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The DIOP Circle V.3

 

KAMARI
STEVENS

Every Sunday, we publish a story from a member of the DIOP community. Because each and every one of you is on a journey and we're right there with you.

This week, we're excited to present Kamari Stevens. He's real stand-up and a real Stand-up out of New Orleans. He likes to keep all eyes on him in Bebop. And he's going to show us how he went from working the grill at Red Lobster to opening for Hannibal Burress. Kamari, without further ado:

Everybody isn’t meant to be a comedian. And as much as I wanted to, I thought for certain I couldn’t ever be one.

I grew up in a very talkative household with a lot of charismatic family members in Dayton, Ohio. People like my Aunt and my Granny were natural storytellers. My family cared about being funny, so I followed suit. That’s where I get a lot of my style from.

Although I was imaginative at home, I was considered more nerdy in school. Probably because I did spelling bees. I knew I still had an interesting perspective worth sharing.

But it was also about making something people wanted to hear. Writing was an easy way of doing that, so I thought, why not become a journalist? And with that I went to college to study journalism.

But I got caught up and wasn't disciplined. Ohio State is very large and it was tough to thrive. The grind really got to me and I didn’t have enough financial aid, so I dropped out.

As I was flaming out of school, I slowly convinced myself I should try stand up comedy. I had worked at Red Lobster throughout school to make ends meet. It was then, one day, a bunch of jokes just came to me. But it was another year until I got on stage.

My first time was at Columbus Funny Bone in August of 2012. I was shaking as I waited to be called onstage. Once I got up there, the rush was exhilarating.

It actually scared me off performing for a while but as much as I liked coming up with a new idea, I liked seeing if it was funny too. By then, I had moved from the kitchen at Red Lobster to serving so I had some flexibility. I started out doing five minutes one night a week to multiple nights.

The local scene was pretty small and most of the open mics were at bars. The crowds were more intimate and it was where I thrived- the opposite of OSU. Three years allowed me to really hone my craft. I was staying in a nice spot with some friends until our landlord told us we had to move out.

I didn’t know where I was going to go until my roommates, fellow artists, suggested moving down to New Orleans. Most of my decision to move was based off of all the musicians I liked from there. It was quite a risk.

I got down there in September of 2015. I thought I would become a better comedian in New Orleans. I was wrong; I learned how to live. In addition to changing my attitude, it’s definitely put me on the right path as an artist.

It’s not a typical route for comedian but there’s a lot of room to express yourself and try new things. At the very least, I have way more to talk about because if you’ve ever been out here you know it’s a constant onslaught of the senses.

My favorite part of comedy is hearing people enjoy themselves. I love laughs. Until an audience believes you're funny, you're basically holding them hostage. And building context with strangers can be difficult (Which is why you should never say to a comedian who’s just introduced themselves as one, "Hey, tell me a joke.").

Sometimes I wish comedians were treated as fine artists. Telling your story with jokes that connect is a craft. And done well, comedy can be a pure art form. When you're so connected with someone, you're pushed to a different level.

I’m aiming to start a monthly show at a nice hotel in downtown New Orleans, as well as work on some scripts, but my long term goal is to write a novel.

I used to be worried about whether people got a hold of something rather than me just making the thing. It’s just important to create, that’s all that matters.

- By Kamari Stevens


Follow Kamari @supermaribro.

If you have questions or would like to share a story of yours, please reply directly to this email.

The DIOP Circle V.3


Kamari Stevens

Every Sunday, we publish a story from a member of the DIOP community. Because each and every one of you is on a journey and we're right there with you.

This week, we're excited to present Kamari Stevens. He's real stand-up and a real Stand-up out of New Orleans. He likes to keep all eyes on him in Bebop. And he's going to show us how he went from working the grill at Red Lobster to opening for Hannibal Burress. Kamari, without further ado:

Everybody isn’t meant to be a comedian. And as much as I wanted to, I thought for certain I couldn’t ever be one.

I grew up in a very talkative household with a lot of charismatic family members in Dayton, Ohio. People like my Aunt and my Granny were natural storytellers. My family cared about being funny, so I followed suit. That’s where I get a lot of my style from.

Although I was imaginative at home, I was considered more nerdy in school. Probably because I did spelling bees. I knew I still had an interesting perspective worth sharing. But it was also about making something people wanted to hear.

Writing was an easy way of doing that, so I thought, why not become a journalist? And with that I went to college to study journalism.

But I got caught up and wasn't disciplined. Ohio State is very large and it was tough to thrive. The grind really got to me and I didn’t have enough financial aid, so I dropped out. As I was flaming out of school, I slowly convinced myself I should try stand up comedy.

I had worked at Red Lobster throughout school to make ends meet. It was then, one day, a bunch of jokes just came to me. But it was another year until I got on stage.

 

My first time was at the Columbus Funny Bone in August of 2012. I was shaking as I waited to be called onstage. Once I got up there, the rush was exhilarating. It actually scared me off performing for a while but as much as I liked coming up with a new idea, I liked seeing if it was funny too.

By then, I had moved from the kitchen at Red Lobster to serving so I had some flexibility. I started out doing five minutes one night a week to multiple nights.

The local scene was pretty small and most of the open mics were at bars. The crowds were more intimate and it was where I thrived- the opposite of OSU. Three years allowed me to really hone my craft. I was staying in a nice spot with some friends until our landlord told us we had to move out.

I didn’t know where I was going to go until my roommates, fellow artists, suggested moving down to New Orleans. Most of my decision to move was based off of all the musicians I liked from there. It was quite a risk.

I got down there in September of 2015. I thought I would become a better comedian in New Orleans.

I was wrong; I learned how to live. In addition to changing my attitude, it’s definitely put me on the right path as an artist.

It’s not a typical route for comedian but there’s a lot of room to express yourself and try new things. At the very least, I have way more to talk about because if you’ve ever been out here you know it’s a constant onslaught of the senses.


My favorite part of comedy is hearing people enjoy themselves. I love laughs. Until an audience believes you're funny, you're basically holding them hostage. And building context with strangers can be difficult (Which is why you should never say to a comedian who’s just introduced themselves as one, "Hey, tell me a joke.").

Sometimes I wish comedians were treated as fine artists. Telling your story with jokes that connect is a craft. And done well, comedy can be a pure art form. When you're so connected with someone, you're pushed to a different level.

I’m aiming to start a monthly show at a nice hotel in downtown New Orleans, as well as work on some scripts, but my long term goal is to write a novel. I used to be worried about whether people got a hold of something rather than me just making the thing. It’s just important to create, that’s all that matters.

My greatest piece of advice is to find your people. Every challenge I’ve bumped into, whether personal or professional, was easier to overcome with a strong and unique support system. It broadens your perspective and gives more weight to what you’re doing.

It also helps to have people speaking for you, when you’re not in the room.

 

 


By Kamari Stevens

Follow Kamari @supermaribro.

If you have questions or would like to share a story of yours, please reply directly to this email.