Ace of Spade

Kevin Ortiz reviews David Spade at the Irvine Improv.

As my wife and I are walking away from the Irvine Improv on Sunday night (May 1, 2016), wind blowing strong and chilly, and a decent “40 minute” drive awaiting us, my lovely wife asks the question, “So, what are you going to write in your review?” Then I internally ask myself the same question: What am I going to write about? See, here is the thing. If you are reading this, then most likely you know who David Spade is, and so I do not have to explain that to you. Also, if you are reading this you can probably guess that he is funny without me having to tell you that I saw him do stand-up and he is, in fact, funny. If I review someone like Spade, who has been doing stand-up for years, it is not my responsibility to tell you if he made me laugh or not, or if the jokes worked or not, because he did make me laugh and the jokes did work. There would not be a sold out crowd in Irvine on a Sunday… a Sunday… night if he was not funny. However, it is my responsibility to tell you what I saw that maybe the other audience members, whether drunk, distracted, or trying to say the right thing in between jokes that will get them in the pants of the person sitting opposite them, did not see. So, let me tell you what I saw.

Spade admitted himself on stage that he is a 6, maybe 7 at most in the looks department. His words, not mine. Yet, I have seen some of the women that Spade has dated in the past, and these are typically women who do not date men that are half their number equivalent at most. What is it about him them? Is it because he is funny? Well, yes, that is part of it for sure I imagine, but I think the bigger piece to that puzzle is that he is supremely confident. Spade walked on stage with a hidden swagger. You really have to look to see it, but he knew he had the audience already before he walked out there. The man knows he is funny, and he also knows that if a joke turns sideways that he has a goofy shimmy, or a sarcastic one-liner to throw out after, and then he is right back on track. An opener often has a tone in their voice, or a look, that denotes that they are hoping you will laugh or that you will get the joke that’s coming in 1, 2, 3….ta dah! If you do not laugh, there is a pause and on to the next one. The veterans, the guys that have been doing it and doing it and doing it well, for years, have something lined up if you don’t get the joke. And make no mistake of it, it’s you who do not get the joke. Spade knows he is funny, and if you do not, well that is really more of a you problem and he does not have time to address it. Sound arrogant? Maybe. But don’t you have to be a little arrogant to walk on a stage and say I am going to hold this audiences laughter under my control for the next hour or so? Don’t you have to be a little arrogant to say, put my name on the bill and people will pay to come see me make jokes and observations? Yes, you do. The great ones are arrogant when they need to be, and humble when they are not arrogant. It’s tricky, but hey, this is what makes them the great ones.

The other thing I observed on Sunday was the first joke about how far Irvine was for Spade. Later on in the set, Spade alluded to living in the Hollywood area, off of Sunset, which I do not know if this is true or not, but if it is, then that is quite the drive. This also made me wonder how often Spade does stand-up, and so I looked up his dates. A few in Vegas, some recently for a traveling show with Sandler and the boys, but that is it. He’s not a regular, he is a special eventer. So, why drive all the way out to Irvine on a Sunday? Pay day cannot be that big, and I am sure Vegas money and Sandler Tour money are just fine. So, why? Because people who are funny need to be funny, and comics need to be comics. They feed off of your laughter like a drug. I am the same way at work. I am not comic of course… yet… but I know the feeling. If I haven’t made someone laugh at my job in 15 minutes, I get up from my cubicle and make the rounds. Also, if someone doesn’t laugh at my jokes I typically say, “Oh come on! That shit was funny!” And then the CEO tells me to calm down and please get back to my desk. But hey, funny people need to be funny. I believe that Spade needs that stage. I believe that Spade needs to walk on it every so often just to feel that rush that only the stage can give you. Spade is an actor, he has been in several funny movies, gotten a lot of laughs, and he is still acting. But those laughs are in movie theatres, those laughs are at home on the couch, and Spade cannot feel them and hear them. He needs that stage. It’s not even really about validation, or needing to be reminded that you’re funny, because as we discussed already he is and he knows it. It’s about the euphoria of knowing that this is who you are, this is what you do… .you are a comic… and you make them laugh. When the laughs stop, you stop. You need that high, you need that rush, you need that mic.

Before I leave you, I would like to give you a little peek into the funnies of the night. I never want to give away any of the bits or jokes that might be part of a normal set, so I look for something specific to that night. On this night, Spade was interacting with the audience here and there, nothing malicious and there was never any real “picking on” in my opinion, but he did make observations and conversation. There was a table in the front row where the gentleman had dusted off about 3 tall cans, at least this is what I gathered from what Spade had referenced on stage. The gentleman then says something from the audience which was inaudible, so Spade repeats, “What’s that? The beer makes me funnier you said. Well, yeah, yeah, that’s true. I’m sure I would have totally bombed if I came out her an hour ago.” Boom. Well done Spade. Well done.

Make sure to watch “The Do Over” with David Spade and Adam Sandler this month on Net-Flix.

Make sure to use the Amazon Banner at to buy the book, Almost Interesting, by David Spade.

-Kevin Ortiz

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