Dustin Diamond 'all in' on his foray into stand-up comedy
Dustin Diamond comes “screeching” into Pittsburgh for a weekend of shows on April 11 to 13 at a variety of locations.
Many celebrities take up stand-up comedy as a means for additional income without much thought to the content or to the art of stand-up, but Diamond seems “all in” on his new profession. Diamond cites some pretty good comedians as influences — “I like Richard Pryor, Mitch Hedberg, Brian Regan .... oh and Carlin too, of course.”
Diamond is much better known for his unforgettable Screech character from the coming of age TV show “Saved by the Bell.” Audiences related to the regular aspect of the Screech character who wasn't the guy that got the girl. Diamond played the other guy to perfection. The other guy who had to deal with delayed gratification, disappointment and a broken heart. Everyone rooted for Screech. And now everyone is rooting for him as he takes on stand-up comedy. Diamond has traded the sunsets of California for the sensational sunrises of his adopted homey hamlet of Port Washington, Wisc., where he as has nestled down with his wife.
“At first, there was some culture shock, but now it feels like home. It's real here,” he says.
Diamond was an obvious booking for Pittsburgh comedian and show producer, David Kaye.
Kaye is steadily building a strong base of comedy clubs in the Pittsburgh area under his Slapsticks comedy banner. He now has four clubs running on a monthly basis and a myriad of fundraisers running regularly.
“I felt the need to bring recognized performers in to solidify my position as a true hometown comedy club,” Kaye says. “Bringing Dustin Diamond in to perform at my newest location at the Doubletree in Cranberry and the long-running Rostraver Ice Garden Comedy Buffet — 17 years — puts an exclamation point on my dedication to producing quality stand-up comedy shows.”
Diamond is fresh off a brush with the law and brief jail time for a fight that he describes, in an interview on “Extra” with former co-star Mario Lopez, as “the most expensive Band-Aid I ever bought.”
Diamond called jail time “daunting” and doesn't harbor resentment. He is calm and resolute about getting back to stand-up. Diamond's comedy will include the over-the-top physicality that we came to expect from the Screech character he played for 10 years on “Saved By the Bell,” combined with adult-themed content including jokes about grandma porn.
The steady flow of residual checks from “Saved By the Bell” which still plays 16 times a week in 105 countries allows Diamond the freedom to explore where wants to go comedically.
“I love the instant feedback on live stand-up and hearing the stories of fans who grew up watching the show,” he says.
Matt Wohlfarth is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.