Renard Hirsch: BET taping recap – The Taping

Nashville-based comedian, poet and actor Renard Hirsch recently taped his first appearance on the all new “BET Gospel Comic View – A Time to Laugh” hosted by Gospel singer Vickie Winans. Renard is writing a series of articles for NashvilleStandUp about his experiences. Last time, he told us about the audition.

The Taping

Renard HirschA representative from BET called me on a Thursday and told me that they really enjoyed my set and asked me if I would like to come down to Atlanta and film for the upcoming season of “A Time to Laugh,” At first I was like, “I don’t know. I was kind of hoping that I could make my first television performance on HBO.” Then after a few minutes of begging I finally agreed to appear on the show. My friend Cuzz who was mentioned earlier told me he got the same call and that they also wanted him to perform in some of the skits. So we exchanged congratulatory pleasantries about how we would never have to work another day job again and about how we would never have to spend another sexless night because of the plethora of church girls and ushers that would now be throwing themselves at us because of the show. That went on for a few minutes until our voices and laughter got high like some girls who haven’t seen each other in a long time. (Come to think about it the whole thing turned kind of gay, I probably should have hung the phone up right after he told me congratulations. But anyway I was on my way to Atlanta!)

Before I go any further with this story I must tell you about my history in Atlanta. Atlanta and I have not always been the best of friends. My friends and I would always go to Atlanta every year when I was in College when TSU would play Florida A&M. The first time I did comedy in Atlanta was at the Atlanta Uptown Comedy Corner. This is a “hood” / “urban” / “ghetto” club, if you will. But I didn’t know this; I had only been doing comedy about a year and was very new to stand-up. I thought it was going to be a nice classy establishment, so I dressed up really nice. Which was a mistake. I was immediately booood off stage and the El Debarge comments were relentless. It was Apollo night and they bood everybody that came to the stage except the host who was Nard, Double D, and Roland, who had all appeared on Comic View several times.

Then I went back a few years later with some friends and this guy walks up to us with his hand behind his back like he is holding a gun asking his boys, “Is this them? Is this them? IS THIS THEM!!!?” (He was about to shoot us!) Next I had a wreck while I was watching this pretty girl walk down the street. (Mine eyes had seen the glory, Yes Lord!)

Another time I ended up stuck in the car with this other comic who was trying to buy weed in the projects. I kept telling him to keep on driving cause I was too light-skinned and they were gonna think I was a narc and shoot both of us. After that, two of my friends got into a fight and one tried to hit the other in the head with a Seagram’s bumpy face bottle. The next day, my friends and I saw one of our old friends on the Subway on the other side of the platform looking gorgeous with her chest in full bloom. She tells us to call her that night and yells out her number and right before she gives us the full number the train pulls up so loud that we could not hear the last two digits. We stayed up all that night using the process of elimination trying to get the number with no success.

Last but not least, my friends and I were walking on Peachtree Street and this gay dude pulls up in this big Cadillac and yells out, “I would F*%K the S*#t out of All of Y’all,” (Insert what ever the gayest voice is in your mind when you read that last sentence). He was talking about my friends and not me, at least that’s how I tell the story. I know you are thinking, “Renard you need to stay out the hood in Atlanta,” which would be good advice but all these things happened right in the middle of downtown ATLANTA!

So, to recap: Getting bood + Almost Getting shot + Having a wreck + Weed shopping in the projects + Friends fighting + Not getting Chestesha’s number + Potential loss of anal virginity = RENARD AND ATLANTA ARE NOT FRIENDS.

So I made my way to Turner Studios in Atlanta around 12:50. My call time was 1:00. I got escorted in by a nice young lady who was giving me the eye, so I’m starting to feel a little better about Atlanta, and fill out the tv release forms only to realize that I left my wallet at my friend JC’s house (the r&b singer not the savior). He lives around the corner so he goes back and grabs it for me. Then they send me in to make-up. They filmed five shows on Friday and five shows back to back on Saturday, and I was scheduled to tape at 2:00. Then I go into the green room and see a lot of the comics from the auditions. I ran into Small Fry (who is dressed up like somebody from The Color Purple for a skit that she is doing) and thanked her for the heads up on the auditions. Then I saw my friend Chris Jones, who was dressed up as Jesus for a skit. Next I go raid the Kraft services table – they had everything from donuts to granola. I chose the donuts.

Each show had Vicki Winans come out and tell a funny story, then a skit, a musical guest, and two comics. In between takes some of the comedians would walk around with the mic and do crowd work and entertain the audience. When it was time for me to perform the stage manager took us backstage and told us where to stand and where to leave the stage. I was nervous but I was ready and couldn’t wait to hit the stage. Right before they were about to call my name, comedian Chris Jones – still dressed as Jesus – came over and prayed with me and told me to do my thing. That was all I needed. When they called my name I ran out to the stage to a thunderous applause (that I was not expecting) and bright lights flashing all over the place. It felt like Hollywood.

They were a great crowd. Halfway through my set one of the producers mics came on and made a loud noise that the whole crowd could hear. I didn’t know if they were going to stop me or what, so when they didn’t I just made a funny face at the audience and kept on with my routine. We only had 6 minutes to perform, so when the wrap it up sign came up I wrapped it up and got off stage. I went back to the green room feeling good about my set.

A few minutes later this lady came from the BET staff to tell us not to recite any music lyrics and informed me that they would have to cut my Alicia Keys joke because they did not have the rights to it. Even though I auditioned with the Alicia Keys joke and they told me to do all the same jokes from the audition plus a few extra ones. I wasn’t mad but if I had known that, I would have just done a totally different joke, but oh well.

After I finished taping I decided to stay and watch the other shows and meet some of the other comics that I hadn’t worked with before. Kirk Franklin made an appearance; he was in town because he was scheduled to tape Sunday Best in the same studio tomorrow. On the last show, while the producers were getting ready for the next segment, one of the comics was playing some improv games with the audience and he called comedian Griff (who was telling jokes backstage and had us dying) to the stage to help him out with a skit and Tiny (this really big comic) yelled out something at Griff as he was headed to the stage and Griff was like, “Hey you don’t want to jone with me, homie” (play the dozens, i.e. jokes about you or your mama or how black, fat, broke you are). Then Tiny yelled out that Griff looked like Ving Rhames then Griff said, “You know what that is the last time, Tiny I’m on you!” Then the taping turned into a full out roast with about six of the comedians and a few audience members going back and forth at each other for about 15 minutes. It was hilarious!!

After it was over they thanked all the comics and the audience members and kicked us all out. I had successfully performed my jokes, ate some good food, and met some awesome comics. I had a great time and Atlanta and I have reconciled for now or at least until the next trip down I-20. Much love Atlanta; hopefully from now own we can play nice.

See Renard Hirsch perform in Nashville March 24, 2009 at 8 p.m. at Spanky’s.

Renard Hirsch: BET taping recap – The Audition

Nashville-based comedian, poet and actor Renard Hirsch recently taped his first appearance on the all new “BET Gospel Comic View – A Time to Laugh” hosted by Gospel singer Vickie Winans. Renard is writing a series of articles for NashvilleStandUp about his experiences.

Renard Hirsch recently taped his first appearance on BET
Renard Hirsch recently taped his first appearance on BET

The Audition

I got a call from one of my comedian friend, Cuzz, in Memphis, and he told me that they were having auditions for BET’s new gospel comedy show the next day in Atlanta, and he told me he was going and I was like, “cool, let’s go.”

So we get down there and there are about 75 comics there for the auditions. We filled out the paperwork for the auditions then they inform us that we will have two minutes to do out best material. And everybody was like, “Two minutes? that’s like two and a half jokes.” So we are all sitting there wracking our brains trying to figure out what two or three jokes that we are going to do and wondering how we were going to audition.

We didn’t know if we were going to audition with all the comedians in the room or if they were going to kick everybody out and let us just audition for the judges. Usually comics don’t like to perform in front of other comics because they usually don’t laugh that much because they are concentrating on the jokes that they are about to perform, but in this case it worked out because we only had two minutes of material to do, so I assumed everybody had a good idea of what jokes they were going to do.

There were comics from Detroit, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Florida, Los Angeles, Ohio and Tennessee and all of the comics were pretty supportive of each other. There were a few comics that did material that was inappropriate for the clean crowd and the comics made jokes about it. My number was 48, so I had a good long wait.

Halfway through the auditons they introduced us to Vikki Wynans who would be hosting the show. She came to the stage told a few jokes then sat and watched the rest of the auditions. After every 15 comics or so they would have to change the tape. There were no introductions or music for the comics coming to the stage. You had to come up say your name and where you were from then go into your material.

After all the comics went up they announced the 20 comedians that they wanted to come back to the club at 7:00 and perform in front of a live audience. Cuzz and I ended up advancing to the second round. So to kill the time we got something to eat, did some cocaine with some strippers, smoked some weed and got our minds ready to tell some good clean Christian jokes!!

Just kidding. I had to put that in there because I read a blog about the auditions the next day that was complaining about how there was a strip club next to the comedy club.. how some of the comedians were cussing outside of the auditions, and how some of the comedians weren’t “all the way saved.” What? How do you know if somebody is “all the way saved!?” Don’t judge lest ye be judged. Take the plank out of your own eye before you blow the dust out of mine, or however that scripture goes. Anyway.

When it was time for the 7:00 show they put us all in the V.I.P. section and told us we had two minutes to perform and that we couldn’t leave and then they took us 10 at a time in a single file line to sit beside the stage. I felt like a first grader. All I needed was for a grownup to tell me to put my finger over my lip and tuck my shirt in. Most of the comics did different material from what they did in the morning audition, but I remembered a comic told me that comedian Griff won the Bay Area competition doing all the same jokes so figured that if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, and did all of the same jokes. Cuzz and I both had good sets and some of the people from BET told us that they enjoyed our sets, so we were optimistic about getting picked to tape the actual show next week. Then we drove back to Nashville and then the waiting game began.

To Be continued..

See Renard Hirsch perform in Nashville March 12, 2009 at 10 p.m. at Fisk University and on March 18th at 7:30 p.m. at Zanies.

Dawna Kinne: The Funniest Mom in the Whole Friggin’ Galaxy

FunniestMom3 logo
As Nick at Nite gears up for a third season of its reality series competition, Funniest Mom in America, beginning Tuesday, April 3 at 8:30 p.m. CT. Real-life mom and Nashville-based comedian Dawna Kinne has competed against several rounds of others looking to win a shot at this year’s title. One lucky winner will win $50,000 plus the chance to host a special night of programming on Nick at Nite.
Funniest Mom 3 is a six-part series which follows these moms’ journey to glory. The show follows them from auditions to regional competitions, where twelve moms advance to compete in the semi-finals. Throughout the series’ six-week run, viewers will get the chance to learn more about these moms and their families as we travel with them to their hometowns and get a glimpse at their lives. Roseanne Barr will serve as the host for season three.

Continue reading “Dawna Kinne: The Funniest Mom in the Whole Friggin’ Galaxy”

10/28: Zombie Walk in Nashville

On Saturday, October 28th at Sundown.. the Undead will rise and lurch as one as the “Zombie Walk” takes them from The End on Elliston down West End making their way to Springwater Supper Club’s annual “Zombie Prom.” Any and all in-costume and in-character Zombies are welcome and encouraged to join the walk at 5:45pm in the alley in front of The End (across the street from EXIT/IN).

This is a NON-VIOLENT non-invasive event. We have no politics or agenda. Participants in the Zombie Walk are responsible for their own safety and the safety of non-participating individuals. Victims are encouraged, but only if they are willing participants. Also, sloppy, messy zombies are responsible for cleaning up after themselves. We will not be stopping traffic or attempting to cause harm to observers.
Ryan Williams, a Nashville-based comedian who is organizing the Zombie Walk says, “I read about ‘flash mobs’ a while ago online, and I am a tremendous fan of anything zombie-related. All I seriously wanna do is see a big mob of lurching zombies make their way up West End, past the Parthenon. It’s a success if we get even ONE person who stops dead in their tracks and fumbles for their camera phone.”
Springwater’s “Zombie Prom” is a costumed theme party involving dancing zombies. Attendees are strongly encouraged to dress up, but all are welcome to enjoy the entertainment for the evening which includes deejays, a Misfits cover band, and the walking dancing undead. The Zombie Prom begins at 10pm. $5 cover. Springwater Supper Club is located at 115 27th Ave N. in Nashville.
N’Sup’s full interview with Ryan Williams follows:
why are you doing this?
I read about “flash mobs” a while ago online, and I am a tremendous fan of anything zombie-related. Since I have started organizing this, I have found out that it’s been done in some other cities in the US and Canada… I haven’t heard about one in Nashville yet.
how long have you wanted to do this?
I have been wanting to do this for about 10 months or so now.
are you filming it?
I’m not personally filming this one, I’d much rather be a member of the legions of the walking dead, but I hope others will capture the event and that it will get some notice.
how cool is it going to be to see fucking zombies walking down the road!?
so fucking cool it hurts, and it’s the #1 reason why I want to organize this thing. There’s no political or social agenda here at all, really… all I seriously wanna do is see a big mob of lurching zombies make their way up West End, past the Parthenon…
how many do you expect to show up?
From “yeah, we will TOTALLY wanna do this!” reports so far, we are looking at 30-50 people. In my wildest fantasy scenario, I picture a mob of zombies that rivals the horde of the undead that make their way towards New York city at the end of Fulci’s Zombie … 100’s of bloated.. lurching undead (starts to cackle maniacally) MARCH! MARCH, MY ZOMBIES!
what will constitute a ‘successful’ zombie walk for you?
It’s a success if we get more than 15 idiots in costume who show up and stay in it for the whole “walk”, and if we get even ONE person who stops dead in their tracks and fumbles for their camera phone.
why this route?
It just seemed like a good place to start (in the alleyway outside of The End). We are ending up at the Springwater Supper Club because there is an annual Zombie Prom that evening.
tell me about the zombie prom
Craig Smith would be the guy to go to for that. as far as I know, it’s what it sounds like: a costumed theme party involving dancing zombies. I think Thriller is a pre-req. but it might be expressly verboten… like shooting heroin and playing Heroin by The Velvet Underground. I’m not helping.
is it just you organizing this thing?
yes. Craig Smith lit a fire under me to do it on the same date as the Zombie Prom, I have been wanting to do it for a while now, but as far as I can tell, i’m the only one who’s gonna get arrested when this thing turns ugly.
Craig Smith reports: Springwater’s “Zombie Prom” is a costumed theme party involving dancing zombies. Attendees are strongly encouraged to dress up, but all are welcome to enjoy the entertainment for the evening which includes deejays, a Misfits cover band (the “Shitfits”), and the walking dancing undead. The Zombie Prom begins at 10pm. $5 cover.
For more information about the “Zombie Walk”, contact:
Ryan Williams
email: ryan at ryanwilliams dot us
For more information about the “Zombie Prom”, contact:
Springwater Supper Club
115 27th Ave N.
Nashville, Tennessee
615-320-0345 :: Zombie_Walk

Lewis Black: Black Attack

Punchline Magazine has a good interview / article about Lewis Black where he talks about getting his start in comedy, the movies he’s working on and a show that Comedy Central may or may not air, “Red State Diaries”.

He may be pissed off but Lewis Black has his reasons. Punchline Magazine spent some time with the future stand-up comedy legend to see what makes him tick – and ticked. In the process, we found a softer side of the surly man in black.
Read the article at Punchline Magazine

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