In December of 2018, I interviewed comedian Victor Dweck about his upcoming foray into late-night comedy. At the time, “Dweck” was to be a mixture of typical late-night fare (monologues, desk pieces, interviews) and sketch comedy. Over the last ten months, however, “Dweck” has evolved into what will be a series of unique sketches released on a weekly basis.
“Dweck” isn’t your typical sketch comedy series. While the likes of “Saturday Night Live” and late-night comedians such as Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Kimmel make their bread by endlessly mocking the president to the point of exhaustion, Victor Dweck has a different angle – just do what’s funny. With that in mind, the comedian hopes to entertain those who have walked away from late-night and sketch comedy over partisan fatigue.
The following is my interview with Victor Dweck.
DW: Can you first describe what the show is?
DW: Dweck … we really need to know what it’s about.
DWECK: Fine. It’s a sketch comedy series about American life in today’s world. We poke fun at a lot of different things. Each sketch is different. We’ve created a lot of fun characters that have potential to be recurring. We’re very excited for you to meet them.
DW: What was the inspiration for this show?
DWECK: Truthfully, we just wanted to create something that we would want to watch. The show covers a lot of topics that aren’t being portrayed in comedy right now, and does it in a very fun, lighthearted way. We have fun with things like transgender athletics and prisoner rights. Are you a transgender athlete?
DW: Maybe someday.
DWECK: Cool. In all seriousness though, when you turn on the TV to laugh, it’s become the same thing over and over – either recycled unoriginal comedy or “Trump is bad! Now laugh!” So, we took an insane stance, something only a lunatic would do: Create original comedy that everyone can enjoy.
DW: What’s your opinion on the current state of late-night comedy?
DWECK: I grew up loving late-night comedy. As you know, this show, “Dweck,” actually started as a late-night comedy show. I loved late-night. I grew up a huge fan of Conan O’Brien. He’s one of my favorite comics. Conan didn’t really take a hard left turn – but the rest of late-night is so hyper-partisan, and it’s all just a Trump bashing hate fest, and it’s not fun to watch. Kimmel has cried on television, and you get a lot of clapter instead of laughter.
DW: Can you describe your brand of comedy?
DWECK: I can.
DW: Will you describe it for me?
DWECK: Sure. I thought you’d never ask! It’s lighthearted, doesn’t take itself too seriously, and at the same time has a point-of-view or message that most people can appreciate. Also, I should point out, I don’t consider myself a “conservative” comedian. Politically, I tend to hover around the center, and I really just consider myself a comedian.
When it comes to topical humor, we joke about both sides and do it in a way that is fun and enjoyable. It’s what my partner Tom Leopold enjoys creating as well (shout out to Tom, by the way, please Venmo me for lunch). A lot of comics right now are not like this. They can’t talk about a certain topic without falling into the trap of being offended, or concerned about offending others.
DW: Can you describe what the show was supposed to be initially, and then how it’s changed since then?
DWECK: Originally, we were building a late-night show that had all the elements of late-night comedy. That show had all the different elements that you see on current late-night – an opening monologue, interviews, desk pieces, as well as the sketch comedy that you’ve seen from “Dweck” already. We wanted to do it because half the country doesn’t watch late-night anymore and neither do we. A few networks wanted it. We ended up signing with Blaze Media.
When we started building it out, it required resources that were too much for our small team at the time. It would be a bite bigger than we could chew at the moment. So we said, “Well, why don’t we continue doing what we know we can do, which is create sketch. And then eventually, if the market wants it, grow into a full on late-night show.”
DW: So what is the show going to be now?
DWECK: The show is on Blaze TV. They’ve ordered a pilot run of sketches. Each sketch is completely different, has a different look and feel from the other, and talks about a different topic. You’ll see Victor as a different character in just about every single one. If it goes well, then we’ll take the next step. That’s the show in its current iteration – it’s a pure sketch comedy show.
DW: How is it going to be distributed? Where can people find it?
DWECK: They can find it exclusively on Blaze TV’s YouTube channel. We’ll be putting promotional clips on Twitter and Instagram and Facebook and The Blaze. But full episodes, full sketches, will be exclusively on Blaze TV’s YouTube channel.
DW: Is there an exact premiere date yet for the first sketch?
DWECK: The first week of October.
DW: You know Shane Gillis, who was just hired then fired from “Saturday Night Live.” What’s your opinion on the whole situation?
DWECK: Shane and I worked together for about three months. He was a friend of our director, and he hired him to be the fireman in a sketch – and then we hit it off right away and he joined the show, starred in another sketch, and wrote another sketch. We all took a break while we went out to shop the show. Shane started getting really big as a stand up and went on to, well, get SNL, as you know.
And Shane, I just want to say, was like Santa Claus. This was the nicest guy you could ever meet – so sweet, so nice, like a big teddy bear. I heard the controversial clips. In my opinion, he was just trying to be funny.
And honestly, you have to be very ignorant of the facts to think anything otherwise. I mean, it’s a public podcast called “Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast.” That’s clue number one not to take it seriously. The other clue is that the cover is Shane sitting on the toilet. So, a lot of clues not to take that podcast seriously. And I think, look, to be good enough to get on “SNL,” you have to do thousands of hours of experiments with comedy, and sometimes that’s saying inappropriate things to see if it’s funny. He’s experimenting and he’s on a podcast and he’s not Tony Robbins. So he said some things that weren’t so funny. But it was obviously a joke, and yeah, I feel bad.
At the same time, people who are upset over it must remember that “Saturday Night Live” is a business, part of a public company, and they have fiscal responsibilities. They literally have a legal responsibility to enhance the bank accounts of shareholders. And who knows what was going on internally at “SNL.” They could’ve loved Shane; they could’ve known that he was joking, but they might’ve been threatened by an advertiser. They may have been threatened by big celebrities who were offended. I mean, you write for The Daily Wire, so you know people get very offended. It’s a business, and people need to also respect that “SNL” is not necessarily the bad guy. I mean, I can’t say whether or not “SNL” did the right or wrong thing – they probably don’t even know if they did the right or wrong thing – but it has to do with dollars and cents and everyone has to respect that.
[After working on “Dweck,” Shane Gillis went on to a career in standup. He was then hired by SNL, and subsequently fired after podcast recordings of him surfaced in which he made racially insensitive jokes and remarks.]
DW: What did you think of Andrew Yang’s response to the situation?
DWECK: I thought that was brilliant. I thought that it was good. It was very cunning of Andrew to step into the spotlight like that. And I thought that it showed great character from a prominent politician to go and throw himself in and take a risk by saying that we should forgive this person when a lot of his party are the people that were calling on him to be fired. So I thought that was very smart of him. Let’s assume it was genuine. I think that was good. It was very nice of him. Why not forgive the guy?
DW: Is there anything that you want to say that we haven’t touched on?
DWECK: Support the show, and I really think people on both sides are going to like it, and I’m excited for people to see it – and tune in, and follow us, and share it. We’re really doing this for all of you. We know that this is comedy that people want. We’re not doing the show for really any other reason than to give people what they want. That’s really the goal, and hopefully we can do it. And if we don’t, I apologize in advance.
I reached out to the Gaston Mooney, the president of Blaze Media, for comment on “Dweck,” and he stated: “Victor is a talented and hilarious guy. We couldn’t be more excited to partner with him on this sketch series. We hope everyone has a great laugh from the sketches.”
For a taste of Dweck-style humor, here’s a hilarious sketch he released in August 2018, prior to inking his deal with Blaze Media (Language Warning):