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How I Went From Comedian to Crime Writer

By Dan Barton

I started performing stand-up comedy and writing novels at about the same time and place–at the University of Texas at Austin. After graduation, I moved to Houston to hone my comedy craft at the legendary Comedy Workshop. My first night there I shared the stage with two comedy legends: Bill Hicks and Sam Kinison.


After two years, I moved to Los Angeles to pursue my twin passions: comedy and writing. I spent many years playing the same clubs in Hollywood as the biggest names in comedy: the Comedy Store, the Improv, the Laugh Factory, and The Ice House. I scored appearances on television, commercials, and feature films. I spent two years touring  as an opening act for Sam Kinison as one of the Outlaws of Comedy. After Sam's untimely death, I worked as a headliner playing every gig I could find across the country and even overseas.


After more hotel rooms and frequent flyer miles than I care to admit, I got a job working behind the camera as a producer and writer for E! Entertainment Television, including a memorable stint as the supervising producer for the travel series "Wild On!" hosted by Brooke Burke. I walked every red carpet in town, partied at the Playboy Mansion, and conducted over a thousand celebrity interviews over the course of my television career.


My real-life experiences as a comedian form the basis for the Biff Kincaid mystery series. I depict the comedy world the way I saw it–a life of stark contrast between the creative joy of bringing laughter to audiences on stage and the off-stage life that was often fraught with peril. I mix in my experience with the inner workings of Hollywood as a background for Biff's adventures. I now write full time in Toluca Lake, California–the setting of an upcoming Biff Kincaid adventure.