His humor is gross, dark, profane and not for the easily offended.
American society appears to be more conservative than it was when "Insomniac" debuted in 2001 -- not a good thing for an edgy comic whose act, by self-description, is "blue, raw and not for everyone."
"There is such a conservativeness in this country, if you do edgy comedy, you have to take a side," Attell said.
With a degree in communications, Attell worked for the Discovery Channel for several years before taking temporary day jobs and performing stand-up at night.