North Carolina native Tyrone Davis has loved making people laugh from a very young age, and now he gets paid to do it. A road comic who has toured up and down the East Coast returns to headline Rob’s Comedy Playhouse in Williamsville for two shows on Oct. 24. He took time recently to answer some questions about his career.
Question: How did you get started in comedy?
Answer: Actually, I’ve always been a happy person who likes to laugh. Starting with my family, I was the youngest kid so I was always making my family laugh, others in the neighborhood, and, of course, in school. I like making people laugh and joking around.
I got my start in North Carolina at a comedy club called the Funny Bone under a mentor of mine named Todd Young. That’s how I started on my professional journey in 2000. I did my first open mic and it grew from there. After you get your first laugh, it’s addictive and you enjoy it, especially if you like it anyway. I realized that not only did I like it, but after I got my first professional laugh in a comedy club setting, it was on from there on.
Q: Were there any comedians that you looked up to for inspiration, or did you find your own voice pretty quickly?
A: Of course there were comedians I enjoyed growing up, but some of the funniest people that influenced me you didn’t know, because they were in my family. My mom’s pretty funny, and my dad was quiet but funny.
In terms of professional people, of course (I loved) the late, great Richard Pryor, Redd Foxx. I loved television comics like Dick Van Dyke, Red Skelton and Jackie Gleason. I had a whole lot of people I really enjoyed, whether they were comedic actors or stand-ups. I grew up watching all those old Dean Martin comedy roasts and “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In.” There wasn’t a particular style or genre I liked, I just enjoyed laughing.
Q: A lot of comics, when they start getting good, try to go out to Los Angeles or New York to take the next step. Is that something you thought about doing, or are you happy touring on the road?
A: Actually, I’m in a transition in my career. I enjoy being a road comic, but it would be nice to do other things. My goal wasn’t when I started this to be famous, my goal is to do what I’m doing. If the commercial end happens, it would be nice. My goal is now to do some of those things to make a few trips into (New York and Los Angeles), but the way I’m doing it now is enjoyable because you get to meet some really wonderful people. You get to make people laugh, and that’s what it’s really about.
Q: Do you have any stories from a memorable show you want to share?
A: When I was in Kuwait and Iraq entertaining the men and women of the armed forces, I acquired a nickname with the other comedians, “The Beast,” because every time I got on stage, I would knock something over or something would fall. One night, I knocked over one of those stage lamps, and the power went out. All the troops turned on their flashlights and (shone) it at the stage. I did the rest of my show by flashlight, and it was probably the most memorable time I had on stage. We had a great time.
Where: Rob’s Comedy Playhouse, 1340 North Forest, Williamsville
When: 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. Oct. 24
Info: robscomedyplayhouse.com, 688-1867