Interview: Don Jamieson from VH1's 'That Metal Show'

Don Jamieson


Don Jamieson has had so many careers and interests, it’s hard to focus on just one. Behind the scenes, Jamieson produced and wrote for HBO’s Inside the NFL, penned the screenplays for the Apt. 2f series, and crafted one-liners for raunchy comedian Lisa Lampanelli. He even played guitar in acoustic hardcore punk bands. Yet, it's his work in heavy metal (co-hosting VH1's That Metal Show and collaborating on the BlondeAndCrossbones website) and comedy performances (albums of prank calls and caustic stand-up routines) where Jamieson truly lets his hair down as he'll do this weekend at Philadelphia's Helium Comedy Club.

A.D. Amorosi: Several weeks ago I chatted with Rob Halford of Judas Priest. During the conversation, he mentioned coming out as a gay man and feeling a sense of love and support from the metal community. Halford said that metal fans were the most accepting and broad-minded people he has even known. In your experience, is that true?
Don Jamieson: One hundred percent. That’s not just because Rob is one of my favorite people in the world, but because it’s true. When I did that That Metal Show for 8 years and 14 seasons, the thing that my co-hosts and I tried to achieve was to let people now that metal heads are not meatheads, not a bunch of Neanderthals or beer-swilling idiots who listen to music that only screams. Metal heads are intelligent, sensitive, caring people. Every genre has its silly lyrics. So does metal. There’s also history and social issues at hand in metal lyrics. On our Metal Show, we were three people without piercings or long hair who liked to head bang. We were there to buck the stereotypes. We couldn’t dance so we had to bang our heads

A.D.: You guys took metal to a more fully-rounded and humanist level. Do you feel as if that crowd has followed you into the site?
Don: The metal audience is very loyal, so yes, I am lucky. Not only have they found my website, they come to my comedy shows. You get the couple who come to the comedy clubs dressed up for dinner and a show, then you get five guys in Iron Maiden t-shirts. I love that dynamic. I’m uniting everybody.

A.D.: How did you hook up with Juliet Huddy in the first place? I am certainly familiar with her work at FOX News and that network's level of conservatism. I DO get that what you do as a job does not define your politics, and vice versa.
Don: I saw her interviewing metal bands on FOX and was like, ‘Wow, that’s quite a departure.' Fast-forward to when I was at North Jersey night club for a show and that’s where I first ran into her. We got introduced. We hit it off. We discussed bands we both loved. Then she told me that she was leaving FOX and wanted to do her own thing – not the news thing – closer to her passion for listening to and talking about music. I happened to be looking for a new gig too. That’s it. She’s a terrific lady – the real deal. God bless her.

A.D.: Is there room for real conservatism in metal beyond whatever it is Ted Nugent espouses?
Don: That’s funny. Obviously Ted is an outspoken guy who goes to the extreme. I don’t think metal speaks to any one politic or party. It’s broad and all over the place, as is the music.

A.D.: You have a long a career in comedy. Why did you start doing stand-up?
Don: I couldn’t play any instruments really well (laughs), but I wanted to be on stage. That’s how comedy came to me as a profession. Plus being in a band, you have to be with four other guys all the time, and split the money four ways and lug equipment. Comedy is just you putting your jokes in your pocket and just showing up.

A.D.: So you do comedy because you’re lazy and antisocial.
Don: Exactly. Besides, my first two albums were Kiss’ Destroyer and George Carlin’s Occupation: Foole. That about sums me up - my first two loves. I always wanted to combine them, and so I did. And I love doing comedy shows opening for bands just as much as I do comedy clubs.

A.D. Comics such as Bobcat Goldthwait, Andrew Dice Clay and Sam Kinison opened for bands in the 80s. Then for the longest time, it became uncool.
Don: Definitely. Well, I want to bring that back and make it cool again. Even as an audience member, would you rather see another local band, or me doing comedy? Besides, I have two sets – one for the rock shows and one for comedy clubs such as Helium. I’ll tell some rock jokes and band stuff there, but the rest will be me complaining about Syria, North Korea and Stormy Daniels. Then again, the landscape changes so fast, even that might be old several days from now.

Don Jamieson, Sunday, April 22, 8 PM at Helium Comedy Club, 2031 Sansom Street, Philadelphia PA. For more info visit

Photo courtesy Meredith Trotter

Posted on Sunday, April 22, 2018