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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Joe Dombrowski: Comedy from kindergarten by way of Detroit

Seattle serves some of the finest cuisine in the country. There’s the salmon nigiri at Maneki, the poutine o’ the sea at White Swan Public House and fresh shucked oysters on the waterfront at a variety of restaurants. When comedian Joe Dombrowski moved to Seattle three years ago, he couldn’t wait to sample the delicacies. However, his first bite of local fare left a bad taste in his mouth.

“They have a constructive criticism sandwich here, and I don’t like it,” Dombroswki said while calling from his Seattle home. “If you don’t know what I’m talking about, it’s when you hear the negative, followed by the positive, followed by the negative and so on. I only know of this in Seattle, and, trust me, the sandwich is awful. I hate the passive and the passive aggressive. Let’s just get aggressive.”

Dombrowski, 32, is from Detroit, where life is as blunt as a 2-by-4 to the face. Like the iconic Iggy Pop sings during “Blah Blah Blah,” “I’m from Detroit / Blow the reveille / Deatho Knocko.” Detroit is direct, and if that’s not enough, Dombrowski teaches a kindergarten class, which is full of unfiltered 6-year-olds. “If you ever want an honest opinion, ask a kindergartener,” Dombrowski said. “Do I ever have stories!”

Expect a number of anecdotes directly from the classroom when Dombrowski performs Sunday at the Spokane Comedy Club. “I say all of the things teachers think,” Dombrowski said. “I tell the truth. I have a lot of wild stories about crazy things that happen in the classroom.” Dombrowski brings the energy to the stage and the classroom. “I love my children, and I do my best to entertain and educate. I’m like a combination of Robin Williams and Jim Carrey. I act out the stories from books and have fun.”

Dombrowski insists that children are different today. “I had to break up what they were doing today at recess,” Dombrowski said. “The kids were playing funeral. One of the girls was singing ‘Hallelujah’ in front of a rock while her classmates surrounded her. These are the corona kids.” “Mr. Feeney,” from “Boy Meets World,” played by the underrated William Daniels of “St. Elsewhere” fame, is the teacher Dombrowski said he’s most like. “Just like Mr. Feeney, the students can have fun, but I run a tight ship.”

Dombrowski practically has the same schedule as Jay Leno when the iconic comic hosted “The Tonight Show” five days a week and delivered standup during the weekend. “I’m a workaholic because teachers are poor,” Dombrowski said. “I have to work as much as I can to pay my bills. Fortunately, I like to be busy.” Dombrowski will riff about how different Washington state is than Detroit. “When people see me drink the way I do, I explain that I’m from Michigan. It’s usually cold as hell, and we have this big drinking culture. But don’t worry, my drinking is under control.”

Moving from sports-obsessed Motor City to Seattle took some adjustment. “All of our sports teams in Detroit are terrible right now, but we support them,” Dombrowski said. “I tell people here that we have a baseball team, they’re called the Mariners. it’s unfortunate that the Mariners are such an afterthought here.” As much as Dombrowski complains about the Pacific Northwest, he has embraced the Evergreen State.

“When I go up on my roof, I can see an ocean, a volcano and a mountain,” Dombrowski said. “Where else can you see that but in a place like Washington? I’ll never get over that even though who moves within sight of a volcano?”