We had the good fortune of connecting with Danielle Dallas Roosa and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Danielle Dallas, how do you think about risk?
I am drawn towards risk like a moth to a flame, or my favorite analogy – like a broken heart to an open bar. After graduating with a Communication major and interning at places such as NASA HQ, MTV, and The American Cancer Society, I chose the very risky decision to move to LA to pursue comedy and acting in LA. Sometimes I think back to this decision – WHY? Why on God’s green earth did you decide to do that?! Trade in a nice apartment and/or future in DC or NYC to go to LA to live on a living room floor? *Shakes head*. But then of course I did that. That was the only path I could have possibly chosen. I love risk. I love knowing that I am in charge of my destiny -that I made the conscious choice to trade in safety to follow the dream I’ve had since I was 3 years old. I think of risk as a math equation. If I’ve given up X(safety) then I must put in the work (y)…you know what, never mind. I hate math. What I’m trying to say is that risk is my job. Every day I’m aware of what I have given up to be living the life I am, and that makes me work even harder. My friends always say that I’m a workhorse. Danielle – you need more downtime. And I say, no. I risked it all to be here which means I need to put in more work than anyone else. Also – check back in 2 years. I might be at a mental institution because I burn out. But for right now I’m “fine”. At the end of the day, I view risk as a privilege. I am so lucky to be able to do what I do. To be in a Meisner acting conservatory, writing a pilot with a fantastic writing partner, doing voice over, auditioning for big projects, producing my own content, and living in the beautiful city of Los Angeles. There’s such freedom in letting go of what is safe and truly striving for what is risky. Yes, it is a struggle to figure out when the next paycheck will come. As they say, “high-risk high reward”. I don’t think that’s referring to money (although, if that comes you’ll hear no objections from me). I think the “high reward” part is living each day with joy knowing that you are doing what you love and it’s because you chose the harder path. Take risks people, it’s worth it.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Funny enough (it’s not funny) I was very sick as a kid. When I was in the hospital I would find myself watching, Whose Line is it Anyway. I was able to witness first hand how comedy can transcend any experience to make you forget about pain or illness for even a couple of seconds. That was my most important lesson in life. My brand of art is honest comedy. I love talking about things that people shy away from discussing and making it funny. For example, I’ve had some uterus problems as of late. I decided to dress up as a uterus and sing a song about how mean uterus’s (is the plural uterus, uteri?) can be. It made some people uncomfortable for sure, but I also received countless messages from women struggling with fertility and/or endometriosis. They told me that stupid song I wrote really helped them digest what’s happening inside their body. I also love, love, love making fun of myself. I have and continue to make embarrassing/stupid/cringe-worthy mistakes and although it might set off a panic attack at 2 AM, it makes for AWESOME comedy sketches. The film I helped write, produced, and starred in titled, APPyness, is all about a girl that gets an app that lets her control when and how she feels emotion. This film has done very well in festivals because people definitely relate to it. This whole story is a thinly veiled message about anxiety and/or depression and the importance of working through things instead of covering them up. Aspiring to be good at comedy is a long road and the more life experience you gain, the better your comedy will be! The more you mess up, the more material you have.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Things are a little different with COVID now. But if we’re pretending that isn’t a thing… I would say first off we would go to SYCLE in Toluca lake with my best girlfriend Molly. Then get coffee at a nearby coffee shop. Then we would go to SOHO house maybe? Or maybe Malibu wines. And then go back and play board games. I also love throwing parties and wish I could throw a huge one today. But I guess it’ll have to wait. I’m really bad at this question! It’s been so long since I’ve been out! The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
We’re only as good as the people around us and I’m aware I would be a pool of anxiety with my support system. Ryan Turner is one of those people who picks me up whenever I’m having a panic attack about my career (but again – I’m FINE). He’s a fantastic director, writer, and might be the only person who’s ambition matches mine. Brian Cunningham is my writing partner who has logged onto Zoom every night for 2+ hours to write…during a pandemic. We are constantly going back and forth during writing sessions which only makes the projects that much stronger. Also, I’ve gotten some nice abs from how hard we laugh. My acting conservatory, Open City Acting Studio for always pushing me to be better. My parents and sister – because they’re the best. And my close girlfriends who know who they are. I love and trust you and am so grateful for you every day!