March 2022: David Gamble Jr.

Hello Nevadan Artists, Cultural Bearers, Historians, and Educators,

I am so proud to share that our state-wide initiative celebrated its one-year anniversary last month. Our efforts to provide an online arts education platform to honor the sustenance and vitality of cultural diversity in Nevada is a special endeavor I hold close and it is so amazing to watch it grow.

‘The First Lady Presents…’ has been shared and supported among a mix of local and national audiences from the Mesquite Citizen Journal to Americans for the Arts in Washington DC. Our team efforts have resulted in artist interviews, inaugural art exhibitions, museum acquisitions, and artist sales- ­all the while maintaining the steady social awareness and responsibility of the arts in reflecting who we are in Nevada.  There are so many layers to a community- so many different voices and stories to see and hear; let us work daily to ensure that each of these perspectives is respected and welcomed to call Nevada home. Diversity is the universal cloth of community.

We know that during divisive times it is laughter which connects people. Comedy has a special way of peeling back the complicated layers of society and taking a true look at ourselves.  At times such an honest perspective can be startling and revealing.

Reno’s David Gamble Jr. is such an artist that focuses the spectacle of humanity upon itself.  As both an attorney and stand-up comedian he has plenty of surfaces to scratch and content to reveal. This March, for Women’s History Month, the Nevada State Museum’s Curator’s Corner also takes a close look beneath it all, specifically under 19th century petticoats, at what is sometimes called knickers, drawers or pantalettes/pantaloons. Like the old adage says, we all put our pants on one leg at a time.

Together as Nevadans, let us study the past, honor the present, and envision the future.
This month, it is my pleasure to present… David Gamble Jr.!

David Gamble Jr.

David Gamble Jr.

Photo courtesy of the artist

“I like to think of comedy as an art form- it is about pushing boundaries and telling the truth.”

David Gamble Jr. on Renoites podcast interview, 2022

“It is a well-worn maxim that beneath every joke lies the truth. I believe it is more accurate to say that jokes based on false premises will not be broadly funny.”

David Gamble Jr.’s Nevada Humanities blog contribution entitled ‘Send in the Clowns’, 2021

David Gamble Jr. lives in Reno with his wife and two children. David has performed stand-up comedy for 7 years, and is also a writer with a focus on social and criminal justice. An attorney by training, Gamble worked as a Washoe County public defender for the last six years prior to joining Northern Nevada HOPES community clinic where he currently serves as general counsel.  His career has encapsulated both government and non-profit sectors including roles as staff attorney for both the Social Security Administration in Washington DC and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges in Reno. David has performed at comedy venues in Sacramento, San Francisco, and Las Vegas. He is the creator and host of Comedy Night at Ferino Distillery in Reno.


All art depends on an audience. However, the performing arts are the most daring and bold as every occurrence is a live debut delivery. Even with practice and preparation, things can go wrong- a cello string breaks, a dancer slips, lyrics get mixed up. Part of performing well is to know how to recover and continue.  The greatest performing artists make this so seamless that mistakes are unseen. Or if seen, controlled so gracefully it seems as if intended.

Nevada lays claim to the entertainment capital of the world with its stages of musicians, dancers, comedians, actors, magicians, and other spectacles.  I personally think of it as the arts entertainment capital of the world. However, often when it comes to grant funding for artists and arts organizations, the national definition of the performing arts is limited to recognizing only choreography, music, theater, spoken word, and storytelling.  Although not explicit, I believe stand-up comedy is an art form and righteously rests there between spoken word and storytelling.

There is something fascinating about the duality of this performing artist, David Gamble Jr., and I believe that is why I find him so educationally entertaining each time I am in the audience.

Specifically, I draw attention to the range of people that he may be performing in front of on any given day.  Imagine the stiff court room etiquette of playing the role of public defender during the day. Now imagine that transitioning to a casual comedy club atmosphere playing the role of a public ‘offender’ at night- or at least hinting at such to an audience. Imagine being on stage in a courtroom of U.S. law, with historical language written in opposition to your race, and then being on stage in a roomful of laughter, generated from your own writings. And imagine speaking for others in court for a living, and then speaking for yourself in an opinion column as David did in the Reno Gazette Journal in June 2020 during the height of Black Lives Matter.

Language, timing, and delivery are the shared tools of both the serious and the absurd. Although no longer a county government employee, it is certain that the 6th Amendment, ensuring no defendant is denied a right to an attorney, continues to inform and inspire his daily routines of careful observation and thought so that no audience member is denied laughter, and often a reexamined look at one’s self.

For more information on David Gamble Jr., please visit his Facebook account and his Instagram account.

Performance at the Alpine, 2021
Photo courtesy of the artist

Performance at the
Pioneer Underground, 2019
Photo courtesy of the artist

Mark Steel Wool Salinas is a Reno-based public arts administrator and cultural curator. He is the Senior Project Manager at Forecast Public Art authoring arts and culture master plans, public art policies, and creative workforce strategies for non-profits, developers, airports, as well as city, county, and state arts agencies nationwide.

He serves locally as a board member for the City of Reno Arts & Culture Commission (Chair), the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts, the Nevada Arts Council, and Americans for the Arts Public Art Network.

Alongside Nevada First Lady Kathy Sisolak and the Nevada State Museum, he established ‘The First Lady presents…’ in 2019 and serves its Curator.  Follow him on Instagram: @MarkSteelWoolSalinas