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NPR Arts & Life

Dan Soder: Only Child Syndrome

Dan Soder appears on <em>Ask Me Another</em> at the Bell House in Brooklyn, New York.

Stand-up comedian and actor Dan Soder has been on your screen more times than you've probably realized. He's been featured on Comedy Central's The Standups, Inside Amy Schumer, and MTV's Guy Code. Alongside comedian Big Jay Oakerson, Soder co-hosts a daily radio show on SiriusXM called The Bonfire where they talk about all things sports, entertainment and comedy . He also has a recurring role as Mafee on the Showtime drama Billions,which depicts the power politics in the world of high finance in New York City.

Dan Soder and Kal Penn face-off in a game on <em>Ask Me Another</em> at the Bell House in Brooklyn, New York.
Mike Katzif / NPR
Dan Soder and Kal Penn face-off in a game on <em>Ask Me Another</em> at the Bell House in Brooklyn, New York.

In a conversation with NPR's Ask Me Another host Ophira Eisenberg at the Bell House in Brooklyn, New York, Soder talked about his most recent comedy special on HBO, Son Of A Gary,what it's like growing up as an only child, and how working in a cannery in Alaska convinced him to try stand-up.

Inspired by his lifelong love of professional wrestling, for his Ask Me Another challenge, Soder faces-off against actor Kal Penn in a game about the history of wrestling.


Interview Highlights

Dan Soder, on how he decided to get into comedy

Soder says that after his aunt who lived in Soldotna, Alaska got cancer, he decided to spend the summer living with her, and ended up working at a cannery.

"She was my dad's sister and kind of like my second mom... And I was like 'Cool, I'm either gonna work at Applebee's in Aurora, Colorado, or I can move up to Alaska and live with my aunt for a summer.' And I did that, and ended up working on the docks. And then I worked 16 hours a day, seven days a week, for three months.

"And then I ended up making all these weathered humans laugh. And I was like 'I think I'm gonna do stand-up. Because I always wanted to do it, but I was like 'You're not funny enough to do stand-up.'... I'm making these guys laugh who are missing fingers! You know, I moved back to Tuscon, and that's when I started doing open mics."

Heard on Kal Penn And Dan Soder: The Tournament Of Champions.

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