By: Breeze Jackson
One day I was kicking it at a True School DJ Jay-Clipp’s crib, listening to some rare hip-hop and getting my ass kicked playing Madden. He asked me Breeze have you ever heard of a cat named Roy Wood’s Jr. The first thing out of my mouth was nah who does he play for.
He laughed at me and said check this out. He walked to the back and moments later I heard through the speakers the sound of a phone ringing and the voice of an older woman getting into a very heated argument over her social security check. That skit lasted less than four minutes but by the time it was over I had tears falling down my face in laughter. Roy Woods Jr. is a comedian that does prank phone calls and performs stand up comedy all over the country. You can keep up with him on his web site www.RoyWoodsJr.com or you can just read the interview I got with him below.
The very best thing about writing for Unsigned is that I am always being presented with supremely talented individuals and an excuse to kick it with them. Ladies and gentleman for those of you that are not in the know I introduce Mr. Roy Woods. Jr.
Breeze – First please tell me about your background where did you grow up and how did your love for comedy emerge?
Roy – Before I started doing Stand-up in 1999, I was your average 19 year old College student. I started doing stand-up while I was in school (* Florida A&M— Tallahassee, FL) so I never had a normal “Day job” per se. After I graduated from College I did comedy full time. I worked temp services and restaurants between gigs to make ends meet. But Stand-up has always been first and foremost. I actually got into stand-up after an arrest for Credit card Fraud in 1999. I ended up get a year or two of probation but before sentencing I thought I was going to go to jail. So I made a promise to myself to do EVERYTHING I’d ever wanted to do with my life. Comedy was on the list.
Breeze – Tell me some of your comedy influences?
Roy – I don’t tailor my material after anyone. I believe as a comic it’s important to have your own voice and style. As far as the comics I respect for their style and topics…. George Carlin, Paul Mooney, Doug Stanhope, Bill Cosby, Chris Rock.
Breeze – Discuss that time period and the transition of being 19 years old writing jokes to being on the radio while you were at A&M.
Roy – Well to be honest there wasn’t much of a transition. When I started doing morning radio in Tallahassee it was just me cracking the same jokes that I cracked on stage. There isn’t much difference from doing comedy on stage to doing it on the radio.
Breeze – Leo Devlin is my favorite character of yours, can you discuss how do you develop your characters? Are they taken from your personal life or do you create them totally from your own imagination?
Roy – ALL of my prank call characters are based on someone that actually exists in my life, or they’re a subtle blend of the two people. Leo Devlin was based off of this co-worker I had at Golden Corral. He was a server and he was ex-military. If you Listen to Leo Devlin in all of the calls, he very “no- Non-sense.” He doesn’t laugh he doesn’t crack jokes he just tells it like it is regardless of your feelings about the situation.
Dr. Sitmon Azibo- The popular African Character that I do is birthed from a Nigerian Black Psychology professor I had in college who HATED black people. Most native Africans hate Americans because they claim that we’re spoiled and we don’t appreciate anything we gave. Azibo would spend half the class period telling us “The Americans blacks you are dumb. That is why I come to black college to save the American blacks”
Breeze – What has happened in your career thus far that has totally blown your mind?
Roy – Being on David Letterman after just 8 years in the business. It was truly an honor to do that show.
Breeze – Please discuss some of the hurdles that have been placed in your way and how you dealt with them.
Roy – Comedians have career hurdles no different than any other artist. I think the one advantage a comic has over a model or a rapper is that we can get by STRICTLY on talent. No one cares if a Comedian is good looking or not. No one cares about the other Comedians on his label. Comedians don’t’ have to deal with crazy producers or bad photographers. All you have to do as a comedian is stay funny. If you do that everything else will fall into place in due time.
But one MAJOR problem with comics is joke theft. It pains me to work hard on a joke for months and months developing the bit to where it needs to be only to have another comedian do my bit on Television. Also shady club owners make it hard for comics to grow. Especially if you’re a black comic because so many of the nation’s comedy clubs (* 85-90%) are white owned. Most white club owners stay away from “Def-Jam / Comic View” type acts because they feel like that style of comedy is played out.
What they now make the mistake of assuming is that ALL BLACK comedians do “Black humor” They aren’t open minded enough to understand that some black people have UNIVERSAL appeal.
Breeze – Something that I noticed is how well you document things on your site. Does that come from your background in journalism?
Roy – Yeah I think that’s a part of it. I’ve gotten into the habit of writing blogs now and giving a “Dateline” before I write them. That’s the part of the article where the writer indicates what city the story took place in. I guess having a bit of experience in print Journalism just instilled that in me as well.
Breeze – Have you ever been formally trained in improvisation or writing or did you learn by falling down and just getting back up?
Roy – Joke ideas can come naturally but there’s still process to developing a though into a well-shaped joke. It’s like a Songwriter; you know the overall topic of the song you want to write. But the exact words that you use to convey that point takes time. Sometimes the difference between a good joke and a bad joke is simply a few words in the delivery. Or tweaking the timing of the joke. Sometimes it’s not the words that make the Joke fail, it could be where in your act you do the joke as well. Timing, delivery, stage presence, doesn’t come naturally you have to work on it.
I’ve never been trained in improvisation but I’m currently looking into that while I’m here in LA.
Breeze – Please tell us about any projects that we can look out for in the future?
Roy – My New prank call CD will be out in stores soon titled “I’LL SLAP YOU TO SLEEP’ Advance DIGITAL copies of the CD will be available online at itunes.com , emusic.com & urge.com
Breeze – If I give you my momma number will you call her for her birthday? I’m just playing unless your gonna do it…..
Roy – LOL I’ll call ya mama !! Tell her I’m your boyfriend from jail and that I’m pregnant with yo baby. LOL
Breeze – Damn, I am glad that you don’t have my momma number. …It was a pleasure playboy much success.
*Unsigned The Magazine Repost*