David Spade discusses hosting ‘Bachelor in Paradise’ and returning to Aspen

Shannon Asher
Special to The Aspen Times
Comedian David Spade performs at “Comedy In Your Car” at the Ventura County Fairgrounds, Friday, Aug. 28. 2020, in Ventura, Calif. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

Since David Spade’s last performance at Belly Up Aspen in January 2020, the 57-year-old comedian has taken on the role of host for this season’s “Bachelor in Paradise.” Despite his busy filming schedule, Spade still makes time for his stand-up.

The “Saturday Night Live” alum returns to Aspen this weekend to headline Belly Up for two shows at 7 and 9 p.m. Saturday.

During the pandemic when most of Spade’s shows got canceled, he utilized Instagram as a platform to continue his comedy.

“I would do little monologues on Instagram just because I would think of funny stuff during my time off,” Spade said in a recent phone interview. “My mind wanders, and I like writing. I was a writer on SNL. I used to write stand-up, so it’s in my blood, and I just wanted a place to do it. I’m trying to do it more, and now I have an outlet.”

For the past few years, Spade has joked about “The Bachelor” in his Instagram stories, making hilarious commentary and poking fun at the contestants and how they handle themselves on the show.

Creator, producer and writer of “The Bachelor” Mike Fleiss discovered these stories and offered Spade the opportunity to come on the show. He told Spade, “You’re tied into this. We need some humor. It was a very serious year. I think we should lighten it up a bit.” This was perfect for the comedian who noted that he “might be too cavalier for the real bachelor.”

This summer’s season premieres Aug. 16 and features four rotating celebrity hosts, including Spade, Tituss Burgess, Lance Bass and Lil Jon, in lieu of Chris Harrison.

“I went to ‘Crab city’ in Mexico and filmed in between being covered in crabs,” Spade recalled. “It’s funny because when you go there, they say, ‘Oh, this is crab season.’ I don’t even know what that means. Crabs are supposed to be cute. I have only really heard about them from California rolls, but, when there’s too many, it’s scary. They’re just spiders with good PR. They walk sideways, which nobody likes, and they were in my room and bathroom every night. It was just terrifying. I had to deal with that along with all the contestants.”

Spade continued, “People think I did the show because there’s 15 girls there, but I stayed 40 minutes away, and I didn’t really interact with them at all. I was a surprise for the contestants anyway. It was fun seeing the reactions of the guys and the girls. They’d come down these stairs, and I’d be standing there, and they’re like, ‘Oh no, not this guy.'”

Spade explained that there’s a lot of downtime when filming. “I would go out, do my opening remarks and then I’d lay low while they basically were out there getting heatstroke,” Spade said. “Then I would walk out and say, ‘Hey, gather round, we’re going to do a rose ceremony. How did your date go? Did you make out?’ All that stuff.”

The producers encouraged Spade to improvise with the script and make it his own. He said he didn’t want to be a “hosty-host.”

“I wanted to do it the way I like it, without turning anything upside down. I wanted to have fun with it,” he said. “I’m not there to make fun of people to their face, that’s rude. I don’t dislike any of these people, I just like to make fun of the show.”

As a frequent Aspen traveler and Belly Up performer, Spade said, “I will probably go to Aspen at the last minute. I need to time out the altitude thing, so I feel OK. I think I am hosting ‘Jimmy Kimmel’ the second I get home, the next day. I have to be careful about how much time I spend there.”

Spade typically comes back in the winter, because he said it’s a different crowd of people.

When performing in a new city, Spade tries to tailor his jokes to the location and the crowd.

“I like to come into a town and pluck out anything local, because every crowd usually appreciates when you actually talk about them, and they can recognize the local show that you can’t do somewhere else,” he said. “I try to start off with a few things about skiing, or about Aspen, or about walking around the city, anything that might just settle in the crowd.”

Spade continued, “Then I also owe them a good show that works, and I can’t just ad-lib for an hour. Those things, you don’t know if they’re going to work or not. They’re paying good money, they’re excited, and I want them to go away happy, so I bust out all the new stuff that works.”

For stand-up this year, Spade is considering a theater tour.

“I usually don’t do it because I have other stuff going on and I can’t plan a whole tour,” Spade said. “I usually just piece a few shows here and there of places I like to go, like Aspen. It’s fun. I tell every comedian, ‘You got to go up to Aspen.'”