When we hear the words “school teacher,” comedian doesn’t usually come to mind. Dan Crohn, however, is the fifth grade teacher-turned-comedian you wish you had.
"Kids rule, adults are serious and boring. They say the classroom is a stage as well. It’s unpredictable, just like doing standup," said Crohn.
Some people may consider Crohn’s performances to be vulgar and certainly not suitable for a young audience. And today’s technology makes it easy for anyone to look him up on the internet; even Crohn’s fifth graders could gain access to his performances on YouTube.
"Vulgar, wow, that’s such an adult word. It’s hard to spell,” Crohn joked. ” You know what else is hard to spell, my last name; making it hard for my internet savvy students to find me." Touche, Mr. Crohn.
To his delight, some of Crohn’s students are already showing signs of a future in comedy. "I see their ability to be funny without trying. Children have an amazing sense of comedic timing which they don’t even realize," he said.
Crohn was born in California, but his family moved to New York shortly thereafter. When he was just five years old his parents packed him up again and moved to Boston. Said Crohn, "My parents made me â€¦ you really don’t have a say in such matters."
Looking back at what he was like in the fifth grade, Crohn called himself a "popular loser." "It was the year before we started getting grades, so I think it went pretty well.”
While he was growing up, Crohn’s father owned a record store; the majority of the old albums were live stand up performances.
Although Crohn has wanted to become a comedian "since birth", he discovered his influences while going through his father’s albums.
"I say it was Henny Youngman [who influenced him to become a comedian], but it was really Steve Martin’s Wild And Crazy Guy which made me want to do stand up," he said.
Crohn didn’t begin doing comedy until April 2004; his first show was at Dick Doherty’s Comedy Vault. "I had always wanted to be a comedian but forgot about [it] while I was in college,” said Crohn.
He gets his inspiration for the theme of his shows from his family and friends. Crohn says his live performances contain "Fast jokes. I don’t want you to catch your breath."
In 2007, Crohn produced and hosted the Punk Rock Stand Up Show. "It was basically just a showcase of talented comics and local punk bands in rock clubs. The highlight was a show featuring comic Doug Stanhope."
The Punk Rock Stand Up Show took place in several different venues around Boston including The Reel Bar, O’Brien’s, Great Scott and The Abbey. The Punk Rock Stand Up Show ended in 2008 after about 20 shows.
When asked what he does when he’s not teaching or doing comedy, Crohn said, "I am always doing these two thingsâ€¦always."
Crohn has shared the stage with many acts including Pauly Shore, Jim Breuer, Jim Norton, and Pablo Francisco. He has even appeared in an episode of "Quiet Desperation,” a reality sitcom that features comedians, musicians and performers from the Boston area. Recently, Crohn was a semi-finalist in the Boston Comedy Festival.
It’s been almost 6 years since Crohn began his career as a comedian and he is quickly gaining momentum in Boston. To check him out for yourself, head to Nick’s Comedy Stop on March 12 and 13.