Comedian John 'Dr. Dirty' Valby talks politics, Elvis, and giving the middle finger to the haters

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John “Dr. Dirty” Valby has been making audiences cringe and laugh since the mid-70’s with his cabaret-song parodies that make fun of just about anyone.

Some comedians set a goal to offend a certain demographic of people, but not Valby. He wants to offend everyone - and that’s what makes him so great. With his signature derby hat and hilariously explicit lyrics, we can’t help but chuckle and smile when we listen to Dr. Dirty tear Donald Trump a new one. We caught up with the comedian over the phone before his performance at the Andiamo Showroom in Warren this coming Saturday, 4/23.

Metro Times: When did you realize you had this knack for blending piano, singing, and comedy together?
John Valby: Oh, when the hell was that? Back in 1974 I’m pretty sure. In Buffalo they had this place called The Showboat - it was this really old riverboat - and it was on the Niagara River. They had an engine room and I played down there. That’s when I knew I wanted to do that kind of stuff.

MT: How often are you working on new material? Is it ever hard to write new songs?
JV: Weekly, I’d say. This political season has been particularly fertile. There are just so many assholes out there, it’s wonderful.

MT: Do you write alone or is there any collaboration?
JV: I have a buddy named Ron Lombardo who travels with me on the phone. He’s the comic genius and I’m just the performing monkey (laughs).

MT: Where did the nickname “Dirty John” come from?
JV: My manager gave that to me when we went to some convention thing back in ‘75. He said “Dr. Dirty.” I’ve always kind of regretted it because it takes away this element of surprise. But, it’s appropriate and it stuck so no big deal.

MT: We saw a video on your website where you just rip apart Obamacare. Do you try to pick fun at both sides or is it whatever makes you mad at that moment of writing?
JV: Oh my god, yes. Absolutely. I offend everyone possible. That is always the goal. If Obama is doing something ridiculous then I’ll make fun of him. Same for any Republican, too.

MT: So what have been the hotter issues during this political season that have inspired new songs? I’m assuming Trump has to be a good one.
JV: It’s just fun to bash them all, honestly. You try to do something clever, find a good joke, and then turn it into sex one way or another.

MT: Is there ever any backlash?
JV: Not much anymore. When I first started people used to get a little offended. I can remember I was picking on Nixon and this guy came up to me and told me I couldn’t pick on Nixon because he’s the president. And I just remember saying, “Yeah, I can. This is America. Free speech, buddy.” Nowadays people come knowing what is going to happen. You know, everybody is horny. That instinct is inside of them. So if there’s a good joke they will laugh and have a good time. And beer helps, too!

MT: Have you ever had to apologize for something that you’ve said?
JV: No, I haven’t. I learned early on that you have to wait a good week after somebody dies before you can make fun of them. The day after Elvis died I made the mistake of making fun of him and the crowd just booed me. They let me have it. So I found out right away that you have to wait a week if people really loved that person.

MT: When you’re on tour do you cater to the city or area that you’re in?
JV: When we are driving to the job we try and look up what is going on locally. We love to pick on the local sports teams and try to find the community college or something that people love to make fun of.

MT: Is local news ever hard to work with to turn into good material?
JV: Well the news is so national now and not too much local. It’s just the same subject happening over and over again. But it all comes down to sex at the end of it (laughs). And Detroit is just as horny as any place I’ve ever been!

MT: What can we expect when you come here on Saturday night?
JV: Yeah, Detroit always has a lot of crazy shit going on. I don’t want to spoil anything, but one song has to deal with Dennis Rodman.

MT: Any chance you’ll pick fun on Rick Snyder and his administration. That’s always a subject that gets people riled up here.
JV: You know, I know it’s national news and we do hear about it here in New York from time to time, but now that you mention it I may have to! And we’ll make fun of the Red Wings too, now that they’re in the playoffs.

Dr. Dirty will be performing Saturday, 4/23 at the Andiamo Showroom in Warren. Tickets are $25, $40, and $49. 7096 E 14 Mile Rd, Warren. 


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