Gaylord Dingler is an American stand-up comic, best known for his infamous sessions at The Comedy Store in West Hollywood, California.
Dingler was known by Comedy Store patrons as a "Potlucker," aka someone who performs during the club's open mike nights, which would routinely attract 40 comics vying for only 20 spots. For the Potluck show, aspiring performers drew a number from a weathered frozen strawberry bucket - those chosen got three minutes on stage. No qualifications were necessary. The Potluck was a rite of passage for many aspiring comedians - comics who successfully performed routinely at the potluck often graduated to paying jobs.
Dingler, however, performed at the potluck for nearly 27 years, doing the same material, performance after performance. He eventually became bitter, and seemingly held grudges against many Comedy Store alumni (such as Jim Carrey, Andrew Dice Clay, Jay Leno, David Letterman and Eddie Griffin) who'd successfully risen through the ranks following the same path.
Long-time patrons of the Comedy Store eventually began to treat Dingler as a cult symbol, and would often do his routine along with him, often calling out his punchlines before he could. In later years, the hosts of the pot-luck shows would save Dingler's appearance for the end of the evening, when more inebriated and exuberant audiences would play along with his disturbingly hilarious act.
Dingler's personal history and appearance remained a mystery to many, leading to speculation that he was possibly a millionaire playboy, homeless or a Post-Traumatic Shock Syndrome riddled Vietnam veteran.
In 2004, Dingler suddenly disappeared from The Comedy Store and the comedy scene, leading to speculation that he had either died in a gutter or been murdered, but according to an article written by up and coming comedian Todd Munson, Gaylord Dingler was a stage name for Jeffrey Allen Kaufman, who now lives somewhere in the Mid-West.
An upcoming documentary titled 'The Machine Ripped His Leg Off : The Legend of Gaylord Dingler is currently being shot by English filmmaker Kjeld Gogosha-Clark of Los Angeles based Working Class Films and Munson.