Known as “Comedy’s Best Kept Secret,” comedian, writer and actor David A. Arnold has finally stepped into his rightful place as the comedy gem capturing laughs around the world. Arnold’s newfound success comes on the heels of his latest Netflix special “Fat Ballerina,” executive produced by Kevin Hart.
The glitz, glam and glory hasn’t come without respect to Arnold’s creative genius and long-standing presence in Hollywood, however. The Cleveland, Ohio native moved to Los Angeles in 1999 with “two trash bags of clothes” and the “addresses to two comedy clubs” where he’d wind up becoming a comedy staple. “The only thing I knew is that I wanted to be a comedian,” Arnold stated.
In an exclusive interview, we discovered that Arnold isn’t shy to the entertainment business at all. It turns out that the comedy vet was surrounded by entertainment legends as child. His stepfather Bobby Massey is one of the founding members of The O’Jays and his mother, Barbara Arnold-Massey worked as the group’s road manger. Arnold says that seeing this kind of influence placed him in a unique position of storytelling, learning to understand the world around him and capitalize on his gift of gab.
Eventually, Arnold’s comedic genius would help him become a force to be reckoned with behind the scenes as a comedy writer. Over the years, Arnold has racked up a lengthy resume of writing credits, including Tyler Perry’s House of Payne, Meet the Browns and Kevin Hart’s hilarious Real Husbands of Hollywood series. More recently, Arnold both produced and wrote for the Netflix sitcom Fuller House.
After a while, however, Arnold began to lose himself in the process of perfecting the craft of others. “When you’ve been writing as a comedian, you help make other people funny all the time,” he said. “People go, oh my God, you’re so funny! They’re talking to other actors, and you’re standing next to them going, no got damnit, it’s me!” he stated emphatically. “As a comedian, you get to a point where you’re like, I need my credit, I need people to know.”
When asked what was the turning point to breaking the mold and standing out in his career, Arnold noted an impromptu encounter with his friend of 17 years, Kevin Hart, who encouraged him to step out on faith and “do his own thing”. When Arnold presented the idea of doing a comedy special, Hart was immediately on board, sowing a financial seed into Arnold’s vision.
“When I went to ask Kevin for the money, I didn’t feel like I was asking for money. What I felt like I was asking for, was an opportunity for him to put out, once again, some great sh**,” he said.
And Arnold did just that with “Fat Ballerina,” garnering new supporters from around the world and trending at number one for the first ten days of the show’s release. “I’ve been doing stand-up for 24 years under the radar, a lot of people just met me the first time because of this,” he said.” “The response – it’s been incredible,” he added. So incredible that Arnold has already secured another one-hour stand-up comedy deal with other projects in the works.
One of the projects will be a revamped version of Arnold and his wife Julie’s “love story told through the eyes of divorce.” Initially titled Divorce Saved My Marriage, BET picked up and cancelled the sitcom idea nearly four years ago. Fortunately for Arnold, the rejection turned into a blessing.
“One of the things that the network executive said was that I was not marketable, and I went wow, really?” From that point on, Arnold says he picked up his phone and started posting his social media rants and comedy sketches. “Eighteen months ago, I had 1,800 followers; now, I have over 700,000 in eighteen months,” he said.
In a climate where many are struggling to survive, much less fuel their creative passions, Arnold encourages comedians and writers alike to keep pushing forward. “This is a time where you’re going to find out really, what you’re made of. You can do whatever you want to,” Arnold said. “You have to believe in you like nobody else. Nobody sees you, like you see yourself, and they’re never going to until you show it to them.
Today, Arnold continues to inspire and raise up comedians around the world with his masterclass, The Art of Stand-Up Comedy. “For me, I love talking about stand-up, I love the art,” he said. “I can’t make you funny, you’re funny or you’re not. The only thing I can do is show you the tools and the work ethic that me and my friends have used to build our act and get to where we are,” he stated.
Overall, Arnold says he’ll remain committed to delivering timeless material. “I talk about relationships and family and marriage and kids. When I wasn’t married and didn’t have kids, my conversation was about my life and the way I was raised, that’s always been my wheelhouse, it covers life,” Arnold stated. “It’s relatable and I’d like to think that it’s funny.”
For check out more from the exclusive interview, visit www.lasentinel.net or DavidAArnold.com.