About a year ago me and comedian Jovan Bibbs sat down and had an interview where he talked about a myriad of things. This was well before we started the podcast “Straight Outta Lo Cash” and Jovan is now going to be apart of a series on the web highlighting the best comics in the industry produced by Walter Latham(the same man who put together Kings of Comedy) called “Comedy After Dark”. I thought it would be fitting to repost part I of a two-part interview I had with him and make sure you check out part II as well. Then go check out the trailer for the comedy series (HERE).
This is the first inaugural edition of a new section I spoke about implementing, “Who’s Going From Ashy to Classy?” This section will highlight a different person who is making things happen in their particular industry or field. If someone is making moves in anything from music to engineering this section will give a bit of shine on the moves they are making.
Enter Comedian extraordinaire Jovan Bibbs (@jovanbibbs) who has taken the comedy scene by storm since 2004. Jovan has been featured on BET’s Comicview, Jamie Foxx’s Laffapooloza, the Bay Area’s Comedy Competition, and every comedy club across the country. I have known Jovan since we were kids so this interview ended up being more of a conversation. In Part I we go into comedian egos, loyalty, and a little about Jovan himself This brother has some very funny yet insightful things to say. Take a trip into the mind of one of the NEXT comedians that will become a household name…
Darryl Frierson (@diggame): When getting ready for a performance how do you prepare?
Jovan Bibbs: It depends on the event I am doing. If I am hosting or performing at an event I have to gauge what kind of event it is and depending on the event I will know what style I will decide to come with. For instance if I am hosting the Alpha Marchdown it is going to be different from me performing at a fashion show.
DF: So why do some comedians back out of events so often?
JB: Most comedians are scared to put their reputation on the line regardless of if they are getting paid or not. A comedian is only as good as his LAST performance. If people see me and I gave a lackluster performance that means your reputation can get shot. Me myself I wouldn’t necessarily back out of an event but I may turn down an event if I don’t think I will be ready for it. I can’t explain why comedians no-show a lot. Just like some we don’t know why some people don’t pay their car notes either. It’s just each individual comedian. I just say you need to professional being real about your situation. Some guys also feel like they are bigger than what they are too.
DF: How are most comedians when it comes to being personable and being down to earth?
JB: Every comedian I have met from Kevin Hart to Mike Epps were all super down to earth. Even though they are down to earth they still have to keep that distance between them and their fans. You can be human and speak with people but still let me have my privacy. I mean people can’t just be running up on them saying “Tell Me a Joke”. When I said that some people think they are bigger than what they are. Those same comedians will not look out for fellow comedians coming up. Like Kevin Hart has guys like Na’im Lynn and Spanky he has put on. Mike Epps puts on Toure’. But, then you get these comedians who are bitter their whole lives who want to always feel like they are better than you.
DF: Let’s take the question this route mention that. We know how Nelly used to have this city on lock and really put St. Louis on. But, now it seems like the city doesn’t support him as much for whatever reason. What do you think this is so in entertainment?
JB: I think in this city particularly (St. Louis) people want to say Nelly didn’t do anything for this city when he did so much for the STL. Nelly has “Fasho Fo Kids” and other charities around the city. I’m not even no rapper but you hear rappers always say Nelly never put anybody on. I put it like this if it wasn’t for no Nelly than this city wouldn’t have any shine. It would have never been on Chingy, Huey, J-Kwon, etc. He didn’t directly help them but it made it available for you to be in the game. Nelly is no obligated to put any artist from the STL on his label. I can’t get mad at Cedric “The Entertainer” for not putting me on in comedy when him having his success gives me an opportunity to get more looks being from St. Louis. You can’t wait for anyone to give you a handout not only in comedy but in life. You have to go get it and make a way.
DF: Think about all the groups who came out of the STL because of Nelly and the STL music executive invasion. Remember 1 Dime, Abyss, Out of Order, PD Waxx, Pretty Willie, Sub-Zero? They were signing anyone from STL because of Nelly.
JB: Like I said I can’t get mad at Ced or Lavell Crawford. You can’t get no further in this world just hating. That Old St. Louis vs. New St. Louis thing was the dumbest shit I had seen. Dammit, If you don’t get up off your own ass and make it happen. It makes this dudes look like a husband who has divorced his wife and is trying to get back with her and doing any and every underhanded thing to get her back. Some people say this city is full of haters.
DF: But, I hear people from Chicago and D.C claim that their city is full of haters as well. Isn’t it more of how you look at and make a situation?
JB: Oh yeah! I hear people always say I am going to move down to ATL because they have more unity down there. Really? You are going to move down to ATL thinking that things are going to change when YOU are the person who has to change. If you move to Alaska there are going to be some niggaz in Alaska hatin’ on you too. Ya’ll all gonna be cold but somebody still going to be hatin. Penguins even gonna be hatin on you. You can’t escape the hate. If you getting that much hate maybe you are doing something right or maybe you need to re-evaluate yourself.
DF: So, what made you get into comedy?
JB: Ever since we was little I knew I wanted to be a comic. I knew people always say they knew since they were young they wanted to do this and it always sounds cliché’ but I really did. I always understood that there was an art to comedy. I used to have a fake standup comedy room with my cousins when I was 10 years old. I remember I got in trouble for cursing and for my punishment I was sent to my room. But, that night I snuck and turned on Robin Harris. But, why was my parents watching Robin Harris too. They realized that I was watching it because I was laughing at the same time they were laughing. My dad came in and turned off my Robin Harris and put me on punishment longer.
DF: I know one of the first brilliant stand-ups I remember fully as a kid was Martin Lawrence‘s appearance on HBO’s One Night Stand.
JB: Oh hell yeah! Classic there! I been studying comedy seriously though since I was 16. I remember when I used to hoop at this school and comedian Kenny Howell was there. I remember finding out he was a comedian and being in awe of him. I was like why this dude from Comic View hoopin’ with us. I finally saw him one day a few years later and told him that I was going to be a dope comic. You know what he told me? “Just give people that real shit! Give them who you are!”
I started because of B-Phlat and Mike Epps. I saw them both at the Funny Bone one night and he has been my favorite comic ever since. I got on stage the next few months from seeing them actually do it. I won the amateur night competition that night and got a standing ovation. I practiced more for that than I did for the SAT. All of the jokes I did then I would never do now though. The jokes only worked then at my life and I have grown up and had different life experiences.
I met Arvin Mitchell that night and he had me perform at the Duck Room the next week and I got another standing ovation. Then the next week I was to do Jessie Taylor’s room at “The Spot”. And you know at the spotlight they might just not heckle you but you may even have them throw a Hennessy bottle at you. So, I know I had to be funny this night because people from my hood I grew up with was there and niggaz ready to throw champagne bottles at you too were there. I went up there and told some bullshit joke about somebody mama. Someone booed me. So, I turn to the direction of where the boo was coming from and I say “If you keep booing I am going to hit you in the head with a Moet bottle.” Then a guy on the other side of the club yells “Nah, we gonna hit YOU in the head with a Moet Bottle”.
JB: Man, I didn’t even say my name when I got off stage. I just stopped my set right then and said “Alright, that’s my time!” The whole spot started booing me before I could finish. I think the janitor even came out the back sweeping and booing me. I was so embarrassed that I wouldn’t leave until EVERYONE left out the building. EVERY comedian has been booed or can be booed. Its apart of this game. Any comic that says he hasn’t been booed is ever lying or lying to himself. If you got booed by one person you got booed. I knew I was stronger than that though. I kept building and working on my craft. I am just as hungry then as I am now. Like Kobe Bryant said about basketball. Comedy is at the core of me and I want to be the best comedian Jovan Bibbs can be and make a legacy.
Next week be on the lookout for Part II…
Check out some of Jovan Bibbs’ comedic display below and if you know someone who is “Going From Ashy to Classy” shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here if you can’t see
- Comedians Kevin Hart and Mike Epps Twitter Beef (997now.radio.com)
- The Straight Outta Lo Cash Podcast/Radio Show (freetimestl.blogspot.com)
- Blogging While Brown and Straight Outta Lo Cash (ashy2classy.net)
- Lil Kim the Asian Mermaid Steps Out (awesomelyluvvie.com)
- Boxing: The Biggest Sport In Show Business (cheapseatsplease.wordpress.com)
- Why It’s Wrong To Root Against Lebron James (verysmartbrothas.com)