Rickey Smiley Covers Uptown Magazine: “It’s Not About Telling Jokes Anymore, You Have To Be A Storyteller”

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On this months edition of Uptown Magazine, Rickey Smiley relaxes poolside to take over the cover. In his feature Rickey discuss the new perspective of today’s comedy, and getting a break from Steve Harvey.


“I’ve just had some great and wonderful opportunities but my opportunities now are just going through the roof,” he says. That’s only because Smiley stays one step ahead. “I have a diction coach now. I’ve been practicing. I read the teleprompter every day so I’m prepared. It’s not about telling jokes anymore. You have to be a great storyteller,” he continues, describing today’s comedy landscape. “You got to bring people into your neighborhood. You got to be animated and years of experience [will] get you into that space and you just crack people up. And don’t take yourself so serious. That’s what brought on my success.” And by no means is he stopping there”



“Steve Harvey put me on,” Smiley shares with gratitude and astonishment still in his voice. “He came to Birmingham and decided he was going to work with me. I was blessed to open up for his [tour] The Kings of Comedy a few times. I would have to be in the hotel lobby early to ride in the limousine with Steve and I was a nervous wreck. “I would scoot all the way up, [sitting] back to back with the driver, staying out of the way. Steve would get in, my heart [would be] beating fast, I didn’t know what kind of mood he was in. He got sick of me telling him ‘thank you,’” he laughs. Harvey linked Smiley with his other protégé, Cedric the Entertainer, and soon Smiley was traversing the country opening for both of them. But Harvey’s mentorship didn’t stop there. When he left his Radio One show in Dallas, he recommended Smiley, who was already doing radio in Birmingham, to take his place. Alabama’s finest brought more than laughs to J.R. Ewing’s backyard.

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