by Ryan Meehan
While Comedian Byron Bowers doesn’t fall directly under the political banner, his comedy focuses on socioeconomics, religion, gender roles and reversing all manner of stereotypes, delivered with an eager-to-please malleability that allows him to adapt to any venue, crowd or circumstance. Byron appears regularly at The Comedy Store, The Comedy and Magic Club, The Hollywood Improv, The Nerdist Theater. He won the Big Sky Competition in Montana, Uncle Clyde’s Comedy and the Ultimate Laff-Down XVI Competitions, and was a Boston Comedy Festival Semi-Finalist. He was a New Face for Just for Laughs in 2013. He has appear on the Eric Andre Show season 3 on Adult Swim, and the Up and Coming Season of Guy Code for 2015. We are delighted to have Byron Bowers as our guest today in 7 questions.
RM: What was the first callback that you ever wrote; and when did you first consider yourself to be someone who was writing comedy as opposed to just telling jokes?
BB: THAT IS A GOOD F#CKING QUESTION!!!! No idea though, but I started with more of a clever joke writing skill. When I started a couple the older comics told me I should be a writer a because I’m not a performer, so I always new I had jokes that I thought were funny…I just couldn’t deliver them.
RM: I saw a picture you posted on your website where you had nothing on but a pair of boxers and you were standing in front of a large pipe organ. What shoot was that from; and when can we see it?
BB: That was from a Guy Code sketch and that wasn’t part of the sketch. I was actually was supposed to change into my wardrobe in the church bathroom but I took off upstairs, stripped down and yelled to the congregation. What can I say, I guess I felt the spirit!!!
RM: What percentage of your act would you say is based on the topics of race and ethnicity? Do you ever feel like there are certain times when you need to back off of that material in order to make sure you don’t alienate portions of the audience; or do you even worry about things like that when you’re on stage?
BB: I’m weeding race material out of my act, I see the world as a bigger place now. Of course its inequality, but it’s everywhere. It’s bad depending what side you’re on. Like it was hard for me to think about the Ferguson protest, because I was on a boat in Maui. As far as alienation, that’s going to happen, I’ve been alienated by whole life so I don’t know what it is like or even can’t imagine what it’s like to fit in. I never walk into a party trying to be everyone’s friend. If you do that you are leaving room for fakeness. If I alienate anyone, we are not on the same wave length at the moment so you should go to the bathroom.
RM: You’ve previously worked with Eric Andre, who can come off as being a little bit out of his mind on television sometimes…What is it like being around him during TV production or after a show; and is he one of those guys who is always “on”?
BB: I like hanging with Eric, when we see each other its like two playful dogs seeing each other. Were like “Hey, let’s run around and pee on sh#t!!” He’s a genius in his own right so he is constantly thinking about ways to improve and market his brand. He works hard and plays even harder. It’s a great energy to be around.
RM: What is the best room in America to work and why? What is it about that particular venue that allows for comedians to work so well within its confines?
BB: Stages are like gyms to me, each work a different muscle so I can’t just pick one. Are you talking workout or paid weekends? As far as weekend clubs my favs are; Punchline SF, The Comedy Attic in Bloomington, The Comedy Zone Charlotte, and Houston Improv, Comedy Store LaJolla. BUT I PREP FOR THESE CLUBS AT THESE PLACES! If I’m doing spots: Comedy Store, Comedy and Magic, Meltdown, and Show that Joel Mandlekorn and Mandee Johnson Produce, Any Room that Jeremy Levenback books, Night Train, Kabin, , The Star Bar in Atlanta, Broken Comedy, Comedy Living Room, Best Fish Taco, Hollywood Improv, and UCB LA/NY.
RM: When you’re watching yourself on television, which aspect of your work do you tend to be the most critical of? Has that changed since the first time you ever saw yourself on the small screen?
BB: My voice, It sounds like I am forcing my words because to me I sound like I have an authoritative voice like I’m from Brooklyn or something. Its mostly all physical after that small ears, big teeth etc….The jokes are fine – they can be changed.
RM: You had the privilege of performing at Funny or Die’s OddBall Comedy Festival this year, where you took the stage right before Ron Funches…What was the best part about that whole experience for you; and are there ever any drawbacks to doing a festival like that at all?
BB: Getting applause from 16,000 people was AMAZING because I felt at home like this is where I belonged all along. But what was surreal was the overwhelming love I got backstage from the negro wave all the way to the industry. A lot of people of may have heard about me and learned about me that day. It was a great experience AND Dave Chappelle was like “Congrats B”…It was like being in the end of the Juice movie!
RM: What’s up next for you in 2015? Anything big in the works that we should know about?
BB: Stay Tuned, this is a series not a movie!!!
Official Website: http://byronbowerslive.com/
Byron on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ByronBowersmakesHistory
Byron on Twitter: https://twitter.com/byronbowers
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