New York comedian Dave Smith says he "became a libertarian through the Ron Paul movement. "He challenged all of my preconceived notions about what government was [and]...inspired me to read all of these people, like Rothbard, Mises, and Friedman."
When Bernie Sanders became a national figure, what Smith hated most about the Vermont senator was that he was aesthetically like a carbon copy of Paul—"a kind of disheveled, older guy who's just a truth teller."
"[The difference was that] Bernie would go around to these kids and be like, 'Hey, so you're a college kid in 2017, you're among the richest, freest, most privileged people who have ever existed, [so] billionaires should be paying your bills for you'...It was the difference between a propagandist and a truth teller."
Smith, 34, is a regular on the New York City stand up circuit and hosts two popular podcasts on the GaS Digital Network, Legion of Skanks and Part of the Problem. On September 11, he'll release his first comedy special, Libertas, which will be available for download here. You can watch teaser clips of the special here and here.
Smith sat down with Reason's Nick Gillespie to talk about how Trump manipulates the left, why the media's reaction to the Syria bombing was "the most disgusting thing I've ever seen in my life," how to turn millennials libertarian, and his decision to have alt-right lightning rod and "racist shock jock" Christopher Cantwell as a recent guest on his podcast.
"I have to play this left-wing game," Smith says. "When I go on a Fox News panel with...a CIA killer, or somebody who's advocating for the next war...I never get accused of being chummy with them."
Edited by Mark McDaniel. Cameras by Jim Epstein and Andrew Heaton.
This is a rush transcript. Check all quotes against the audio for accuracy.
Dave Smith: Thank you for having me. It's good to be here. I've made it. The libertarian Super Bowl.
Nick Gillespie: Yeah, this is it. Well, the libertarian Buzz Bowl, which is a much maligned and ignored Reason TV video starring Chuck Schumer and Four Loko versus Juice back when they were caffeinated. Never mind. Talk about "Libertas."
Smith: It's my first comedy special. I've been doing stand up for 11 years. I'm very proud of it. It was produced by GaS Digital Network, which is my Podcast network and Luis J Gomez, who is a hilarious comedian. Just a great entrepreneur, he's the guy who started GaS Digital and he directed it. Yep, it's out September 11th. He chose that date, not me, but I'm excited and I appreciate the nice words.
Gillespie: So this is going to do for libertarian comedy what September 11th did for libertarian comedy?
Smith: That's libertarian comedy. Yes, exactly.
Gillespie: It was a redevelopment project according to Paul Krugman who literally, like less than a week after the 9/11 attacks said, "You know, the silver lining in this is that there's going to be a lot of building down there now."