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

World-touring Dave Fulton revisits Spokane in time for Expo ‘74 celebration

Dave Fulton will take the Spokane Comedy Club stage on Thursday.  (Courtesy)

Dave Fulton is an internationally recognized comedian. He has performed in multiple countries, including Ireland, Great Britain, Australia, China, Japan, India and Kazakhstan. But before the motorcycle-riding, ice-climbing comedian – who has lived in London since 1997 – toured the world, he grew up in Coeur d’Alene.

North Idaho was home to him , so he’s coming back to the region to perform Thursday at the Spokane Comedy Club.

“We moved to Coeur d’Alene from Missoula, Montana, in ’72, so that’s back when Idaho was fun, because there was hardly anybody around, and nobody had any money,” Fulton said. “And of course, I did all the Idaho stuff.

“We spent all our summers at the beach … I went hunting and owned guns, still own guns, and drove around too fast … We didn’t have phones growing up, so we used to drink, drive around and shoot signs.”

While growing up, Fulton was an Eagle scout.

“I went to three jamborees, two national jamborees and the World Jamboree in Norway in 1975,” Fulton said. “And Expo ‘74 had a Boy Scout encampment on the site and our troop stayed there for a week.”

Boy Scouts were stationed to help guide visitors throughout the fair. During the six-months-long fair, a new Boy Scout troop would move into the encampment each week.

“They locked the gates at 10 p.m. and we were just there,” Fulton said. “We were there all night and as young teenagers just running around.”

At Expo ’74, there were several inventions being unveiled, including many we would consider mundane today.

“Yeah Expo ‘74 is when they first exhibited the airbag,” Fulton said, “and so we used to play with the airbag exhibit.”

The General Motors Pavilion introduced the “Air Cushion Restraint System,” also known as the “Air Bag.” The exhibit used a slow-motion demonstration to simulate a vehicle experiencing a head-on collision.

Fulton recalls a conversation he had with an attendee at the airbag exhibit: “They said, ‘You know it comes out a lot faster than that,’ and I said, ‘Can you make it go faster?’ and they’re like ‘No, it would scare you,’ and I said, ‘Scare me. Please scare me.’ ”

Fulton outgrew the Eagle Scouts and graduated from high school in Coeur d’Alene, then attended the University of Idaho for musical composition. After finishing graduate work in New York City, Fulton worked toward becoming an alpine climbing guide.

“And then a friend of mine who was doing comedy … Jeb Fink, he was living in Coeur d’Alene as well,” Fulton said. “He got into comedy and then he talked me into it because he wanted somebody fun to hang out with.”

Nick Theisen, another comedy friend, remembered when he first worked with Fulton.

“God, it was probably 30 years ago,” Theisen said. “He lived in Coeur d’Alene, and I lived in Spokane. One of his first gigs that he got, a professional gig, was with me. I headlined and Dave opened for me, and it was up at Schweitzer Ski Resort.”

Theisen has gotten to see how Fulton has grown as a comic.

“He’s an amazing comic,” Theisen said, “and one thing I like about Dave is he’s edgy, but he’s not dirty … He keeps the crowd entertained and riveted, all ages like him. Even the young kids love to see him, and a lot of older folks.”

Fulton has also written a new book called “The Blue Dress.”

“I just got done reading that,” Theisen said. “It’s an amazing story. Somebody should actually make a movie about that.”

The book is historical fiction, based in the American Civil War and follows the experiences of a fictional soldier, who “walks away from the fight, puts on a dress to stay warm and never takes off,” Fulton said.

“And he gets befriended by a runaway slave and is being chased by a sadistic lieutenant,” Fulton said.

This book took Fulton four years to write.

“I had to do a lot of research regarding the Civil War and slavery,” Fulton said. “It turns out that guys wearing dresses to get out of serving in the Civil War was not an unusual thing.

“But you know what’s crazy? Because the book features a guy in a dress. I’m pretty sure they won’t allow it in the schools in Idaho, so you know how they always say read banned books? Well, I’ve written a banned book.”

Fulton may not be able to share his book with the students of Idaho, but his comedy has something for everyone.