About a year and a half ago I remember having a conversation with one of my friends about comedians. He said to me “It’s some funny dudes out here but you need to see if you can holla at Ryan Davis!” Well, 18 months later and here we are. Via phone, I spoke with stand-up comedian and viral video star, Ryan Davis. I caught up with Ryan while he was on the road in Philadelphia and we talked about his upbringing in Concord, NC, how he got his start, and more!
I am the middle of 7 children, I may have been attention starved and I think that helped me in comedy
Ryan grew up in Concord, North Carolina, the middle of seven children. He was always told that he was funny for as long as he could remember but he says he wasn’t a class clown. He (Davis) says “I wasn’t the class clown in school; I was more of a school bus terrorist”. He went on to explain that on the school bus, anybody could get it, which usually meant cracking jokes or “jones-ing” as he called it. At home, Ryan says that while he may have been the funny one but he wasn’t a bad kid. He spoke on memories of the entire family being around the TV and watching Chris Rock’s groundbreaking HBO special “Bring the Pain”. “I remember going to school the next day and telling all of those jokes I heard the night before”, he recounted. Ryan says that comedy has always been an important part of his life but it wasn’t until 2011 that he decided to throw his hat into the internet video ring. He began doing videos on the things he would see in pop culture and uploading them to his Facebook page. He quickly built a fan base reaching over 1400 people that would faithfully tune in to see his unique take on the things happening in the world. Eventually he would take the leap and make his way to the stand up stage.
Although it takes a lot of guts, I wanted to do stand-up first. But making videos was a great way to reach a big audience
Ryan got his standup start at The Comedy Zone and quickly moved up to rocking to comedy feature for The Comedy Zone brand and rocking microphones seven nights a week. He spoke of times when he literally slept in his car when he would travel to do gigs that would sometime only pay him $25 or $50 a night. With him garnering so much attention online I asked him if he felt he didn’t get the proper respect as a stand-up. “Some people may take issue with the guys who do online videos but there’s a lot of work that goes into it. I’m good friends with Kountry Wayne and that man put out a video damn near everyday for three years. I dare some of these critics to try it. It’s hard work!” The video that changed everything for him was the video he posted in January of 2016 about Odell Beckham Jr. In the video he uses several clips of the NYG Wide Receiver that jokingly questioned some of Beckham’s behavior. “I was a Pharmaceutical Tech at Sam’s Club and I remember after I posted that video, my phone wouldn’t stop going off. I pulled the phone out of my pocket and within hours the video was over 2 million views and I’m like…….wow!” To date that video has been viewed over 10 million times and was the turning point in Davis’ career.
I never wanted to be a character in my videos, it takes too much work. I just wanted to be myself. I just ended up going viral from my mama couch…..on accident
We spoke about the process of how he makes his videos and what goes into it. Once he decides on the topic he then writes, produces and shoots the video entirely himself. Although he felt some pressure after the OBJ video blew up, he reminded himself to just be him and have fun. He holds the art of comedy dear to him believes that it should be protected. I asked him if he was worried about compromising in a super politically correct climate. “If a joke doesn’t work, it just doesn’t work and the audience has the right to say that. But no one should be vilified for telling a joke” We talked about his comedic influences and I asked if he could give me his “Starting 5 of comedy” and it goes as follows: 1. Chris Rock 2. Dave Chappelle 3. Patrice O’Neal 4. Bill Burr 5. Open Space * I gave him a pass on the 5th one, he said it was tough [Laughs]
Who is Ryan Davis? Ryan Davis is a hard working, humble, SUPER funny guy who I believe will be around for a long time! Whether it’s in videos or live on stage he says he wants it all and I’m confident that one day he will have it.
If you like to catch Ryan on the road, check out his upcoming dates:
April 23rd – Helium in Buffalo, NY
April 25th – Improv in Arlington, TX
April 26th – Improv in Houston, TX
May 3rd – Improv in Tampa, FL
May 4th – Improv in Orlando, FL
May 5th-6th – Comedy Club of Jacksonville in Jacksonville, FL
May 14th – Comedy Catch in Chattanogga, TN
May 15th – Zanies in Nashville, TN
May 16th – Stand Up Live in Huntsville, AL
May 17th – The Stardome Comedy Club in Birmingham, AL
May 18th – Punchline in Atlanta, GA
May 24th – Levity Live in West Nyack, NY
May 25th – Spokane Comedy Club in Spokane, WA
May 26th-28th – Comedy Palace in San Diego, CA