So Local comedian Kenny DeForest got a guest spot at Jokes and Notes. Now if you don't know anything about anything let me explain why this is cool and news worthy. Jokes and Notes is arguably the top premiere comedy club in Chicago. It's also happens to be African American owned with a predominantly Black audience, which is also why, unfortunately, some folks on the north side have never heard of it. Kenny DeForest on the other hand, is a young white male comedian from Missouri who performs and produces comedy shows at mostly white venues. But it looks like the management at Jokes and notes is looking to switch things up by adding a little diversity to their lineups and Kenny DeForest has the talent to appeal to all audiences. Kudos to Jokes and Notes for having the vision to broaden their booking. Hopefully some venues on the north side of Chicago will have the balls to follow suit. Kenny's guest spot is this Friday April 29th. Check out this interview with Kenny based on his experience at Jokes and Notes.
Comedy of Chicago: What drives you to perform stand comedy?
KD: Competition. I'm a hyper competitive person as I was an athlete my whole life. I played 2 years of Division II college hoops before blowing my knees out. Once basketball was over, I needed a competitive outlet because no one wants to be the guy who takes intramurals way too seriously. I'd always been a class clown type and I love making people laugh, so I gave it a shot and got hooked. It also didn't hurt that my roommate in college, Matt Stell, was a musician and he got laid all the time so I had to come up with something.
COC: What was your first stand up set at Jokes and Notes like?
KD: Jokes N' Notes is the best open mic in the city, hands down. There's no other place you can go up in front of 100+ paying audience members at an open mic. It's a packed club so it feels like a regular show and they control the list pretty tightly so there aren't a lot of duds killing the energy in the audience. It's a challenging room to succeed in, so it forces you to step up and bring it which is always good. I've just been fortunate enough to do well pretty consistently down there and Mary took notice. She's also looking to diversify the lineups down there, so I'm sure my whiteness is appealing to her.
COC: Why would you encourage comics (or would you?) to sign up at the jokes and notes open mic and what advice would you give first timers?.
KD: I would absolutely recommend it to anyone. If you want to be good at comedy, you have to be able to perform in any environment. It's very important to step outside your comfort zone as a performer and challenge yourself. Plus, from a business stand point, why would you not want to tap in to the "urban" market if you can?
COC: Seems like you've always got something in the works, anything coming up?
KD: Check out Speak Easy Comedy at Stanleys in Lincoln Park. 8:30PM. www.speakeasycomedy.com Friday, April 29th, is my Jokes N Notes guest spot.
James Allen Kamp