We had the good fortune of connecting with Dwight Simmons and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dwight, why did you pursue a creative career?
I respected artists tremendously growing up. As a kid, I loved musicians, comedians, writers…I, probably out of pure admiration, always tried to explore myself in those creative ways. In college and shortly after, I kind of lost that part of myself in search of a”real world” career. I got a job doing door to door selling sports packages. After that fizzled out (big surprise), I got another sales job. And then another. I was miserable and awful at all of them. Frustrated, I decided to give stand-up another shot. Even though I wasn’t very good, I was undoubtedly addicted. I loved everything from getting on stage to refining a bit after a show to hanging with other creative people. Going to dinner with a bunch of salespeople is enough to make you want to jump off a bridge. Once I started gaining momentum with comedy, I knew there was nothing else that I wanted to do. My goal was then to put my head down and try and make it into a sustainable career.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
To sustain a career in comedy takes a hustler’s spirit. I’ve always acted as my own manager and that’s taught me quite a bit. I’ve Booked my own tours, produced independent shows, and self-produced two albums. I think learning how to get told no without taking it personally is one of the most important attributes any artist can have. If you e-mail 100 comedy clubs, maybe 10 will get back to you. And it might be the last 10. In stand-up, it’s important that clubs and other venues feel comfortable bringing you back year after year. To me, it’s important to focus on building good relationships. You’d be surprised, but just being a decent human goes a long way. Even just treating venues with respect, taking care of the waitstaff, and not being entitled set you apart. At the end of the day, these people are just doing a job so that you can do yours. Take care of them and they’ll take care of you. In the last few years I’ve gotten more political and more introspective. This wasn’t my intention, but the world forces you in certain directions sometimes. I still like to be silly and at this point in my career, I know myself enough to make all those aspects of my personality work on stage. Though it’s imperative for me to keep growing, evolving and not become monolithic.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Sure! My partner Meghann has been tremendously supportive while also pushing my creative limits. I’m not sure where I’d be without her. Also, venues like The Comedy Attic in Bloomington, IN and The White Rabbit Cabaret in Indianapolis, have been pivotal in my creative development. Having access to places that consistently book incredible artists pushes me to work on my own material harder and push ideas further.
Beth Darragh Mike Franke Tall and Small Photography