Group 4 Created with Sketch.
Your changes have been saved
Episode 3 of 9

Episode 3: The many ways to arrive at laughter with Dion Flynn

station description In Stitches is an interview style podcast that explores the humanity in humor. Feat... read more
In Stitches
789 Listens
1 Like
Duration: 01:26:35
Dion Flynn is best known for his impression of Barack Obama on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Clanging: Verbal Jazz, a co-produced stage show with Josh Radnor of How I Met Your Mother, and directing some sort of a one-man show written by and starring some dude named PJ.
In this episode, we
Snippets are a new way to share audio!
You can clip a small part of any file to share, add to playlist, and transcribe automatically. Just click the to create your snippet!
Snippets: Clips of Episode 3: The many ways to arrive at laughter with Dion Flynn that people like
Playlists that Episode 3: The many ways to arrive at laughter with Dion Flynn appears on.
Up Next
Full Description
Back to Top
Dion Flynn is best known for his impression of Barack Obama on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Clanging: Verbal Jazz, a co-produced stage show with Josh Radnor of How I Met Your Mother, and directing some sort of a one-man show written by and starring some dude named PJ.
In this episode, we explore the role humor and laughter played throughout Dion’s battles with racism, addiction, and his own self-doubt. Dion’s path from the only brown kid in a Maryland trailer park to the Tonight Show stage in Rockefeller Center is packed with stories of despair and hope, misunderstanding and empathy, hard times and hard laughs.
A master storyteller, there isn’t a minute of Dion’s tale of trauma and growth that won’t grip you emotionally.
You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and then you’ll laugh some more.
Credits: Dion Flynn (Featured Guest), David Bobrow (Executive Producer), PJ Walsh (Host, Producer), Sam Pressler (Host, Producer), Matt Condon (Communications Director, Producer), Grace Manno (Designer).
Follow Dion on Twitter and Instagram @dionfly, on Facebook at, and on his website at
Follow PJ: Facebook: | Instagram: @pjwalshlive.
Snippet Transcripts
what I definitely want to get too for the listeners. And Sam is uh, definitely where, where you reconnected with jimmy on and where you get into now, because actually what's very interesting is Sam's a meditator, you're a meditator. You introduced me to meditation and I love the story on that's what you were into, what you were doing, like a meditation manifestation, anything and just bumped into jimmy on the street. Yeah, um, exactly. Uh, so yeah, that's a great way to pick up with just the sort of surface storyline. Um, um, so it's, you know, I'm in the graduate program and I'm sober and I'm working on this spiritual stuff, you know, with these various teachers and things like that and I'm looking very deep, I begin my work of looking very deeply inside myself what has been driving me, you know, the inner inquiry, the inquiry work that we do, we're no longer looking at others and how they've wronged us. It's like, what did I bring? What has been driving me blindly? So I'm doing that work? And I'm in midtown and I'm at my spiritual, you know, teacher at that times work office, you know, and workplace and I'm in there and I walk out and I was the first time I've been in that office, I was in a place I usually wasn't, I was near Rockefeller Center and I'm walking east and someone says Dion and I look over and it's jimmy and he's got a guitar on his back, jimmy doesn't live in new york, jimmy lives in California. I haven't seen jimmy for a few years. This would have been 1997 98. And I go, oh my God. And we hug and he takes a picture of us with a not a smartphone, it's a real camera. And he tells me about this, you know, seven spiritual laws of success, you know, book deep october that he had found and he found some, some cool stuff on the West Coast And you know, we, we just were talking and he had just come from his saturday night live audition. And if you watch that audition, he uses the name deter gut Boots, which is a name that I had invented back when we were in Albany. So, you know, it's, you know, it is awesome. And I was like so honored, you know, that he would, you know, using, he told me right there, he's like, oh my God, he's like, I used the name that like you created. And uh, and he had always had this vision that he was gonna get on saturday night live. That's all he talked about. It's what he wanted. That was his vision. He was one of those guys who was, you know, just had the vision was clear back when we were on the set back in Albany. So I'm the first person that he runs into after he gets out of his audition. Now you could say that's nothing. Or you could say much like the author of Seven Spiritual Laws of Success talks about in his partnership with um uh Wayne dyer, that they're this synchronicity that just starts to happen where you just like, you can't, you can't control it, you can't make appointments that are this synchronous. Okay, so jimmy says, you know, with stage numbers and we'll talk and you know, hopefully fingers crossed, hope you get it. And I was like, I'm sure you'll get it. Well, he called me in august Dion, I got it. I was like, oh my God, I'm so happy. I never had any doubts. That's so awesome. We talked for 90 minutes. I'm in my college dorm over the summer and he's in California. We threatened to get together when he gets to the city. He calls me once, you know once he gets there. And um I tried to call him back a little bit later and uh and jimmy began to become a star and I began to become really in contact with a lot of demons inside that needed addressing. So I had to put my career and stuff on hold for a while. So that would have been 97 88 jimmy star began to rise and you know, jimmy Fallon's story that we all know. So um I had a button, josh Radnor who was in my class at N. Y. U. And I said to him many times I said josh, I got this buddy jimmy and you look like him, it's so weird that you guys look alike. And uh and now everybody on the internet says that. But I was you know I was the first one to say it and so I said to him and and you know and he said oh you know it's funny and I said this guy is watching is going to be a star. There's no way he's not gonna be a star. And so jimmy becomes a star, josh becomes a star. And I'm dealing with all of this stuff and I'm newly dealing with all this sadness and grief and things that come up when you first gets over the 1st 5 10 years. I mean it's a really tremendous you know change. And so you know I had some successes. I had some couple things happen in a couple little breakthrough things here and there. And I was in therapy in in 2010 and I finished up therapy at the V. A. And I finished with this therapist I've been working with for like a year and a half and it was a very successful therapy and I'm in food recovery and I'm in all these different recoveries that I'm kind of a mess by by most people's standards on the outside to need all these meetings and this therapy in this food, you know, eating in a certain way and by civilian standards it would appear that I was just kind of cuckoo but I understood that those were the things I needed to just continue to live and face life as it is some city in the cafeteria of the veterans hospital and um this big tall windows and the sun is coming in and I'm eating my meal because I just had my final session and I'm thinking to myself, this, this, this this personal sequestration that I have undergone from the, from show business, I think I might be ready. Like I think I might be ready to to maybe do something now because I feel like interpersonal things, I've grown and a lot of my inner demons and I think I'm ready and no sooner than I kind of come to that thought, I get it to ext from my friend josh Radnor and you know, he and I have been friends, you know, throughout the whole time. We, we just text and speak many times each day and he's a big star and he's releasing films and he had been on How I Met Your Mother for nine seasons. And he texts me, he goes, hey, I'm going to be a guest on Fallon. Should I say hi to your old friends now? I think I I always said to myself he was giving me one last chance to say, well I didn't really know him that well and maybe you shouldn't mention me. So nobody so that nobody gets embarrassed. But I in fact said of course, oh my God, yes, say hi, I'm piecing this altogether. And I had thought many times about approaching jimmy, but I was like, you know, I can't approach him until I have something to give and I just got too many demons and stuff. I would be asking for too much. They would be asking too much for me to approach him any earlier than this day. And uh I hung up the phone and I said yeah, you can definitely say hi to jimmy. You know all is well with the world. And then I thought maybe the thought arrived while I'm sitting in that cafeteria at the veteran's hospital. But I was like, you know what? I think I am really ready. Maybe I could go say hi myself. I texted josh back. I said josh, could I maybe go with you and just be like part of your entourage? And he said of course meet me down here in such and such. I went down, met him at the hotel Suv comes picks us up, drives us up to 30 rock right where jimmy and I had, you know, met he's now inside got his own show for a little while now and I go up to the dressing room now I'm having a terrible stealing inside because I'm I'm at this weird place of thinking it's going to really remember me. I mean he'll remember me of course I would be weird. You know, you have been around somebody for 10, 12, 13 years and you know, I don't know if you become a big star, maybe he'll just be like, oh yeah, hey, he comes into that dressing room and he said, my God, Dion Flynn, mm mhm. Where have you been? And he said to me, he said to everybody, he said to everybody that would listen. My friend josh included, this is one of the funniest guys I know. Mm And he and he hugged me up and he was, you know, the jimmy that people sometimes criticized because they're like, how can this guy be so positive? Uh but that's the jimmy I've always known. He has an unbelievable source of energy bubbling through him, which is, you can't account for it in any easily explainable way. And he grabbed me up and they went out and did this segment and I watched for the dressing room and um and uh, I guess, you know, I'm crying because it's it's it's it's, I don't know, I guess, b because I was in some kind of larger story that whole time, and I was always being cared for, and, you know, I never really had to worry. And then I worried so many times, you know, in any way, um, so jimmy sends a producer backstage to get my information and with the message that, hey, we'd like to maybe have you come in and do some segments and some bits on the show and I get too nervous about it. Then I submit a writer's packet instead of doing what he said and the writers pack. It was just like, politely, you know, ignored because I hadn't really got into my joke writing at that point yet, and um, I was afraid to make that plunge that next plunge. And so I was meeting with some people who were helping me along the way. These people that are sort of in my recovery world. And they said, well let's list some things that you can do to earn and you know, you know, you know do the next phase of your life and whatever. And I and I and I said well you know I know this guy and that guy and they were like watch you know these people and I was like yeah but you know like you know that's not can't and blah blah blah. And they said, well right, you know, right down that you'll at least you know, reach out. And they said all right. Um And I that's the day that I invented the things I refuse to ever do list tired t I. R. E. D. Things I refuse ever doing. You know, if somebody gives me a good idea and I can't write it down because I just, I just want to dismiss it. I don't dismiss it anymore. I write it down on things I refuse to fucking do. And then I, and then I just write it down and I wrote down, get in contact again. So I'd let this thing laps by trying to sidetrack what my real talent was. And I reconnected in a more pointed way and I said, did it and I got on the show and I did a little side piece. The first little piece I did was a desk piece where I was a guy reporting on passwords. Jimmy was Tiktok. It was called Tiktok Tiktok and jimmy was the host and then he threw to me and I talked about passwords and I inadvertently gave away all my passwords on national television. That was the bit that was a bit. And then I did you know about 12 or 14 of these various sketches and stuff on late night with jimmy Fallon. And somebody kind of looked at my head shape one day, my ears and my skin tone and my height and my hair length. And they were like, do you think they were kind of looking past me and through me, and they were like one of the producers? Like, do you think you could do Obama? And I was like uh and you're an actor, you know, so you're like yeah sure. And so I did that and I tried that and that just took everything to a whole new level because once you play a character that everybody knows they you may not know this, but once you play a former president on television, you get listed in Wikipedia like people who have played president on television and people want you at their I. P. O. S. And their um their weddings and their deathbeds. I I got called as Obama to go to a deathbed um one time uh and it just really took off for my career of going into places and writing for people and writing because as Obama I would roast people even the woman that was on her deathbed. I roasted her with information that I got from the family and I pretended like Obama had all the information from the from the National Security administration that we had been eavesdropping on everything. So it's so look it's just a lot of like yes yes just saying yes to the next thing and not ignoring these weird coincidences and there's a moment that I have to acknowledge here which is when jimmy started to throw to me and this is the one thing where I reluctantly, over the years I had to just own because I always try to throw the credit to jimmy or to my other friends or to something else. Um it's when jimmy throws to me and the light goes on and it's my camera and I'm the only one on NBC um I have to come forward like jimmy can love me and does with all of his might, but if I don't bring something forward when the light is just me, he can't save me and that's my moment. You know, if you get your moment and that's what you learn, you know, it's like your moment, you're not stepping on anybody else's moment, it's your moment and when it's your moment, you've got to bring your talent and there's nothing humble about not bringing all your talents forward when the light goes on, it's your moment. So that's one of one of many, many big lessons I've learned about being a performer is that doesn't serve anybody to play small when it's actually your moment. Well, Dion, thank you. That's one of the more incredible stories that I've ever heard. So I'm grateful for you sharing and.
Up Next
Add to playlist
New playlist


Embed Options
Create Playlist
Select the Station you want to upload this audio to
0 / 140
0 / 2000
Playlist Icon Image:
(.jpg, .png, min size 500x500px)
Discover & Listen to the world’s largest free collection of audio
Password reset

Enter your email address that you used to register. We'll send you an email with your username and a link to reset your password.

If you still need help, contact Vurbl Support
Password reset sent

You have been sent instructions on resetting you password to the email associated with your account. Please check your email and signing in again.

Back to Sign In
If you still need help, contact Vurbl Support
Discover & Listen to the world’s largest free collection of audio
Reset password

Please enter your new password below.

If you still need help, contact Vurbl Support
Your voice matters.
Discover & Listen to the world’s largest free collection of audio
Verify Email

Enter your email address that you used to register. We'll send you an email with a link to verify your email.

Delete Profile
Are you sure? We will miss you :'(
Delete Audio
Are you sure?
Delete Playlist
Are you sure you want to delete this playlist?
You must be signed in to view
your notifications. Please sign in
Edit Snippet
0 / 140
0 / 140

Tag Station

Type station name to add additional tags
*Station owners will be notified when you tag them
Open this link in the Vurbl Mobile App for the full Vurbl experience.
Open in Vurbl mobile app
Continue to Vurbl website