Comedian Dave Helem has seen much more of his hometown, Chicago, than he planned to coming into this summer.
But unforeseen circumstances often make for good comedy and Helem himself knows a lot about making the best with what he has. After trying his hand at teaching in the Chicago Public Schools system, Helem put his all into stand-up and it’s paying off — he’s maintained his role as a Chicago comedy fixture while also gradually establishing himself in Los Angeles as a writer (Comedy Central’s “Hood Adjacent” is among his credits) and performer.
Bridging his West Coast life with his roots, Helem produces a continued comedy showcase called A Dope Ass Comedy Show both in L.A. and Chicago, doing it once a week out there and once a month here.
But for the past month Helem has only been in Chicago, putting in some filmed gigs while getting in as much stage time as he can to the point of putting on impromptu Dope Ass Shows.
“Being in town I been spending a lot of money on Ubers,” Helem said. “I got to re-coup.”
At a “pop-up” Dope Ass Show earlier this month at its home club, At North, Helem spoke about the two-year journey the Dope Ass Shows have had so far (Helem initially came to Chicago in July to celebrate the show’s two-year anniversary), what moving to L.A. has meant to his career, how Chicago comics are killing it as well as avoiding the Chicago Bull(shit)and keeping from being only “Chicago famous.”
Helem insists on a certain standard of comedy for his shows. For a nominal fee, check the Dope Ass Facebook page for ticket info, you are assured to see not only the best comedians in Chicago at his show. And because they’re the best here they’re among the best anywhere, says Helem.
“Chicago’s winning right now…all I want to do is help spread the word about the scene here,” Helem said.
“I’m trying to bring all the industry in that I can to these shows and get people to see these comics coming up because they’re good.”
“Good” is an understatement for some of the best stand-ups who’ve either headlined or dropped in for surprise sets At North for the Dope Ass Show — Hannibal Burress and Saturday Night Live’s Chris Redd have both done so.
The Dope Ass Show also lays claim to the last two comedians to appear on Kevin Hart’s “The Next Level” series on Comedy Central — fellow Chicagoan T-Murph headlined the pop-up show just two days before his special premiered and Tacarra Williams, whose national show was last week, was a surprise at the two-year anniversary in July.
“I ain’t gonna put no bullshit on my show,” Helem said. “I want this show to be the creme de la creme of Chicago shows…if you on my show then people should know you’re going to bring that shit.”
Follow Regal Radio on Twitter @regalradio1 and on Facebook under Regal Radio; Follow Kyle Means on Twitter @Wrk_Wrt