Comedian Benji Brown Opens Up To Parlé Mag In Our Interview
Benji Brown is by all accounts a veteran in the comedy industry. He has done it all: Stand-up, TV, Radio, DVDs and Commercials. You may have seen him on Comic View (BET), Wild n’Out (MTV) or 1st Amendment Stand Up (Starz). His laugh-out-loud, gut busting humor is filled with “aha!” moments and will have you craving for the next punchline. He blends his strong opinions and life perspectives seamlessly into comedic fun that everyone can enjoy. Benji’s humor is not just about telling ‘jokes’, but actually relating to his audience on a different level while just happening to be hilarious! After speaking with Benji, I definitely look forward to when it warms up in NYC so that he can come to perform!
Parlé Magazine: How did you get your start?
Benji Brown: I never really meant to do it, but I’m glad it worked out. I was always the class clown and the life of the party growing up. Michael Jackson helped spark my interest in music and entertainment. I admired the control he had on stage and how he would perform with the crowd in the palm of his hand. I met a managing agent one day and he just booked me for a show with no practice! I just got on stage and acted like myself. While I was up there, I thought “wow I could really get used to this!” – I’ve been doing it for 15 years.
Parlé: How would you describe your comedic style?
Benji Brown: It’s energetic, versatile, edge of your seat nonstop laughter with never a dull moment. In one word: MAGIC!
Parlé: You’ve appeared on a lot of TV shows and you do stand-up. Which do you prefer?
Benji Brown: Stand-up is always a fun experience. You can do your thing live without stopping. I enjoy TV as well. It’s like an out of body experience when you catch yourself on the tube – like looking into a mirror. Now what I don’t like is the personal criticism – “Oh I could have done this better”, maybe I would like TV even more if I had my own show!
Parlé: You are known for your impersonations, one of the most famous being Kiki. Tell me about her.
Benji Brown: She is a real person! I didn’t make her up, I only did the voice. I never really gave her a name and then one day while I was at a taping for Comic View, I was like “I have to think of a name”. Ashley? – NO. Bianca? – NO. Crystal? – NO. Then Kiki just hit. It’s a name everybody can relate to and a person that everybody knows – your aunt, sister, mom, hell even you might be Kiki! You can take her to the club, but not the banquet.
Parlé: It is a common criticism in the industry that black comedians and actors in particular have to play roles as women in order to further their careers. What are your thoughts on that?
Benji Brown: Not everyone is talented enough to do it. You have to be able to breathe life into the characters; the people that do the most complaining are the ones that can’t do it. Most of those comedians were already funny by themselves – Martin Lawrence, Eddie Murphy, Jaime Foxx – they were all funny before. Even Tyler Perry has substance when he plays different characters. I can do the Kiki voice all day, but I’m still Benji and I’m still funny.
Parlé: In your Twitter bio, you describe yourself as a hate healer. What does that mean?
Benji Brown: Well you know, there is a lot of anger spreading around by hateful people. I think laughter is the remedy to turn hate into love. I’ve seen people come to my show like “I hate coming out” or “I hate going to the club” and by the time the show is over, they loved my set and had a good time.
Parlé: Also speaking of twitter, you recently tweeted that models are taking over the world. What is up with that?
Benji Brown: I am not hating on models! Let me be clear (laughs). It’s just that no one wants to be normal anymore. Pretty soon, the world will have no audience! Rappers will have no one to buy CDs, models won’t have anyone to admire them or tell them that they look good. We won’t have any police officers, judges or lawyers. It’s starting to scare me. I don’t know how many times I have met a girl, I ask her “What do you do?” and she replies, “I work, I go to school, I model…” NO! And you know what else? Stop all this posing and airbrushing. Take regular pictures, no Photoshop. The market is just oversaturated. What makes stars into megastars is that you don’t have a whole crop to choose from. Look at people like Lionel Ritchie, Cyndi Lauper, Prince, Diana Ross – they are unique. You won’t see today’s stars have longevity because there are so many. Nicki Minaj will not be performing in 2035 with a pink wig on. It will not happen! At the end of the day, just be yourself and stop relying on all the glitter.
Parlé: You have appeared on BET’s College Hill. Do you have any other reality show plans for the future?
Benji Brown: I hate reality shows! They take the creativity out of in-home entertainment. It’s not total reality anyway because most of them are ‘scripted’. I miss the days of rushing home to watch sitcoms like The Cosby Show, Martin, Diff’rent Strokes….everybody has a reality show now. Even my crackhead uncle is about to get one: The Life and Times of a Crackhead (laughs).
Parlé: So what do you have going on next? What are you currently working on?
Benji Brown: I am excited about my second DVD Laff or Die Laffn. I want everyone to be on the lookout for that. I have a few trailers coming out. Fans can always catch me on The Ricky Smiley Morning show on 99 Jamz (Miami) from 6-10 am Monday-Friday.
Parlé: Where do you see your brand going over the next few years?
Benji Brown: I want to continue trying to become a household name. I want to become more viral and work on my international brand, not just national.
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