Comic brings laughs to Legends
Judging from his videos on YouTube, he's a guy with a lot of calculator jokes.
Talk to him for 10 minutes, and you can see why audiences across the country can't help but laugh out loud at his absurd and loud personality.
He is, as Legends audiences will see Thursday, Dec. 2, a funny guy, if a little full of himself.
"I just sort of have always been able to get on stage and get laughs," he said.
The ego is justified.
"I have a unique family background and sort of a mind that plays toward the absurd and observational," he said. "I wouldn't classify myself as an alternative comic or dark comedy or hipster ... I'm kind of original mainstream."
Whatever the classification, Mengini's 10 years of standup add up to one thing: aAunique understanding of comic timing.
That's pretty good for a guy who unknowingly started his career in college at the University of Georgia.
"I sort of got on stag
e for the first time out of a dare," he said. "It snowballed from there."
From that first show in Athens, his career started to take off. With roles on "Fark TV" and a lead in the Adult Swim animated show, "The Rising Son" ("There's a strong rumor going on... I want to emphasize rumor, that there's a script order to bring that show back," he said), he could be one audition away from his big break.
He may have almost had it more than a year ago when he was cast in a Brittany Murphy movie ("where I was going to have seventh billing," he said) alongside Kathleen Turner and Sam Trammell. The movie was squashed after Murphy's untimely passing, but he found ways to keep busy by playing Lee Norris's sportscaster replacement for three episodes on "One Tree Hill." During his Hollywood tenure, he's worked with the greats, including Liza Minnelli and Rosie O'Donnell ("Drop Dead Diva"), but no one was more influential than his grandfather.
"He would come for three weeks a year, and he always had jokes he would tell at the dinner table every night," he said. "As a kid, listening to adults tell adults jokes ... it kind of introduced me to humor, and I think that's where some of the smarts come from."
It's smarts he's brought to Boone before with a show about eight years ago at Geno's Sports Lounge at the late High Country Inn.
"I specifically remember that gig because I'm literally in the showroom, like, 10 minutes before the show started, and the club owner says it will probably sell out," he said. "Literally ... five minutes before the show started, 300 people showed up. I don't know if you guys carpool, or if it's just cool to get there late."
The High Country's a special place for Mengini.
"I kind of grew up in this part of the country, too," he said. "So, if I ever need to go skiing or drive through the capital of meth labs, I always like strolling through Boone."
Mengini has some advice for would-be comics in the audience.
"Go see some live shows," he said, "and there's no substitute really for getting on stage. Do that. Try to write from what you know, and that will set you apart from the rest of the people."
What sets him apart?
We're back to that loud, yet genuine, personality.
If you miss the show, look for Mengini in an upcoming AT&T commercial, hitting national airwaves during the holiday season.
The show happens Thursday, Dec. 2. Doors open at 9 p.m., the laughs start at 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $3 for students in advance and $5 at the door and for guests. BYOB, six-pack limit with ID. For more information, visit http://www.danmengini.com.