Veteran comic Dave Dugan set for cancer fundraiser

Dave Dugan never worried about most of the much-publicized product and food shortages during the quarantine earlier this year amid COVID-19.

Beef and chicken? Meh.

Toilet paper? Nah.

But, leaping lizards, what was his bearded dragon, Gree, to do without crickets for lunch?

“More than two days of a lettuce diet, and he becomes agitated,” Dugan said in an email chat last week.

The veteran Carmel comic, long a favorite on the Indianapolis-based and nationally syndicated “Bob and Tom Show” on radio and television, has heard figurative crickets waiting for his phone to ring with fresh bookings most of this summer and fall. But he is headlining a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society at 7 p.m. Oct. 23 at the Pixy Theatre, 111 S. Walnut St. in Edinburgh.

Like so many other performers, he went 195 days earlier this year with no place to perform before a live audience until a winery’s outdoor show surfaced. Perhaps fitting since it was enough nearly to drive him to drinking.

“It was pretty devastating actually, and living a much less public life that I’m used to, I pretty much developed the social skills of Boo Radley,” he said.

He referred to the reclusive character in Harper Lee’s novel “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

But there have been bright spots. His family friendly, online Dry Bar Comedy special, available at drybarcomedy/daved, was released in May. He also recently launched a 10-episode podcast “Just a Minute With Dave,” available on YouTube.

He figures much of his upcoming clean set, now part of a growing tour called “Off the Leash,” will focus on the common ground of quarantining and some of the everyday oddities spun off from the pandemic. But forget seeing him in his at-home work clothes of sweats.

“You don’t want to see my sweats,” he said. “They have holes in all the wrong places.”

Yet, he guesses that audiences are ready to let go of stress and laugh.

“With the pandemic, there is obviously a very serious side,” he said, not making light of that. “But there are so many absurd peripheral situations — that we all can relate to — and humor abounds.”

Consider the overarching revelation zooming to the forefront of his then-plodding life during the early days of the quarantine.

“I have discovered I have no hobbies,” Dugan said. “Unless misplacing your wallet several times a day is considered a hobby in which case I am a Hobbymaster.”

The sweet spots of the shutdown have included more time with family, such as the opportunity to introduce his daughter to his all-time favorite show of Second City Television, popular from 1976 to 1984.

“Plus, I’ve had more time on my hands to see if I could tie a cherry stem with my tongue,” he said, “and to attempt some sweet jumps off of those baby changing stations in public restrooms.”

[sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”For more than laughs” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]

What: Comedy fundraiser for the American Cancer Society with headline standup performer Dave Dugan

When: 7 p.m. Oct. 23

Where: The Pixy Theatre, 115 S. Walnut St. in Edinburgh

Admission: $15