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David Dean Bottrell, TV's favorite psychopath, makes love, life, laughs

David Dean Bottrell, star of stage and small screen, at KPCC 11-1-2011.
David Dean Bottrell, star of stage and small screen, at KPCC 11-1-2011.
John Rabe

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UPDATE: "David Dean Bottrell Makes Love" has two performances at the Outlaugh Festival, part of the Hollywod Frings Festival. Sunday, June 10, at 7p; and Saturday, June 23, at 10p. Off-Ramp talked with Bottrell in 2011.

David Dean Bottrell, the screenwriter and actor, is back with another run of his one-man show "David Dean Bottrell Makes Love." The show is a collection of stories about Bottrell's life experiences with love.

Bottrell says he never wanted to do a one-man show, much less an autobiographical one, but the idea came to him after he did a show in which he told a short story about his ex. He felt the idea had potential and began writing and piecing together stories about all his major experiences with love since the age of six.

Bottrell called his first performance at the Comedy Central Stage “like being shot out of a canon.” The show consists of Bottrell alone onstage with a few props and minimal music and lighting. Although the show has been successful, Bottrell describes it as “the single most terrifying thing I’ve ever done.”

“It’s a very mixed bag kind of show,” Bottrell says. Alongside the racy and appropriately vulgar anecdotes are stories of the actor being in love, getting his first date and meeting his first girlfriend. Bottrell reveals much about his life through the course of the show, including his 10-year relationship with his ex, an alcoholic Irish performer whom he calls “the one big love of my life.” Still on the lookout for love, Bottrell says, “I don’t think I’ve had problems finding love. I’ve had problems keeping love.”

The actor also talks about his relationship with a distant father. Bottrell says his father came from a world where men did not express affection. “At one point in my life, I just decided I kinda didn’t want to go to my grave without trying to say to my dad, ‘I love you,’” Bottrell said. He cites the show as his effort to accomplish this task.

Bottrell grew up in a working-class family in Kentucky and said storytelling was a big part of his upbringing. After moving to New York to pursue acting, his mother wrote him letters about recent happenings, which Bottrell says consisted of mostly bad news. “In between the stories of people’s miscarriages or getting in and out of jail would be a paragraph about how many tomatoes that garden had produced,” he says. One “unintentionally hilarious” letter he received became the basis of the first script he ever wrote.

After moving west and finding success as a screenwriter, a casting director from “Boston Legal” approached Bottrell to play the part of oddball Lincoln Meyer in the third season of the show. “I’ve never been a lead man,” Bottrell says, “I’ve always been the odd guy and that’s always suited me fine because they’re the more interesting roles for me.”

"David Dean Bottrell Makes Love" is at Rogue Machine Theatre, 5041 W. Pico Blvd., Nov. 16 to Dec. 15 on Wednesday and Thursday evenings.

Content advisory: The show is cathartic and uplifting, but there is vulgarity and some funny but disgusting descriptions of bodily functions.