By Ryan Meehan
As a professional wrestler from Chicago, Illinois, Jay Washington’s antics during promos and in-ring interviews made it almost natural for him to make the transition from the squared circle to the stage. Jay first hit the stage at Chicago’s famous Checkerboard lounge during their “Too Much Talent Tuesdays” showcase. He has entered a variety of local and national competitions, performed at various comedy festivals, and has worked at a variety of comedy clubs around the country. Jay’s quick wit, high energy, loveable personality and size make him not only impressionable but very memorable. Jay Washington has opened for the likes of Tommy Davidson, Lil’ Rel, Robert Kelly, Adam Ferrara, Dante Nero, Leon Rogers, The Tuskegee Airmen, Mark “Skippy” Price, and Rodney Perry just to name a few. He has also been featured on various podcasts and radio shows and now hosts an internet radio show called “Educated Insanity”. Jay has been featured in several documentaries, one of which is with YouTube sensation Keenan Cahill. If that weren’t enough, he was also gracious enough to be our guest today in 5 questions.
RM: How do you separate what you find to be amusing as you go about you day in the Chicago area from what you think that audiences will find funny while you are in the process of writing new material?
JW: I have to remember that I want to be universal in my standup and have it apply to some of everybody in every city and state. If I can’t find a way to “generalize” whatever it is I am finding amusing or explain it without it being too long or wordy then I probably won’t talk about it. Because I can’t tell everybody about something that while I was on the corner of Congress & State by Harold Washington Library if they have never been there.
RM: What is the Chicago comedy scene like for you? Which clubs up there are the best to perform at?
JW: The scene here in Chicago for me is simply AMAZING. There is such a plethora of comedic talent on all levels for anyone, to the casual fan of comedy or even a student of the game. As a comedian there are so many different stages to perform at to be able to hone your craft. To get up in front of people not just from Chicago but people who may be stopping through. I did a showcase in the basement of a Mexican restaurant and made some new “fans” from a couple who were visiting from California. As far as clubs there are so many good ones, so here they go in no particular order (felt I had to give that disclaimer) The IMPROV in Schaumburg(even though it’s a suburb it still counts), Zanies Comedy Club, Jokes & Notes, Up Comedy Club (new but is a phenomenal place to perform) and the Laugh Factory (the history ALONE of that place). I would be remised if I didn’t say that there are also some AMAZING COMEDIAN RUN SHOWCASES (yup had to all caps it) in the city as well.
RM: What’s the most important part of the comedy writing process for you? Has the way you view the process changed for you since you started standup?
JW: The most important part is that when I write it comes from me, my thought process, my heart and my voice and not how would it sound like if anyone else said it. Also looking into the hilariousness of my life directly and what I go thru see and experience. Yes my view definitely changed and I think it should for any performer. That’s how you evolve, get to finding the real and TRUE you on stage. If I didn’t evolve I would have still be writing jokes about 911 and DMV personnel having attitudes.
RM: We’re big into NFL stuff here at FOH…since the season is just beginning, can you give us your predictions as to what might transpire in the 2013-2014 NFL season? How deep do you think the Bears can go?
JW: I think that half the league will be fined for a bunch of BS hits, coaches are liable to be discovered on P.E.Ds namely Xanax and valium to keep calm all this NFL season. With the Bears, I think the Bears will BEARly (had to play on words) make it to the playoffs then lose the first round, I’m a Chicago-born New Orleans Saints fan #GEAUXSAINTS #WHODAT
RM: Could you explain what “Educated Insanity” is and how you came up with that as a title?
JW: Educated Insanity is a radio show that I co-host along with J.R. Bang. We are on ChicagolandSportsRadio.com Wednesday & Thursday 4-6pm CST. We are on a sports station but we talk about sports, news (local/national), comedy, music, entertainment and Ignorant S#!t-which there is a lot of in the world. The title came up because J.R. Bang and I are both extremely educated on a wide array of subjects but at the same time we like to clown and have a bunch of unnecessary fun hence the insanity part.
RM: What’s up next for Jay Washington in the remainder of 2013 and in the beginning of 2014? Anything big in the works that we should know about?
JW: For the rest of 2013, hmmmm get acclimated to my new daughter (who still isn’t here yet at the time of this interview, she’s being a diva). But staying on as many stages as possible, Making more and more people across the country and the world learn and KNOW who Jay Washington is and that he is hilarious. Continuing on with my “Laughter Is Medicine” campaign as well as my “Work And Network” mantra that keeps me focused and driven. I got a lot of big things I’m participating in the Comedy Central “Up Next” Talent Search on September 11th, my monthly show “Laughing Insanity” is happening at the Laugh Factory (next shows Sept 15, Oct 13 and Nov 10th), Opening for Tony Rock and Loni Love just to name a few and even MORE. That’s why I tell everybody to stay tuned to my website and follow me on Twitter.
In the Quad Cities, you can catch Jay at the Speakeasy in Rock Island Saturday Night September 7th at Shots and Giggles. In the greater Chicagoland area, you can see Jay @ the Comedy Central “Up Next” Showcase at the Chicago Improv in Schaumburg, IL on Wednesday, Sept. 11th and at The Drop Comedy Club in South Bend, IN at 9PM EST on Friday, Sept. 13th.
Official Website: http://jaywashington.com
Jay on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jaywashingtoncomedy
Jay on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/mrjaywashington
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