Dave Attell at D.C. Improv Saturday, Sept. 21

On some level, comedians indulge our tendency toward confirmation bias. Whenever they make an especially keen observation about their own lives, it can sting when it hits a little too close to home. What makes longtime comedian Dave Attell unique is how actively he tries to make his audience not identify with him. His onstage persona is a self-loathing, misanthropic drunk, and his comedy is comforting precisely because his day-to-day life seems so far from ours. In one memorable bit, he envisions himself as the star of an ad for Jägermeister, in which he engages in nonconsensual sex with a pumpkin. (“If that pumpkin didn’t want it, why was it smiling at me?”) Attell’s deadpan willingness to debase himself has given him a legion of devoted fans, and you can expect all that and worse at his stint of shows at the DC Improv. His persona, like a bad wine, grows sour with age, so by now Attell is probably in the throes of depression. It’s the best mental space for a comedian, especially one who’s most comfortable when he indulges his hilariously ugly thoughts.

Dave Attell performs Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. and Sunday at 8 p.m. at DC Improv, 1140 Connecticut Ave. NW. $35. (202) 296-7008. dcimprov.com.

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