A Detroit native who now lives in Lansing, comedian Dwayne L. Gill started doing comedy in 1992. He was the runner up in the Stand Up It’s Miller Time Comedy Competition with Kevin Hart Las Vegas. He’s also a featured artist on Sirius/XM’s Foxxhole and Rawdog, as well as The Bob and Tom Radio Show. He appeared in numerous national competitions and festivals. I asked him a few questions…
1. How do you describe your comedy?
My comedy is fun and edgy at the same time. My point of view is very sarcastic and razor sharp. I like to talk about things that most people wouldn’t say out loud. I enjoy telling jokes about my life as a police officer and comedian. I do some current events and relationship humor. Anything that will make you say, “I can’t believe he just said that!”
2. Who were your influences? What do you admire about them?
Comedians who have influenced me are D.L Hugley, Eddie Murphy, Louis C.K., and Jim Gaffigan. I liked them all for different reasons. Most of all because they made me laugh. Although I am a comedian, I am and always will be a fan of comedy. I am influenced by a lot of my funny friends in the business like Ralph Harris, B.T., and Vince Morris. My big brothers in comedy. All of these comedians are unafraid. They have courage and strong points of view.
3. You’re a former marine and a cop-turned-comedian. How does your career as a police officer influence your comedy? Do the two worlds ever collide?
My worlds constantly collide! One time I stopped to help an stranded motorist on the freeway. When I made contact with him he immediately recognized me as a comedian and called his wife from the scene! He’s like, “Guess who’s changing my tire? Comedian Dwayne Gill!”
My career as a Marine and police officer definitely influence my comedy. It’s who I am. Cops are funny, anyway. Most of the time, we have a really dark sense of humor. However, my main purpose is to humanize the badge.
4. You have been doing comedy for over two decades. How has your comedy evolved as you’ve gotten older?
Older?! 53 is the new 33! My comedy has evolved and is always changing. Especially now. The people nowadays want to laugh right now. So one liners and quick hits are important. I’m not really a storyteller, I like to get the laugh right now and build on it. I am still very aware of timing and enjoy riding the wave of a fun show.
5. You perform at a lot of corporate gigs. How do up-and-coming comedians break into that circuit?
For corporate gigs, you have to have a pretty clean act. You have to have a good hook, that some company would like to bring in front of their employees. My cop/comedian thing works great! You also have to be able to write jokes for that occasion. I just did a show for some vacuum cleaner dealers. I found out who their competitor was made fun of them in the act. The crowd loved it!
You have to just put yourself out there and go after those gigs. Hopefully, you get good enough to have an agent who can get you booked. I have been way more lucky than smart! You have to have good video and a great website too.
6. You have one wife, two jobs, and three kids. How do you balance it all?
I don’t know, I just do! I love both my careers very much. My wife supports both effortlessly. Plus, the money I bring in also makes that easy! I just feel that life is way to short to be bored and have regrets. If you have a dream, I say go for it! You may never get another chance to do it again. This is my gift. And I am going to take full advantage of it!
7. You have done some acting as well. Tell us about that.
I have been in a couple of straight-to-video movies and a cancelled TV series. I was in the movie Crave in 2010 and Detroit 187. Unfortunately, most of my scenes ended up on the cutting room floor! I have done some commercial acting as well. My first gig was an actor in the GM Terrain vehicle sales video. I still go out to auditions whenever I am available. I am going to make it one day!
8. What projects are you currently working on?
My current projects outside of comedy are my local man-on-the-street TV show called Street Beat on MY 18 in Lansing and Jackson. I prank people on the street about current events and things happening in the community. I am also working on a TV pilot with some producers who want to build a show around my persona. Stay tuned.