He’s been a nightclub DJ, come in second in an air guitar championship, and accidentally had a number 11 chart single.
And, oh yeah, he’s funny.
Now, British BAFTA and RTS-award winning comedian, writer, presenter and journalist Danny Robins is coming to Sweden on a six-city tour as his alter-ego DJ Danny, who he expects will keep audiences in stitches without–literally–missing a beat.
So, who exactly is DJ Danny?
He is a teacher by day and a DJ by night. The inspiration for him came from when I used to be a DJ in London and run this club night called Easy Tiger.
This character’s just a very nerdy man who teaches English literature, Shakespeare and poetry by day, but has this dream of going out there and being a superstar DJ like Pete Tong or Paul Oakenfold or Fatboy Slim.
Yet somehow, he can’t ever escape being a teacher. You find that he ends up mixing poetry into his pop music or is very conscious of the fact that if he gives up teaching, he’ll lose his summer holidays. I think it’s the sort of thing a lot of people identify with– wanting to give up the day job and live your dream.
What kind of music does DJ Danny play?
It’s that word that seems to be very popular in club nights right now: eclectic. Which means, basically, ‘I don’t have to tell you.’
It’s all sorts…I think there’s something for everyone. And I’m really feeling for my Swedish tour, I should be trying to fit in a little Swedish music as well. I’m going to try to work out a way to toss in a little Gyllene Tider or one of the great Swedish bands. You know, maybe a bit of Roxette.
That’ll be great. Maybe a bit of Robyn?
Oh, yeah. Respect for the Robyn. She shares my name, of course, so…
Does DJ Danny have a favorite song or record of all time?
Well, SL2’s “On A Ragga Tip” used to be the music that DJ Danny always came out to, so that would be up there.
DJ Danny is also very into sort of his “bad-ass hip hop.” He drops “Hot in Herre,” by Nelly. Gets slightly annoyed by the fact that “here,” is spelled “herre,” though. The spelling and the grammar in hip-hop always bother DJ Danny. He can tolerate the guns, the drugs, the bad language, but the grammar really upsets him.
Does he sport Nelly’s infamous white band-aid?
Yeah, I used to wear a band-aid on stage actually. It’s a good look. I think the lyrics, “It’s getting hot in herre, let’s take off all our clothes,” aren’t so appropriate in his school environment, but when DJ Danny gets on stage, I think he sort of hopes all the Swedish audience might want to take off all their clothes.
How much do you think you, Danny Robins, are like DJ Danny?
I worry that I’m actually quite a lot like him. I think almost all comedians are actually frustrated rock stars and the only reason they’re actually doing comedy is because they can’t live the rock star dream– they can’t sing, they can’t play an instrument, or whatever.
I think that a lot of DJs are actually just frustrated rock stars as well. So, I think DJs and comedians have quite a lot in common there. I used to DJ. I was never a teacher so that part of it is just the character. But yeah, I think I’m a nerdy man living out my dreams on stage– so that’s not all that different.
So, tell me about this number 11 hit single you say you had…
That’s my one claim to fame in the actual music industry. It’s a very strange story. It was sometime in the early 2000s, I think.
Two other comedians and I had written a sketch for a TV program and then this DJ named DJ Dee-Kline sampled it off of someone’s answering machine and used it in this garage dance track. It was really weird. So, we tracked him down, found out who he was, and ended up getting royalties out of it.
It ended up being on all these compilation albums and going to number 11 on the charts. So yeah, that and coming in second in the UK Air Guitar Championship Finals are my two claims to actual musical fame.
Air Guitar Championship Final? When was that?
2007 or 2006, maybe? You’ll notice that my musical history is not making music actually. Air guitar and being sampled and deejaying– there’s a key factor there: that I’m not very musically talented myself. And that’s the great tragedy of my life. That’s why I went into comedy.
So, what does it take to come in number two in an air guitar championship final?
It’s important to not win. I think that’s crucial to coming in second.
We had an air guitar band called ‘Satan’s Underpants’ with air drums, air guitar, air bass, air singing. We had the costumes, wigs, tight trousers– dangerously tight trousers– and we had lots of people in the audience throwing knickers at us and holding up signs.
We had fake glass bottles we broke over our heads. It was a big production number. I think we were ultimately beaten by someone who committed to a purer form of air guitar. Our theatrics only got us so far.
So, with your show, should people be expecting it to be more of a comedic or musical performance?
It’s very definitely comedy. They’ll be laughing for hours, I hope. But, I think it’s unusual because I haven’t seen another show that uses music in the same way. There are a lot of musical comedians who play guitars or keyboards and sing as part of their comedy, but I’m actually deejaying on stage whilst I’m doing the jokes and taking suggestions from the audience about what to mix.
Don’t be surprised if by the end of it you’re laughing, but also want to shake your booty.
Danny Robins will be performing DJ Danny with support from Ben Kersley– Sweden’s only Swinglish comedian–at Oslipat in Malmö on March 23, Arenan in Falun on March 25, Sinnet in Gothenburg on March 26, the Boulevard Theatre in Stockholm on March 30, Bastiljen in Linköping on March 31 and VG Nation in Lund on April 1.
More information on times and tickets can be found via the links below.