Peter B’s in Sarver to host comedian Johnny Dam |
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Peter B’s in Sarver to host comedian Johnny Dam

Comedian Johnny Dam

Most entertainers don’t leave Los Angeles to move to New Castle and consider it a career move. Yet, that is precisely what Orange County-born comedian Johnny Dam did. He packed up everything and moved to New Castle — to get more work.

As Dam advises young comedians, “You don’t make your name in L.A., you make your name, and then L.A. sends for you.”

Dam, who will be rocking the big, red barn at Peter B’s in Sarver on Nov. 19, started doing stand-up in Los Angeles in 1991. He didn’t kill his first time, but he was hooked, nonetheless, on a life of making people laugh.

He was a regular at all the clubs in Los Angeles, trying to forge a career on unpaid sets with hopes of an agent seeing him. As he found out, you can’t pay your bills on “I might get discovered.”

Dam is ebullient when he speaks of his move to New Castle and quickly becoming a go-to comedian for local bookers for club shows, fundraisers and private shows. Dam also stays busy producing the DAMage Report, a satirical newscast that gets played on three radio stations nationally.

His Pittsburgh pilgrimage started when he visited New Castle with his wife (his fourth) and someone cut him a break in traffic. “I was frustrated by this driver, and my wife said, ‘He’s letting you in.’ That never happens in L.A.”

He likes that he can live on the comedy wages he earns, and he simply “fell in love with New Castle.”

“(Western Pennsylvania) is one of the prettiest places I’ve ever been,” he says. “The people here are real, they’re honest, and it’s simpler. I love the seasons. I like that you have to get things done by winter. I love seeing grown men excited about spring.”

Dam says his comedy style has “evolved over the years. I hold a mirror to the audience. Every joke has a victim. We all take one for the team.

“We all want to be the star of our own show,” he says. “It all comes to we can all use a laugh. Comedians are one of the most important jobs in society. We contribute to the human condition.”

Dam believes he’s already “made it” in the world of comedy. “I got to work with so many idols. I keep moving forward. There is no definitive finish line.”

His favorite new joke? “I’ve been married so many times my wedding album is an Etch-a-Sketch.”

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

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