Michael Blackson, the “African King of Comedy, ”sat down with Adesewa Faleti, of Crown of Excellence Entertainment, between Blackson’s headlining comedy shows at the Cap City Comedy Club in Austin this May. During a brief chat in the green room, Blackson sat relaxed in all-white, rocking gold sneakers, waiting for his last show. He shared about his start as a comedian, his work on Oxygen’s new show Living with Funny, and future plans.
Adesewa Faleti: How did you develop your comedy style?
Michael Blackson: Wow! I have to go all the way back to ’93 or ’94 when I started this? (laughter)
AF: Take it back! (laughter)
MB: So, for any comedian doing stand-up comedy it takes about three years to really know what direction you want to go in. I remember when I first started doing this I used to go on stage and I wasn’t targeting myself or making it known where I was from. I used to talk to just about what was going on in my life at that time, and about three years ago, I was on stage doing stand-up I was telling a joke and imitating my father or uncle’s accent, and it made the joke so much funnier. Everything I said when doing the accent was funny, and I said to myself, “Maybe I need to talk with more of an accent, and if I talk with an accent then I need to put on my African garb.”
MB: (laughter) Yeah, I had to represent. So, I threw on my African garb and pulled my accent out, and that is when things started changing and my career took off because then I stood out from everyone else. After that, BET recognized who I was and I did two years of Comic View. In 1999, I remember going to the comedy store in LA to perform and I was there the same night that Ice Cube came to see Mike Epps and then next thing I know, I was in the movie Next Friday and that was my big movie break.
I threw on my African garb and pulled my accent out, and that is when things started changing.
MB: With comedy, it is hard to keep doing it sometimes. Some people become stars and fall off, but lucky for me, I was never a big star; I am just slowing crawling up the ladder, and that is why I think I am successful now. It’s not always good for everything to happen overnight. When you grind and work hard – you really appreciate it. When you get there, you know how to stay there.
AF: That makes sense!
MB: Once you get on a roll and figure out what you want to talk about it becomes easier. I don’t have a writer yet, but maybe at some point I will. But even comedians that have writers still have to deliver the joke at the end of the day.
AF: Yeah…it has to be your voice.
MB: Right. I just want to keep going with this and continue to do more…but I think I am cheating my fans.
AF: Why do you say that?
MB: I crack jokes here and there on social media and I tour so many different cities but I think for my fans to see me more, I need to stay on television. I am very fortunate to have recently done a reality sitcom on Oxygen that aired on Tuesday nights and did another movie this year with Mike Epps called Meet the Blacks. But I’m tired of making other people rich (laughter). I want to start making myself rich and produce my own movies, and I know my fans will support me. That is the avenue I am going right now.
I’m tired of making other people rich (laughter). I want to start making myself rich and produce my own movies, and I know my fans will support me. That is the avenue I am going right now.
I’m tired of making other people rich. I want to start making myself rich and produce my own movies.
AF: I hear that! Tell me more about the show on Oxygen.
MB: The show is called Living with Funny, and it also stars Brandon T. Jackson and Deray Davis. We did seven episodes and me and my family are in every episode. I read the comments about the show and the fans want to see more of me and my life, so I really want to do something that focuses on me, my girl and the kids.
AF: That’s nice! So, with being on tour so much, selling out shows and telling jokes back to back, how do you keep it fresh and funny so you and your fans enjoy it?
MB: I have so much fun on stage and when your material is enjoyable to you, it will be the same way to the audience. I always try to be spontaneous to freshen up my shows when I get on stage. I look to impress every audience that I am in front of and make it different for them.
I always wanted to be an accountant…I know where my money is and how I spend it.
AF: True! Because otherwise we will talk about you! (laughter)
MB: I know you will (laughter), especially with social media. I am thankful that I am selling out shows.
AF: Last question for you, if you weren’t a comedian what would you do today?
MB: I’m an African, and we always dream big. I always wanted to be an accountant. I was always good with numbers and money. It helps me now handling my own money. I know where my money is and how I spend it. I don’t have any financial advisor robbing me! (laughter)
AF: (laughter) You always know where your money is!
MB: And I know how to spend my money! (laughter)