He’s from Gary, Ind., but stand-up comedian Haywood Turnipseed Jr. is a D.C. local now. For more than a decade, he’s been performing at the city’s best venues and festivals, including the DC Improv, the Kennedy Center and the Bentzen Ball. These days, he hosts the “Attack of the Comics” showcase at Solly’s Tavern on most Tuesdays, a weekly open mic at Madam’s Organ on Mondays, and regular comedy fundraisers at Drafthouse Comedy. With this schedule, plus a day job as a telecom specialist at the National Gallery of Art and a volunteer gig coaching peewee football for underprivileged kids, Turnipseed Jr., 42, doesn’t have a whole lot of spare time. But he does have a plan just in case he gets a free day all to himself.


I would get up and go to The Diner. I live in Southeast D.C., so I’d have to make it all the way to Adams Morgan, but I do like The Diner. Actually, I might just go to IHOP in my neighborhood, because I like to keep my money. My favorite pancakes there are the [Cinn-A-Stack] pancakes. They’ve got that cinnamon icing on top — it’s like eating diabetes. You can feel your arteries clogging up. It’s amazing.

If I had my little boys with me — they are 4 and 6 — we’d go to one of the Smithsonians. They like the Natural History Museum and the Blacksonian — that’s what I call the National Museum of African American History and Culture, because that name’s too long.

I work at the National Gallery of Art, and it’s amazing to be able to walk through a building that’s been designed by I.M. Pei, and to look at a Van Gogh. I love the design of the National Museum of the American Indian, too. All these buildings are works of art in and of themselves, and you can go there and get a little bit of history and a lot of culture. D.C. is a really cool place to be, to have all this stuff offered for free. The city is shaped like a diamond, and to me it’s a gem.

At night I’m usually out late, so one good place that’s open late is Stan’s Restaurant. It’s on Vermont Avenue. It’s like “Cheers” to me. They have all sorts of food — Italian, American — and they have really good drinks and good people, too.

You know what else is good? Horace & Dickie’s, right off of H Street in Northeast. It’s a hole in the wall; you can’t even sit inside. You get your food and get out of there, but they have some of the best fried fish I have had in my life. Yeah, man, that’s good eating.

I also like to take my kids to Canal Park — it’s on New Jersey Avenue in Southeast, and they have a spray park in the spring and summer and they turn it into an ice rink in the winter. I went there to ice-skate one time and they were playing “Welcome to the Jungle,” and, oddly enough, it used to be a jungle over there. They had the strip clubs, the gay clubs — everything they wanted on the outskirts of the city. And now it has a whole family vibe over there. I like that this area seems to be growing as I’ve grown up. I’ve watched this area change and I’ve found more reasons to stay. (As told to Sadie Dingfelder)