I started in entertainment about 22 years ago believe it or not. I was working at Disney at the time with a friend of mine, Jamie Ryan. We bonded over our love of comedy which meant you could always find us cracking jokes. Jamie used to do comedy in NY and told me that I should try doing stand up because he thought I would be good at it. He finally convinced me to do my very first “Open Mic” and the rest as they say is history.
Did you get any time to reflect on how far you came?
That’s the funny thing, I try not to think about where comedy has brought me too much or say too many things out loud about where my career is. I don’t know why but I have this feeling or superstition that if I talk or think about it too much it might all just go away. I know it’s silly to think that way but I think most of us who do entertainment are a little superstitious. What I will say is I’m able to support my family by doing something I actually love and that is why I feel blessed doing what I do.
What’s the hardest part of your job?
The hardest part of being in entertainment besides the time away from family and friends is the work you have to put in when you are off stage.
At some point in your career as a standup you start to realize that the pay off isn’t necessarily the money, no, it’s the time you spend performing in front of that crowd.
The real work is the constant Emailing club bookers trying to secure dates, posting 3 times a day on social media because you need followers to now get dates from bookers. Continuously networking with comics, agents and managers trying to get to that next level in this industry. This in my opinion is the real work.
Do you have anything new to tell the upcoming professionals who do what you do?
If I had one bit of advice to give an up and coming comic it would be to simply “Listen”. and by “listen” I don’t mean just listen to just one voice either. There are going to be a lot of voices in your ear giving you their opinion on how to achieve success in this business. The trick is to take what you hear and learn to form your own ideas and path to follow. The road in comedy is different for everyone and there’s not just one clear path that leads to success.
A couple of other things to note is that if you do want to “Make It” in comedy. You will need to develop an unwavering belief in yourself. You are going to hear the word “NO” a lot in this business and you might even hear “You’re just not ready yet” and more often than that you might not hear back at all from a club you keep trying to get into. This comedy thing is not easy at all but that’s exactly why it feels so good when you start to progress and get better at the craft.
What’s does collaborating mean to you and how does it relate to you and your brand today?
Well in comedy there are usually 3 parts to a show. The 3 parts are equally important but their level of responsibility may be different.There is the “Host”, whose job it is to turn the group of people in front of the stage into a attentive well behaved “audience”.
The “Feature Act” is the comedian that goes up after the host and it’s his job to keep the party going and get the crowd ready for the Headliner.
The “Headliner” is usually the person that everyone came out to see. No matter what happened up until this point of the show it is this person’s responsibility of being hands down the funniest comedian on stage that night.
To me this is what collaboration looks like in the comedy business. Every person has a role to play in putting on a good show.
Why did you get into your niche?
I got into TV Hosting because as a comedian we all have our ultimate goal when it comes to Comedy and mine was being a Late Night Host. Growing up when I saw Arsenio, a person that looked like me do it, I knew I had to find a way to make it happen.
Years later I auditioned for my first TV Gig at an up and coming Network called “Afrotainment”. I ended up getting a hosting job there and 10 years later im now hosting my very own Late Night Talk Show called “The Lowdown starring James Yon
Where do you see yourself/brand in the next 5 years?
Hopefully taking this Hosting thing to the next level. You might see me host the BET Awards or even the Oscars