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

Dusty Slay keeps his head clear in life and in comedy

Comedian Dusty Slay has been sober since 2012. He believes is makes him a funnier comic. Spokane comedy fans can see for themselves when Slay headlines this weekend at the Spokane Comedy Club.  (Courtesy photo)
By Ed Condran The Spokesman-Review

There’s a school of thought that drugs and alcohol fuel creativity. Comic Dusty Slay is not in that camp. Slay, who will perform Friday and Saturday at the Spokane Comedy Club, used to drink. Slay, however, discovered that booze never enhanced his personal life or his comedy. He’s been sober since 2012.

“Everything has been better for me since I quit alcohol,” Slay said while calling from Tacoma. “My life has improved so much that I can’t convey how much better everything is. I believe I’m much funnier sober.”

The only downside to sobriety for Slay was when he was on tour with comic Bert Kreischer, who typically riffs about partying hard.

“I would love to drink with Bert Kreischer, but if I drank, I never would have been on Bert’s tour,” Slay said. “Life is less exciting with me not drinking, but I’m happier and a better comic.”

Slay, 41, will joke about his family and deliver observations.

“I hope my comedy is relatable,” Slay said. “I don’t try to be shocking or the smartest guy in the room. I talk about things that I go through. I joke about what’s going on in my life.”

As a kid growing up in an Alabama trailer park, Slay caught the comedy bug after listening to Jeff Foxworthy’s comedy albums.

“We couldn’t stop telling Foxworthy’s redneck jokes in our trailer,” Slay said. “I believe that Jeff Foxworthy’s first two albums, ‘You Might be a Redneck if …” and ‘Games Rednecks Play’ are two of the best comedy albums of all time.”

The former released in 1993 sold more than 3 million copies. The latter, released two years later, went triple platinum and scored a Grammy for Best Spoken Comedy Album.

“Jeff Foxworthy was a big inspiration,” Slay said. “So was Bill Engvall, who was part of Foxworthy’s Blue Collar Comedy group. Chris Rock, who was always on HBO back then (during the 1990s) was an inspiration and so was Ellen DeGeneres.”

Slay, who started out as a comic in 2008, is the youngest comedian to play the Grand Ole Opry. “That’s a cool thing, especially since I live on the outskirts of Nashville,” Slay said. “I love performing there but I have a great time anywhere I can perform. I just want to be in front of an audience as much as possible.