Here’s the thing about Dustin Diamond: After finding huge childhood success as Screech Powers, the goofy sidekick to golden boy Zach Morris on “Saved by the Bell,” he is determined to avoid the child-star stigma A– a mix of bad career choices, stagnant roles and a reluctance to leave the business that made him a star. That’s why at age 28, after paying his dues, he’s found a second niche – stand-up comedy.
“When I’m on stage, I’m at home,” Diamond said. As a guy who worked his way up in the business, playing at frat houses and house parties before getting the opportunity to headline shows, Diamond described his style of comedy as “a mix between the comedians I idolized when growing up. I like the high-level comedy, the thinking man’s comedy – wrapped up in an adolescent package.” Drawing on his influences such as George Carlin and Steven Wright, Diamond – a “regular, run-of-the-mill guy” – touches on a variety of subjects in his act, including politics, relationships and yes, even “Saved by the Bell.”
“When I get out there, I show them that it’s just me,” he said.
Still, Diamond recognizes the success of the adolescent television hit that gave him the notoriety he has today, although he admitted. “I’m not a huge fan of the show. If I was a guy just flipping the channels, that wouldn’t have been my show.” Residing in Wisconsin, he doesn’t see the other cast members very much – most are still working out in Los Angeles. Comparing his career evolution to a guy who has “read the instructions,” Diamond believes some of the other cast members haven’t fared as well.
“They’re stuck in those roles,” he said.
Happy with his current career, Diamond doesn’t see an appearance on “The Surreal Life” happening anytime soon, and with projects with Sirius radio, Comedy Central and Spike TV in the works, Diamond has plenty to keep him occupied. With an upcoming performance in Ann Arbor, Diamond is looking forward to another experience with the local crowd.
“Ann Arbor fans are fantastic. Different parts of the country, people appreciate comedy in different way, and the Ann Arbor crowd really seem to want to be (in the club).”