In The Know by Yahoo celebrated Black History Month by hosting a panel of comedians, in front of a live audience

It was a night to remember at NYC's Negril Village

Video Transcript

- Hey, New York City make some noise for ourselves tonight. Come on, let's start this out. Let's bring the energy up. There we go.


So how you guys doing? My name is Reg Thomas. I'm a stand-up comedian from Flatbush, Brooklyn.


I've been doing-- Thank you very much, a couple of people. I've been doing stand-up for nine years, in April, makes 10. I produce my own comedy show called Productively Stoned. I tour around the country with Amanda Seales, Chris Redd, and CP. And I started headlining myself. And yeah, like, you know, I perform every Comedy Club in New York City. And here's some of the other comedians I work with right here. Go ahead.

- Hello. My name is Alex English. I'm a stand-up comedian, an Emmy-nominated television writer.


- OK. OK.

- That's right. I'm a writer for Saturday Night Live.

- Hell yeah.

- I've opened for the likes of-- let's see-- Michael Che, Michelle Wolf, Roy Wood Jr. To name a few. Some previous work of mine-- Inside Amy Schumer. OK, two people.


I guess we're not getting another season of that. I was in-- I was in an episode of HBO's High Maintenance. I used to write for the rundown with Robin Dee Dee on BET. RIP that show.


And yeah, I've been doing stand-up for 10 years as well-- regular performer at the Comedy Cellar with my pals over here around the corner.

- Yeah.

- And I'm going to throw it to my friend over here.

- Yes. Good evening, everybody.


My name is Amina Imani. I'm from Atlanta, Georgia. But I've been living here in New York for 13 years now. When do I start calling it my home?




I think I've seen enough, been through enough. No, but that's how long I've been doing stand-up. I moved here, never looked back. You've seen me on Inside Amy Schumer, Flatbush, Misdemeanors. I'm a regular at the Comedy Cellar. I perform all over the nation, you know.


- Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.


And yeah, you can follow me, and check out shows. I perform every week.

- OK. Hello. Thank you, Amy. So I'm Brittany Carney. I grew up between Philly and Tokyo, Japan. I'm a stand-up comic. I was a writer for that Damn Michael Che. And I have stuff on Comedy Central. I also write for Adult Swim. Yeah. I've been doing stand-up for nine years. And have been going on the road this past year more as a headliner. And I'm working on a solo show called Kingdom, Phylum, Ass that currently I'm doing at the Soho Playhouse.



- Hi, everyone. I'm Tek Lai. I'm an East African comedian from Oakland, California. No Bay Area love-- got it.


All good. Been in Bedstye for the past five years. I host a comedy show called Full Circle, which all of these illustrious comedians have been to.

- It's a fabulous show.

- A very good show.

- Black.

- Very Black.

- Black as hell.

- Yeah, we are based here in New York, but also take it on tour during the summer for outdoor comedy show tour. Done in Philly, DC, LA, Oakland, and Chicago. Got a podcast coming in soon, working on a short, some sketches. Back to you, Reg.

- I was also going to say I'm from Detroit. I didn't mention that-- Detroit, Michigan stand-up, what up you all, 313 all day.

- Anybody, Detroit in the house?

- Yo.

- OK. That's all right. You know, Seven Mile down. It's all good. West Side better-- Seven Mile better mile. We good. All right, back to you, Reg. My fault.

- All right, so to start this conversation, everyone wants to know how and why we all got into comedy. So who wants to go first?

- I'll go first.

- OK.

- As mentioned, I'm from Oakland. And I had these layers cover it up, but I am a skinny person. And I grew up during the Hyphy Movement. If anyone's familiar, it was a very violent time in the Bay Area, and I had to defend myself somehow. So comedy was my tool for that. I went to UC Davis. Randomly, Hasan Minhaj was like a senior when I was a freshman. And he had an open mic, so my first open mic was actually Hasan Minhaj. I've opened up for Hasan Minhaj all across America. Nah.

But it was like the blog era and I was doing like weird alternative spoken word poetry. And I was kind of fucking around with stuff, but I really didn't decide to take anything too serious until the 2016 election cycle. And I realized that everyone else was losing their minds, so I thought I should be able to, too.

- OK. Wait. Should we go in sequential order? Does that make sense for everyone? OK. I'll take--

- You got your mic ready. Take it away.

- OK. I'll take charge. So I-- I didn't really grow up watching stand-up, but then when I was in eighth grade, I got like really obsessed with Monty Python and all this like '70s BBC comedy. And to this day, my parents are like, we don't know how you discovered that. But so I was like interested in this world of comedy. But then, like, in high school, and then, a bit in college, I was doing a lot of theater. And so then I moved to Washington D.C. after college for graduate school.

I was studying history. And I was working in museum stuff. And as my program was like winding down, I went to a local comedy festival in D.C. at the Howard Theater. And then that kind of sparked this interest in watching a lot of local comedy in D.C. I started going to open mics and bar shows. And I would bring friends. And then, eventually, a friend was like, you should sign up for an open mic and I was like, I don't know how to write a joke.

And, I guess, I don't know if I do still, but it--

- She's lying.


- I like-- yeah, I just-- I just started kind of like as my grad program was winding down because I had freer nights. So then I just like hung out among fellow degenerates in dark bars starting out comedy in DC. Yeah.

- Britney, you are truly one of the smartest comedians I've ever heard. Like she'd be up here talking about Thomas Jefferson--

- I don't know how to read.

- --and stuff. You know what I mean? I'm like, that's not even a reference point for me.

- She cost me a grant program, I'm telling you.


- You all really got to hear Brittany's material, because it's really next level. Like, she's very brilliant, and I'm not even saying that lightly.

- I guess it stuck. Comedy is kind of a bad habit. But, yeah, that's the point. Yeah.

- So, yeah, I-- so I actually grew up doing a lot of things that I didn't want to do. I was raised in a Caribbean household. My mother is Panamanian. And so, it was-- but she made good decisions for me. You know, like I was on a swim team. You know, I was in the band. And everything-- and then, I went to Howard University, yes, full scholarship. So that was lit.

- OK.

- Yes, thank you. And it came to that time where I had autonomy, like what do I want to do, and I'll never forget I was at the bus stop, and this lady asked me. And I was like, I think, I want to do comedy. She was like, well, show me some funny. And I was like--


I mean, like at the bus stop? That's wild. You know what I mean? But-- but when she put it like that, it did-- it's something so simple to do what you want to do, but when you're not used to doing it, it's simple but it's like-- it just, it sounds, you know, obscene. So finally, I rolled into class. I was in DC. And then I got drunk really-- I got a lit drunk one day and I went and did an open mic on U Street and that was it.

Comedy was what I wanted to do. It's been what I wanted to do all along. So I've been doing it ever since.

- I'm not good at nothing else. You know what I mean? I just-- I just-- don't you feel like-- do you feel-- kind of feel that way?

- This is what I do.

- I don't-- I don't do-- I'm not good at math. I don't read. I read, but like for myself, but not to like give anybody else information. I'm not useful in any other way, besides entertainment. There was really-- nothing else was going to work for me, dog. And I've had to convince my mom that I'm not going back to school, you know what I mean? Like that's-- like, before SNL, she was still asking me, well, you live in New York now, so NYU is right there. I'm like, no.


I'm not-- I'm not learning nothing else, dog. That's enough. This is it. I'm a professional clown. All right. But-- but it is really what makes me happy. It makes me the happiest. Like, I got started kind of similarly to Amina. I moved here 10 years ago. And I had no idea what I was going to do. I was working at everybody's coffee shop. I was working at everybody's restaurant. I got a degree in communication, so obviously, that's the only jobs I could get, you know.


- Shout out to the communication degrees.

- Communications major. Yo, when you feel-- Yo, when you get a--

- African American minor.


- I swear-- I swear to god, when you get a communications degree from any school, the back of your diploma is a Starbucks application. You know what I mean, like-- it's like just go ahead and work for-- for the-- be a little person. Yeah.

- Be a host.

- Be a host.


- Greet.

- Greet. You a greeter. You're a greeter. But I just decided that my life was going to look different, and I know that I wanted to do something different, but I didn't know until it really showed up, because where I'm from, and I'm sure like where many of us-- basically everybody up on this panel is from. We come from a community, a society, especially the Black community. No one really tells you, oh, entertainment is for you.

You know, you can be silly all you want, but basically it's adults telling you to sit your ass down. You know what I mean, if you're talking too much or something or being too silly. So nobody ever really encouraged me into entertainment. So when I started doing it, my parents was like, well, you ain't never made us laugh at home at all, so what was this career choice about.

But then, you know, you've got to win them over with that, because, you know, comedy is not a thing that you start making money in immediately. You know what I mean? And especially, around the times when we got started. It wasn't tik-tok. It wasn't Instagram. You just had to get up there and do it, which now it is a different sort of-- it's a different system now for comedy. But I think we're at-- we have-- we're all products of doing it, what we believe is the right way.

So I'm really thankful for the fact that I came up doing comedy in a way that's kind of almost dissolving where we had to get up on stage, bomb a lot, do well eventually, and then get good, and then be rewarded for it later. I think we're all better for it now.

- Yeah, it kind of is like all you guys. I was in undergrad at Brooklyn College. And everyone around me was just very excited about what the future was going to be. And I was graduating soon, and I was like, bro, I don't know what I'm going to do.


And then somebody told me I should sign up for-- to do a comedy show. And it was just the first time I'd ever seen myself like really work hard at anything, like just really like-- I didn't sleep for two weeks just to prepare. And I bombed. But like-- it's still like I was ready. And after that, I had to tell my Haitian parents that I wanted to do comedy, and yeah, like, it did not go good, right?

My mom was like, you're not going to make money. I was like, I don't make money now. This feels like a lateral move, if anything. I'm like, I'll be fine, like honestly.

- Thanks. Nothing's changing.

- Like, I haven't kept this up so far. And then-- but not-- but like, yeah, and then, it is like what you said, Alex, like we did all like, work hard at it. Like, we all for years, for two years, I hosted the open mic at the New York Comedy Club, which is like a crappy job that no one would really want to do. But like, we all needed the stage time to like really work at our craft to get good.

- 5:00 in the afternoon when people are getting off work and we all just--

- I'm like, well, this is my day.

- This is my day. That's funny.

- And so-- thanks. And then-- so yeah, so nine years later, I'm just still at it, and still growing, and still getting better. So yeah, you know. Who has question number three?

- Ready? Here it comes, ready or not. OK, so next question, how does your identity inform or inspire your comedy? How do you bring your full self to your art?

- OK, come on, Britney Walters.


- Three minute pauses. So yeah. What's the vibe? Should I respond to this, or should somebody else jump in? Like-- I guess, there's no rules.

- Do you want to go first?

- Sure. I'll get it over with. So how does my identity inform or inspire my comedy? I'm like Black and Japanese. I don't think that I actually talk that much about Japanese stuff in my stand-up or I'm still like figuring it out. I have a few jokes here and there about like the fact that Japanese was my first language and stuff. Like, one of my earlier jokes was about like how-- like you know like bukkake? Like-- but it's also-- sorry--


But to clarify, I'm not trying to be inappropriate. It's also just like the word for-- everybody else, if this is going-- you can look it up. But it's a form of entertainment in one way.

- Let's all Google it right now.

- It's also just like the name for a kind of like, splashy broth of noodles. So I had this joke about how like I would never like correct people on the pronunciation of it. And that was like one of the first times I tried to talk about like Japanese stuff. To this day, I have a few jokes here and there. I don't know if I explicitly-- like, I have like, truly, maybe like two or three jokes. And I'm trying to work on that. Like, I have a joke about-- like, an earlier joke I had was about like, just growing up around Japanese toilets and like how they have a lot of-- their high technologically.

But I don't know. I feel like some, to be honest, I don't like-- those are like explicit references to whatever my identity is or like how that's shaped me, too, as a Black person. But I also feel like, probably, I guess my identity comes through in my stand-up less explicitly, more implicitly, and just like whatever shaped my perspective on, what I find funny, or Blackness, et cetera.

And so, how do I bring my full self to my art? Well, I guess, it's also funny, too, because it's like so silly sometimes, to me, to think about my comedy as art, because I'm just being like a goof. But, I guess, how I bring my full self to it is like not being afraid of failure, or at least I'm kind of like figuring it out or processing failure. Stand-up has so much failure. It's a lot of that. It's a lot of like rejection and navigating that and processing it and like re-weaponizing it.

And I think that's like a really funny and tragic and like empowering way to grow as a comic. So I think for myself, yeah, I guess that's one way. It's like, yeah, shake it off. Figure it out. Learn from the challenges that comedy brings.

- Sorry. Can I look at the question one more time?

- Oh, yeah. Should I pass this around?

- It's a big question.

- No, I got it. I got it. I got it. OK. OK. No, I got it. I got it. All right, so from Oakland again, so it's like an obvious one, it's very Black to say what's your thinking type place. My family is from Eritrea and Ethiopia. Eritrea is a very tiny, small country by the Red Sea in East Africa. It was created in 1991 after some freedom fighting for 30 years. My dad was a freedom fighter in the war, and he talks a lot of shit with his homies. And that's just a part of Eritrean culture.

And especially, like a lot of-- if any guys have been around East Africans, around like a coffee shop, all they do is like talk politics at Starbucks in their local cities all day. And that's something I just kind of was always raised around. The first nickname I ever got as a child, and I didn't know what it was until later in life, but my dad called me Yasser Arafat.


Because he said it was like implying that I was a rabble rouser. And I liked to just like argue and debate. So when I went to Eritrea for the first time, it was around the time I started comedy, I realized I came from like a lot of people who were like, just talk shit in like a smart-ass type of way. So I realized it's like, oh, that's just like a part of my bloodline, like I come from skinny people who talk shit. Like this is in my DNA. So I feel like a lot of that comes into play with what I do comedy talking about politics and stuff.

And then how do I bring my full self--


- Yeah. Can I-- I'll repeat it. How do you bring your full self to your art?

- Yeah. I think, again, so I did like whatever. I tried like a couple of open mics at a few-- some college competitions when I was in college, but didn't take it serious. And then I think, later on in life, I started seeing like Hannibal Buress and like Jerrod Carmichael and just like Black male monotone comedians, and I was like, oh, my god, representation.

And I was like, oh, OK, like, you-- like I love a lot-- I love all types of comedy, and I really love all different types of comedy. But for me, I was like, I only kind of only want to do comedy if I can do it in a way that's true to myself. So although I host a comedy show, I'm not like a Steve Harvey type host, you know what I mean, although I love Steve Harvey. He's one of the greatest Black men of all time.


- Don't hate-- don't hate, player.

- All right now. All right now.

- I just try to find like-- be just the best version of myself and be comfortable in that.

- Thank you.

- When I heard the question, I just don't really think, if you are a stand-up comedian, you can really not show up as yourself. Like that is the number one thing that you have to do, you know. When you're trying to be someone else, I don't even think it's possible for you to really succeed. But also, you only can be you. You're-- you're unique. And so you have to be true to that.

And I just show up as myself. I feel like-- you hear comedy. Like you know stand-up comedy comes from the truth, and it comes from what you know. I don't think anybody can really get up on stage and talk about what they don't know. And so we all know ourselves our best, or we're getting to know ourselves our best. And so that's what we bring to the stage. That's what I bring to the stage.

I talk about my experiences, what I observe, what makes me laugh. And then, you know, because I'm getting paid, what makes other people laugh. You know, because it's a business. It's a job. You know, it's not always about how I feel, and what I'm going through. It's like, you know, what is going to get the job done, and how can you make people show up and forget about their things and inspire them and just escape for a little bit. It's entertainment. That's what it's all about.

Like no one wants to sit there and be like, oh, yeah, I do have issues, too. You know what I'm saying? And if they are feeling that, they're laughing. Ooh, wow. Why you all had to do that? I think I'm loud enough. But, yeah, so, you know, you want to make them laugh at their own situation, too. So I get often, when I come off stage, like oh, that resonated with me. I feel the same way. You put it in the best words.

And so I think that's the beauty of it. So you just show up as you. You talk about what you know. And that's how we can all have a good time.

- I think that audiences can tell when one is not being themselves on stage.

- Yes.

- For sure.

- And that takes a lot of practice, truly just getting up on stage like over and over and over again to figure out how to be your fullest self on stage.

- Absolutely. I was going to say, the identity part is the first part of the question, right? So for me, it was-- there was a real turning point. Everything that everybody has said so far I identify with that. But to add on to that, it took me a minute to start telling the truth. And you was around for this, because I really-- there was a moment in my stand-up where I really wasn't being upfront about what was really going on with me. You know, I was like, you know what, they don't need to know that I'm gay. They ain't got to know all of that. You know, and I'll just go up there. But then I progressed into being like, OK, I'm going to do the thing where I'm like OK, so you guys, so you know, guess what, I'm gay.


And one night--

- And now he get on stage and be like, I'm gay, and I don't like it.


- Yeah.

- It's true. It's really true. Wait. But it took Sam Jay, if anybody is familiar with Sam Jay, stand-up comedian, very funny, she's a friend of mine. And she came up to me one night. She saw me doing that material. She came up to me, and she was like, dog, you gay. They know.


As soon as you start talking through the mic, so as soon as she told me that, I applied that, and then I just got up there and started telling jokes as a gay dude. And it made my sets then beyond like-- 20-- 200 times better. Like my sets, just because I felt better about my identity and was confident in my identity and really didn't care what anybody thought about it, didn't ask for permission to say who I was up there, I just got up there and did it. And it made my stage presence even better.

What was the second part? How do I--

- Show up fully yourself.

- I think it's that. I think that answers that question as well. What's up with you, Reg?

- Well, I think that's-- hold on one second. That's the best part about it, is like, we own who we are so no one can kind of come and say, you think this, or I think this. It's like, we know that. I said it. Uh, uh, ooh, beat you to it. Like, oh, you know what I'm saying? So it's like you already late. I already said it.

- There's nothing anybody can tell us about ourselves that we haven't already probably wrote 5,000 terrible things in a notebook about.

- Exactly.

- If you saw my notebook, it would look like somebody's suicide note.

- OK. OK.

- It's all jokes though.

- OK.



- In a fun way.


- Yeah, in a fun way.

- I just had a memory, actually, that I'm inserting now, because I'm holding the question card for the moment.

- You the moderator for this one. Yeah, let's go. Let's go, sis.

- One of like-- maybe it was like I was a few months into doing open mics in D.C. And like, when I started in the particular scene that I was like doing mics in, in D.C., it was like pretty small and pretty male and like broey and white. And a woman was like-- a woman who was like a bit more experienced was like don't let anyone get into your comedy head.

And I was so new that it didn't really matter. Like I didn't really-- you know. Everyone's sort of like, really figuring themselves out and how they can communicate what they find funny to audiences at that point. But anyway, I think about that sometimes, like a lot, you know. To an extent, you want people to get into your comedy head. I guess, that's what an audience is for, arguably. But you can hold on to who you are and what you find funny and how to shape it, and that gets stronger as you develop as a comic.

- So the way my identity shows up in my art, I'm a New Yorker and I'm Haitian, so I'm very aggressive, and it shows up in the jokes I talk about. Like, you know, like, just in like my interactions, it's like, all right, Reg, you could have just said no then. And then, but the way I'm-- and then on top of that, my comedy just serves as like-- is very therapeutic to me. Like a lot of times, I make up some of my jokes. But some of the jokes I like to talk about are things I'm going through.

Especially if I write new jokes, it's about like, you know, like, if I wrote about-- if you see me tell a lewd joke about a relationship, that means that I fucked up somewhere in my personal life very bad. And the funnier the joke, the more I fucked up. And it is-- yeah, and it comes out through that like that.

- Next up, why is the work you're doing important to you, and what impact do you hope to be making?

- I guess, I would be lying if I said I wanted to make an impact, honestly. Because like, this-- I just-- I'm just-- like, you know, you hear people be like, oh, I want to change. I want to be the example for somebody. I don't really care about that, honestly. Like, I mean, if another-- if a young Black dude sees me and you know is inspired by me, that's fine. That's not really my intention, you know what I mean. I just-- because I don't think any other comedians are thinking like that when they first start anyway. They're just trying to make money and got here--

- But in a way, when they talk about you, when you talk about your experience, you're persuading. You can change a mind about things, and so I think that's just the automatic impact. Like the way that you view things, your perspective, is so unique--

- Especially if you feel like you're saying something that someone wished would have heard.

- People come in like oh, OK.

- Really?

- Yeah.

- See, I never think what I'm saying is that important, dog. I think what I'm saying is wild and stupid and can be forgotten the next day.

- No. Well, I think-- you got to change--

- I've got to change my thinking.

- But it's relatable to somebody.

- Well, you know what? I would say the inspiration for me to get into stand-up was definitely like because I watched-- I grew up on Def Jam, Kings of comedy, Queens of Comedy. But-- no. I saw Black people, but I ain't seen no gay dude. And I always thought, oh, they suck.

- They was up there.

- Yeah. I always thought they were making fun of gay dudes, right?

- Yeah.

- It was-- we were always the butt of the joke, dog. I never saw gay dudes defending ourselves in comedy. It was always just what we were and how we acted. And I would see them do this behavior, and I'm like, well, you snapping and doing this better than I could, you know what I mean. So I got--

- Breathe.

- So, you know, as I grew up, and discovered this as the thing that I wanted to do, I was like, well, I got to be up there and be, I guess, what I would-- the clap back to that generation of stand-up. And not necessarily a defense in a defensive way, but in like a way that benefits the craft, which is stand-up comedy. So like don't be offended, tell jokes. So that's really what I'm trying to inspire is this young gay community, we got to stop being so damn sensitive.

We learn how to tell a joke. Learn how to snap back at dumb because life is only going to be people making fun of you all day long. I still do it. You do it all the time with me. Like--

- OK. Wow.

- Amina, bullies me, but it's in love.

- Hold on. Hold on.

- This is my sister in Christ.


- You saw how I spoke life into you and then you turn it around. That's why you can't give him nothing. You can't give him nothing.



- But sure, I can hear that point of view, the impact.

- Yeah, absolutely. I think that, you know, every day, I'm like, I can't believe this is my job.

- That's true.

- I is like, girl, wait. You-- so honestly, I don't even-- I feel like if I was to choose anything, I don't even know if like, obviously, this is what I chose. But sometimes, I'm just like it's so insane. But I think that would be the impact and the inspire that I want to impart on other people is like understand your assignment is very unique to you. You're ready. You're enough. You know, show up and do it.

You know, I have-- like, my aunt just lost her daughter. You know what I mean? Like, my family members call me and we literally laugh at the darkest things. You know? And every time we get that moment, I always sit back and be like, only me. Like this is something only I would be capable of doing and just being able to be a light in other people's lives, because I needed it. And that's basically what I like to reflect on.

Like I went to a Broadway show last night, and I was like if anybody see me perform, and feel the way I did when I connected to them, I was like, I'm good. I did my job. And so--

- What did you see?

- I went to go see-- oh, yeah, let me plug. Let me plug. Some Like it Hot-- OK, I will-- they not paying me for this plug. It was amazing. I feel like Amber Ruffin had something to do with it, but I used to break hair. My old client is a understudy for the lead role, which, honestly, you know, she should be doing it, but you know we're going-- we're going to hold off. We're going to stand by, stand down. OK.

But no, amazing. They're-- they're not filling out the theater. So if you-- I know that was terrible.

- You are stupid.


- And in a way, I said it with the Atlanta slang. It was just--

- You really did.

- But that's my political comments here, you know what I mean?

- Yeah. Yeah.

- But yeah, no, go see it. Check it out. Some Like it Hot, it was-- oh. I was like, oh, let me go--

- It made you feel the way.

- Oh, I was like, I got to the gym. Oh, let me go get a-- let me go get an esthetician. I got to get my life together, because they do-- everybody's doing it right. They look so good. And you couldn't just have one talent. It was, nobody on that stage just doing one thing. And it was tap dancing, singing, fake playing instruments. It was just-- I was in awe. I was in awe.

- Things you do in a Broadway play.


- Just a show. Just a production.

- Typical Broadway show.

- Regular production.

- Well, they did it right.

- They was singing. They was acting. The was talking. It was crazy.

- It was like, wow.

- It was wow. It was wild.

- Crazy.

- OK.

- That's crazy.


- But, yes, Some Like it Hot, please. But again, just I say all that to say, when you go and you see and you share your talent, it speaks volumes. And that show really did. And if I could do that, I'm doing my job.

- You're talking to me right there. I feel you.

- OK.

- I tell you.

- All right. OK. Now we're being nice.

- I changed my mind.

- All right. Cool. Cool. Cool.



- What?

- What was the--

- Wait. What's the question?


- The question is why is the work you're doing important to you? What impact do you hope to be making? I think productively stoned is a good thing to talk about here.

- Might as well just go with the flow, whatever's in your heart.

- The work I do-- the work I do I feel like it's important to me for one, I just feel like it's always important to just let people know that like we all go through things and like, eventually, you're going to get past it if you just work at it and you don't just like talk about it and like that's what this stage does for a lot of us. But the work I do I think is important, like I do a 420 friendly comedy show called Productively Stoned.

Another! Great one.

- I think it's been a real dope to just bring those two worlds together where it's just like, you know, smokers who really enjoy comedy and just-- it's not as high as it sounds. It's like-- it's like a little 20-minute smoke session.

- [INAUDIBLE] a lot of people.

- Just like a little 20-minute--

- I have left-- I have left your show feeling away.


- Happy is how you left my show.

- Very happy.

- Exactly. And so, I think that's important because for one, like for one, it was an avenue for me to make money for myself to like produce this show. Like, comedy doesn't pay much unless you give yourself your own opportunities. And like, Productively Stoned was a vehicle for me to like not only make sure I like look out for my homies, get them good stage time. You hook them up with some money, but then also like, grow my name and like grow my craft.

Can I say one last thing too to that?

- Yeah, of course.

- I would be remiss, actually, to not mention-- honestly, like, it just feels good to be able to provide for my family, also, off of what I do, because I wasn't able to do that 10 years ago, five years ago, not even like seven years ago. And then I started, like, working in TV and everything, like my mother just opened up her own child care center in Detroit. And she like--

- That's incredible.

- Thank you. And she like, she's in business for herself for the first time. But she's going through so much stress financially. And like, it just feels good to like give her access to my Amazon account, dog. Like she-- and like every time I wake up--

- Let me get the password, friend.

- She got the password.

- I didn't even know.

- She just asks for the updated password, because I'm like, girl, you cannot keep buying crayons. How many crayons-- how many crayons are your kids going through? Oh, my god, this is crazy. But it does feel good to be able to help her without even having any stake in the business. Just being like, mom, you got to go ahead. That's once. She just called me the other day, and she's like, Alex, you have no idea. We've been trying to buy the building, like it's very helpful.

So being able to like help my family out with what I do and what I chose to do in my life has been like incredible.

- Beautifully said. For me, when it comes to like comedy, I feel like it's important to me, so that's why it's important to me, if that makes sense. Like as I grow up and try to listen to my intuition, and if I get a good idea and like I don't act on it, then like that starts to affect me negatively. So it's just like, it's important for me to do whatever type of mindset I'm in. I was in SF working at startups. I was like, yeah, I'm going to do this.

No matter what phase of life, it's just like let me fully do this so that I don't regret anything. And similar to what Redd said about producing a comedy show. When I moved to New York, I was like, man, there's so many amazing comedians. And there's so many-- specifically, so many amazing Black comedians. And I felt like there was a lot of Black people who weren't necessarily going to shows. And I used to do events in college, so I was like what if there's this like a space specifically for like Black people to laugh at.

And definitely being inspired by Redd's show, Productively Stoned. My homie PD Gebru had a show called Better Days. I went there in 2017. It blew my mind. So I kind of want to do my own version of that. And I think, at first, kind of what you're saying, I feel like there are some people who tried to talk me out of that, as far as like, oh, you might be like cutting yourself short by excluding certain people.

But I feel like the reason why people are interested is because it is a little bit for a certain type of people.

- That's why I was interested.

- Right.

- Tek Lai's shows are Black Black. Like, I was, like-- any time you call me--

- Shea butter baby Black.

- For real though. Like Black excellence. I'm like, oh, yeah. You call me, I'll be like, I'll cancel the show for that show.

- I will do it. Yes. Everybody looks good.

- I want to talk to Black folks tonight.

- But, yeah, different types of Blackness and it's full of self. So that was important for me because that's how I am in normal lifestyle, so I just wanted to bring that to comedy.

- OK. Now it's my turn. I took it from Tek Lai to read the notes. So why is the work you're doing important to me? Well, I feel like--

- That's a good point.

- Thank you for hearing me.


- I see you.

- Why is it important to me? OK. I feel like I've, growing up or whatever, and like even as an adult, have been in all these different spaces where I don't feel like I belong. And as a kid, we moved around a lot. So it's so crazy sometimes that my whole career in my life surrounds the fact that I can support myself by essentially sharing my ideas or like freaky things that I observe about the world and the things that like naturally make me laugh.

That's, I guess, that's like why I think it's important to me. I don't know like how-- how cool is it that you can like build up a career from your own observations and like things that shape you. That's so special. And even when I see like silly pictures of myself as a little girl, it's like, wow, she didn't even know. She didn't even know that someday she'll wear like a princess dress on stage talking about a career in something that's like shaped by her own ideas when she was like underestimated by so many people or like didn't feel like she felt like she could belong, you know.

And so, I think in that way, my like comedy personally is important to me. And then what impact do I hope to be making? Again, it's so funny, like, I kind of relate to what Alex was talking about first, because it's just like, oh, what I love about comedy is the idea that like we aren't taking ourselves so seriously. So the idea of going in with a lot of intention about like oh, I'm going to be this kind of inspiration just makes me want to gag.

But like, you know-- I'm like, who am I? I'm just some little shit. But I think like, that said, of course, I guess in relation to like the themes at hand today and like this month-- Oh, did I drop it?


Gravity took its course. OK. Thank you. Like well, I feel like I really loved the idea that Blackness is not a monolith. And there are ways to enjoy that in comedy. And I feel like when I've seen that in small ways, whether it's through comedy or whatever in the media, like that's been exciting for me and fun to enjoy. So I don't know. I hope to be a part of that world.

- All right. Well, we've been talking about comedy and doing stand-up, so I have a good one. What's your favorite joke to tell? And do audiences-- do different audiences react differently to said joke? What's your favorite joke to tell and do different audiences act in various ways?

- So I'm a single mother. My son is eight going on 55, I swear.

- A grown man.

- He's really cute.

- He's doing taxes right now.

- Listen, I'm surprised he's not blowing up my phone right now.

- Yeah. He's smart.

- So, yeah, my favorite joke is just to talk about how I feel about motherhood, but it's not in the most positive light. And as a woman I get judged for that because, you know, I feel like a lot of people like well, you ain't supposed to say that out loud. And that's rude. And you know. But I love to talk about it, because I feel like, you know, a lot of people are like, you know, they're the best thing-- like it's everybody like romanticizes it in a way when it's just like no. Motherhood is trash. OK. Throw it away.


And so that's my favorite joke to tell, because one, it's really true to the sentiment. I mean, I do a great job at it. I'm not about to be out here like, you know, fend yourself. Like, no, I take care of him.


- I can co-sign that she takes care of her child, you all, all right.


- Because of the law.

- You said what?

- Because of the law.

- Oh. But no, and so, I just love-- I love-- I can't wait to put it on TV one day. I love talking about my experience. And other mothers come up to me like, being like, yo, I'm so glad you said that, because everybody, they make me feel like a monster for saying it. And I'm just like, no, you're not. You could not like something, but still be great at it. And so, I just-- it's like being a truth teller. So that's my favorite joke. And yeah, I enjoy telling it.

And different audiences, you know, some people don't laugh, because they be like, well-- you know, why are you-- why you was drinking when you was two months pregnant. You know, it's like, I ain't know, OK.



- That's real.

- I mean, he alive. You know. So I'm like back up.

- And really smart. And really smart.

- Ten toes and everything.

- Exactly.

- He walk. He talk.

- Calm down. He, you know--

- I'll be having a really good conversation with him. He is a smart young man.

- Sometime he get dizzy though.


- Well, he's just ate. That's just cause he ate.


- He's smart. She's raising a smart young Black man. She is.

- OK. No, so but some people feel that way. And then other people, we just have fun with it, and they laugh, and we have a good time. So I think that, you know, being honest is the best thing. And whether people react to it or not, you know, you can pull cards. I pull-- I love pulling cards when I be on stage like, oh. Oh, so y'all just perfect out here? Oh, yeah. Yeah. Y'all doing well? Ain't no issues in your life.

And it's like, let's be real. So yeah, that's the best part about it.

- Joke?

- Right now, my favorite joke is I talk about things that got-- reasons I started going to therapy. And I talk about when I was 17 and I got stabbed in a brawl while protecting a friend who I'm no longer friends with.

- Right. As you should not be.

- And it makes me want to stab him and, uh-- and so, yeah, just things I go through like-- and like, it's like I got stabbed when I was 17. I'm 36 now. Like, it took me damn near 20 years to even get comfortable talking about it. Like, I don't like to even talk about it on stage. And like to even talk about in therapy, so like that's why-- like that's what I meant by like how important the work is sometimes, because yeah like, I just I usually just act like that was nothing. And like, it was a big something.

- How do people talk-- how do people respond to you when you tell it?

- People be like, let me see it.


- I was going to say it. Where is your stab wound?

- Right here.

- Do people come up to you and be like, yo, did you really get stabbed, or you made that up?

- No. They ask me about other jokes if that really happened, but yeah.

- Oh, yeah, because that's always-- it's like, yo, you really-- you be telling the truth up there?

- I tell people I got stabbed, they look at me, they be like, I believe it.


- Yeah, no one objected. No one objected.

- He's been in some street fights.

- You said 17.

- I was like, checks out. Checks out.

- Yeah, feel about right.

- Tek?

- As far as favorite joke to tell, I like to start off like making fun of myself in the sets. I'd have a joke where I say that I hate dating and, specifically, I hate the fifth date, because that's when they find out I only have three outfits.


And it usually gives me like a little temperature check on like if people are down to get silly. And then also, if I'm single, when I tell the joke, and I meet a woman afterwards, there's like low expectations.

- Yes.

- But usually, just kind of like build some collateral and like make fun of myself. And then I can start talking about more things I enjoy. Like, personally, talk about just like being the only Black person in certain spaces, or even talking about certain conversations within the Black community. But, you know, it's good to buy some collateral up top.

- Cool. OK. Wait. My answer-- wait. Am I the last one? Yeah. My answer is like to-- no, wait.

- I was going to go, but go ahead.

- Oh.

- You're good.

- I'm sorry to steal your fire.

- No, I asked the question. It's yours.

- And now I have this point of no return.

- The floor is yours, queen.

- OK. Ask for whom the bell-- ask not for whom the bell tolls. The bell tolls for thee. Anyway, so--

- That's that smart shit I was talking about. See, she is an American history buff over here. Here.


- So, wait. I have-- my answer is like kind of in two parts, because I guess I'm thinking about two jokes. One is like I'm having a lot of fun working on a particular, like joke that's a bit too long, but it's like, basically, the idea is it's, like pretend it's like a fantasy situation of like Santa Claus role role play. And it comes out of the place of like a real breakup that I went through early in this past summer.

But then, I don't know. It's like really fun. And I get to do, like silly physicality with it. And I get to like explore different aspects of what it would be like to make love to Santa or at least--

- She didn't want to say it.


- You have to say it.

- I already said it.

- Tell the joke at this point.


- You gotta tell the joke.

- You've got to land it.

- I know, but we were told-- I already said shit.

- You round the corner from the house. You might as well do it.

- I was like trying to-- it's like, maybe-- oh, you know what it is? It's like I've heard-- one time I heard somebody say, like, OK, you can only use one exclamation point in your entire life, so use it wisely. So like I said shit already, so I thought maybe I couldn't say fuck, but now I have learned otherwise. Sorry, Yahoo. I really appreciate this opportunity. So anyway, so that's the joke that I'm really enjoying doing.

It's something that, it's taken like months of figuring out, even though it's like fully February, and I'm still working out this like Christmas-ass joke. But it's really fun to play around. And I'm trying to make it evergreen, which is not a tree pun about it-- anyway, so-- but so that one is like something I'm really enjoying and trying to build into like a bigger closer, which is like a stronger bit that you can close a set with, right.

But then, I guess, the thing is that this question, also, like a part of this question is about like audience reaction, which makes me really want to talk more frankly about a joke that's working like 50% of the time that I'm enjoying now. It's a separate one. But it's about how like I think that the fact that I have really severe ADHD is like the only reason I shouldn't have a gun. And audiences don't love it. But I understand.

And it's not like I-- obviously, I haven't seen one in real life, you know. But it's like the idea.


- We don't know if that's obviously.

- So wait.

- First of all, you going to drop the gun before you even load it up, girl. Or shoot yourself first cause--

- Exactly. Exactly. Exactly.

- --you're very clumsy.

- No, I mean, I'm extremely clumsy, and that's the genuine idea. And that's why I think it's like so silly. And so my point is, like, naturally, like woke Brooklyn audiences will pull away, or they're not really-- or they're like, oh, my god, she's like, oh, oh, oops. Like she's a POC liberal darling. How do we respond to this, you know. And it's like I just think--

- I'm about to change her name in my phone today.


- My point is this is like a very like silly joke, but it's about something real, which is that I am such a klutz and I lose everything. And that's like why I think I shouldn't have a gun. So it's taken several steps to figure out the writing to like win everybody over at the end. So I don't know if it's exactly my favorite one to do, because it's not quite there yet, but it's my favorite one to like figure out, like it feels challenging.

And I was talking about fairly earlier. Like that's how comedy grows.

- Your favorite jokes are the most challenging ones, right. The ones that you have to keep kind of like repeating to yourself.

- Cause you believe in it.

- Because you believe it. You want it to work so bad.

- I have a joke about my grandma always about to die.

- I love that joke.

- Oh, I mean, but when I first started working it out, people just got sad because immediately. But it's like, but she's been about to die for about 10 years. It's like, I didn't choose this life for her. You know what I'm saying. Like I'm just telling you all the facts so we can laugh about it. But people don't be one to laugh about it. Yeah, I love it. Hopefully that goes on TV, too. Shout out.

- It will. Well, I've been working-- you know, I've been having a really good time with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry. I've been really going in on them lately, and in a very satisfying way. Because--

- Yeah, I've heard this.

- Yeah, because the premise of it really is I'm really tired of them, you know. And as much as like, you know, straight-- there are a lot of straight-- we are less of a homophobic society than we used to be, right. But like even-- and that's great. But like, for anybody that is homophobic and doesn't really care too much about the gay lifestyle, it's like, well, straight people don't really make it look that fun. You know what I'm saying?

Like Prince Harry and Meghan-- Prince Harry and Meghan are making look straight look stressful, dog.


- And it's-- and honestly, like it's like, well, what? Like every time I hear about them, every time I hear about this cunt, I'm just like what do you want me to do about any of this information that you're giving us. Right. Why should I care about this? And they really wanted us to care about it during a pandemic, you know what I mean. All of that news-- all of that news came out while we was all hunkered down in our apartments and stuff.

And she over there in Europe, hey, help me you all. I'm in this castle and they're being mean to me. OK. What do you want me to do about that? Didn't nobody tell you to go over there, girl.

- And he says he doesn't make an impact. OK.

- I just don't get it, you know. And then, it's like she brought him-- she brought him here, and they get to go sleep at Tyler Perry house. How that work? You know? Like when did he become the leader of national security, you know what I'm saying. Like, why he get to be in America like this, dog. I don't like it.

- I'm going to light you on fire for it.

- I don't like it, dog. Every time I think about Prince Harry being in America, I'm like get that immigrant out of my country, OK. Like, no. I don't like that. I don't like that. There's too many people down south at the border trying to enter this country for that type of foolishness, you know.

- Hey, look at me.

- Look at-- and you're all like, come on, girl, make better decisions. You know.

- He's not even trying to lay low like a good immigrant.

- He's not. He out here-- Netflix specials and stuff, dog. These people got to hide. That's crazy.

- Real immigrants keep a low profile.

- Come on. And see on TV talking about, I didn't know I was Black. Girl, what?


With that very Black mama you got.

- They set it straight over there.

- She's wild.

- Yeah.

- Well, as you can see, we know how the audiences react to that.

- Well, sometimes, you know, because I start the bit with being like I think Meghan Markle is an embarrassment to Black women--

- Ooh.

- But see, Black women take pause when I say that, because they be quick to defend her. But then I bring it around. Because look, Michelle Obama said it.

- What did she say?

- You all don't remember? After the interview-- after the Oprah interview--

- Is this a quote?

- Yeah. After the Oprah interview with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the Today Show, NBC reached out to Michelle Obama for an opinion on the matter. And boy, did she give one.

- What'd she say?

- Michelle Obama said, and I quote, "I pray for peace with the family and everyone involved. However, racism is not a new concept to people of color. So it was not surprising to hear her feelings," End quote. That is just the classiest, most diplomatic way of saying, duh, girl.

- Yeah.


- What you want us to do about it? You know.

- I'm just-- I'm just--

- Where you been?

- I'm just not so sure if they're mad that she's Black. I think the royal family is mad that she's not related to them.


- Oh.

- It could be too.

- OK.

- That's-- that's-- oh.

- All of these cousins we got.


- Right. Right. Right. Right. We workshopping now at this point.

- We workshopping, yeah. We at an open mic.

- OK.

- Yeah.

- All right, guys, we're almost out of time, so it is now so-- I got my Oprah voice on.

- Yeah.


Come on. Come on.

- So shameless plug time. What's coming up? Where can folks find you? And what are you excited about in 2023?

- Yeah, you guys can follow me Tek Lai T-E-K L-A-I. As I mentioned, I was at a comedy show called Fools Circle. Fools.Circle on Ig. We have a new podcast coming out where we're interviewing a lot of these great comedians, as well as the DJs that do our shows and after parties. And on the personal side, working on a sketch series and a short film this year.

- OK. Well, I'm-- so I'm currently working on this solo show that I've done a few times now at Union Hall in Brooklyn and Caveat in the Lower East Side. This week, I'm doing a mini run in the basement of Soho Playhouse, and I'm developing that. And I'll do it at Caveat again in March. And that's something I'm trying to grow. It's like an hour on like animal anatomy and ADHD and like shit, like animal shit. But it makes sense, or I'm trying to figure that out.

And I'm really excited to work on this. And I'll be taping for a small role in an upcoming series on Home Box Office. That's a Julio Torres project. He's a very funny. Comedian that's coming out later this year.

- HBO, if you didn't know what that means. Come on, Home Box Office.


- I'm trying to do the Yvonne Orji, you know.

- Oh, is that-- that's right. [INAUDIBLE]

- So yeah. So, yes, those I'm excited about. And, anyway, I'm touring more this year, and I'm also post about my shows and like updates on my Instagram, which is James underscore Earl Bones. James Earl Bones on Instagram. So that's where I like to post about stuff. Yeah.

- Yeah. I'm doing the-- you all not going to Dania Beach next week, but I'm doing Dania Beach. Next week, I'm in Florida. Productively Stoned, next month at Cafe Erzulie. If you guys have-- if you guys have never been at [INAUDIBLE], they'll be showing us the real [INAUDIBLE] experience, real Black experience.

You guys will really enjoy it. You can check me on Instagram, Reg Thomas. And then, yeah, like I'm headlining the country some more. And I'll be on tour with Amanda Seales and comedian CP and Chris Redd. Yeah. Yeah, Detroit for real.


- I do.

- Well, I'll be-- I mean, you all live in New York, so like, you know, we work at the cellar, so like, if you go--

- Catch all of us at the cellar.

- --where you can see us at any given moment, at the Comedy Cellar around the corner. Watch SNL. I know it's a lot of Black folks in here, so I got to like, look, I know we're not watching it like that. But there are Black people working on the show right now, and we're working diligently to provide some entertainment where we can. So please, support the show. Go on YouTube and look up Lisa from Temecula. That was a sketch I just wrote. Thank you.


She is really-- she is really taking off. Lisa is taking off in a big way. I didn't know it was on crazy like that, but like, yeah.

- So funny.

- Thank you very much. I also wrote the Drake sketch from Keke Palmer's episode. So go ahead.


Yeah. Your boy-- your boy is getting the bits off, dog.

- Yes, Alex.

- Let's get it.

- Cause like, come on, Lauren, I'm getting Black folks to watch the show again. Let's do it. Yeah. Yeah. And I just like, I perform all over the city. I perform-- I say yes to every gig. So if you follow me on Instagram, Alex English, I have-- it's the three that spells the E in English is that's how that's playing out on Instagram. But if you just type in Alex English, I am the number one person on there, so-- I earned that. I worked really hard for that. So yeah. And yeah. I'll just see me around New York. Catch me outside.

- Yes. And I'm on all social media platforms, Amina, Imani. Yes, I got back on. I'm back on social media.

- She be leaving Instagram.

- No. No. No. I'm back. I'm back. I'm back. I'm dropping content, and I'm actually going to be doing a monthly show where I do longer sets. So yeah, follow me, Amina Imani. I also play at the Cellar weekly. And I'm also at New York Comedy Club weekly. And I have a-- yeah, I have an email list, so I post that up to. So yeah, you can catch me on that. And I think now it's the time--

- One second. [INAUDIBLE] I got a Don't Sell Comedy set coming out in a month, and please check that out. That's going to be real dope.

- All right. Yeah, for sure.

- Don't watch my Comedy Central set if you look me up on YouTube, because I don't like it.

- OK. You can definitely watch my Comedy Central set.

- Her set goes up.

- I loved it.

- Britney's sets go up. Yeah, like y'all got good Comedy Central sets.

- And I didn't curse. I was very proud of that. I did that for my grandma. So let's open up some questions from the audience. We can take a few. I think there's going to be a walk-in mic. And if you have a question, raise your hand, catch the mic. And we'll be glad to answer. Actually, we talked them to death.


- They like, I'm--


- They like, I'm kind of good.

- We covered it.

- Everything was answered, dog.

- They like, is there more rum punch?

- You all are actually my kind of audience, too, because I be doing these colleges and they be asking, like, too many questions.


I'm trying to get out of here, dog.


- Word.


- Oh.

- OK, that's--

- Oh.

- Yes. Go ahead. Yes.

- That's my auntie.

- Yeah.

- I want to know why Amina didn't mention her auntie.

- Oh.

- Facts. We want to know, too.


- OK.

- Is there anything you would like to say?

- All The opportunities you had.

- Oh, this is what I will say. I will say this. I will say this. Financial literacy. OK. When I first started becoming a comedian, I realized immediately that it was going to be some downsides to the upsides. And my aunt was very instrumental in making sure I read, uh, Dave Ramsey, Sue-- yes, total-- and--

- "Rich Dad, Poor Dad."

- My credit score, y'all-- I mean, I don't want to brag, you know what I mean, like you know, just a cute little 835, you know what I'm saying. Just--

- Wow.

- Debt-free, you know what I'm saying. Like just--

- Yo, can I put-- can I put my condo bill in your name?


- Just out here with the insurance policy.

- I believe--

- Stocks and bonds.

- I believe--

- And you know investments. So shout out to my auntie. And she was very annoying about it, you know what I mean. But shout out to her, because she made sure. She was like listen, whatever you do, make sure your finances are in order. Do not be out here doing the, you know, whapti, woopti. So shout out to my auntie. She lived in Alaska. She tried to convince me to move out there. I did not. But now she is here supporting me and making sure I give her a shout out. So show her some love right now--


--before I get beat up.

- If we have no questions, then we'll just say--

- Oh, there we go.

- There we go. Auntie, you started it off. Look at you. Shout out. Shout out to you.

- Hi. Thank you guys for your time. If you could change one thing about the comedy industry, what would it be?

- The people that make the decisions.

- Yeah.

- Because it always ends in the wrong hands.

- They don't usually look like anybody you see on this stage, and that is at the detriment of a lot of stuff that we make, I think.

- Yeah, and I'm encouraging, like if you don't even want to be a comedian, but you want to be a part of the industry, whether it be booking, agent, management, definitely get involved, find your people, reach out to someone to show you the ropes, because we need you. We need you. And we need you.

- Yeah, we can't say that enough. We definitely-- but it's getting better though. Because I remember, I was on set for Sam Jack's show at one time, and like, you know, I was going to be on camera, so somebody had to like get my hair together. This is when I had my hair in that like, little mini fro. And so this white lady, god bless her, had her fingers are all up in my hair.

- Oh, ancestor was rolling.

- And I could tell that it was about to be bad for me.

- Yeah.

- And then, I could just feel the presence of another hairstylist, a Black lady. She kind of just came over and was like--

- Hey.

- I got it. I got it. I got it. And I felt Black fingers in my hair, and I was like, I'm in good hands finally. So it is nice that we are making that transition, because like the even in like makeup and like wardrobe departments and stuff, you start like-- when you don't see yourself dressing you and putting makeup on you and fixing your hair, you be like, this it's not going to look the way I usually do it, and it's going to look bad.

So I think we're starting to see. But I want to see it higher than wardrobe and makeup and hair. I want to see it and executive producers. And I want to see that happening. And it's starting to happen. But I wish it just would happen more.

- I think I would change like the education of the business of entertainment to like yes, there is a lot of unspoken rules and politics that's involved that you have to navigate and learn through trial and error, but it's so many things that I know now that I might, if this was broken down and really explained, you know-- how much you're supposed to ask for, who is supposed-- you know, like all of those details are very necessary.

How much you can ask for know, how to negotiate-- but also just what I think a lot of people come into it and it's like, oh, I got to be talented. Yes, too, but there's a huge business behind it that has to catapult everything that you are capable of doing.

- You don't even have to be funny.

- Yeah, you really don't. And so--

- Say that.

- No, and that's the part. And so, that's what I would change is the education of the business.

- I think many gatekeepers in comedy or the decision makers, like have a lot of ego, and sometimes, it comes from places of like being a failed comedian themselves, or like power--

- Shade.

- And--

- It's the truth.

- I guess, I really think a change that I would welcome is like more transparency in, again, related to this like comedy business question, but whether it's about booking for like performing in clubs, or whether it's for like other sorts of work, like TV, or negotiating contracts, more transparency would be really chill and productive.

- More women on line-ups too.

- Yeah.

- More women on stand-up comedy starting lineups. I just did a show the other day, and like, all men, one girl. And I was like-- and then, these guys who ran the show, who were hosting, were surprised that the audience was falling flat. And it was a bunch of women. I'm like, are you all crazy? Book women. Women come in and support women. They don't come to see men, a whole group of men. What, you-- you got a rebuttal for that?


- But I would just love it, because I just I enjoy it. It's enjoyable for me, too, as a comic when we're together and it's like I see Amina on the lineup. I see-- I don't want to see a whole bunch of dudes.

- Yeah, there's like a lot of structural reasons I feel like as to why a comedy is so masculine. And, I guess, like, probably, slowly that's going to shift and evolve. Yeah. You are.

- Tek be booking women.

- He's really--

- We've got to-- give him a round of applause for that, you all. He be booking these women.


Feminist icon, Tek Lai.

- Oh.



- OK.

- For me, I would-- sometimes I kind of feel like in the need to try to like diversify things, sometimes we dilute the amount of talent that gets presented to our audience. And sometimes I think that's kind of whack. Where it's like hey, this is a show where it's only this type of person that you'll ever see. And like ain't none of them funny. And I'm like, bro, like you're making me look bad as a comedian. Like I do this, and like I'm good at this.

- Sometimes the Black shows be bad too.

- And as far as transparency-- as far as transparency, I think, for sure, comedy clubs definitely owe us way more money than what they give us. And that's why it's so very important for us to really take control of what we do and like you see guys like me and Tek, because it's like, the type of money that we see maybe when you do it with your little bit-- with a little bit of hustle and some hard work compared to like you show up and somebody just hands you something that's like not even enough to get back home.

It's kind of a dis. So it's a disrespect to the sacrifice you make to be this artist.

- Thank you, guys.

- Thank you.

- Thank you.

- Thank you so much for having us.

- Thanks, Troy. Thank you, Yahoo.

- And you guys.

- In the Know. Thanks, you all.

- [INAUDIBLE] thank all of you for being here. Thank Reg, Alex, Amina, Britney, Tek. This was phenomenal-- better than we ever could have expected. Food's coming back out. Drinks are coming back out. Check your DMs to find out if you're a grand prize winner.


- Enjoy.

- Goodnight.

- Thank you.

- Thank you for your attention. Bye, everybody.