As part of We Own The Laughs.com’s Comedian of the Day, have a few laughs and get to know comedian Kieron Harrell. The Cincinnati, OH native shares some of his favorite moments in stand-up comedy and lets us know how he always owns the laughs.
Name: Kieron Harrell
Hometown: Raised in Cincinnati, OH. Been in Chicago, IL for the last 5 years.
Years in Comedy: 4
Haven’t we seen you somewhere before:
Comedic Influences: Dave Chappelle, Patrice O’Neal, Eddie Murphy, Kevin Hart, & Wanda Sykes
Favorite Comedy Album: Patrice O’Neal “Mr. P”
Favorite Comedy Special: Dave Chappelle’s For What It’s Worth. “Who f*cks monkeys
and people” will forever be a goated line.
Favorite Comedy Movie: Life, Harlem Nights, Boomerang, Hitch, & The Jerk
Favorite Comedy TV Show: Chappelle Show, Atlanta, Boondocks, & Bojack Horseman
Favorite City to Perform In: Chicago
Favorite Topics to Joke About: Myself. Specifically, all the people that have hurt my feelings.
Favorite Type of Audience for a Comedy Show: I travel around the midwest a lot, and I’ve come to find that like, blue collar audiences, of every demographic, they just laugh the hardest. It really feels like they deeply appreciate someone trying to help them forget about their day jobs in the coal mine.
Favorite Comedy Club: The Laugh Factory
How did you discover your passion for comedy:
I discovered it really young. It kind of became a mode of survival for me. I learned that if you distract your bullies with jokes, sometimes they forget to punch you in the face.
What do you remember most about your first time performing stand-up comedy:
My first time ever was at a booked show I talked my way onto. I was so ridiculously nervous and couldn’t even watch the clip anymore, but it actually went well. Some of the laughs came where I thought they would as I wrote the set, which is all you can ask. I think that’s part of why I caught the bug so hard. I’d never done anything like that before and have been chasing the dragon ever since.
How would you describe your comedic style:
Narrative heavy and really Personal. I tell a lot of stories about myself and my losses, but it’s also personal in the sense that I always try to talk with the audience rather than talking at them. I think the whole point of this game is equivalent exchange! They take your energy and give it back to you in a loop. You should want to have fun as much as they do. They can feel the energy you put into your sets!
Describe your process for comedic writing:
Mainly, I come home and get in bed at 4AM, in a stupor, and I reflect on the day and write as much as I can remember about moments that happened throughout it.
Describe the comedy scene in your area:
Chicago is where you cut your teeth. It’s a huge scene with a lot of working comics. So you get inspired immediately to be the best you can be on stage. It’s also a place where the friends you make are deeper than just work friends, these people will have your back until your dying days. It’s a real family. Dysfunctional as all hell, still a family.
How do you judge success in the world of comedy:
I think there are tiers to it, like everything in life. But I think the main tier we all desire and view as ‘made it’ is being able to live a comfortable life with the money you’ve made purely from the craft.
Who are some of your comedic peers that you enjoy watching perform or inspire you personally and professionally:
Ken Hamlett, Geoff Asmus, Ken Flores, Kristen Toomey, Jeff Brumfield, and Kadeem Fuller. All of these comics have such different styles, and I think it’s because they all have such different lives. But every single one of them invites the audience into their life, and they get really personal on stage, and I think there nothing more beautiful than that!
What’s been your most memorable moment in comedy:
Performing at a recovery clinic. After the show, a man walked up to me and told me his brother passed away recently and this show was the first time he left his room in days. We had a quick, but really intimate conversation. I think about that moment any time someone asks me why I do this.
What have you learned most from your failures in comedy:
That this industry is the definition of pressure makes diamonds. I don’t think people understand how many “no’s” creative people hear on a daily basis. It’s tough, but the resilience it forces you to have is incomparable.
How do people react toward you when they realize that you can make people laugh:
Sometimes they ask a lot of questions, and it turns into a dope moment between two people which I love. Other times they tell me some God awful joke that makes everyone uncomfortable… that, I also love.
Describe building a career in stand-up comedy:
Brutal, rewarding, long, painful, perfect.
If you could change one thing in the world of comedy, what would it be:
More money of course. We pour so much into this. Hosts and features work just as hard as headliners. Fair compensation is all we ask. I also think more authenticity. I really think that’s the only reason people care about stand up. It connects us as humans. I really wish so many of the new comics would start out with material that is real about them and then they find the funny later. As opposed to trying to write things that are shock jockish just to get a reaction or just punch lines jokes that are so disconnected from their soul as a whole. This art form is beautiful when we allow it to be.
Best advice you’ve ever received from a comedian:
“Never let your ability to be likable, overtake your necessity to write good jokes” -Kevin Bozeman. Those words stuck like knives and made me use my pen 3x as hard.
If you were releasing a comedy special this week, what would it be called:
“Are you mad at me? I think you’re mad at me.”
Weirdest place you’ve ever performed any form of comedy:
The train, that shit is not what its chopped up to be.
A Kieron Harrell Fun Fact:
I’m learning the piano, because I enjoy it. Not at all, because I want people to think I’m cool and interesting and hot and cool.
Where would you like your laughs to take you:
Honestly everywhere. I also act and want to land a role that’s hilarious but also intricate, I think that’d be awesome.
What would you tell a potential comedian if they ask you how they can own the laughs:
Talk about what YOU think is funny. Write for you, have a meaning behind it. This comedy thing needs to feed you. You should feel like you’re losing your mind if you haven’t gotten up in a couple of days or wrote something that you love so hard that you left your house immediately to tell it.
What are your thoughts on the future of comedy:
So long as we remain comics first, take care of our family, and remain as authentic as possible. We will be fine. There’s a lot of noise, just like, in the world right now. Our job is to either make people forget the noise, share our perspective on it, or speak to the bullshit on both sides of it, so long as it’s funny, the future is safe.
If you could choose ONE comedy club and THREE comedians to perform with on your perfect comedy show, how would it go:
The Laugh Factory. Ms. Patt, Dave Chappelle, & Eddie Murphy.
What’s next for you:
Only God knows, but I believe in big things. I’ve been headlining more at smaller venues, and that is amazing. I just want to keep getting better and proving that I am to myself and to crowds.
Why should a person always laugh at life:
Cause what the hell else are you gonna do?