Comedian Godfrey has been prominent in everything from stand up comedy, to television, to movies. A few of Godfrey’s credits include, Louie CK’s, “Louie”, NBC’s “30 Rock” and Comedy Central’s “The Nightly Show”. On the stand up side of things, Godfrey’s last stand up special, “Black By Accident” was a hilarious introduction into Godfrey’s world. Now, Godfrey is back with his brand new comedy album version of comedy special Regular Black, out now on Audible Channels, and everywhere on Dec. 9th. Comedy Hype caught up with Godfrey to chat about the new comedy album, his career and projects we can look forward to.
BY COREY TATE
CH: A few years ago, you released the stand up special, “Black By Accident”. Now, you’re back with your new comedy album, the audio version of “Regular Black”. How do your two stand up specials differ from each other?
Godfrey: Well, in my first special I was just aiming to provide you with a general sense of who I am. It was an introduction. The special was titled “Black By Accident” because my style of comedy isn’t what people would expect from an African-American comedian. Audiences see a comedian of a certain nationality and assume they know what the comedian is going to talk about. I talk about regular things, I just happen to be black. In my new special, “Regular Black”, I wanted to touch on more personal things, like my Nigerian heritage and the memories of my father being a teacher. The goal was to have my new special be better than my last special, so I dug deeper and went more autobiographical.
CH: You’re originally from Chicago, but you’ve been based in New York for awhile now. Chicago and New York are both known for stand up comedy. You’ve been shaped by both cities. How has Chicago and New York influenced you as a stand up comic?
Godfrey: Chicago was where I first got my feet wet and I am forever grateful to have started out in such a wonderful town. I even filmed my new special there. Moving to New York took me a new level as a stand up comic and just as a person in general. When I moved to New York 16 years ago, I instantly noticed that New York was like Chicago on steroids. There’s way more people, there’s way more stage time. Also, New York allows you to visit different places without ever having to actually leave New York; everyone is a transplant from somewhere else. When you’re surrounded by a variety of nationalities and people from all walks of life, there’s a constant stream of inspiration for material. Also, at any given moment, there’s a billion crazy things happening in New York. Inspiration and opportunities are everywhere.
CH: Every stand up comic was influenced by someone before them. Who were your main influences?
Godfrey: I was influenced by several comics. Such as Bill Cosby, Richard Pryor, Jim Carrey, George Carlin, Martin Lawrence and Eddie Murphy. Eddie Murphy was the guy that took comedy to a rockstar status and it was exciting to watch.
CH: Your journey in stand up comedy has been filled with you rubbing shoulders with some of the best comedians in the world. Has anyone given you advice that has stuck with you throughout your career?
Godfrey: Back in Chicago, Bernie Mac once gave me a solid piece of advice. He told me, “People have to like you. Once you achieve that, you can navigate your career in whichever direction you want.” People liking you is half the battle. Of course you should also be funny, but when people like you and want to be in the room with you, that’s a skill that goes a long way.
CH: Currently in your career, you’re at the level where newer comics could learn a lot from you. Just as Bernie Mac gave you advice, what piece of advice would you give to novice comics?
Godfrey: I would tell newer comics to get as much stage time as possible. Stage time is essential to mastering the craft of stand up comedy. I would also urge them make an effort to carve out their own lanes, by being original. Originality is what makes you special and gives you longevity. Even if your style isn’t popular, stick with it. The people who your comedy is meant for, will eventually gravitate towards it.
CH: In the past couple of years, there’s been a resurgence of enjoyable TV shows. TV is becoming exciting again. Should we be expecting Godfrey to join in on the excitement?
Godfrey: I would hope so. I actually shot 2 TV pilots. Fingers crossed that the shows get picked up, because I’m really excited about the shows and doing more TV would be a lot of fun.
CH: Every comedian leaves behind a legacy. What do you want your legacy to be?
I want to be remembered as someone who not only made you laugh, but also made you think and made you feel something. Anyone can be funny, but it’s the kind of funny that matters to me. I want to engage on an intellectual level with my audience and plant a seed of contemplation within the laughter.
CH: Aside from your new comedy album, “Regular Black”, what other projects should we be looking forward to?
Godfrey: I just did a movie titled, “The Hudson Tribes”, by the Lopez brothers, Kevin and John Marco Lopez. Not only was I excited to work with the Lopez brothers, but it was also exhilarating to do a compelling, dramatic role. “The Hudson Tribes” allowed me to show my range as an actor and I can’t wait for people to see this movie.
BY COREY TATE
Godfrey’s new comedy album, “Regular Black” is set to be everywhere digitally on Dec. 9th.