Interview: Comedian Gabe Dinger

Editor John Barrios, Interview, April 18th, 2013

"...Someone being tortured by circumstance..."

comedian gabe dinger

Nailed Magazine conducted a series of interviews with comedians for the 2013 Bridgetown Comedy Fest in Portland, Oregon.

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NAILED: You do a lot of work with improv groups like Whiskey Tango, and you are an Improv instructor, as well. How does solo stand-up compare for you to group improv?

GABE DINGER: People ask me this a lot.To me, the main difference(s) between standup and improv is of course one is with a group, and the other is solo. Some standups have a hard time sharing the spotlight. Some improvisors have a hard time looking at, and talking to an audience. As far as a technique, standup is about getting to the punchline, whereas improv the laughs are more a response to scenario. Someone being tortured by circumstance. What I think people don’t look are the similarities of stand-up and improv. Honesty being the most parallel. If you asked the best improvisors and the best standups, what the most important thing is in comedy; they would both say honesty. It is, after all, the best policy.

NAILED: How do audiences for standup differ from audiences for improv, if at all? Do you prefer a one group over the other?

GABE DINGER: I do not prefer one over the other. I like just about any audience. I do think they are different. Improv audiences tend to be more forgiving, if not more kind. It has a theater vibe. There is very little chance of heckling, talking during the show, or being disruptive at all. I don’t think I have ever seen someone kicked out of an improv show. Although the thought of that makes me laugh. People in stand-up shows, I think, feel more connected to the show. The performer is looking out to them, and they are looking back. Also, a standup is actively looking for reaction from the audience. They’re more engaged with them.

NAILED: When was the last time you nailed it?

GABE DINGER: Nailed it? Hmm, let me think… I guess the last time your mom was in town! (BOOM! Just nailed it right there!)

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Gabe Dinger started doing stand up comedy in 2005. He won the Portland Amateur Comedy Contest in 2006 showcasing his razor-sharp wit and unmatched timing, and in 2007 won the CBS Radio Laff Off. Gabe’s material is fun and smart in a way that is accessible to a wide audience. Gabe can boast being the first comedian in Oregon State history to perform at Oregon State Maximum Security Prison in Salem. Gabe is a main-stage cast member and instructor at Curious Comedy Theater. Gabe’s experience includes improv and sketch comedy making his stage performances exciting, dynamic, unpredictable, and always funny.

Gabe has performed in a variety of venues including Harvey’s (Portland, OR), Helium (Portland, OR), The Funny Bone (Boise, ID and Reno, NV) and countless one-nighters across the north and midwest. Gabe has also been a part of the Bridgetown Comedy Festival since its inception in 2008. In a nutshell, Gabe is the consummate comedian. You won’t want to miss his exciting thrill ride of a show.

This interview was conducted during Portland’s annual Bridgetown Comedy Fest, which takes place on the weekend of April 18 – 21, 2013. Click here for information on shows that feature Gabe Dinger during the 2013 festival. [Photo Via: Gabe Dinger]


John Barrios

John Barrios is a poet and musician. He has been part of the band Curious Hands for eight years. He graduated from Buffalo State College and chased his dreams in the Bay Area for a decade before landing on his literary feet in Portland, OR. Barrios was part of the original team at NAILED, and was a Contributing Editor until May 2014.