The After Dark series at the Purple Room continues to showcase a type of talent not often found performing in Palm Springs—and such will be the case on April 10 and 11, when comedian Cash Levy will take the stage.
Levy has recorded a special for Comedy Central, and performed on The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson. During a recent phone interview, Levy discussed how he was drawn to stand-up comedy.
“I think it starts the same way for a lot of guys: You start doing open-mic, coffee shops and any place with a microphone,” he said. “You work your way up to where people want to pay to see you. It’s a very tough process, because you know what to do to make your friends laugh—but it’s an entirely different story to make a room full of strangers laugh.”
Levy said all the hard work is worth it in the long run.
“That first year is the hardest,” said Levy, who has been performing for about a decade. “You just have to do your best to be patient with yourself, because you’re still figuring yourself out. You have moments of great hilarity, but then you’re not as consistent as you are later. I made an agreement with myself early on that I was just going to do 100 shows and try not to judge myself too harshly, because anything valuable in life is worth struggling for. If it was easy, it wouldn’t be so rewarding.”
Improvisational comedy is Levy’s style. He said improv comedy is difficult to pull off on television.
“Every TV show I’ve done is different. … On TV shows, you have to be very specific as to what you’re doing, and very concise,” he said. “You really don’t improvise much, and I always find television to be like a skating routine … and TV shows are the free skate. When I did my comedy special, I shot it myself, and I sold it to Mark Cuban of the Dallas Mavericks, and they put it on AXS TV for three years, and it was very improvisational. For an hour, you have a lot more time to spread your wings and do what you do best.”
Levy has taken his comedy to U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
“You’re usually flying into Afghanistan at night or really early in the morning, because of the darkness,” he said. “That’s kind of nerve-racking, and there was a night where a lot of bombs hit our camp, and we had to go to the bomb shelter. You do find when you perform for the troops that it’s very rewarding, because the more dangerous areas you go into, the more they appreciate you being there—and they laugh harder. As a comedian, the danger makes you a little nervous, but the laughter makes it all worthwhile.”
There are many comedians who love to discuss pop-culture and celebrities, or use insult humor; Levy is not a fan of those styles. Instead, Levy prefers to keep his act clean—and as a result, he’s done a lot of corporate gigs as well.
“I don’t really do anything with current events; I think that leads to more Entertainment Tonight style comedy, ripping on people,” he said. “I think you like your jokes to be more evergreen—evergreen meaning they will last and be more relevant for a longer period of time. To hear a joke about Nancy Kerrigan or a news event … it tends to dissipate pretty quickly. The joke will only last for two or three weeks, and it leads to really negative comedy, where you’re putting down whoever is in the news. I like the show to have people feeling good when they leave. My style is more a communal event where I interact with the crowd and ask them questions and sort of put a mirror up to the town I’m in, the room I’m in, and the people who happen to be there that night. ... The show is different than the night before or after.”
Levy promised a good time to those who attend his Purple Room shows.
“Expect to laugh a lot—I can guarantee that,” he said. “People seem really happy to have come, and many people come back the following night to see how the show changed.”
Cash Levy will perform at 11 p.m., on Friday and Saturday, April 10 and 11 at the Purple Room, 1900 E. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs. Tickets are $10 to $12. For tickets or more information, call 760-322-4422, or visit afterdark.purpleroompalmsprings.com.