Funny man Danny Lobell can make a joke about almost anything, but he takes his pizza very seriously. On any given afternoon, Danny Lobell might be found munching on a cheesy slice of kosher pizza at David’s Famous Pizza in Cedarhurst. “I think it holds its own over all pizza — creed or race.” Lobell said confidently. When he’s not in his home in Brooklyn or in The Five Towns, he can likely be found on stages around the world performing his stand-up comedy.
Lobell, 28, originally from Queens, moved to Long Beach as kid. He briefly attended DRS, but graduated from Long Beach High School. “I spent many weekends for Sabbath in Woodmere, Cedarhurst…everywhere in The Five Towns. I’m pretty familiar with the area.”
Lobell’s interest in comedy started young. “I was always a kind of class clown in school, which got me in trouble,” he recalled. But, his interest grew by a stroke of bad timing; while he was in high school, he was caught in the pouring rain and ran into a nearby Starbucks for cover. “…They had a poets and musicians open mic. I knew I wanted to get on, but I didn’t know to what effect…that’s when I had to answer the question for myself.” Lobell decided to share a funny story from his recent experience on the beach. “I went up and told the story and from my recollection it went well. I thought, ‘ I want to do this; I want to come back and make people laugh every week.’ [Although] I might cringe if I saw [my performance then] now.”
Lobell went on to attend Baruch College. At 19 years old, he started doing comedic performances at the New York Comedy Club down the block. Even while in school, his mind was always on comedy, and admittedly, he was never a fan of academics. “At one point, I was convinced I was going to break it to everyone that I was going to drop out of college. [Then] I read an interview with Jerry Seinfeld. He said that he wanted to drop out of Queens College to do comedy, but he felt that it would set a bad precedent for himself not to finish what you start.”
There are a few different things that up-and-coming comedians do to get stage time, Lobell explained. “You can start by doing open mics. The next step is to start doing what they call ‘bringer shows,’ where you bring your friends and that’s how you get on stage. Every young comic resents doing that because one, now your friends have to see how truly unfunny you are. Two, nobody wants to bother and pressure their friends to come to a club. How long can you do that before you run out of friends or run out of money?”
The other options comedians have are to “bark,” which is when they hand out fliers to get people to see developing comics. Lobell barked for five years. “ Most people don’t do it for more than three, I just never got the memo,” he added with a chuckle. “ I didn’t understand why you had to do all these horrible things for stage time. Even if you’re funny, you had to. Of course, everyone always thinks they’re always a lot funnier than they are.”
Lobell’s big break was when he was invited to do the Glasgow Comedy Festival in Scotland four years ago. “It was a phenomenal success,” Lobell recollected. “I had some great shows and got written up in the newspapers. I got an agent in London to sign me off of the festival. That kind of worked as a springboard for me to work through Europe, which I’ve been doing since. I’ve headlined shows in Madrid, Barcelona, and South Africa.”
During one of his Long Island shows, Lobell had first and biggest stage bomb. He was opening for acts in the Hamptons, like the late Greg Giraldo, David Allen Greir, and Robert Wuhl. After being told to do a tight, squeaky-clean 10 minute set, Lobell was ready and prepared, or so he thought. “I’m sitting in the green room and Robert Wuhl comes in…he was very nice and very funny. He says, ‘stretch [the set] as long as you can…don’t be clean. Be as filthy and dirty as you can be.’”
Lobell obliged, he said, as nervous as he was for the last-minute change. “I go out there and I was filthy and raunchy, and bombing right away,” Lobell remembered. “I was sweating, trying to do it as long as I can. It was so embarrassing. It just kept going and going. Alec Baldwin and Giraldo were in the audience. All these old Jews were gasping and passing out. It was really a phenomenally bad performance, a real disaster. Robert Wuhl comes out for his set and says, ‘can you believe he said those things! What kind of…’ He was definitely messing with me.”
It was a learning lesson for Lobell and something that he said needed to happen. “People always say you learn more from a bomb, than a kill [a great performance] in comedy, because if you’re always doing well, what are you learning?”
While in college, Lobell started a radio show called Comical Radio. He had the opportunity to interview one of his favorites, the late George Carlin. “ I loved George Carlin. I’ve always enjoyed Woody Allen, his early standup and movies. I never missed a movie. Growing up, my favorites were Jim Carrey and Eddie Murphy.”
The current Williamsburg, Brooklyn resident is a frequent Five Towns visitor. “I still go to Central Avenue in Cedarhurst. I do make trips especially for David’s Famous Pizza. My doctor’s here and my dermatologist…I want to give a shout-out to my dermatologist, Dr Abraham Abittan. He’s phenomenal.”
Lobell is currently releasing his first album, “Danny Lobell, Some Kind of Comedian,” and putting the finishing touches on the album art. The album should be out in the next few weeks and can be pre-ordered from standuprecords.com. “I picked the title of the album because people always say, ‘What are you, some kind of comedian?’ I thought the perfect answer to that question is, ‘Yeah. I’m some kind of comedian.’”
With a few years of experience under his belt, Lobell has gained some insight into the industry. “You hit a certain point where you’re able to see yourself clearer or you reach a point of humility,” Lobell said. “…Chris Rock is a ‘bringer’ for Madison Square Garden. His name brings a crowd. How many people can your name attract? When I realized that, I was more at peace with it. Bringing people with your own name… I’m only one step away.”
Find Lobell as a host on a talk show called Yackit.com. For more information, go to DannyLobell.com. Follow Lobell on Twitter @Dannylobell.