Mr. Hello & Friends
June 30, 2018 @ 8pm
- Jay Smooth
I didn’t think that the interview would happen. Weeks of hit and miss calls and schedules that did not coincide to do an interview, finally 10 pm on a Tuesday night he called. I was sleep, not in the mood to talk to anyone but I knew that I had to get him while the opportunity was available. Antione ‘Mr.Hello’ Bowman the native Richmonder who wears many hats was ready to share his comedian journey.
I feel like it’s a way to express myself. I’m better expressing myself amongst a crowd than one person for some reason. I’ve always been like that since I was a kid. Comedy helps me release stress when I’m thinking about things too much, when I’m on stage it helps me get things off of my chest, and I leave it there. I’ve liked entertaining people, since I was younger. I used to love to entertain my family at family reunions.
What happens when the audience doesn’t laugh?
In the past it used to affect me, I’m not going to lie it used to affect me a lot but, it doesn’t really get to me anymore. I just feel like well maybe they’re having a tough day, maybe the joke is not for them. My material is my material; I feel like if it’s funny to me, it’s funny to everybody else. And if it’s not funny to them then maybe it’s something they need to look at, it’s not me.
How do you deal with hecklers?
How do I deal with hecklers? I get back at them: I like it. I actually like that when someone cracks on me in the audience, I love it, I crack back because it keeps me on my toes, it really does. I don’t like to target people in the front row. I either go back and forth with them or say a joke that will get them off of me.
Do you ever get annoyed when people say, tell me something funny?
Yes, in some ways yes, because now they’re asking me on my job, they’re asking me in the gym while I got a heavy weight in my hand. I don’t know how funny I could be with 275lbs on my neck, so yeah it bothers me sometimes, but at the same time I go head and put out. In the beginning, it used to bother but not anymore. I just come up with something off the top of my head to make them laugh.
What are the secrets of telling everyday jokes in order to get the biggest laugh?
WOW. I guess my personal life. What I’m going through in my personal life. A lot of things I can’t tell everybody, especially around me, like my friends. But on stage I tell my personal life on stage like when I went through a separation with my wife, me being short still affects me, my dye stick, me going gray, my bald spot and I can leave it there. I talk about these things to get it off my chest.
What is some the biggest mistakes you think you’ve made as a new comedian?
Not writing down my material.
Tell our readers what you’re doing in the community.
I’m going around, not just going up on stage and making people laugh, but I’m going around to Community Rec Centers. I reached out to Blackwell Community Center for the Bulldogs pep rally; it’s a bunch of young kids, the youth. I went in explaining my story and out my story how I failed numerous times but I always look up, and I always come out of failure, and that you can learn from failure. I always go around talking to the community; I even go around talking to homeless guys. I don’t just give them money, I give hope and try to tell them where to go to get help. Sometimes they don’t take the information and use to go get help. I remember seeing a a guy the other day that I helped, and he’s’ still out there in the same spot. I put these videos on my page to show that we need to be more help in our community and help people who are homeless. A lot of people say they are homeless because they choose to be, that maybe true but some people don’t have the resources and don’t know how to get the resources to get help. So that’s what I do. I just finished doing a fire station in the Southside area. I went in and gave them some hope to encourage them because they’re risking their lives for us. They let me get inside the vehicle and put on the uniform. Now I’m going to a police station, and that’s going to be a tough one because of everything that’s going on with the police department, not just in our city but around the world. So that’s what I do.
What’s more important to you the money or the work?
The hard work, the work ethic. I never really had one growing up, my mother always have, but I haven’t. I was always taken care of by a woman because I came from a single parent household. I never had a father, and all my uncles were people that really used to abuse me in certain ways. My mother always was a person with a strong work ethic; she got us out of an abusive situation. The work ethic is important to me. I don’t really sleep; I don’t go to sleep at night. I wake up early; I feel like if I sleep too long then someone’s working harder than I am and that’s on every job that I’ve had, I always try to overwork it. I’m looking for a balance but at the same time, my work ethic is more important for me. It’s not about the money right now, and I want the money, but my work ethic is more important.
Name three comedians that have influenced you; past, present and why.
Richard Pryor is number one, that’s hands down. He’s the number one comedian in my eyes and the reason he is because growing up I used to listen to him and we couldn’t. My mother used to tell us, ‘stop listening to Richard Pryor’, but Richard Pryor always talked about things that made sense to me. He always talked about himself; he wasn’t talking about what’s going on with politics. He didn’t start that until later on in his career. He always talked about what he was going through whether it be relationships, how he couldn’t be faithful to a woman, he talked about his drug abuse, he always talked about things like how he was feeling like he was working hard, but he always stayed broke, he talked about issues as far as using the N-word. He was someone who stuck to things that he believed was right and he could have got a lot of issues behind it when it first came out but he stuck with it, and it worked for him all the way to his death. He changed, a lot of things, and I loved the way he always moved across the stage a lot of comedians took from him. Yeah, Richard Pryor is my number one.
Chris Rock, he’s not afraid of tackling any situation, any subject he’ll talk about it. I remember the subjects he talked about on the MTV Music Awards this was back in the 90’s and I’ll never forget it. How he walked across back and forth on the stage, and he talked about everyone in the audience. When he talked about the politics and the football teams and what was going on and how they were using drugs, and he talked about the presidents and how we had the first black President when he was really white. He touched on subjects that was amazing and then he hit you back-to-back. Chris Rock is a comedian he doesn’t just stay on one subject, and I can relate to him. He gets on topics back-to-back, but he still keeps you interested in what he is doing, and he’s animated, he never stays still, he always moves across the stage, and he never stays in one spot. So he’s encouraging in his work ethics and the way he studies. His favorite comedians were Eddie Murphy and Richard Pryor. He read a book on Eddie Murphy; he used to follow Eddie Murphy everywhere he went, out of town, everywhere until he finally got to meet Eddie Murphy. So his work ethic pushed me to follow him.
Kevin Hart, I know he deals with insecurity, he don’t talk about it but I know he deals with the fact that he’s short, but you can’t tell because his work ethic and how funny he is, it blows right passed it. You can’t tell that he’s the shortest one in the room. He’s the shortest one, but he’s like Scottie Pippen when it comes to comedy. His comedy is strong and out there, he’s like the Michael Jordan of comedy right now. I like how he talks about everything his kids, his family. If you notice he doesn’t talk about politics, he don’t talk politics his thing is more about talking about himself and he what he’s going through, and he made millions off it just talking about his kids. That’s what I’d like to go towards, so I really study him because he talks about things you can relate to and he makes it funny and that’s me. I relate to things in my head when I write it down; I laugh at it because it’s the truth. He made me know that telling the jokes from the heart it actually works.