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Dispatches from the Moth · Posted On: Feb 05, 2019

The MOTHerview with Storyteller David Montgomery

by Suzanne Rust

Mrh 1904 David Montgomery Extra 1

“Silence is golden, but shouting is more fun!"

The Spice Girls helped a teenage David find his voice…and he hasn’t stopped talking since.

How did you know that this was the story you had to tell?

I think right now with so many minority voices being marginalized and silenced, it’s important to hear this kind of perspective. Also, the 90s nostalgia is at its height! It’s time that people come out of hiding and admit that there is nothing wrong with loving the Spice Girls.

Think back to 14 year-old David listening to the Spice Girls. What was it about them that made you feel so connected and inspired?

At times, I have a pretty big personality. It was so stifled back then by my surroundings, and I literally could not see a way out. It sounds so stupid, but their energy was so inspiring to me. There was a quote in the liner notes of their first album that meant everything: “silence is golden, but shouting is fun!” Need I say more?

What did it mean for you to be able to share your story on the Moth stage?

If I can be perfectly honest, at first to me, it just meant that I would get a lot of attention. As the sixth child of seven children, it was scarce at best growing up. So I still take it where I can get it. But as I started touring with the story and seeing the parts that people connected with, I realize that some people did find it to be truly inspiring. That was so insane and unexpected to me.

Early in your life, you heard your mother express her strong hatred for gay people and it wounded you deeply.  At the end of your story you say that you’ve since been able to repair your relationship with her. How were you able to get past the hurt to a place of understanding?

A lot of it had to do with me accepting her at face value, and putting myself in her shoes. My dad was very abusive, and she stayed with him for 17 years. I used to smite her for that until I really thought about her options at the time. She had a seventh grade education, it was the 80s, and she had no work experience. She could’ve left and started a new life on her own without us, but she didn’t. She could’ve ended her life, but she didn’t. She stayed because she knew the abuse would be worse if she wasn’t around. She’s made a lot of progress since then as well. I think she realizes that at the end of the day love is love, and that I am a good person. We have our issues here and there, but we love each other. And that has to be the bottom line.

Who are your favorite storytellers and why?

Oh boy. This list could go on all day. David Sedaris is someone who I connect with pretty deeply for obvious reasons. But damn, he is so funny. I strive to be that good one day. Tara Clancy to me is the absolute queen. How she manages to squeeze so much heart and so many laughs into every story is unparalleled. Kevin Allison has been a favorite of mine for a long time, but that dates back to my teenage years when he was in sketch comedy as well. But I would say that my all-time favorite is Tina Fey. We will work together one day! She will be 1000 years old, she won’t even know that she is even in the room, but technically we will have worked together. And I will have that selfie of me and Tina Fey framed on my wall forever.

You currently work as a comedian, but your original career goal was teaching. Have you totally tossed out that option?

I miss it sometimes. I think mainly what I missed from my years of teaching was the kids. I taught first grade for a long time, and it was just the most fun age. Every year you get a new group of demons and angels, but at that age, the Angels outnumber everyone else considerably.

What are you most proud of?

Would it be weird if I said that I’m proudest of the story airing on the Moth? In December I recorded a live stand up album to be released on iTunes and Amazon. I put it out earlier this month thinking that only my friends and family would get to hear it. I got a message from somebody on Instagram on its second day of release, telling me that it was number two on the iTunes comedy album charts…So good luck ever getting me to stop talking about that.

I have to ask: What is your favorite Spice Girls song and why?

You’re asking me to choose between all of my children. That’s not fair! If I was held at gunpoint and had to quickly make a decision, I would say the song “Stop.” It’s fine and happy and upbeat and has this 60s Motown vibe to it. Impossible to not smile when it comes on.

Which talent would you most like to have?

Are you saying I’m not talented? Just kidding, I wish more than anything that I could sing and play the piano.

Please finish this sentence: Storytelling is important because…

Right now more than ever before, we need to walk a mile in everyone else’s shoes. Compassion and empathy are lacking at the highest levels in our world right now. Taking five or 10 or 15 minutes to hear a real perspective of where somebody else is coming from means everything right now. Doing the Moth Main stage was humbling to say the least. I have come across people who have lived through the most extraordinary events, ones that would have literally killed me, emotionally and otherwise. And these people are not jaded. They’re alive, they are grateful, and they are happy, despite all things. That’s a perspective we could all learn from.

Anything else you'd like us to know about you or your story?

The Spice Girls, minus Victoria, are doing a stadium tour in the UK this summer. I have been asked about 500,000 times so far if I planned on quitting my job and following them around. Unfortunately, it’s not an option for me right now, so if anybody feels like starting a GoFundMe, have at it!  

For more on David, go to buymeahotdog.com.

Check out David's comedy album, Queen of Small Town Gossip, here: https://itunes.apple.com/queen-of-small-town-gossip

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