He’s one of those guys. You know the one. You’ve seen him… It might be hard to place at first… and then… “That’s him! I love that guy!” Yeah… that’s Godfrey. You’ve probably seen him in “Zoolander” or on one of many VH-1 “I love the ‘blank’” shows. Or, you’ve caught him in commercials as the “7up Yours!” guy, or more recently, on FX’s “Louie.”
Well, we hear at CraveOnline got the chance to get the scoop on his new one-hour special, “Black by Accident,” Airing August 27th on Comedy Central.
Godfrey and I talked for a little bit before the interview officially started. Even over the phone he’s energetic. At some point, someone spelled my name wrong and he thought he was going to be interviewed by someone named “Christina” not “Christian.” He’s incredibly articulate, charming and almost childish the way he laughs off the confusion…
Talking to Godfrey is almost like talking to a professor or licensed expert. He casually tosses off incredibly insightful musings on comedy and the entertainment industry without any trouble. He's the kind of guy that can drop words like "apropos," "dialectic," and "mimesis" and never loose you for a second, because that's just who he is.
With the excitement in his voice and his enthusiastic general demeanor, you can tell he has big plans for the future – and for someone as smart as Godfrey, it's just a matter of how big one can dream.
Immediately, he’s got no shortage of things to say – we start to talk about the differences between performing live and performing on television in front of a crowd:
Godfrey: Any comic, when they finally do their hour or their half-hour, any number of minutes. You’ve been doing your shows, you’ve said these jokes, like maybe, 1,000 times and now it’s almost like, “now I’m being recorded!” Even though I’ve been doing stuff in front of people for a while now, all of a sudden it becomes a whole new thing. And you’re acting like a comedian. Literally *acting* like a comedian. I got to be like “Hey guys!” I got to come up with that TV energy. And the audience is cognizant of the cameras, and so they know, “we gotta act like an audience,” you know? There’s a lot of acting going on. It’s hilarious! It’s all smoke and mirrors a little bit. The best performances are the ones you never catch. You’re organic, it’s more organic.
Godfrey also knows his stuff. Especially about the “ethos” of performing in front of cameras:
Godfrey:When I did the special – usually when you do a special – you can do about two or three shows and then you get the best out of each one. And I only did one. I only had a one-shot. So it was already nerve-wracking. And people were like, “wow, you’re pretty bold doing it to a jaded New York audience. A lot of comics to their special outside of New York, they’ll go to San Francisco or San Diego or some other neutral territory. When I saw it, and I only saw it once. I’m weird. I don’t like watching myself. When you watch something like that you’re so hard on yourself, like, “man, I feel corny as hell!”
I asked to him if this special was a culmination of material that he had been working on for some time or if he created some new stuff specifically for the special, and what this special is about, for him:
Godfrey: There are certain jokes that I just wanted to get out. I just want people to know, “this dude is a funny dude. I’m a fan of this dude. Now I’m looking forward to the next one.” First of all, no comedian has a “theme” theme. Take “Chris Rock: Bigger and Blacker” Yeah, he talks about race, but it’s not all about that. My thing is, “Black by Accident,” for me, describes me in general, because I’m not… let’s just be real… when you see a particular comedian, say, a black comic go onstage, or Mexican or whatever, you have an idea of what this guy might talk about. Me? I’m the opposite of that. I use profanity because I like profanity, but I’m not vulgar. Big difference. I love profanity because I really think profanity is cool. The one thing you don’t want to be is a sucky clean comic. I hate sucky clean comics! It’s like Christian rock, bro. I’d rather listen to gospel and Christian rock. That’s cheating! Don’t be clean for the sake of it. If you’re doing a special that’s all about you and you use profanity then use profanity! I think you should be yourself.
What about the title of the special, “Black by Accident?”
Godfrey: “Black by Accident” is – there’s something about race and stereotypes that enhances comedy, we all know this. There’s something in your head, people laugh harder at this than at any other type of joke. This is what embodies us. This is what we live on. I went to Beijing with my friends (because that’s what I do) and I was at the Laugh Factory and some Chinese girl yelled out, “No you didn’t” so I said, “So black people can only go to Miami and Atlanta?” And the whole place died! It was real! I did go to China! I love that people think like that, because I use it to my advantage. “Black by Accident,” to me is “He went to China, he just happens to be Black.” I’m a huge “Harry Potter “fan! And this is the truth – if people see a black comic go on stage and talk about “Harry Potter” they don’t expect me to do that. This is the reality, and that’s fine with me. “Black by Accident” it describes me, man.
The special, if you’ve never seen him live, is something you definitely want to check out. You can catch “Godfrey: Black by Accident” on August 27th, on Comedy Central at 11pm EST/PT.
Also, feel free to check out Godfrey’s website @ Godfreycomedian.com for appearance dates and more!