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Q&A: David Spade

David Spade’s sarcastic brand of comedy came to national attention with his run on Saturday Night Live in the early 1990s and continued with television and movie success.

G.K. Hizer
December 28, 2018

Most nights, when the lights are up at The Joint: Tulsa, it’s with music in the air and the crowd singing along. On Jan. 19, the spotlights will be shining, but this time the crowd will be laughing along as David Spade brings his special brand of stand-up comedy to his Tulsa fans.

Born in Birmingham, Mich., and raised in Scottsdale, Ariz., with his two brothers by his mother, Judith, Spade learned to love the spotlight while in college. While attending Arizona State University, he performed stand-up at the school’s long running sketch comedy show, Farce Side Comedy Hour. He also became a regular of sorts, performing in the Monday night comedy show at Greasy Tony’s Pizza in Tempe during the mid-‘80s. 

That merely laid the groundwork for what was to come. In 1990, Spade joined his friend and fellow comedian, Dennis Miller, at Saturday Night Live. Initially brought in as a writer (Spade has shared that most of his early material was given to Dana Carvey during that period), Spade graduated to cast member for a tenure that lasted through the 1996 season. As a regular feature performer, Spade was commonly known for his sarcastic wisecracks, whether as Christy Henderson of the Gap Girls, the dry and bitter flight attendant dismissing guests with a snarky “Buh-Bye” or sniping at celebrities as the reporter for Hollywood Minute.

After departing SNL, he turned down a number of roles before settling into the office sitcom Just Shoot Me! as receptionist Dennis Finch from 1997-2003. Not only did the role make him a prime-time favorite, but it also garnered him nominations for one Emmy and two Golden Globe Awards. He returned to sitcoms in 2007 as a member of CBS comedy Rules of Engagement, which ran through 2013.

Of course, his success on Saturday Night Live didn’t leave him with only television options. Along with many of his fellow SNL alumni, Spade made the transition to the big screen, making a splash co-starring with another SNL alum, Chris Farley, in both Tommy Boy (1995) and Black Sheep (1996). After a number of co-starring roles, Spade took over the spotlight as Joe Dirt (2001), which he co-wrote with Fred Wolf. That role took on a life of its own, even spawning a sequel, Joe Dirt 2: Beautiful Loser (2015), that went on to become Crackle’s most successful original programming to date, with over 2 million streaming views.

Spade has remained in the spotlight with regular movie work, and had major hits for his ensemble work with SNL alumni Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, and Rob Schneider in Grown Ups (2010) and Grown Ups 2 (2013).

Amid all of the acting work, Spade never lost his love for the stage or his comic timing. Still touring consistently, Spade makes frequent appearances in Las Vegas as well as in comedy clubs and theaters nationwide.

Following the release of his memoir, Almost Interesting, and audio book A Polaroid Guy In a Snap Chat World, fans have come to know Spade for his vivid storytelling, punctuated with his comic timing and self-deprecating commentary.

Even when he’s not in the spotlight, Spade has continued to stay in the public’s collective subconscious, with a multitude of voice-over work, including major roles in The Emperor’s New Groove (voicing Emperor Kuzco) and Hotel Transylvania (as Griffin the Invisible Man) as well as showing up in regular commercial work.

Although Spade generally doesn’t approach political issues, the time is ripe for Spade’s particular sense of humor. Colorful storytelling, observational commentary, and a certain mix of sarcasm, snarkiness, and passive-aggressive wit may be the perfect way to counter the unbridled craziness of the world outside. When Spade takes the stage, he captures your attention and takes you away from it all as he winds you up in his stories, throws out a few one-liners, then draws it out a little more for a big release that keeps audiences laughing.

David Spade
The Joint: Tulsa | Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa
777 W. Cherokee St. | Catoosa
918-384-ROCK (x7625)
Jan. 19: 8 p.m.
Must be 21 or older to attend