Dusty Slay returns to Charleston this week.
Dusty Slay was once the greatest comedian in Charleston. I know this because every year I judge the Charleston Comedy Festival Stand-Up Competition, and he won two years in a row. He was so good, the next year we had to make him a judge so he’d stop winning already. Unfortunately, Slay moved away and settled in Nashville where he’s continued his comic journey. He returns for a show this Sun. April 2 at the Pour House where he’ll be performing with Jordan Jensen, Evan Berke, and Jason Groce. We caught up with him via email recently and got him to riff on a few things, including his very funny new album Son of A Ditch
Once upon a time, Dusty Slay …
Figured out how to make a living doing what he does best — telling jokes. I’m also great at eating, but I tend to spend money doing that.
What’s happened to you since you left Charleston?
Since leaving Charleston I’ve spent so much time in comedy clubs, my car, and in hotels. I’ve done comedy in 27 different states, worked with comedians like Rosanne Barr, Jeff Ross, Rob Schneider, Jon Lovitz, Ron White, and I’ve opened for a psychic.
I’ve been on Last Comic Standing
, The Bob and Tom Radio Show, TMZ, and at a bowling alley in Wisconsin. I’ve recorded two albums Makin’ That Fudge
and Son of a Ditch
, both of which can be heard on Sirius XM and Pandora Radio, and sometimes I read Google reviews online.
What is life like on the road as a working comedian?
Comedy is always exciting because you never know what you’re going to get.
I’ve performed in huge clubs for 600 people and in a basement for six people. I’ve had people tell me how funny I am and people that say, “Hey, just keep trying man, you’ll get it.”
I had a couple come to me after a show and tell me they really liked the show. I said thank you, and then she said, pointing to her husband, “He’s deaf, and I don’t speak good English so we didn’t really understand your jokes, but we saw other people laughing so we know you were good.”
I’ve stayed in really nice places and some questionable places, I even stayed in one hotel that was condemned and shut down a week after I left.
What peers do you have mad respect for and why?
There's too many people to specifically list but there is so much great comedy out there from people who aren’t famous. I have mad respect for the road comics out there willing to go anywhere and everywhere no matter how much it pays just because they want to do comedy. I’ve seen the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in February and New Mexico in July and some sad smoky casino.
When will you know you’ve made it as a comedian?
I think you know you’ve made it when people stop asking you that question. Then you make it, and you get hot, then you either stay on top or become a has-been. I don’t think you’re safe in comedy.
Are your parents proud of you? Why or why not…
I think they’re just happy I’m not asking them for money or to bail me out of jail.
Because I love country music, if comedy doesn’t work out maybe I’ll be the next Conway Twitty.
Where can we get your CDs?
Both of my CDs, Makin’ That Fudge
(2014) and Son of a Ditch
(2017) are available online
and on iTunes.