Uncut with Jay Cutler: Dusty Slay Talks Stand-Up Comedy, Family, and Getting Sober

by Chris Haney

Outsiders are in for a treat since Nashville-based comedian Dusty Slay stopped by the Uncut with Jay Cutler podcast recently. The 39-year-old with a signature look of long hair, glasses, and a trucker hat brought the laughs when speaking about his life and career in Outsider’s studio. The pair dive into the comedian’s early days growing up in a trailer park, they talk about Dusty creating the character fans see on stage, he opens up about traveling with his wife and baby while on tour, and touches on his sobriety. So dig in and get ready for Episode 25 of Uncut with Jay Cutler. As Dusty Slay would say, “We’re having a good time.”

Jay Cutler and Dusty Slay Talk About the Comedian’s Early Days in Alabama

Slay originally hails from Alabama, but since 2014 he’s called Nashville, Tennessee his home. He made an in-studio appearance alongside host Jay Cutler and quickly got into his comedy roots.

Slay’s parents divorced when he was only two years old. He grew up in a trailer park in Opelika, Alabama, which is right near Auburn University. The comedian says both of his parents were funny, so he inherited his comedic chops at an early age. While things weren’t perfect growing up, Slay says he didn’t dwell on the negatives of his early life. He looks back and realizes there were some sad times, but they didn’t impact his childhood as much as some may think.

“I feel like laughter is just how I survived in school. Like I just made people laugh all the time. I don’t know, it just felt fun,” Dusty said of his childhood.

Dusty Talks About Creating His Stand Up Character

Host Jay Cutler and Dusty Slay then moved on to talk about the comedian’s early days of getting into stand-up. Slay initially took an improv class and later transitioned into stand-up. His improv teachers would always suggest that he play a character of some sort. However, his real life would inform his character on stage since it was funnier than any fictional character he could ever think of.

“The character I play in my real life is the funniest character I’ve ever created. I don’t even know if I’m a real person sometimes,” Dusty Slay amusingly told Jay Cutler. “I am the character that I’ve created.”

Slay embraced his thick country accent, especially at the beginning of his stand-up career. He quoted a Drive-By Truckers song when referencing why he valued his accent so much. “Don’t worry about losing your accent, a southern man tells better jokes,” the band’s song “Outfit” says. In fact, when he gets into his southern vibe, Slay truly believes his jokes are funnier. We don’t disagree.

Taking the Family On Tour Might Not Have Been Dusty’s Best Idea

To an extent, the comedian’s accent has faded over the years. He travels all over the country doing stand-up and most recently has hit the road to open for comedy legend Jeff Foxworthy. Additionally, his wife is Canadian, so being around other non-southern accents on a regular basis has made his own accent less prevalent.

Speaking of Slay’s wife, Hannah Hogan, he told Jay Cutler that she’s his toughest critic. Hogan is a stand-up comedian and actress as well, and her husband admits she makes him laugh more than he makes her laugh. Last week, Slay was in Raleigh, North Carolina performing for four nights. Since he’s always on the road, he thought it would be a good idea to take his wife and 8-month old baby along for the short trip. He was wrong.

“It was a mistake,” Slay hilariously said. “We were really gone five nights. The baby really never slept in the hotel. So I’d go do shows, come home, open the hotel room door, the baby’s crying. And if she’s not crying when I open the door, I’ll lay down in bed fired up from the show, so it takes me about an hour to go to sleep. By the time it feels like my body is shutting down, the crying begins.”

It doesn’t sound like the Slay family will be making a habit of traveling together for future stand-up comedy tours.

Dusty Slay Tells Jay Cutler About His Journey to Living Sober

In 2012, the comedian decided to call it quits on drinking. Dusty tells Jay that he’s kept journals for years, and in one entry dating back to 2004 he wrote to himself saying that he needed to get sober. It may have taken another eight years, but he would eventually give up drinking altogether.

While living in Charleston, South Carolina, Slay admits his drinking became a problem. As the comedian put it, he’d drink beer all day, and end up at the bar taking shots at night. When he and his friends would get too rambunctious, they’d get kicked out of the bar, but laugh it off on the way to the next bar. Rinse and repeat.

After years of repeating that cycle, and gaining weight, he finally had enough of blacking out on a regular basis. Past an amusing anecdote about Slay drinking wine during communion in church, he’s now been sober for a decade.

You can catch Dusty Slay on the newest season of The Standups on Netflix (Season 3, Episode 5). Make sure to check out the whole episode of Uncut with Jay Cutler featuring special guest Dusty Slay on Spotify, Apple, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts.