Part man, part ageless boy; comedian Dwight Slade has the privilege of being a comedy legend in American stand up. The winner of this year’s Boston Comedy Festival, Slade combines an intelligent, raging voice of justice with the snickering attitude of a high school prankster. He gives the impression of a man on a journey. Who enjoys nothing more than making fun of everything along the way. Born in Seattle, Dwight moved often in his early years, living in San Mateo, California; Wilton, Connecticut; Marietta, Georgia and Houston, Texas.
It was while in middle school in Houston that Dwight became friends with Bill Hicks, an intense young man with a secret dream of becoming a stand-up comedian. The two quickly developed a partnership that has lasted a lifetime. The two became enamored by comedians on The Tonight Show and began writing jokes to try out on friends. At age 14 they were sneaking of their parent’s suburban homes and riding their bikes to auditions and open mikes.
Throughout his high school and college years, Dwight continued to focus on stand-up. At 18, Slade finished 3rd in the Euphoria Comedy Contest, and full of ambition, moved to Hollywood. He became one of the youngest performers to ever perform at the famous Comedy Store.
In the 1980’s, the comedy boom was underway and Dwight found he could garner more precious stage time in Portland, Oregon than in Los Angeles. “Why should I live in Los Angeles when I can be just as miserable and unknown in Portland?” Slade soon established himself as the premier stand-up in the Northwest opening concerts for Jay Leno, Jerry Seinfeld, Jeff Beck and Dave Chappelle.
Now married with children, the young family faced an interesting dilemma: how do you travel on the road as a working comedian and stay together as a family? The solution took the form of a 36 foot fifth wheel travel trailer that the young family toured and lived in for four years while Dwight headlined comedy clubs across the US and Canada. “My second child was born in the RV,” says Slade, “We were pulled over at the time.” Slade decided to hang up the nomadic lifestyle and settle down in Portland. It proved to be a good decision.
While grounded in Portland, Slade was able to explore more personal aspects to his stand up comedy. Putting together the critically praised, one man political primer, “Do People Really Think Like That?” Dwight was not only funny, but also thought provoking. The San Antonio Express wrote, “Slade restores one’s faith in comedy as the great equalizer. At his cerebral best he becomes the voice of the little man looking for a little justice – and just maybe a little pay back – for life’s daily mundane humiliations.”
The 90’s found Dwight moving into new arenas of creativity. Radio station KXL-AM billed him as “The Northwest’s Most Dangerous Mind” as he became a noted talk radio personality who used humor instead of rage to engage listeners. He released two comedy CD’s on Humor Ink recordings, “Weird State,” and “Shut-up.”
Slade’s feature film debut came in 2000 in the movie “Inconceivable,” which enjoyed a run on Showtime and Lifetime. Slade also co-starred in the gritty family drama, “My Way Home” which won the Platinum Award at the 2001 Houston International Film Festival. Since then, Slade has made appearances in three feature films including the soon to be released James Westby film, “Rid Of Me.”
In 2002, Slade became the first stand-up to make appearances at the three major North American Comedy Festivals: Aspen, Chicago and Montreal. On the heels of his performances, Slade signed a development deal with Warner Brothers Television. Slade was chosen to appear on HBO’s “Best of the US Comedy Arts Festival” and made an appearance on Comedy Central’s Premium Blend.
Slade’s stand-up has gained international stature after earning a five star review from Scotland’s Minister of Culture at the prestigious Edinburgh Fringe Festival and appearances at the Montreal Just For Laughs Festival. He followed this with a tour in Afghanistan performing for US Troops, a tour of Israel. After a stellar performance at the 2008 Comedy Festival in Las Vegas, Slade was chosen to appear on a Tonight Show feature.
Slade’s Hi-Def Comedy Special, “Right & Raunch” is now available on DVD.
Dwight is a single father with two children.
And, yes, he is an Aries…