Sunday, September 25, 2005

DJ Hazard records his new CD at the Comedy Studio

There are still a few guys hanging around Boston, providing not only hysterical, professional stand up comedy, but veteran leadership to the latest wave of stand ups. DJ Hazard is one of those guys.

DJ was a founding member of The Ding Ho, the legendary comedy club that started it all in Boston. Formed after guys like Jay Leno cut their teeth accepting road gigs and every minute of stage time available, including strip joints, The Ding Ho boasted a legacy of comics unparalleled by any club still going today. Ding Ho Alums include Lenny Clark, Steven Wright, Paula Poundstone, Denis Leary, Jimmy Tingle, Barry Crimmins, Bobcat Goldthwaite, Tony V and (Curb Your Enthusiasm's) Jack Gallagher, among others.

DJ is still wowing audiences and maintains a huge cult following from local performances over the past twenty-six years, as well as his days as a Doctor Demento regular. DJ throws out a mix of bang-bang style jokes, with longer, story-like material, as well as musical impressions and song parodies. His impression of Bruce Springsteen singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame as "Meeting Across the River" is freakin' brilliant.

Hazard does it all.

I got a chance to watch DJ record his second CD this past Friday and Saturday nights. It was truly a privilege to watch a master work his craft. The funny thing is... well Hazard is so humble that he cringes at suggestions he is a virtuoso, and if called a "master" he would probably throw up on the spot. One can see his discomfort even as host Rick Jenkins sang his praises, calling him the best friend he ever had and mentioning that "DJ literally saved my life."

"Who am I, Dr. Phil?" Hazard cracked as readied himself for the stage.

It was a joy to watch a real pro control the fire-code-ignoring-sized crowd from start to finish. Shifting gears at will, keeping the audience off-balance but always in the game, not knowing what to expect, but eager for the next shoe to drop.

Though I have seen DJ perform many times, for me it was like a little kid going to Fenway Park and realizing that he wants to play center field for the Red Sox. Even as I marveled at DJ's brilliant and unique material, he made it look so easy that I thought "I can do this, I can really do this."

I can "do this"... not at the level of a DJ Hazard, but my act has improved steadily, and I connected to moments in my own short career where I dominated a crowd for a few minutes the way DJ did for an hour. If I can "do this", it's in no small part because of guys like Rick and DJ, Jimmy Tingle and a host of others that have taken the time to give helpful advice, share a wealth of experience and actually watch my sets.

When a patron says, "you're funny" it feels good, it makes you smile.

When a master of his craft like DJ tells you "that was a good set", it feels like you hit the number without even buying a ticket.

Then you start to think, "Hey... maybe I can do this."


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