Daniel Eachus Puts His Foot in All the Doors

July 26, 2021

Photo Credit

David Carlson

Interview by

Valerie Lopez

Article by

Sara Cline

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2021 Summer Vacation Series

Destination - Los Angeles, California

The world is in the midst of a host of debuts, including the blinding sight of faces that haven’t seen true sunlight for many months, poking out of doors and taking the cautious first steps back into the great outside.
It’s only fitting that we debut something of our own for the podcast: the 2021 Summer Vacation Series. While we’re in no way on vacation, the theme speaks more to that most summer-y of concepts, traveling to new places near and far. Many of our guests are local to Austin, but during the pandemic we had the honor of “hosting” comics from around the world on our Isolation Comedy series, and the Vacation Series is our way of bringing them back for the full Comedy Wham interview treatment.

If you’ve ever watched those TV seg­ments that fea­ture extreme­ly pre­co­cious chil­dren, you’ve prob­a­bly expe­ri­enced that unique­ly strange mix­ture of amaze­ment, jeal­ousy, and a splash of self-dep­re­ca­tion. (How come I didn’t have the peri­od­ic table mem­o­rized when I was four years old, Mom?) Well, lucky for our col­lec­tive self-esteem, our guest Daniel Eachus made no such claims of child genius in his inter­view, but he was clear­ly a young talent.

Thanks to an ear­ly (fifth grade!) start at gui­tar, Eachus was in a rock band by the sev­enth grade. (Why didn’t I pick up an instru­ment in ele­men­tary school, Mom? … What’s that? Because I chose to do choir instead? Oh, right. Okay, I got­ta go, Mom, I’m writ­ing an arti­cle.) By the time he was in high school, Eachus was itch­ing to get even bet­ter gui­tar chops, so he joined the jazz band. At the risk of sound­ing like a Dis­ney Chan­nel Orig­i­nal Movie, Eachus relents that they were a rag­tag group of kids in high school who did­n’t know any­thing about jazz and just want­ed to get better.”

And get bet­ter they did, win­ning first place in com­pe­ti­tions all across Cal­i­for­nia, play­ing at Dis­ney­land, and even get­ting to make a CD. And though he did not real­ize it quite yet, these per­for­mances were plant­i­ng the seed that would ger­mi­nate into his illus­tri­ous com­e­dy career. Eachus reflects, “[Jazz band] taught me that some­thing that I wrote in my bed­room could be per­formed on a stage and peo­ple would enjoy it.” 

[Jazz band] taught me that something that I wrote in my bedroom could be performed on a stage and people would enjoy it.
Daniel Eachus

Eachus was also on the dai­ly bul­letin in high school. (Why didn’t my high school have a dai­ly bul­letin?) But halfway through his junior year, he was get­ting some major dai­ly-bul­letin ennui. He pitched to his teacher the idea of being a field reporter instead; he’d report on absurd, sil­ly, unim­por­tant things and turn them into news. Essen­tial­ly, Eachus found a way to do sketch com­e­dy and get school cred­it for it. Between jazz band and the dai­ly bul­letin (and land­ing the lead role in a comedic play), stand-up just began to make sense. So, he went out to a local open mic, right? … He went out to a local open mic, right? (Please tell me you’re pic­tur­ing the Clue­less Padme meme.)

Actu­al­ly, his first stand-up per­for­mance was at a going-away-for-col­lege par­ty in his friend’s back­yard. So, he prob­a­bly per­formed for around five min­utes, right? Try 45. Hav­ing only ever seen hour spe­cials on TV, he sim­ply assumed that’s what stand-up was. Most promi­nent­ly, Eachus recalls how he made all their par­ents laugh that night. That small vic­to­ry was every­thing. He recalls think­ing, “‘Maybe there is some­thing to this. Maybe I can do this.’”

Once he went to Long Beach State and attend­ed his first open mic, he real­ized what an over­achiev­er he’d unknow­ing­ly been. But with 45 min­utes of mate­r­i­al to draw from, he had a leg up at putting togeth­er his first tight five. Eachus began to study up, too, watch­ing local com­e­dy shows and read­ing come­di­an auto­bi­ogra­phies from his local library. I felt like that taught me way more than any­thing else could have … just [to learn] how all these famous peo­ple got into [com­e­dy], and what their strug­gles were.” He was espe­cial­ly impact­ed by Steve Martin’s Born Stand­ing Up. An alum of Eachus’s own Long Beach State, Mar­tin described writ­ing jokes on his way to class­es, and Eachus felt as though he was stand­ing in Martin’s shoes. Doing stand-up didn’t feel so fan­tas­ti­cal or far-fetched. It felt real, tan­gi­ble, attain­able. I could do this. Steve did this exact same thing,” he recalls think­ing to himself.

I've never felt … pigeonholed to [only] do this one thing … Anything that I feel like I could adapt to what I like, I’ll do it, [whether] it's acting or writing a book. All of it.
Daniel Eachus

And a lit­tle luck helped him along the way: When he went home to Fres­no for the sum­mer, he thought he’d be forced on hia­tus by the dearth of com­e­dy there. But, inci­den­tal­ly, local restau­rant Thai Palms began putting on com­e­dy shows, and the des­o­late com­e­dy scene turned in his favor: Because every­one was com­plete­ly green, three-months-in Eachus was con­sid­ered a com­e­dy vet­er­an. And as Thai Palms grew into its own com­e­dy club of sorts, Eachus start­ed get­ting fea­ture spots for L.A. head­lin­ers. It grew me like crazy,” he says.

Inspired by the biogra­phies he’d devoured in col­lege, Eachus even­tu­al­ly felt it was time to turn the page to his next chap­ter, so he released his com­e­dy album, fol­lowed by a Dry­Bar Com­e­dy spe­cial the fol­low­ing year. When asked about his choice to do clean com­e­dy, Eachus first men­tions his grand­ma, who didn’t seem to like his stray cuss or two in his per­for­mances. He chal­lenged him­self, then, to write clean­er. Not out of moral objec­tion, but rather to dis­till the jokes, mak­ing them stand on their own with­out reliance on swears. Plus, Eachus states, I’ve always pushed myself to try to be uni­ver­sal and try to find a way to make every­body laugh.”

His most recent chap­ter was a bit of a sur­prise. While clean­ing his house dur­ing quar­an­tine 2020, he found some comedic short sto­ries that he had writ­ten ten years pri­or. Tak­ing it upon him­self to tight­en them up, he start­ed to get even more ideas, lead­ing to around 50-odd sto­ries. He then brought a tal­ent­ed friend on board to illus­trate the sto­ries, and they self-pub­lished A Day at the Zoo in 2062. I was deter­mined to do it in 2020. So actu­al­ly, [it] was New Year’s Eve night … [I] press[ed] send on [the] order form to get all these books ordered, because I was deter­mined to say that I wrote a book in 2020.”

Most of all, Eachus attrib­ut­es the mate­ri­al­iza­tion of his many accom­plish­ments — from his stand-up, to act­ing, to writ­ing a book — to his out­look. I’ve always just had the men­tal­i­ty of, you have to put your foot into a mil­lion doors, and let’s see what stays open,’” he explains. As for what he might do next, it’s intrigu­ing­ly open-end­ed (with maybe some big the­atri­cal projects in the works). At the heart of it, Eachus asserts that he’s sim­ply a fan of com­e­dy.” He con­tin­ues, I’ve nev­er felt … pigeon­holed to [only] do this one thing … Any­thing that I feel like I could adapt to what I like, I’ll do it, [whether] it’s act­ing or writ­ing a book. All of it.”

We are excit­ed to see what Eachus will write into his cur­rent and future chap­ters. (And we’ll try not to feel too bad about our­selves when his auto­bi­og­ra­phy describes his pre­co­cious childhood.)

Want to know more about com­e­dy in Los Ange­les, California?

Daniel’s rec­om­men­da­tions for comics to check out from LA include: JC Cur­rais, James Frey, and Samuel J Comroe.

If you’re in LA and you’re read­ing this, you already know that LA is one of the biggest com­e­dy scenes in the coun­try — there’s some­thing for every taste. In fact, Daniel sug­gests get­ting a bit out of the hub of LA and head south to Orange Coun­ty which has a lot of great shows to offer with a lot of young up and com­ing comics. La Cave in Cos­ta Mesa, The Rec Room in Hunt­ing­ton Beach, and the Irvine Improv are des­ti­na­tions to check out. As he tells it, Orange Coun­ty is where you go for stage time and LA is where you go to net­work and meet people.

Fol­low Daniel

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Daniel Eachus