Quotes & Jokes by Franklyn Ajaye
Moving to Australia was not a career move, but a quality of life issue. It has no guns, no God, and no gangster rap. As an Ethiopian cab driver said to me the other day when I was returning from a gig in Sydney, "Australia is a peaceful, democratic place." I like the relatively stress free lifestyle. It's worth the drop in income.
I have no desire to be hip to the latest black slang and do the stereotypical black thing. I was a Richard Pryor fan, and I have used profanity in my act. But when it becomes a whole thing that defines blacks, we're limiting ourselves. The enemy is us.
Obviously the audience has veto power signified by whether they laugh or not, but you-not them-retain the ultimate power to decide what they’re going to get the opportunity to laugh at.
You can’t wait forever for an audience to get the joke, but you should give them at least two seconds to join in before you go on to the next one.
An aspiring comedian must be determined to get to his or her true feelings on a subject and convey that to the audience. Figure out what you’re feeling or interested in because the goal is to get the audience interested in what you’re interested in. Good stand up comedy is drawing people into your head.
I don't like the fact that most black people or black comedians have to present themselves in a flamboyant way. It's good if you can do that, but I don't like to think that's the way all black comedians are. I'm not that type.
You must not be afraid of small bits of silence. To use it well is the height of confidence and skill for a comedian. It increases the tension in a good way and adds contrast like a curveball complements the fastball of a good pitcher.
I wasn’t able to showcase myself to my satisfaction on television until I did one very important thing: I started treating television as though it were just another night at a club. I stopped ruminating continuously over my television set and thinking about its potential significance. This started with my last few shots with Johnny Carson when I realized why my spots hadn’t seemed as funny to me as my club sets. I realized that the extra thought and preparation actually worked against me. Once I adopted this new attitude, I started doing television spots that I was happy with. But let me stress that this was just my approach.
Be prepared to cut your little extra lines that come after a big punchline and move on to the next joke or routine to give your set more punch and crispness. You can keep them in your set, but if the audience applauds your big line, don’t do your tag when it dies down, just move on.
Black cats don’t worry about going bald. We know we don’t have a lot of options, so we adapt to it pretty fast. Black cat will look in the mirror and say, “I’m bald… can’t be pulling no hair from over here and combing it over there… so I just shave this shit off.” White dudes they fight baldness to the death. I know a white guy with one hair, got it swirled all over his head.
I think women seem to handle celibacy better. Well, at least when you talk with them, they're very nonchalant about it: 'Oh, no, no, I haven't made love in about three or four months, and I really haven't missed it at all. I've been doing a lot of horseback riding.'
It’s better to play to the host as though in a real conversation and let the audience listen in- which they are.
Ideally, you want to be in a fifty-fifty power-sharing arrangement with the audience – both of you are there for a mutually enjoyable experience.
Bombing teaches you how badly you want to become a comedian. Because unless it’s a burning desire, you’ll quit when the consistent bombing becomes too much to take.
Doing panel well is actually more important than doing a good stand-up spot because it’s when the audience observes you in a more “conversational” mode and decides if they like your personality – which is one of the real keys to popularity.