Danny Ingle Takes a Comedic Detour Along the Road to (Late) Adulthood
When most middle-aged men undergo a mid-life crisis, they purchase an expensive, flashy sports car or get hair plugs. But for Danny Ingle, he began performing comedy, as he has for the past six years at popular venues across the country.
However, it’s hard to believe that the friendly and jovial Ingle can stand in front of a packed audience and look people straight in the eye, considering that he admits to having suffered from stage fright since childhood.
“Even in school I was the one reading real slow when the teacher asked us to read out loud,” he says, “but if something happened in class I would yell something out and make everyone laugh.”
Although Ingle enjoys success as a comedian, he continues to follow some advice often repeated in industry circles: “Don’t quit your day job.” Thus the stand-up comic has no intentions of leaving his full-time job teaching defensive driving courses to those who would rather be anywhere else but sitting in his six-hour class.
“A lot of people come in and they’re upset, and I can understand why,” Ingle says. “So I incorporate humor into the course and I get to work on some new jokes because they can’t leave. At the end of the day, all these people come up to me and say, ‘We loved your class.’ ”
It was around 2003 that Ingle, who secretly harbored dreams of doing stand-up since seeing a few comedy shows in the late 90s, finally built up the courage to try his luck during an open mic night at the Rivercenter Comedy Club in San Antonio. Although his nerves almost got the best of him, he knew comedy was his calling.
“I was so nervous I almost got sick,” he says. “There were only about 10 people, and I was up there less than five minutes. I got a few laughs, and it encouraged me to do more.”
Don’t expect Ingle to fire off a rapid volley of hilarious one-liners or setting his audience up with the standard “so did you hear about the guy who …” while on stage. His shtick is based on life experiences, he says, or rather his adventures along the way of graduating magna cum laude from the School of Hard Knocks.
“I see myself as a storyteller of what I’ve experienced in life, or even as everyone’s favorite uncle,” Ingle says. “I’m not going to burn you or make fun of people. I want people to feel comfortable and want to come back to see me again.”
And if there’s one thing the comedian has learned about doing stand-up, it’s that you can’t expect to make everyone laugh.
“At a show you might have 200 people and 20 will think you’re terrible while the other 180 think you’re awesome,” he says. “But if you start focusing on the 20 to try to make them laugh, it’s not going to happen. Just focus on the 180. Not everyone is going to like you.”
Now that the comedian has gained quite a few performances under his belt, and feels at home on stage, he no longer battles with stage fright. He’s channeled that nervousness into positive nervous energy.
“Now it’s more of a feeling of I can’t wait to get out there and perform,” he says.