Everyone knows Dave Burd’s alter ego, Lil Dicky, but not everyone knows Dave Burd. The satirical, Jewish rapper once began as an internet sensation and his comical raps flooded YouTube. However, he wants to accomplish something different with his new series, “Dave“: one, to showcase the journey Lil Dicky made in becoming the real deal, and two, to get his audience to see him as Dave first and Lil Dicky second.
“I’m sick of being called Lil Dicky when I meet a person,” Burd said in an interview with Variety. “I love being a rapper and I picked the perfect rap name but I’m certainly Dave. That’s who I am. Lil Dicky is one of my major projects — probably the biggest project Dave will ever conceive — but I think the show is about the guy behind Lil Dicky, who I really feel everyone might appreciate.”
Most of us have wondered how much of this FXX TV series “Dave” is true. While the show is loosely based on real events, the directors exaggerated certain scenes for comedic effect; the script was never meant to be followed word-for-word. Each episode is rooted in actual events, but the actors were often encouraged to improvise and exude real emotion — resulting in some of the most intimate moments.
As a perfectionist, Burd expressed the challenges in filming for a TV show. When writing music, Burd could take his time, evident in the five year gap since his last album. Nothing is written overnight, after all. However, as an actor, Burd didn’t have that same control and slowly learned to trust the process. He describes the difference between making music and filmmaking as the difference between “day and night,” and he thoroughly loves to see how “the show takes shape.”
Over the last seven years, Burd took note of the funny things from different moments of his life and used them to create this fictionalized version of his real life. In Episode 1 of “Dave,” he begins with a monologue that goes into extreme depth about a personal and specific birth defect.
The defect in question involves his genitalia, where his urethra was actually located on the underside rather than the tip. The monologue describes the series of surgeries he underwent, which ultimately resulted in his penis sustaining a bunch of scarring; he now has a second “pee-hole” that he is forced to cover during urination, to prevent it from spraying like a “super soaker.”
Very intimate, very detailed and very true, Burd’s persona is all about being real even when most people would be too embarrassed to expose themselves in the same way. Burd doesn’t call himself Lil Dicky just for laughs, and in an interview with The Ringer, he admits that “everything that you saw in that show [about my genitals], everything is totally real. Surgery. Right out of the womb … had to go in and fix my d—-.”
In the series “Dave,” Burd wanted to involve many of the real people that influenced his life. GaTa’s, Dave’s hype man, is one character that you might find hard to believe is real. GaTa’s energy is unmatched, hence his role as Burd’s hype man. However, halfway through the first season we see an unexpected side of GaTa. In the episode spotlighting the young hype man, we get a peek into his past.
We see him go through highs and lows and quickly spiraling into a manic episode. Flashback to the present, GaTa and Dave are rehearsing in the studio until GaTa breaks down, spilling his demons. He suffers from bipolar disorder; it disrupted his career in the past, but here, we see someone who has overcome a serious issue that many can relate to. Whether his words were scripted in this scene or not, he expressed authentic emotions.
Near the end of Season 1, we also see Burd fight with his past. Growing up, Burd was that friend kids kept around for laughs. There was no true friendship or brotherhood there, and his friends humiliated him for their amusement — only Burd was too naïve to see it. Elz, Dave’s friend and connection to the music industry, pushed the rapper to wake up and see the truth. This scene of Dave figuratively “killing” his childhood by suffocating “Kid Dave” in a pan of noodles, demonstrates a real fight Burd fought within himself.
Dave Burd is a simple artist to understand. Though he invented his alter ego, Lil Dicky, he created this show for his fans to see the person behind that. Burd doesn’t worry about opening up, because if his fans are going to know him, he wants them to know all of him.