I first met Dana Jay Bein in the spring of 2014. I was working on a project for grad school about stand up comedy in Boston. Somehow I got connected with Dana, and I’m glad I did. Dana, or DJB, is someone I respect tremendously for what he has done and what he continue to do.
After finishing up my project, I enrolled in Dana’s standup 101 course at Improv Boston after deliberating over it. Through that course and the next level of courses I became involved with a great community at Improv Boston. Unlike the stereotypical example of the sullen, selfish Boston standup, Dana was welcoming, friendly, and kind towards those who wanted to make it in the business, or at least give it a try.
Even though I’m not really involved with the comedy community in a direct way anymore, I’m thankful for the experience I had with Improv Boston and other comedies around the city of Boston. The thing I took away from Dana is that achieving your dreams takes a lot of freaking hard work. He told us to keep going to open mic nights, even if you weren’t getting on until after midnight. Sign up for a slot and keep working your material. Sometimes you’re going to suck, and other times you’re going to land a few jokes, but it takes a long time to figure out those things.
I keep track of Dana’s going’s on via Facebook and Twitter. (He’s an avid social media user.) Dana will be the first to tell you that he has his ups and downs. I really don’t like people who portray a constant stream of naive positivity. I like those who are honest about themselves and where they are at in their lives. I’m not exactly sure of Dana’s relationship with his dad, but he’s written a few heartfelt blog posts about his relationship with his father. I appreciate that sort of vulnerability and respect him even more for it.
I think the thing I like best about Dana is that he’s a celebrity in his own right. Even though he’s not a nationally know comic around the country, you would be hard pressed to find a comic in Boston who hasn’t met Dana. Kindness is an extremely underrated and under appreciated characteristic in today’s society. We value cutthroat competition. Dana was one of the first people who taught me that it doesn’t really have to be that way. Success is not a zero sum game. It’s good to help your peers out with a hand up. I’ve tried to take that into other areas of my life.
The other reason I like Dana is because he’s his own person. He’ll tell you about his love for the Patriots or the Red Sox. He’ll post about heading to Bukowski’s tavern. (I regret not raising a glass with him there.) He’ll post about the shows he is doing. And he’ll routinely tell his friends to “keep following their f*cking dreams.” I think everyone needs someone like that in their lives.