|Dave Drabik, Comedy Writer and Founder of Fine Line Productions
| If you’ve ever watched Jay Leno, David Letterman, or Saturday Night Live, then you’ve more than
likely laughed at one of Dave Drabik’s jokes.
This Atlanta based comedy writer, and Founder of Fine Line Productions, is one of the funniest
most down to earth people you’ll ever meet. I Am Entertainment Magazine had the chance to sit
down and talk with Dave about his awesome career as a writer on some of TV’s biggest shows.
IAE: Where are you from and what got you interested in entertainment?
DD: I grew up mostly in Virginia, but have lived and worked in New York, LA, and now Atlanta. I’ve always
loved making people laugh. It’s all about comedy for me.
IAE: What would you say is your career focus?
DD: By trade I’m a comedy writer/director/producer and I like the ability to affect people positively. I was
living in a small apartment in Silver Spring, Maryland when I sold my first joke to Jay Leno. All I could think was,
“4 million people just heard that joke. How did that happen?” I did stand-up comedy for a number of years like
most comedy writers, but when the writing got bigger than my own act, which was inevitable if you saw my act
[laughs], it took over.
IAE: What was your first job in the entertainment industry and how did you get your start?
DD: I entered as a PA like most people in film and TV, and it’s a great way to start because you learn how
this world (TV) works. One of my earliest jobs was getting donuts for the 80s rap group ‘The Fat Boys’ while
working in Craft Services. I worked as a PA on a couple of their video shoots for MTV, and did some very long
hours. I remember working from 5am to 2am the next morning, and I kept donuts on that table, just keeping
The Fat Boys, fat [laughs]. I’ve also answered phones at Soap Operas and assisted on set. All those little
things helped me because 20 years later I ended up using what I learned. For instance, I recently sold a
comedic soap opera series to Adult Swim.
When I first started writing for TV, a lot of people would accept material on an a la carte basis. So for $50-$75
per joke, I would sell jokes to Jay Leno or Kevin Nealon when he (Kevin) was doing “Weekend Update” on SNL
(Saturday Night Live). While I was doing stand-up, I heard through the grapevine that David Letterman bought
jokes the same way as Leno and SNL; which wasn’t exactly true. The way Letterman did and fortunately, I
made it through the audition process. They offered me an opportunity selling piece meal jokes to Letterman. I
did that for about a year when they offered me a staff writer job. That’s when I officially began my writing career.
IAE: What is Fine Line Productions, and what do you do there?
DD: Fine Line Productions is a full service production company with content and creation at the
foundation. Ideally, I like to create content for television. Last year I had a show on Adult Swim, and I have
another show currently in development with them. I also have a documentary in development with PBS, and a
few other projects floating around. We even do corporate video, but usually with some kind of creative twist.
IAE: Who have you worked with?
DD: Recently, I went to the Hamptons and hung out with Seth Meyers and some of the other writers from
SNL. I’ve been doing the ESPY Awards for ten years, and 2 years ago when Justin Timberlake hosted it we
went out to The Hamptons to write a song which he performed on the show called, ‘That’s Why I Love Sports.’
Although Justin wasn’t there at The Hamptons that weekend, we wrote the nuts and bolts of that song and
earned an Emmy nomination for it.
Over the years we have had very good hosts; Samuel L. Jackson, Justin Timberlake, LeBron James, Jimmy
Kimmel, Matthew Perry, Jamie Foxx, Lance Armstrong, and list goes on. I’ve also worked with Jay Leno, Kiefer
Sutherland, David Letterman, Bill Maher, Denzel Washington, Harrison Ford, Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn…Taraji
P. Henson and Terrance Howard when I was head writer for last year’s Soul Train Awards. They co-hosted and
IAE: What’s the differences between the LA, NY, and Atlanta market, and what made you decide
to come to Atlanta?
DD: What made me come to Atlanta is that I was looking for a little more stability for my family. I was
married with 2 kids and a mortgage. LA was great, but it was very up and down. You might make great money
for 6 months and then not work for a month or two, and that’s a tough thing to get used to when you have kids.
When I came to Atlanta, I had some really good offers from TBS and Cartoon Network which gave me and my
family the type of stability we wanted. The biggest difference I’ve found between Atlanta and LA has been the
level of dedication people have to their craft. In LA it’s do or die and the competition is very stiff, so they spend
more time working. If you try to leave work at 6pm in LA they look at you like you’re crazy because people don’t
leave work until 8 or 9 o’clock in the evening at least. But in Atlanta it’s a lot more laid back and not as
IAE: If you could change anything about the entertainment business, what would it be and why?
DD: Other than encouraging more people to work with Fine Line Productions [laughs]? I don’t know if you
can change it. I think it’s about finding your audience/niche and working to grow in that arena. With all the
different outlets available to reach niche audiences, you just have to find what makes you happy and also
resonates with people. There’s nothing you can really change about an industry that’s driven by consumers.
For example, some people think reality television is so harmful to the industry, but if that’s what people want,
you have to respect that. If you don’t want to provide that service for people, then find something else that you
can convince people to like. It’s not about changing the industry; it’s about adapting to the changes that take
place and staying on top of it.
FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE VISIT: www.finelineproductions.com
Copyright © 2009-2011 I Am Entertainment Magazine, a publication of NFluential Holdings, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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