As part of his act, San Francisco comedian Danny Dechi takes musical requests from the audience, but don’t expect him to strike the ax, wallop the skins or drive hard on the bass when delivering rock ’n’ roll anthems such as Queen’s “We Will Rock You” or Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” — the comic’s preferred method of jamming involves, well, a trusty No. 2 pencil.
At age 9, the quirky comedian discovered a knack for recreating tunes such as the “Lone Ranger” theme song by simply tapping his finger against his cheek. However, it wasn’t until years later, when boredom set in at work, that Dechi first used a pencil to rock out to the Eagles’ “Hotel California.” The cheeky rocker has since infused the musical act into his squeaky-clean comedy career, which has spanned seven years in San Francisco.
“The most requested song is ‘Free Bird.’ People put their lighters in the air and request it. Even though it’s kind of slow, they still get a kick out of it,” says Dechi, whose favorite tune to play lately is “The Middle” by Jimmy Eat World.
As the host of the Comedy Station’s “Saturday Night Funnies” comedy showcase, Dechi’s signature blend of goofy gags and pencil playing are in full effect each week, which he says has helped garner visibility in the local comedy circuit. In addition to his stand-up performances, Dechi’s credits also include the book “I Didn’t Want to Pay for a Rent-A-Car,” a 2005 San Francisco Giants commercial and a one-man play that’s set to premiere in late August.
“I’ve been telling jokes since I was a kid, but I never thought I was funny enough to be a comedian,” he says. “I’ve been doing this for about seven years now and I think I’ve had a bit of an impact. I feel I’m more noticed by people and accepted in the comedy community.”
Born in Argentina, Dechi’s family arrived in San Francisco when he was 6 years old; one of his running jokes is that his “grandfather moved to Argentina because he heard America is a land of opportunity. Unfortunately, he had the wrong America.”
While his upbringing in the Bay Area certainly has shaped his blend of off-kilter observational humor, Dechi admits he hasn’t made much of an attempt to draw from any other comedic influences.
“I like to do my own thing. Sometimes people say I’m like Woody Allen, which I think is a real compliment, but I don’t set out to be that way,” he says. “I’m really just a goofy kind of guy looking for a good laugh.”
When: 10:30 p.m. Saturdays
Where: The Comedy Station, 244 Taylor St., San Francisco
Note: Dechi also will appear Wednesday in the 9 p.m. showcase hosted by Justin McClure at the Purple Onion, 140 Columbus Ave., San Francisco. Tickets are $10. Call (415) 517-2120 or visit www.myspace.com/purpleonioncomedy.