Dave Stone is an inspiration. He’s an acclaimed comedian, a true independent who lives in a van and makes his own rules, an incredible chef whose recipes can turn a sad social collision into a raging feast for the senses, and a podcaster who explores the strange and the supernatural with the exact right balance of reverence and whiskey breaks.
A lifelong Southerner currently based on the West Coast, he’s a reasonable voice who faces down the insane parts of life, be they apparitions, misleading fast food commercials, or Chicago-based Mothmen. The Boogie Monster, his podcast with the similarly inclined Kyle Kinane, is a fearless voyage into the unknown worlds of conspiracies, gas station dining options and cryptozoology. But also with Dave’s superb recipes, and the occasional video of his DIY cooking show. Dave Stone does all of these things, and Nashville is lucky as shit to have him swing by this holiday season.
Stone will perform Thursday, Dec. 14, at Third Coast Comedy Club. We caught up with him earlier this month.
When you’re touring through this part of the country, does it recharge you? Tapping in to that which is Southern?
It absolutely recharges me. I spent the first 34 years of my life in the South — I was born in Nashville, by the way — but have been in Los Angeles for the last several years. The South is in my blood. It’s something you can’t explain to folks who aren’t from here. So when I come back it definitely puts a spring in my step.
Now, living in LA currently, do you find that earthquake unease is comparable to any weather-based fears you might have had as a kid in Georgia?
I try not to think about it. I guess the only thing I feared weather-wise in Georgia was the occasional tornado. In California, the threat of an earthquake is always in the back of your mind, but I just push it back even further. Short of a backpack full of water and batteries, there’s not much I can do about it.
When it comes to critters — spiders and the like — in the van, which get to stay and which have to leave?
After a few years of van-dwelling, not much bothers me in there. Spiders, ants, bugs — I just swat them away. I draw the line at mammals. I once had a squirrel get in there and spaz out. Another time a pigeon flew in through the window. That’s the stuff I have to watch out for.
Who made you want to go into comedy?
I’ve always been interested in comedy, but I can’t track it back to one person. I think as I grew older into my teens and 20s, I just realized I had a knack for making people laugh, so eventually I just went for it.
What’s the funniest movie you’ve ever seen? Like, the one you can watch often but never get tired of.
One that I love that rarely gets tossed into that conversation is Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story. At first, I thought it was going to be one of those terrible spoof movies, like Scary Movie, but the jokes and the comedic acting are top-notch. Never gets old to me.
It seems like everywhere you go in America has a haunted theater of some kind, whether movie theater or traditional live theater venue. But are there any haunted comedy clubs that you know of? Or is the energy of those spaces not conducive to the supernatural?
The Comedy Store in Hollywood is supposedly haunted. In the ’40s and ’50s, that building was said to be a mafia hangout, and supposedly the ghosts of some murdered mobsters still linger. I do the occasional show there, and it definitely has some weird energy.
How does it affect you onstage when people are using their phones?
I think most people realize that using their phone during a show is a huge faux pas. Unfortunately it does still happen sometimes. It’s one of the few things that can get me to break my rhythm and force me to stop and address. And while I’m flattered that anyone would actually want to film my performance, it’s of course going to be a low-quality video, so please don’t.
Since the beginning of The Boogie Monster, have you noticed a change in how people discuss conspiracies/cryptids/mysteries with or around you?
Oh yeah, of course. I’ve inadvertently carved out a niche as the food and paranormal guy. Biscuits and Bigfoot. People are always asking if I’ve heard of these weird urban legends and stuff. After every show I catch myself saying things like, “No, I haven’t heard of the Mandengo Devil Possum, but I’ll look into it, thanks.”
Any plans to go Squatching (searching for Bigfeet) this tour/holiday season?
Hopefully. I’ll have a day or two off in Louisiana, and I hope to get out into the swamps and root around a little.
What are your favorite places to eat in the Nashville area?
Nashville is without a doubt one of my favorite food cities. My go-to spots are Hattie B’s, Arnold’s, Swett’s and of course Robert’s Western World for that fried bologna sandwich. I’m dying to try Husk, and I need to explore your barbecue a little more.
If you had to describe your ideal sandwich, what would it feature?
Oh man, I love sandwiches! If I’m going traditional cold cut, I love an Italian-style sandwich with all those great cured meats, salami, capocollo and what not, with some good provolone and the works. I’m also a sucker for really good pastrami or corned beef. Speaking of hot chicken, right now my favorite sandwich is at Howlin’ Ray’s Hot Chicken in Los Angeles. A huge boneless chicken breast, done up Nashville hot style, on a soft bun, with vinegar coleslaw on top and garlic aioli on the bottom. It’s insane!
OK, last question: When you’re out on the road, what’s your ideal caffeine source? The one that gets you through.
I’m not much of a coffee guy, so I’m ashamed to admit that Red Bull is my go-to. I realize it’s probably turning my pancreas into jello, but we’ve logged thousands of miles together.