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Comedy success 'a steady grind' for Cummins

Comedian Dan Cummins on 'The Tonight Show' with Jay Leno in 2012.

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Dan Cummins

When: 7 p.m. May 8, 8 and 10:15 p.m. May 9, 7 and 9:15 p.m. May 10, 7 p.m. May 11

Admission: $15-$17, 21 and over

Where: Pittsburgh Improv, Waterfront, Homestead

Details: 412-462-5233 or

By Matt Wohlfarth
Wednesday, May 7, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Idaho is known for producing some of the best potatoes in the world. What Idaho is not known for is producing comedians, but it has produced one who is taking life one show at a time — Dan Cummins.

He honed his teeth on the famed Tribbleruns, a series of one-night comedy shows at different venues organized by David Tribble, who required fledgling comedians to “go right to bed” after the show, according to Cummins, “Just so you can make the next night's show.” Cummins credits those tough gigs with thickening his comedy skin. He'll bring his act to the Pittsburgh Improv in Homestead this weekend.

Cummins did some sketch comedy in college and his ex-wife recommended that he try the comedy thing. It took Cummins awhile to realize that “I could make a job of it.” He says there was not one big break that catapulted him onto the national comedy radar.

“It was a steady grind.” Cummins says.

Through that grind, he was able to land a manager, get a festival gig that led to a “Live at Gotham” performance, a half-hour Comedy Central Presents show and then a full-hour Comedy Central special.

Cummins' geeky good looks didn't hurt, but he doesn't take anything for granted. He writes, he performs, he videos, he edits and he cuts. Then he writes some more. He is working on his fourth hour of comedy material.

Question: Describe your comedy style.

Answer: Honest and weird.

Q: Who were your role models in comedy?

A: Steven Wright and Dave Attell

Q: What was your favorite comedy moment?

A: It would have to be getting my first Comedy Central Presents. I had one of the best sets I've ever had. It felt amazing.

Q: What's one fundamental truth about life you learned from comedy?

A: Everybody's truth is different. I used to worry what I talked about because I might offend this person or that person. Now, as long as it's true to me, I say it.

Comedian Matt Wohlfarth is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

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