This past November we issued a challenge to comedians for our Comedy Owns The Night Challenge. The challenge wanted to know how many nights can a comedian perform within a month. When it was all said and done, Chicago’s Taneshia Rice known by her stage name Just Nesh was our winner. To applaud her for winning the challenge we wanted to help tell more of her story. The single mother of one, goes on to explain her current comedy journey, advice from Dick Gregory, Bill Cosby allegations, and the Chicago comedy.
CH: CONGRATULATIONS ON WINNING THE COMEDY ONWS THE NIGHT CHALLENGE. HOW WAS THE OVERALL EXPERIENCE?
JN: When I first heard about it, I thought it would be easy because we have so many rooms here to get on stage in Chicago. I knew that if I had to hit the stage every night, it wouldn’t be a problem. It did end up becoming tiring though. I’ve never been so tired in my life because I was trying to go out every night. I even had some booked shows out of town during the challenge. I went to Atlanta for a whole week. I was booked really good for the month but on the nights I was off I would make it a point to hit a mic or a guest spot. Originally thought it was going to be a lot more comics that were going to consistently give it a try when I checked. Some were from Chicago. But I just kept at it, and hash tagged it. Once I got going I felt I just had to keep at it, it kind of got addicting. I had like 32 shows and some nights I would do 2 to 3 shows. I was keeping track, and I’ve never kept track like that before. I got a lot of new material, and worked out some new stuff.
CH: CHICAGO IS KNOWN FOR SOME REALLY GREAT COMEDIANS. BEING FROM THERE, WHAT IS IT ABOUT THE CITY THAT BREEDS GREAT COMEDY TALENT?
JN: The people that come out to the shows in Chicago make you work! Especially the urban crowds, not trying to make it a black vs white thing, but you can’t play around with black crowds. You have to really make them laugh. If you don’t want to get crickets you really have to go hard. Half of them seem like they don’t want to even be there, you just have to bring it. If you don’t do that, you should sit down somewhere. That’s like every room.
CH: YOU MENTIONED THAT YOU STOPPED THROUGH ATLANTA. ANY DIFFERENCE WITH THE CROWDS OUT THERE COMPARED TO CHICAGO?
JN: No, not a big difference. They were really well produced shows out there, so I expected that. The people actually came out for comedy, and that makes a difference. One room was kind of tough but no one was really there, so I had to work.
CH: WE FOUND OUT THAT YOU RECENTLY OPENED UP FOR PAUL MOONEY AND DICK GREGORY ON THEIR GOD FATHERS OF COMEDY TOUR. WHAT WAS SOME OF THE ADVICE YOU RECEIVED FROM THEM?
JN: Dick Gregory was the one I talked to the most. Paul wasn’t feeling that well when I did some shows with him, so he wasn’t talking too much. Dick Gregory pretty much told me to rest my brain. He said I didn’t always have to come up with new stuff all the time. He said, “stop thinking so much.” He also told me to keep writing, and the money is in the writing. It’s not always you can talk to someone like that. He’s so funny in conversation, definitely appreciated that moment.
CH: THE COMEDY OWNS THE NGHT CHALLENGE INVOLVED YOU USING SOCIAL MEDIA. WE ARE AWARE THAT YOU USED SOCIAL MEDIA BEFORE AS A TOOL FOR YOU CAREER IN COMEDY. CAN RE-SHARE THAT TIME YOU USED TWITTER TO HELP YOU OPEN UP FOR CEDRIC THE ENTERTAINER.
JN: Oh yeah! I think social media plays a big part in what I’m trying to do even though I don’t have a lot of followers. I’m not all on Instagram. I’m not making a million videos. I just don’t have time for it. I can’t sit all day an do Vines. People tell me I need to. No, I need to produce some comedy shows. I don’t even care about having a million Instagram followers but as long as my followers are growing. But as far as me opening up for Cedric, I was watching a rerun in a hotel of The Bet Awards and Cedric was on there. I ended up tweeting him about the awards while I was watching it. I was tweeting little jokes about him (his teeth), and he ended up replying to one of my tweets with an LOL. I didn’t expect him to even reply, and when he did I was like damn he reads these!? I found out that he was coming to Chicago, and I tweeted that I need to open up for him. Well he didn’t reply for a while. I started photo-shopping pictures of me and him together. (laughs) I would just keep putting out these photoshopped pictures of me and him together with the hashtag, #JustNeshMakeAWish. Then people started tweeting him about it and doing the hashtag. He ended up saying something back, like “I’ll see.” The tweets were never really was obsessive or anything. I guess he appreciated the effort. He then connected with me on Twitter, then I got in touch with his road manager, and ended up opening for him.
CH: HOW CLOSE ARE YOUR JOKES TO YOUR ACTUAL LIFE?
JN: All my jokes are true to me. Some of my jokes are so bizarre that people think I make it up. My life isn’t like super exciting but when I write it up it’s hilarious. It’s really how you word it, it’s all true. It’s easier for me to write about stuff I go through. I was a social worker, I have a son, and I’m single are some of the things in my jokes. For the most part I write about my experiences.
CH: DEON COLE IS A BIG NAME COMEDIAN OUT OF CHICAGO. HE RECENTLY MENTIONED THAT HE WAS LOOKING TO TOUR WITH COREY HOLCOMB, AND DERAY DAVIS FOR A MONSTERS OF COMEDY TOUR TO REPRESENT CHICAGO. WHATS YOUR THOUGHTS? AND IF THERE WAS A FEMALE VERSION OF THAT, WHO WOULD IT BE?
JN: I think that’s a dope line up! Would like to see a couple more on that though like Damon Williams, Wildcat and Lil Rel should be included. Deon, Corey, and DeRay are phenomenal. Don’t know why they don’t have a female? (laughs) As far as females who could do a similar tour for Chicago. I would go with Lady Lunchabell, Vanessa Fraction, Tara Terry, and definitely me! (laughs)
CH: HOW IMPORTANT DO YOU THINK APPEARANCE IS FOR WOMEN IN COMEDY?
JN: You know what’s crazy, I think the better you look, the more you threaten the women in the audience. I have such a good response because I don’t try to get super fly. I’ll wear a t-shirt and jeans, with maybe a little eye-liner. I don’t want to threaten the women. You know it’s mostly women at these comedy shows. If I go up there fine as hell, ass big, baby face, they probably going to be like, “look at this b*tch.” Women, we are petty. I think it’s better for women comedians to not be done up. I just try to be funny, not beautiful.
CH: EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT THE RECENT SEXUAL ALLEGATIONS AGAINST BILL COSBY. WITH YOU BEING A FEMALE AND COMEDIAN WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS?
JN: Everybody is coming out the wood work. I don’t like it all. We make jokes about it because it’s funny but I’m still rocking with Bill. I’m not going to believe that he raped all those women. They were going for it, and he’s a celebrity. I’m rocking with Cosby.
CH: WHAT ARE THE THINGS PEOPLE SHOULD EXPECT FROM YOU COMING UP IN 2015?
JN: Definitely look out for my show productions, not quite just a comedy show. I have violinist and musicians, and looking to have it going monthly. Right now I’ve also been focused on the Damon Williams show, its online, looking to get that out to the people too. Also I forgot about my comedy music album, “Sound Good If You’re Underwater”. Some hit songs from the album are “Where Yo Edges”, and “Panties in my Booty” with videos that can be found on my Just Nesh Comedy Youtube Channel. I’m really looking at getting my brand together than just being comedy as well. I’m looking more into the business side of comedy. I’m hoping to get on somebody’s tour, opened up for Mike Epps before. But I’m looking at going on the road with someone again. If I don’t get on tour with someone I definitely will be hitting different cities. I plan to go to Los Angeles for a couple weeks.