What do they say about New York City: There are eight million stories, and sometimes it seems as though eight million of the people telling them think they’re comedians? No, that’s not it. It is a fact, though, that America’s biggest city is also its biggest comedy mecca. Hollywood may be Hollywood, but New York City is where comedians are born funny, become funny or arrive to thrust their funny upon us. I think we should meet some of these people. This is a recurring feature, a mini-profile of newcomers, up-and-comers and overcomers of New York’s vibrant comedy scene. It’s called Meet Me In New York.
Robert Dean (photographed above by Mindy Tucker)
I never know quite where or how I’m going to cross paths with comedian Robert Dean, and that never fails to amuse me.
First time I recall seeing Dean onstage, he led a group of comedians in a re-enactment of an episode from the classic sitcom, TAXI, live onstage at The Creek and The Cave in Long Island City. Last I saw him in the flesh, he and Nick Turner walked past me outside my Hollywood motel. I suppose we’re all a bit bi-coastal in 2018. But Dean remains a New York comedian for now. His TV credits include Comedy Central’s Comics To Watch showcase (filmed during the New York Comedy Festival) and Gotham Comedy Live for AXS (on the episode hosted by Harry Anderson, who coincidently and unexpectedly just died). You may also have seen him on Nick Vatterott’s half-hour special for Comedy Central, where Dean portrayed Sexy Abraham Lincoln Lobster Man. Don’t worry so much if you missed that, but you definitely missed out on the time he turned Brooklyn bar Littlefield into the Robert Dean Museum, or the time he turned his own place into a hotel.
I’ve enjoyed sharing his parody videos for Bar Rescue, imagining episodes “saving” the Cheers pub or Moe’s Tavern from The Simpsons.
Earlier this month, he released his first stand-up album, “(It’s Not Easy) Being Dean,” on Sure Thing Records.
So let’s get to know the real deal on Dean!
Name: Robert Dean
Arrival Date: May 2008
Arrived From: Connecticut
When and where did you start performing comedy? What was your first time onstage like?
I started performing comedy in 2003 (18 years old) in Connecticut, where I’m from. My first time onstage was at a high school open mic. I received a standing ovation. (It was downhill from there)
What was your best credit when you moved here?
Performed at Fairfield University (where I went to school)
Why did you pick NYC instead of Los Angeles or anywhere else?
I have always loved NYC and growing up an hour outside, it wasn’t much of a decision.
How is this scene better/worse/different from the scene you moved from?
I was not part of a scene. I did not meet another comedian until I moved to NYC. I was just performing at music open mics in Connecticut.
How long did it take you to get your first paid gig in New York after moving here?
My first paid gig was about a year in. I “won” a bringer show to get a small feature set in the Poconos at a place called Poconuts.
Can you describe an “only in New York” experience from living here?
Seven years ago, I lived in the East Village in a living room that my Craigslist roommates turned into a bedroom illegally and poorly using plywood. One of my roommates loved slow-cooking garbage on the stove and left the kitchen window open. One morning I woke up to two pigeons having sex on the kitchen cabinets.
What tip would you give any comedian who moves here?
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
Carnegie Hall (either performing or as an audience member)
ICYMI: Here was the Robert Dean Museum
And this was the Robert Dean Hotel
You can buy his new comedy album, “(It’s Not Easy) Being Dean” now on iTunes and Amazon, and check out this remix, too!
Which NYC comedian would you like to see me style and profile next for Meet Me In New York? Send your nominations to: thecomicscomic AT gmail DOT com