These days, I’ve been getting an up-close and personal look at the art of comedy. Though this has been completely inspired by dating a comic, comedy has been on my heart for a while now. As a great storyteller, I understand that comics are great storytellers.
Last year I wanted to feature one particular comic in our open mics, but it never happened. Little did I know that that specific comic was on my heart for a different reason entirely. He just so happens to be the best friend of the guy I’m now dating.If hip-hop has been the heartbeat of Black American culture, then comedy has been its pulse. Click To Tweet
Both hip-hop and comedy have been vital in keeping Black people alive over centuries of oppression, injustice, and generational trauma. When you’re born with built-in trauma, the odds you will thrive, run slim. Yet that’s what these two artistic expressions of this people group demonstrate: a thriving.
The greats like Red Foxx, Richard Prior, and the living Eddy Murphy bursted through racial barriers of various generations equivalent to the great wall of China.
Like magicians, they transformed platforms of entertainment into stages of sharp, truth-telling, gospel while inviting their audience into this transformation via belly laughs and side-gripping guffaws.
Some of the content is gritty, but it’s gritty for a reason. Our history is gritty. And that’s the truth-telling aspect.
I was invited into this new gritty world when asked to perform a comedy roast for my boyfriend’s birthday. In all honesty, I hadn’t even known what a roast was, and I backed out initially. But I always liked a challenge and knew I had the initial skillset needed to accomplish such a feat. I am, after all, a storyteller.
That being said, my first attempt was an actual story. Encouraged by one of my close friends, I wrote out some humorous moments from our dating experience. While the first draft was cute and funny, it was too long. Then one of the comics and I squeezed in an introduction to comedy class via Facetime.
Picture me in the middle of blow-drying my 4D tendrils, with half my head in Bantu knots and the other flying free. I get the call mere hours before the roast, so I hurriedly answer. My new teacher guides me into some essential tips while making diagrams on a dry-erase board at work (bless his heart), and I start keying out notes on my Mac notes app. At this point, with the clock ticking, it was insane to think I could come up with anything worthy of performing, so I said a little prayer. I knew this was out of my wheelhouse and would need Divine assistance.
And guess what? It worked.
What I learned was that the gift inside of us is magnanimous. It’s not contained to just one genre or one field. When you’re a writer, you can write anything. Even jokes.
I shared with my new teacher that our little session reminded me of the writing workshops I’ve taken. Whenever I’m in these workshops, the gift inside me is stirred and then cultivated by the gift inside of the other attendees. He agreed that my writing workshops were the equivalent of theirs. Except, they write jokes.
For years I’ve been told I was funny, but it wasn’t until this season that I understand that the way I can make others laugh and the feeling they get when I do, is the same feeling I get when my guy makes me laugh. I accredit this ability to my mother, who was a very funny lady.
I always knew I was attracted to those with humor. Most of my close friends are funny; even if others don’t think they are, they have a knack for making me laugh. And I’ve always sought out a sense of humor in my dating partner. But this level of public display of comedy is a first for me, and I could only do it because I was greatly inspired by him.
In case you’re wondering how my very first comedy set went (this is me embellishing as I was about two minutes shy of it being a full set), it was phenomenal. I had them in the palm of my hands.
But really, it was because I had the perfect muse.
Happy Birthday to the great Tyrone Gaines.