If you go

What: Dana Gould

When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday

Where: Dairy Arts Center, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, in the Gordon Gamm Theater

Cost: $15

More info: tickets.thedairy.org

Gould also performs five slots at Denver's Comedy Works, 1226 15th St., from Jan. 12-14. Tickets are $15-$23. Info: comedyworks.com/comedians/dana-gould

Dana Gould doesn't pander to his audience.

He pens intelligent comedy, and if audience intellect is used en route to the punchline, the brain is rewarded.

It's smart comedy. Like TV's "The Simpsons," for example — a model Gould admires after writing for the show for seven years.

"(It's comedy) designed to be enjoyed by everybody," Gould said. "But if you're smarter, there's stuff in there for you to really get. I don't believe in excluding people, but I do believe in rewarding your brains."

With a 35-year stand-up comedy career, Gould's model has proved successful. His genius beats through his pen.

Gould cites stand-up for his success, which he began in New England at age 17. At 52, he's still touring. He'll make a stop at at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday at the Gordon Gamm Theater at the Dairy Arts Center in Boulder.


"I really came from a standing start," he said, noting the career was what moved him out of his little Massachusetts town to, eventually, Los Angeles. "My stand-up career is the nuclear rod that powers every other aspect of my career."

Gould said he was snagged by "The Simpsons" because George Meyer, executive producer at the time (who once lived in Boulder, Gould said), was a fan of his act. Gould's numerous acting gigs also came from his reputation in comedy, he said.

"That's why I've never stopped doing it," Gould said. "You always gotta give back to the mountain, as they say. And stand-up for me is definitely where I owe the most debt. I think I will be doing stand-up until the actual standing up part becomes an issue ... Stand-up comedy will segue into old-guy-on-a-stool comedy."

Aside from performing and writing for "The Simpsons" in the early 2000s (and co-executive produced seasons 14-18), his career spans from hosting a popular monthly podcast that frequently lands in iTunes' top 10 comedy downloads("The Dana Gould Hour") to being involved in stints and production bits in iconic sitcoms.

In December, his new comedy-horror series, "Stan Against Evil," was renewed for its second season on IFC. This may be his most successful stab at a TV series to date, but it wasn't his first pilot.

"My standard line is, I've had my hand in more pilots than an Air Force proctologist," he said.

But "Stan Against Evil," starring John C. McGinley and Janey Varney, whose characters reluctantly team up to fight demons that have been plaguing their town from 17th century witch burnings, has achieved rapid success. What started out as an idea for five-minute digital shorts turned into one of IFC's most popular original launches, network president Jennifer Caserta said in a release.

"It's the obvious thing for me, because I'm a comedian and I love horror movies," Gould said. "Why it took me so long to combine the two remains to be seen."

What remains to be seen seems endless. From a fan favorite playing "Fragile" Frankie Merman on "Seinfeld," to producer on "Parks and Recreation," to his recurring appearances on Bill Maher's show, to bits on late-night television, to a hand in graphic novels, Gould shows no signs of slowing down. On top of it all, he has three kids. ("I just wake up in the morning and gauge how far behind I am.")

In November, Gould did an edgy bit on "Conan" about baby Adolf Hitler and baby Charles Manson. When asked if the fear of taking a joke too far ever leaves a comedian's conscience, Gould said not for him.

"I kind of feel that if it's the right joke, you're obligated to see how far it can go," he said.

Boulder can expect a show of Gould's self-deprecating humor that dives into his real life, he said. After a tumultuous couple of years, he said life has settled down, and this material will be used on his next album.

"My act is very autobiographical," he said, "and fortunately for the audience, my life is something of a train wreck."

Gould said he's looking forward to coming back to Boulder, which he hasn't visited since the early 1990s. His intelligence and wit will no doubt fit in. And if not, he quoted Joel Hodgson from "Mystery Science Theater," who once said, "Not everybody will get it, but the right people will get it."

Gould admitted: "That's how I think. You'll get it. And if you don't get it, you won't know you didn't get it and you'll still have a good time."

Dana Gould as:


Fantz: I am a giant "Seinfeld" nerd. You got to play "Summer George" as "Fragile" Frankie Merman.

"My big memory of doing that episode was, you know, Jerry (Seinfeld) and I are both stand-up comedians, we're not actors," Gould said. "We're stand-up comedians who do some acting. But we're not actors."

Gould explained a scene between him and Jerry Seinfeld in season 9: "We were like, 'I know how to say this line and it's funny this way.' And (Seinfeld) goes, 'Yeah. And I say this line and it's funny this way.' And I remember (director) Andy Ackerman saying, 'No, no, no. you're both ruining it,'" Gould said.

Fantz: I thought you did a great acting job. I love the hell out of Jerry, but I will admit, he's not the strongest actor.

"In the early seasons they used to give him a bowl of cereal because he didn't know what to do with his hands," Gould said


Fantz: Speaking of iconic sitcoms, "The Simpsons" is my 2-year-old daughter's favorite. Who was your favorite character to write for?

"Moe," Gould shot out before I even reached the word "character."

"The first episode I wrote was called 'Homer the Moe,' where Homer took over the bar while Moe went back to bartending school. It was sort of inspired by my dad, who worked as a bartender when I was a kid, so I've always had a special affection for Moe," Gould said. "My dad looms large in my writing. He's the star of 'Stan Against Evil.' He was the star of my first 'Simpsons' episode. He's the Everest of my psychic landscape for whatever reason."


"People who listen to my podcast know a lot about me because I talk about myself all the time," Gould said, of his monthly podcast, The Dana Gould Hour. "I'm a big 'Planet of the Apes' fan."

Gould said he wrote comical and informative essays about unknown facts about the original movie series. ("There's just a lot of weird, funny stories about it," like, "Rod Serling wrote the first screenplay," and "The guy who designed the makeup for it was the guy John Goodman played in 'Argo' — he worked for the CIA in addition to being a Hollywood makeup guy.")

Gould said comic company Boom Studios told him they had Rod Serling's original draft of "Planet of the Apes" from 1964 — which is "drastically" unlike the modern film ("They live in a modern city, they have helicopters and skyscrapers — it's much less action-adventure, it's more of an intellectual, ponder-y piece") — and asked Gould to adapt the screenplay.

"I was like, 'Well, there's no way I'm going to give up the opportunity to have: written by Rod Serling, adapted by Dana Gould,' on a piece of paper. You gotta take those opportunities when they present themselves."

Christy Fantz: 303-473-1107, fantz@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/fantzypants