Don Jamieson is one of a select few people in this world who you can honestly say is living the dream. The wiseass heavy metal fanatic from New Jersey is a successful comic whose live records top the comedy album charts and when not on tour doing stand-up he interviews his idols on VH1 Classic’s That Metal Show with DJ Eddie Trunk and fellow comedian Jim Florentine. For Jamieson, his love of metal and his love of comedy go hand in hand. His latest album Hell Bent For Laughter, the title and packaging a nod to Judas Priest’s 1978 metal opus Hell Bent For Leather, came out in March on famed inde label Metal Bade Records and was an instant hit on iTunes comedy charts. The life of a professional comic is one of constant work and Don was kind enough to talk to us about the new album, his favorite comedians and how he got his start. And be on the lookout for Meet The Creeps, his dark series of awkward hidden-camera pranks with fellow TMS funnyman Jim Florentine, which are available on DVD and will also soon be available on Netflix.
Tell us about your new album, Hell Bent For Laughter.
Being on Metal Blade there’s really no limits to what I could do. They’re not going to put any restrictions on me when they have bands like Cannibal Corpse on their label (laughter). There’s definitely a lot of freedom to do what you want with them. Being a comic, I’m a little self-destructive, so I always like to challenge myself to do something different. My first album I recorded in a rock club and did one show and that’s the whole album. Most comics record like six shows and piece them together to create the perfect set, but I just threw caution to wind and did it all in one night. The new one I did, I taped four shows, but it’s still ninety-five percent one show, because there’s a flow to it and you want to try to keep that feel as much as you can. What I really wanted to do was capture the personality of this particular club that I play in New Jersey all the time called Uncle Vinnie’s Comedy Club. It’s my home club and I know it really well and I know the crowds that go in there and said to myself “This is the type of crowd I want on my next album.” Every night there’s just the strangest characters there and a lot of the stuff that most comedians would cut out of their CD I left on mine. It’s a BYOB comedy club, which I’ve never even heard of before, so in the middle of the show a woman drops a bottle of wine and it smashes on the ground in front of the stage. I left that in. I love all that stuff. I love the atmosphere and the personality of the room and that being almost another story line going on underneath what I’m doing.
What made you want to become a comedian starting out?
I just basically always had the utmost respect for comics. When I was 11 I listened to George Carlin and Cheech & Chong tapes when my parents went to sleep. Even though I didn’t understand a lot of it, I knew it was subversive and that’s what I loved about it. Those are my favorite comics, guys like Andrew Dice Clay and Sam Kinison, the outlaws. I always loved them the most. You know, I started comedy later in life and just wanted to do it in that no-holds-barred style. I just pretty much did it like everybody else. I got on stage one time and tried it and got such a rush out of it that I’m still doing it eighteen years later.
Watch Don and Jim Florentine give Lamb Of God the “Meet The Creeps” treatment.