Chicago is known as the comedy capital of the world. The city has produced some of the best comedy talent that we’ve ever seen; Bernie Mac, Hannibal Buress, Lil Rel Howery, Deon Cole, DeRay Davis and so many more. Comedian, actor and writer T. Murph is now carrying Chicago on his shoulders as the latest breakout star to come out of the city. Most recently, T. Murph was featured on the Kevin Hart produced show, “Kevin Hart Presents: The Next Level” on Comedy Central. We had the chance to catch up with T. Murph to chat about his newly-found success and exciting adventures that he’s about to embark on.
￼CH: First off, how did it feel when you got the initial call that you were selected to be part of “Kevin Hart Presents: The Next Level”?
TM: Honestly? I broke down [Laughs]. They were happy tears, but I can’t lie, I was definitely at home crying [Laughs].
CH: You’ve been doing stand-up for a while now. Everyone in Chicago knew about T. Murph before the rest of the world. How does it feel to finally receive notoriety and exposure from the rest of the world?
TM: It feels amazing. The grind in Chicago has been a long and tough journey. Once you reach a certain level of funny and notoriety in Chicago, the next level is the rest of the world coming on board and supporting you. I’m very happy and excited that Kevin Hart picked me as one of the performers and hopefully it catapults me to the next level.
CH: There’s so much happening in the world, which means there are lots of opportunities to create new material for comedy. How does T. Murph choose what to joke about and what to leave alone as far as material goes?
TM: Honestly, it just depends on the day. I watch the news and see certain stories and there are some things that I absolutely have to write material about. I mean, this President that we have is creating opportunities for new material every day [Laughs]. I also write material about my kids. That’s the material that parents can relate to because as parents we all go through the same things. I just make sure that whatever I write material about is honest and relatable.
CH: For your Comedy Central special, how did you go about selecting what material you should include and what material you should leave out? At this point in your career, you have tons of material, so what was the thinking behind the material selection process?
I’m from Chicago, and a lot of times our city gets highlighted for negativity. I just wanted people to see another side of Chicago. There’s a lot of culture in my city and who we are as people influences the rest of the world. If you look at hip-hop right now, you’ll see the influences that Chicago has had on the world. I just wanted my material to reflect the Chicago that I know and love, not what the media has portrayed Chicago to be. I just wanted the material to come from an honest place.
CH: There are so many markets that produce funny comedians; New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Atlanta, Philadelphia and so many more. But Chicago comedians are a different breed; they’re observant, smart, funny, witty and most of all, they’re as honest as it gets. What is it about Chicago that prepares comedians to be at the top of their game?
TM: Chicago is mean city [Laughs]. You go to certain cities and the audiences are nicer and they’re more forgiving. Not Chicago. Being funny is a necessity and they will call you out and let you know if you’re not funny. They might give you sympathy laughs up front, but soon after, they’re going to tell you to get your goofy ass off the stage [Laughs]. When you’re up against audiences like that every night, you have to bring your A-game.
CH: Your episode of “Kevin Hart Presents: The Next Level” is available on Comedy Central now. What’s next up for T. Murph?
TM: Just continuing to grind and work hard at comedy. I always have live shows happening and you can follow me on social media for show postings (@IamTMurph). Thanks a lot, Comedy Hype! Love y’all!