Recently, I had the chance to photograph North Carolina's Funniest Person. That person is Mark Brady. Every year North Carolina comes together at Goodnights Comedy Club, located in downtown Raleigh, and after a series of comedy skits from local comedians the audience votes for who they think is the funniest. Pretty genius if you ask me.
This is my second year photographing the winners. You may remember Joe Perrow's headshots from last years winner, if so--I did those headshots, too ;)
If you are ever in town, I highly suggest you buy tickets to one of Goodnight's shows--its an amazing venue with great food and company. I promise you won't leave unhappy. Below you'll find my interview with the winner, himself.
What inspires you the most- my family, wife and friends inspire me everyday. It's the hardest thing I have ever done but I have a strong foundation of people who inspire me.Why did you choose to be a comedian- I always loved stand up comedy, I had 2 older brothers that were really into. I was in college and decided to give it a try after watching years and years of it and just being a fan. Drove 45 minutes to do a mic, so if I bombed, no one I knew would be there. Went up, did good, club owner invited me back, went back did same material, went even better.....(I'm thinking to myself, I can do this....this is easy) do it a third time, and complete silence, that's when I said, "this isnt easy I will never do that again, THAT IS THE WORST FEELING IN THE WORLD!! Over the years our family would get together and it was always hilarious and everyone making jokes. They tried to persuade me go back to doing stand up and I told them, no, you don't understand, its not for me. My brothers more than anyone, would tell me to....fast forward 7 years later, my brother Eric passed away...my world is upside down, I'm numb to everything. I remember I just wanted to be happy so I would watch stand up just for me to try be happy for a minute or laugh...Eric always encouraged me to do stand up, 2 months later I did my first mic to try and give this thing a real chance, to honor him, and have been doing it the past 2 years....also losing my brother...THAT was the worst feeling in the world. Bombing in front of strangers that don't think you're funny, in the grand scheme of things, doesn't matter,
Why should the community come out and support local comedians-- they should support local comedy because there is a lot of talent right in their backyard. Most people think only good comedy is in LA or NY. But we have a crazy amount of talent who are well on their way to being someone big one day and people can say I remember seeing him at my local club. They got to start somewhere.
What is the worst joke you ever told-- The worst joke I ever told was my first joke, it was about how I didn't want to be a dad but I wanted to be a grandpa so I wanted to adopt a guy who already had kids.....it was weird.
What is the hardest part about being a comedian- I think the hardest part of being a comedian is the process. A lot of people think we go up there and talk about whatever is on our minds. The process is brutal, first off writing jokes is not easy so you have to set aside time for that, then you go to a club or bar, whoever will let you get on stage, get there an hour before the mic starts. Wait anywhere from 15-45 minutes before you can go up, do your 3-5 minutes and drive 20 minutes or so back to your house....do that at least 3-4 times a week while you have a full time job, wife, kids....its brutal. Now imagine doing that for a month strait and you don't get a single minute of material out of all the times you went up and tried different stuff......welcome to stand up comedy.
What has been the best part of being a comedian - The best part of being a comedian for me is making people laugh. I think about the person in the crowd who maybe work wasn't great that week, maybe they are hitting a rough patch in life, maybe they recently lost a loved one. So when they come out and see a show, I want to be able to take their mind of whatever is happening, give them a few chuckles and try to lift their spirits. At the same time, if my jokes are able to connect with them on whatever is happening in their life at the moment or some struggle they have experienced and laugh about it, that's a bonus.
Any advice for beginning comedians? - Get comfortable with bombing a lot....your going to bomb forever, even 10+ years new jokes will bomb and some that "work" will bomb.
Favorite show you've ever done - My favorite show I have ever done, was hosting at Goodnight's Comedy Club for Dom Irrera. Dom is a family friend, my dad and I went to college, and that was a goal when I started. I said to myself I want to be able to host a show when he comes in town. It was really cool and surreal to be able to do that.
What can we expect in the future - hopefully new material. I am so new at this that my progression is very erratic. You might come up with 2 jokes in 3 months that are really good or you might not come up with anything for 4 months. All I can do is keep chipping away at it.