"Dark, absurd, honest, relatable."
These are the words Dan Cummins chooses to describe himself with. Where these descriptors lack in meaning, words like 'angry,' 'cynical,' 'maniacal' and 'slightly cruel' fill in the empty spaces.
For his bizarre brand of comedy, Cummins has earned two critically acclaimed stand-up CDs, numerous Comedy Central performances and a rabid fan base among college campuses nationwide.
His delivery is punctuated and nuanced, underscored by a uniquely casual-cool style. But Cummins' real gift is his uncanny ability to take a joke to a place that is unpredictably strange, yet vaguely familiar enough that it works.
A joke about taking children to inappropriate places doesn't end naturally at a strip club, but at the Grand Canyon, with a prank played on blind midget (who would invariably be unable to see such a thing).
With a background in psychology, the comedian uses small snippets of real life observation and releases them in the wild, surreal landscape of his own imagination. Much of Cummins' material is spawned asexually in the isolation of his own noxious, twisted headspace.
"It's chaos. I wish I could control [my thoughts] more," he said. "I don't feel very in control of what goes on in my head, and a lot of them are horrible."
As much as he may want to control his horrible thoughts, he certainly isn't afraid to share them with other people. And while he often ends up being funny in the process, comedy itself is just something that happens to swirl tornadically around his observational fury.
"The artform in general I don't really care for -- it's painful," Cummins said. "I don't really pay attention to other comics. I don't like being labeled into genres,
and when you start becoming part of a scene you limit yourself artistically. Comedy should be based on the content rather than who you know."
And who does Cummins know? The people who do know him probably don't really like him very well, but are very well entertained.
"It's nice being alive, but the hardest thing about being alive is most people aren't f****** dead. Most people annoy me," Cummins said.