Interviewed with Comedian Vincent James at Tribeca Comedy Lounge

vincent James

Written by Joseph Santiago

vincent James

Photo by Brody Brodo

We sat down with Comedian Vincent James at Tribeca Comedy Lounge to ask him about embarrassing memoriesshow business, and handle hecklers. Spoiler alert: One of these things involves a Lion.

What do you wish someone had told you about show business before you entered it?

That although it takes a long time to get paid at it, that it’s really fun… I feel like people don’t often say how fun it is to be on stage.

Where do you get your material?
From my life experiences, from growing up to my life I live currently.

What happens if they don’t laugh? 
I tell more jokes and hope they do

Who would you say are your influences in the comedy world?
It was people like Martin Lawrence, Jim Carrey, Eddie Murphy, Robin Williams as well as comics working today like Jessica Kirson, she pushes and encourages me.

What is one of your more embarrassing memories from childhood?

Probably when I took a class trip to Sesame place which is a water park and my mom put me in grey sweatpants and no bathing suit, I couldn’t go on any rides just the one dry one which was a spider web.  Very traumatic!

What are the most important rules you live by?
“If you are going to do something, do it right!”  Don’t just mail it in, do your best no matter the situation.

What was your favorite book as a kid, and what does that say about you?
I liked Lord of the Flies, I guess it says –  I liked the chaos when the adults weren’t there.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
In comedy is was to explore my tragic events and not so great childhood.  Opened up a ton of material.

Given your feelings about the state of our culture, how do you avoid despair?
I try and stay positive and just hope that something good gets done, or that this brings people together somehow.

What three things would you take with you to a deserted island?

  1. An endless supply of Dunkin Donuts Coffee
  2. My Mickey Mouse pillow – had it since birth
  3. My Dep # 9 Hair gel

Do you have any quotes that you live you life by or think of often?”
“It is better to live one day like a lion than a thousand like a lamb”  My college roommate told me that, he is Asian.

How to handle hecklers from the stage ?
I will try address them in a funny way and not attack or curse at them, but quickly – Like “hey Sir, you good…. Your date hates you…so have fun… and enjoy”

“What advice would you give your younger self?”
Do Comedy more, like try and do it every night, my biggest mistake thus far was only doing one show every 5 months when I lived in Port Chester, I was stuck doing bringer shows forever… The king of the bringer!

What most important lesson you learned in comedy?
That stage time is valuable and don’t take any size crowd for granted… they came out and are here so why point out that the crowd is small and their time doesn’t mean anything

Advice to your younger self just starting in comedy career?
Do Comedy more, like try and do it every night, my biggest mistake thus far was only doing one show every 5 months when I lived in Port Chester, I was stuck doing bringer shows forever… The king of the bringer!

How long do you spend developing material?
I would say I’m always refining material, jokes that I have done for a year I still add to or refine.  I tend to develop material after I’m around people or at an event and I find something funny about it and will start developing that premise.

What’s your drink of choice?
Beer, Dunkin Donuts Coffee (Can you tell I want them to put me in a commercial) and Ginger Ale

Greatest cartoon of all time?
For me it was Gummy Bears as a kid –

Let’s say you could live the life of any animal in the wilderness for one day: What would it be?
I know Lion is an obvious one based on my Asian friend Quote and the fact that I’m a Leo but I would say Eagle because I think flying would be awesome.

So the stereotype of comedians being horribly depressed and neurotic is true?
Not for me, I do a joke about how people are like wow, you are so happy, shouldn’t you be miserable…. I’m happy and grateful but doesn’t mean I didn’t have pain or depression growing up.

Do you ever get tired of being a comedian?
No, I don’t.  There are times that I get to a gig and don’t feel well or am tired but as soon as I see an audience I feel motivated and grateful.

So at the end of your day, what’s your ultimate goal?
I would like to entertain the most people I can, meaning I want more than 500 people to know about my comedy.  I think most people would like it.

What would you say troubles you the most about the world today?
Not much troubles me, I’m a pretty happy kid, but I don’t want to die.

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