The Davon Magwood Interview
We have another new addition to the NakYouOut team. This one’s a fella named Isaac Kozell, a local comedian who also has his own blog. He asked us if he could cover the local comedy circuit and provide us with an interview from time to time. Who better than to start with than Davon Magwood, a friend of ours and possibly a friend of yours after this read, depending on how you take his sense of humor. So here goes, Isaac’s first post and interview!
“The way MTV ruined music, Comedy Central is ruining comedy.” Or, so says Davon Magwood, a young local comedian who has already won the respect of comics and clubs across the country. We sat down for a interview with Davon at Howler’s, where he will be headlining a show on March 29th.
Isaac Kozell: You jumped feet first into comedy. You didn’t build your way up.
Davon Magwood: Yeah. I was at home eating Ramen noodles, watching this guy suck at stand-up on Comedy Central and I thought, “I suck less than this guy and he’s getting paid.” I had just started a job touring with a Renaissance Fair and so one night in Kansas City, I found a comedy club, performed and won a contest. That was a confidence builder.
IK: So your entrance into comedy was to win a contest in a city not your own, where nobody knows you?
IK: What was your job at the Renaissance Fair?
DM: I played a baby dragon. It sucked being the young black dude at a Renaissance Fair. Everyone was like, “What are you doing here?” and I’m like, “I’m here being a dragon. Let me hold your baby.”
IK: You eventually put together your own tour, traveling all over the country. How do you feel you’re received here versus other cities you’ve performed in?
DM: Comedian-wise, other cities have been more accepting toward me. In Pittsburgh it’s more about being someone’s buddy, not about who is actually talented.
IK: I’ve seen this thing happen at open mic nights where, if you don’t roll in with the right crew at the right time, you’re the outsider.
DM: Which is why I dislike open mics. I feel like I’m invading someone’s clubhouse.
IK: But that’s OK as long as you kill it.
DM: I have to. As soon as I leave, they’re going to talk about me, so I need to kick ass.
IK: And give them something to talk about.
DM: Pretty much.
IK: Give ’em something to talk about…isn’t that a Bonnie Raitt song?
DM: It might be. Yeah, I think it is. I’m going to lose my “Black Card” for knowing that.
IK: Last Comic Standing is something that you made a run at. You went with a mutual friend of ours. I just did a show with him and part of his set was about his horrible experience with it. He does an impression of someone who has had their soul sucked out of them by Last Comic Standing. You had a very different experience.
DM: With him, everything was very personal. Before Last Comic Standing, he was winning contests left and right. You’re winning all of the time and you’re not used to losing. I’m used to getting the taint of the experience. So I’m just there having fun. I’m in New York. I’m sitting next to comedians I’ve seen on Comedy Central. I took it for what it was.
IK: What was the structure for auditions? Did they say, “Give us your best tight five?”
DM: Yeah. So I did, “Da da da da da – PUNCHLINE…Da da da da da PUNCHLINE.” But there were other comics next to me performing at the same time. It felt empty.
IK: Comedians have this recurring problem where, when someone finds out that you do comedy, they point to you and say, “Tell me a joke!” That’s not how it works.
DM: It’s like, “Oh, you make sandwiches? Make me a sandwich!”
IK: Let’s talk about your shows. You’re a DIY comic. You book, assemble and promote all of your own shows. Do you have fun doing all of the work yourself?
DM: I do all of the work because I’m a control freak. My Grandad always said, “Don’t do anything half-assed and if you can do it yourself, do it yourself.”
IK: You call comedy your career even though you have a day job where you work crazy hours to support your comedy.
DM: Some people just work 9-5. It’s our job to entertain those people.
IK: How do you deal with that feeling that every comedian I know, including myself, has – the feeling of, “Is this good enough? Am I funny enough?”
DM: Sometimes you have those days where you’re like, “Is this even worth it?” You’ve just got to remember that if this is what you really want to do, fucking do it. I have to tell myself, “Fucking do it.”
IK: Do you have any pre-show rituals?
DM: I do one shot with my opener and listen to Niggas In Paris.
IK: How about after the show?
DM: I have to change my socks.
IK: Are you superstitious?
DM: No. My face won’t sweat but I sweat through my feet a lot so I have to change my socks or else I won’t be comfortable. Then I just want to cut loose and get fucked up. Hopefully have sex and then eat some pancakes.
Come see Davon and Isaac doing their thang on Thursday March 29th, 9:30 pm at Howler’s. You can follow Isaac on Twitter or keep an eye out for his new posts on NYO.