David Dingwall Goes Balls Out

A middle-aged comedian stuffs his leopard-skin shorts and shoots for the stars.

By Tara Murtha
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 11 | Posted Sep. 15, 2009

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Photo by Jeff Fusco

David Dingwall will do whatever it takes to get his shot at stardom. Write a 300-page semi-autobiographical novel titled David. Record a Latin ballad “to reach the Spanish-speaking audience.” He’d even get naked, slide into leopard-skin ball-huggers, stuff his package (allegedly with a chemically sedated gerbil) and ride the pole.

The 64-year-old comedian is a blizzard of ambition: He’s written books, songs and theatrical skits. He can sing, act and dance. He has years of training as a vaudeville variety act performer and countless gigs under his belt.

Most importantly, he’s not afraid to strip down and shake what his mama gave him all over the Internet, like he did in his latest comedic video, the amazing White Boy (Can’t Make a Livin’ in a Black Man’s World).

The rump-rattling triumph is the perfect metaphor for Dingwall’s life, which reads like a showbiz version of underdog archetypes like Rocky and The Wrestler tempered with a dash of Napoleon Dynamite. 

Dingwall’s life and show-biz career, as intertwined as strands of DNA, have been a carousel of ups and downs, promising starts and abrupt stops. Whether working as a teacher, assistant principal or entertainer, ultimately, he just wants to be accepted, to make people feel good by making them laugh. 

But every time it seemed like his showbiz career was about to take off, it’d all go to pieces. 

The obstacles varied: As a younger man, it was fear and nerves. Later in life, as the scar that runs down his chest attests, it was his health. Then it was family obligations. It was always something.

Now, after a lifetime of starts and stalls, after all his preparation for a comeback, it’s ironic that it’s the brilliant comedy video White Boy that could transform this old-school Catskills crooner into a 21st century Internet star. 

In the video, Dingwall plays the middle-aged White Boy who wants nothing more than to dance at a black stripper bar. One glance at his startling leopard bulge jousting with the stripper pole and it’s crystal clear that this time David Dingwall has yanked the files he stuffed deep in the Department of What If, tossed them in a garbage can and set that bitch on fire. 

Picture a shorter, stockier version of a South Philly Al Pacino, but with kinder eyes: an Archie Bunker type in a shiny gray toupee peeling off his tuxedo striptease-style for a horrified crowd (including a cameo by Maxx of the Goats). He twirls his cummberbund around and rotates his basketball belly in circles as his arms flail, a drowning, oceanless swimmer. 

The Rocky-inspired montage shows a sweatsuit and skullcap clad Dingwall training as he knocks back raw eggs, jogs through the Italian Market, and gets a palms-to-the-stage booty-bouncing lesson before taking the stage where he swings, grinds and thrusts his way into our hearts. 

It’s fitting that this video serves as Dingwall’s comeback vehicle. While all of his characters (aggro blue-collar guy and spastic bus boy, to name a couple) are exaggerated facets of himself, the struggling character in White Boy seems the most personal, and most autobiographical, of all. .

Like the real Dingwall, the White Boy character has spent years ogling strippers jiggling their junk at the J&J Trestle Inn—Philadelphia’s notorious, black stripper joint. One day he decides it’s time for him to take the stage and writhe in the spotlight. Figuring he has nothing to lose, White Boy asks the owner for a chance to give the pole a whirl. “If you crazy enough, then I’m crazy enough,” replies the owner.

It’s all so crazy that it just might work.

White Boy has already given Dingwall a small taste of newfound fame. Last week, he gained his first national exposure with a radio appearance on the Joey Reynolds Show on WOR Radio, New York, and he says he’s starting to get noticed locally.

“I went to the gym and I was signing autographs at the 12th Street Gym at the fruit bar, because they had seen my stuff,” he says. “If I go places, people say, ‘Are you Dave?’”

It’s risky business. Sure, it takes balls to shake your moneymaker on YouTube, but they’ve got to be made of brass to bank on success by accepting the financial investment of silent partners, which enables his aggressive schedule of lessons and tapings. He says it’s paying some of his personal expenses, too. Payback is never guaranteed for arts benefactors, but the money will dry up if there isn’t at least some payoff, soon. 

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Comments 1 - 11 of 11
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1. jesselun said... on Sep 16, 2009 at 11:55AM

“tee hee...pole position!
This guy is classic”

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2. Cooke said... on Sep 16, 2009 at 02:15PM

“Classic, I fear that is me in the future, I mean rolling off the workout ball, not dancing!
Best of luck to Dingwall.”

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3. Anonymous said... on Sep 19, 2009 at 01:12PM

“He's an extraordinary talent, and a consumate survivor. Bless him!”

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4. coach fred griffin said... on Sep 21, 2009 at 10:48AM

“ding i talk to coach rushing and he told me about this sight hope everything goes alright thanks coach fred griffin”

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5. darrenfinizio said... on Sep 21, 2009 at 03:24PM

“Mr. Dngwall is a cool guy. A good match for Marcs sensibilities. Philly seems to negotiate in both the drab and burlesque, tucking the bitter artists in West Philly and drker parts of Kensington where they shall remain. Dingwall is a good burlesque comedian/singer, a nice nut to throw into the washing machine.”

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6. Barbara brown and Jeanie moore said... on Mar 15, 2010 at 04:22PM

“hay its your barbara and jeanie brown!! ahha good luck with all you have going your hillarious love you<3”

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7. Walter Pierson said... on Oct 19, 2010 at 08:20PM

“I enjoyed reading the article.Good luck David.”

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8. Stan Beeson said... on Aug 7, 2011 at 12:10AM

“Dave, it was good seeing you this summer after so many years. You are still amazing us all. Best of luck. Your friend. Stan”

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9. Lanny G. Maddox said... on Feb 20, 2013 at 05:55PM

I'm glad to see you are alive and well. I remember when you dressed like Superman and jumped from the second story window of Tudor Hall at Louisiana College. That rose bush appeared to have been painful. Unfortunately, I remember too much that you did while at LC. You undoubtedly have not changed much.
Take care. Your old schoolmate Lanny.”

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10. Bill said... on Jun 7, 2013 at 06:46PM

“Is this the David Dingwall that went to the Logan Elementary School in the 1950's?”

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11. Bruce Hatchett said... on Mar 1, 2014 at 04:13AM

“Dave,it was great seeing some of your work online after so many years.you have not lost your ability to make people laugh.I fondly remember some of your skits,jokes,and pranks that you did while in college.My favorites were your skit,"Ronnie Gaboda"and your prank of wearing a dog lease,hopping out of a car trunk,and barking at the Louisiana State Troopers.There were too many to list all here.Best wishes and continued good luck.Your friend from Louisiana College in Pineville,Loouisiana,Bruce Hatchett.”


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