He started his career at the age of 17 while skipping class and noticing that his school was having a talent show. After trying his luck at stand-up comedy, he immediately fell deeply in love with the art form. As part of We Own The Laughs.com’s Comedian of the Day, have a few laughs and get to know comedian St James Jackson. The Chicago, IL native shares some of his favorite moments in stand-up comedy and lets us know how he always owns the laughs.
Name: St James Jackson
Hometown: Chicago, IL
Years in Comedy: 9
Comedic Influences: Deon Cole, Kevin Hart, Ron White, & Dave Chappelle
Favorite Comedy Special: Patrice O’Neal “Elephant in the Room”
Favorite Comedy Movie: Not Another Teen Movie
Favorite Comedy TV Show: Family Guy
Favorite Comedic Character: Austin Powers
Favorite City to Perform In: Chicago
Favorite Topics to Joke About: Dirty & Family
Favorite Type of Audience for a Comedy Show: Diverse
Favorite Comedy Club: Laugh Factory
How did you discover your passion for comedy:
As an only child, I used to sit in my room for hours and watch Comedy Central presents and SNL reruns.
What do you remember most about your first time performing stand-up comedy:
It was my high school talent show, and I remember my principal, who hated me, coming up after the show and telling me that his family said I was the best in the show.
How would you describe your comedic style:
Cute and Dirty
Describe your process for comedic writing:
I like to work it out on stage.
Describe the comedy scene in your area:
The best in the country. In Chicago, you can get up three times a night in front of a real crowd.
How do you judge success in the world of comedy:
Am I paying my bills, do I feel like I’m growing as a performer, and do I have the respect of my peers (the ones I have respect for).
Who are some of your comedic peers that you enjoy watching perform or inspire you personally and professionally:
Skylar Higley, Zako Ryan, & Ken Flores
What’s been your most memorable moment in comedy:
Putting together my show “Something Unexpected” with my best Clay Season and watching that grow and become the comedy engine that it is! It’s now bi-monthly at The Laugh Factory.
What have you learned most from your failures in comedy:
“This too shall pass.” Everything feels big and painful at the moment, but it’s just an opportunity for growth and reflection.
How do people react toward you when they realize that you can make people laugh:
Weird (Laughs), but it’s cool because people assume you’re “big time” just because you tell them that you’re a comedian, so they’re acting like they are in the presence of a celebrity.
Describe building a career in stand-up comedy:
It’s like anything else but with more drugs. You get what you put in. If you’re willing to work hard and pay the price of success, you will get it.
If you could change one thing in the world of comedy, what would it be:
I would like for us, comics, to be able to have an honest dialogue about the problems in comedy without people feeling attacked or victimized.
Best advice you’ve ever received from a comedian:
The more you do it, the better you’ll be.
If you were releasing a comedy special this week, what would it be called:
Weirdest place you’ve ever performed any form of comedy:
I did a set one time at a church, I’m not a clean comedian, and I didn’t tailor my set for the room. So I’m going to hell. But honestly, it was pretty fun, and it did go well.
A St James Jackson Fun Fact:
I have two middle names.
Where would you like your laughs to take you:
I want a TV show and a podcast that’s big enough where I can talk about stuff outside of comedy, and it actually matters. Oh, of course, a world tour would be cool too!
What would you tell a potential comedian if they ask you how they can own the laughs:
Just do it and see where it takes you. Comedy is a trial and error-business, and the quicker you understand that, the faster you will get to your destination.
What are your thoughts on the future of comedy:
I think it’s a lot of people doing it now because it’s trendy, and that’s the best for comedy as a whole. But I also think this is the best time to be a good comedian who knows how to network. It’s more opportunity, and that’s the important part, but it’s making sure the right people get those opportunities.
If you could choose ONE comedy club and THREE comedians to perform with on your perfect comedy show, how would it go:
I would do it at the Laugh Factory (Los Angeles), and it would be me, Pryor, Robert Williams, and young Dave Chappelle. I think that the perfect show.
What’s next for you:
I’m finishing up this web series I feel strongly about. I have a film that I produce/ starred in with my friend that we are putting in film festivals, and I am also trying to be the best stand-up comic I can be.
Why should a person always laugh at life:
Because it’s the only way to live, if you don’t laugh, then you’re going to stress. That is the law of the universe. You can only feel so many emotions at once, so why not choose the good ones? You only have so much control in life. Your perspective on life is one of the few things you can have total control of, so why not make that work for you?