(July 19, 2013) Comedy is like a drug. At least, that’s how comedian Dennis Ross describes it.
He’s been practicing the habit for more than 25 years and is bringing his act back to Ocean City this summer with fellow New Jersey comedian Johnny Watson.
Every night, Monday through Saturday, the duo delivers jokes on topics from dating and marriage to family, religion and the Town of Ocean City at the “Waves of Laughter Comedy Show” at the Princess Royale hotel on 91st Street.
“Stand up comedy is worse than heroin. Once it gets in your blood, you’re pretty much done,” Ross said. “There’s nothing better.”
He started his career as a writer, first for his college newspaper, then a newsroom and National Lampoon magazine.
“I finally got the guts up to write for me,” he said.
Ross landed the Princess Royale gig in 2011, after performing in Iraq, Kuwait, Japan and Korea and with acts including Lewis Black. He and Watson have returned to Ocean City every July and August since.
“It’s a great gig for a comic,” Ross said. “You’re here six nights a week, so it gives you some time to work on new stuff.”
Both comedians spend their free time writing for their shows— about 45 minutes for every 15 minutes of banter, Ross said. Reworking their acts involves smoothing out transitions between jokes and making sure gags fit the characters delivering them, he said.
Like Ross, Watson felt drawn to comedy from a young age, starting with watching comedians on television with his grandmother as a child. He got his first break after serving in the U.S. Navy, when a headliner needed an opening act for a two-month comedy tour.
“I absolutely love — love — it,” Watson said.
His aim is to connect to the audience through frank humor about his own life, from growing up in a broken family to the trials and tribulations of dating.
“That’s probably the hardest part. You just have to be you,” he said.
When they’re not performing during summers in Ocean City, both comedians travel for work, often applying for a different gig almost every week, but the job is worth the effort, Ross said.
“For an hour a day or two hours a day, everything makes sense. I know where everything’s going to go, and people have to listen to me. And that’s the greatest part of my day,” he said.
The “Waves of Laughter Comedy Show” featuring Ross and Watson starts at 9 p.m. every night, Monday through Saturday, in the Palmetto Room of the Princess Royale Hotel on 91st Street. Tickets cost $15 per person with two sodas included or $20 with two alcoholic drinks included. There are package deals for meals at the show, too.
The show lasts roughly an hour and a half and will run through Aug. 31. Though children won’t be turned away, the show contains adult content.
For more information, call 410-723-4242.