With comedy now making its mark online through social media platforms such as Vine, Instagram, and YouTube new comedy talents are emerging and connecting with their own audiences. For Quinta B., who started her journey in comedy while in school has now found herself making thousands of people laugh daily with the help of Instagram. We talked with the Los Angeles based comedian who shared how her life was before having over 200,000 Instagram followers. She also shares her plans to continue spreading her style of comedy.
CH: WHAT WAS YOUR LIFE LIKE BEFORE THE INSTAGRAM FAME?
QB – Before the Instagram videos blew up I moved to LA a year prior and started doing improv in LA. I come from improv. I started at The Second City in Chicago at 17 and went back to Philly to do it because I was in school at Temple University. When I moved to LA, I was ready to start performing and I trained for a little bit as well. I was doing a lot of stage work, working on short films. I did a couple short web series and I had just gotten to a point where I was performing regularly at IO West with my improv group. Summertime had come and I was performing at another theatre called the Improv Space. I had recently done a show at Bob Sumner’s Laff Mob on Sunset at the Comedy Store. I had a sketch group at the time and they had called for a sketch group last minute. We had 24 hours to put six sketches together, and we were the opener for the standup comics that night, that was about month before I did Instagram videos and that’s when I debuted the character and everybody liked it a lot.
CH: HOW DID YOU END UP IN LA?
QB – I’ve always wanted to move to LA since I was a kid. I worked and got myself out here. I kind of felt I knew I was supposed to be here.
CH: HOW HAS THE MOVE TO LA BEEN THUS FAR?
QB – It’s been a wonderful experience so far. It’s been teaching me a lot about myself. I came out here by myself. My family still lives in Philadelphia but I’ve built up a family of people here who are supportive of me. I have a lot of friends who are in arts and entertainment and that’s been wonderful. We help each other out. To me performing on stage is one of the most wonderful things I can do. When I’m on stage, which is about three times a week that wouldn’t happen in Philly and it’s beautiful to do it out here in LA. I don’t want to add the weather in because that’s what everybody says, but LA is a beautiful city to be in. Being able to go to the beach, to go hiking, and just have different experiences! That’s what I wanted to have the most of and everyday is an experience out here.
CH: TELL ME ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND. HOW WAS IT GROWING UP IN PHILADELPHIA?
QB – Initially I was a dancer. I danced for years from when I was 5 to when I was 19. Then in college I just couldn’t do it any longer. I was born and raised in Philly. I never really went to any comedy clubs when I was younger or in high school, but I always enjoyed making my friends laugh. When I went to college, the honest and true story was I was dating someone who lived in Chicago. I found out that the Second City training center was in Chicago and I loved SNL! Most of the people that I loved from SNL had graduated from that center. So I went there to take classes. My teacher at the time she had given me a scholarship to take the writing program cause I was just taking improv. At that point I told myself, “You know what I don’t think anything ever has loved me back as much and they just might give me money to do it.” Going back to Temple, I had found out that we had an improv club, so I joined that. We had a show that we did on public access television called Temple Smash and basically that was our SNL for Temple University.
CH: WHAT VIDEO DO YOU FEEL CATIPULTED YOU’RE INSTAGRAM FAME? AND WHEN DID YOU REALIZE YOU HAD SOMETHING?
QB – I think the first video that gained popularity was the “Trying To Make It Clap” video. Honestly, I think that was the first video, now that I think about it that gained attention. A friend of mine named DJ Damage we went to Temple together. He’s been watching me perform for years. He thought that one was funny so he posted it on his Instagram. At the time he had a lot of followers on his Instagram; he still does have a lot of followers. He’s on Revolt TV and is a big DJ in Philly and that brought a lot of followers to my page. That was way before I had done the girl who never been on ____. When we did the one in the movie theaters I think that Damage posted it first and then this big blog called Hip-Hop Since 1987 back home posted it. From then on different blogs posted it over and over again and that’s what started bringing the real attraction to my page and that was like in December/ January, right around then.
CH: WHATS YOU’RE DEMOGRAPHIC? DO YOU THINK YOU APPEAL MORE TO MALES OR FEMALES?
QB – Only way I can kind of gage it with numbers is through YouTube. With YouTube you can kind of see what your demographic is. The audience is mainly female but guys find it funny too because it includes them. It’s a girl on a date with a guy, or dating this guy, and at this point to where there in a full fledge relationship. I think men can relate, its not that the guy in the video’s is filthy stinking rich. He’s got his stuff together, he’s got a car, and he’s got a HBO account that’s a wonderful thing! I think girls like it naturally because I’m saying what they’re thinking in their heads and it’s honest. I think it is very honest just interactive which is very important and I think everybody in comedy strives to be very honest. It’s pretty universal.
CH: IN YOUR “HE GOT MONEY!” SERIES WE NEVER GET TO SEE THE GUYS FACE. WAS THIS PLANNED? AND WILL WE EVER SEE HIS FACE?
QB – No! You’ll probably never see his face. I definitely think it adds to it. I like antics. A lot of my favorite shows back in the day had someone who wasn’t seen. It’s fun to see Home Improvement or like the Powerpuff Girls, or cartoons such as The Proud Family or Cow & Chicken, and all these shows where you didn’t necessarily see the person’s face that was a key character in the show. I think the first video I’m just short so it’s easy to cut his head off, but I wanted to keep it because I think it’s excellent to have a character who you know but you don’t get to see and I think its fun, its fun to laugh at.
CH: HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT BLACK FEMALE COMEDIANS IN COMEDY?
QB – The SNL move was important and at this point diversity is needed on television period or people are going to lose valuable audiences. When I see shows like SNL and commercials that are on air now, you’re seeing that new mix of people of color. It makes sense because you can’t ignore it. You live in America and it is really hard to ignore all the diversity here. It’s also hard to really ignore non-stereotypes. That’s important for what I’m doing. I just think it’s really important for women of color and people of color period to have some type of lane to show that we’re not stereotypical. It’s important to show in this industry, or any industry that we’re human and not just black. That’s definitely important to me and has been all my life.
CH: STAND UP COMEDY IS THAT SOMETHING YOUR INTERESTED IN?
QB – I am doing stand up, I just started before all these videos popped off going to a lot of stand up shows and my interest in stand up was growing. I had never done it so it was a little intimidating to me. I recently just started writing and performing stand up and it’s going really well. I’m constantly doing open mics out here working on it to get better. I really like stand up because stand up doesn’t really care about my Instagram background or my improv background and I just let it feast in its self and it’s a wonderful craft to really learn a little bit more about yourself.
CH: FAVORITE COMEDIAN?
QB – Ah man…. I appreciate a lot about different comedians about what they bring to their stories and their delivery. Two of my well-known favorites are Louis CK and Kevin Hart. I love how animated Kevin Hart is when telling stories and getting everybody on board for these very honest stories. I feel the same way about Louis CK, who is not very animated, but makes you remember what it feels like to be human.
CH: I SEE YOU HAVE YOUR OWN LINE OF SHIRTS NOW. EXPLAIN THE CONCEPT BEHIND THAT?
QB – I do! I actually use to work as a styling assistant for Elle Magazine. I learned a lot about fashion and I love fashion anyway. Everybody has to wear clothes. The shirts… people wanted them and decided, “You know what? I should make them.” I had the resources, I have friends in LA who have clothing companies, and it was easy to go ahead and figure out how to do it myself. They definitely helped me out though. We made some dope graphics and I knew a printer already, so it was easy to be able to help people out and get them the shirts.
CH: IS THERE ANY PLANS TO TAKE YOUR BRAND OFF INSTAGRAM AND WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS?
QB – I’m definitely looking to collaborate. I did a video with King Bach the other day and that was super fun. I think the coolest part about being in that whole Instagram and Vine community is being able to just have an audience for your work. For me, I recognize Instagram as a place to share my sense of humor and showcase what I’m capable of. I think it is unique. It’s not technically what your used to seeing from everybody that’s in the Instagram or Vine community, but I think no place is really that fun if everyone is the same. I know it’s a big deal because Instagram and Vine is getting to the point where they have advertisers interested in it. There’s such huge audience and everyone has it on their phone, especially Instagram. So people get to watch this stuff instantly and that’s a really cool thing about it. I came in a little bit differently because I didn’t come from Vine; I came from Instagram so I didn’t really know anyone from Vine. But I do think a lot of comedians are using these gateways. Everyone may not have gotten as big from them, but its definitely overall a part of their hustle of being a comedian out here. I think for me, I see myself growing. I’m not going to limit myself to Instagram. I’m loving being onstage all the time that’s amazing. Just seeing what opportunities come from me continuing to put my work out there. That is what’s most important, just having my work shown or seen and being able to work with other people who I think are funny.
TWITTER – @QUINTABRUNSON
INSTAGRAM – @QUINTAB