David Liebe Hart is hard to peg. He sings—rather, his puppets sing—about anything from aliens to relationships, to relationships with aliens, to religion. Often his songs consist of obscure lyrics in anomalous voices—and his standup is filled with fantastical stories and celebrity impressions. Oh, and Liebe Hart is an actor and painter, too—just for good measure.
Liebe Hart went to school for acting, studied comedy with comedian Jonathan Winters, and along the way has met a lot of famous people in his Christian Science circles. He also has an affinity for “Hee Haw” and manages an interesting familial connection to North Carolina. “On my caucasian side, I’m related to the Wright brothers,” he tells me in a phone interview last week.
Liebe Hart is considered an outsider of his various crafts. Nevertheless, he’s garnered a cult following from his film and TV appearances on shows like “Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!” on Adult Swim, as well as his online videos and live stage shows, featuring hits like “Salame,” “Father & Son” and “Puberty.” A child of the ‘50s and ‘60s (“when America had the best railroads”), Liebe Hart loves and sings about trains. He also tackles love ballads, “I’m in Love with an Insect Woman,” “Love” and “I Fell in Love,” the latter of which is about falling for an extraterrestrial woman. “Grace didn’t want us to embrace each other,” he tells, “so it never came to be.”
With electronic musician Jonah “Th’Mole” Mociun backing him as of late, Liebe Hart’s been traveling the circuit as somewhat of a duo. Performing updated material and new songs alike, he’ll be bringing his music and art to Wilmington’s Reggie’s 42nd Street Tavern on Aug. 20. He’ll be joined by local bands D&D Sluggers and Slomo Dingo, as well as comics Lew Morgante and Cameron Smith.
Like most songwriters, comedians or artists, Liebe Hart attempts to convey his own experiences in his craft. Albeit extraordinary, he notes what he’s seen and been through, all of which includes—but isn’t limited to—a UFO experience and many different relationship problems after his wife left him (and divorced him for a younger dude). “I wrote songs about getting over a breakup and having to start all over again,” Liebe Hart lists. “In a way, I’m a journalist of music and art.”
While his recent collaborations with Mociun have yielded new work, Mociun has produced commercials for the performer’s merchandise for live shows, among other unique videography. His talent knows no bounds, according to Liebe Hart.
“[He] did a video for the beginning of the show where I have embraced two famous actors,” Liebe Hart notes. “Palmer Scott and Dallas [James] were past actors on the ‘Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!’ They do an opening video with me. I can’t tell what the plotting actually is—I don’t want to let the cat out of the bag.”
However, onstage it’s a different story. Among Liebe Hart’s many puppet characters is Jason the Kitty Cat, who joins the comedian in “Salame.” Liebe Hart has roughly 250 puppets—a fascination that originated from his Christian Science Sunday school teachers, as well as famous puppeteers like Burr Tillstrom of TV’s “Kukla, Fran and Ollie” and Jim Henson from “The Muppets.” Liebe Hart eventually got his own public-access puppet show to teach kids Bible stories and how to say “no” to drugs. Some puppets he made himself, while others he inherited from past mentors.
“I got second-hand puppets from [Jim Henson and Burr Tillstrom] that were not well-known or they used once in a commercial or built for other people [who] didn’t want to pay for them,” he explains.
Liebe Hart constantly collects new material for his standup based on politics and current events. His routine typically includes favorite bits about food, improvisation and impressions inspired by his own comedic favorites. “I go as far as improvisation and [do] old characters like Jackie Gleason to standup comedy of James Quall (a present comedian),” he explains. “I’d a appreciate it if my fans would keep James Quall in prayers. He’s gotten into a negative walk like Robin Williams, into drugs and alcohol, and I pray he can wake up and get away from that negativity—to be able to find himself as a child of God and get out of the path that he’s walking in.”
God and Liebe Hart’s fans are most important to the performer. He describes his fans as supportive and loyal. Well, at least mostly.
“With this tour I’ve had to be extremely forgiving with my fans,” he admits. “Fans promise to drive me and show me around and don’t show up. A fan sold me a computer and he never mailed it to me, and he took $300 dollars for it. So I’m running across some fans who are not very loving or sincere—[and whom] I have to forgive as a Christian.”
Liebe Hart likens seeing his show to finding a TV series audiences can’t click away from—unless Pokemons are nearby. Lately, the entertainer has seen some stiff competition at his shows thanks to the craze of Pokemon Go. Most recently at shows in Bloomington and Fort Worth, Indiana, folks emptied the clubs to hunt for the digital creatures.
“I never felt the rudeness and unprofessionalism like I did from my fans in Indiana,” he remembers. “I believe Pokemon is using some kind of frequency of mind control, like the government uses with HAARP [High Frequency Active Auroral Research] to control the weather. There’s some kind of negative frequency that Pokemon does on people’s minds, thoughts and actions—like a brainwashing effect that is really effecting my fans in a negative way.”
Despite the obscure, off-beat and sometimes unbelievable nature of his work, a sense of good-hearted sincerity lies within Liebe Hart. His idiosyncrasies make him engaging; his will to succeed runs deep and encourages others to follow their dreams.
“As Doris Day told me,” he advises, “know that I am success in action, I am worthy to be just as successful as any actor or musician that ever made it in the entertainment business.”
David Liebe Hart and Guests
Saturday, August 20
Doors 7 p.m.; Show 8 p.m.
Reggie’s 42nd Street Tavern
$10 adv.; $12 day of
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