by Ryan Meehan
Monroe Martin is a colorful and imaginative comedian with a lifetime of hard knock experiences that have been spun into side-splitting jokes and stories. Monroe was born and raised in Philadelphia, one usually wouldn’t find Monroe’s life story laughable. After all, how inappropriate is it to laugh at a foster child who jumped around from one dysfunctional family to another? Sit in the audience of one of Monroe’s performances and you’ll find yourself laughing at his adversity. His honest and open approach to joke and storytelling universalizes his experiences. Monroe’s creative and charismatic comedic voice has created a buzz within the New York comedy circuit. His intelligent and hysterical perspective resonates and has earned him respect among his peers. Monroe is on his way to becoming the type of comedian he admires—one who says exactly what he wants, the way he wants to say it. Monroe has worked with big names such as. Damon Wayans Jr. (ABC’s Happy Endings, Dance flick, and The Other Guys), Kurt Metzger (Comedy Central’s Ugly Americans), Joe Derosa (Comedy Central Presents, Fox News Red Eye), Hannibal Burress (30 Rock, Comedy Central one hour special), amongst many others. Monroe has also won comedy competitions such as the Long Island Laugh Off 2012, Death at a Funeral Comedy Competitions, and Philly Sketch fest 2010. I am pleased to have this Season 8 Last Comic Standing finalist as my guest today in 7 questions.
RM: You’re no stranger to the competitive comedy format because you’ve excelled in those situations before…How is Last Comic Standing different from the Festivals or other competitions in which you’ve participated? Have you ever done crowd work during a comedy competition?
MM: Being a part of Last Comic Standing is different than any other competition I’ve been a part of mainly because it’s televised across America. Which means more pressure to be funny and say something worth hearing. I don’t do crowd work during competitions because you only get a couple of minutes to do your best material and make an impression.
RM: When did you know that you had a genuine gift to make people laugh? And at what moment did you realize that talent was something you could actually make money doing?
MM: I don’t think I realized it’s a gift yet, because I work really hard to make people laugh. I knew a comic could make money off of comedy, but I never focused on that part. Whenever people do something for the money they lose touch with the passion they have for it.
RM: What are some advantages that East Coast comedians have over comics who live on the West Coast? Do you think that some of that has to do with the fact that because cities like Philadelphia and New York are such tough places to live, the demand for laughter is much higher than it would be a few miles from a sunny beach in San Diego?
MM: No matter where you are New York is the place you want to be for comedy. living in Philly I was able to get on stage four times a week, which is not enough if you really want to be good at something. In New York I’m able to get up at least four times a night, six days a week. Reps are all that matters no matter where you are.
RM: You beat out some really funny comics (particularly Mike Vecchione and Nick Guerra) in order to advance as a finalist on this season of NBC’s Last Comic Standing…Has that whole experience changed the way you view how stand-up comedy is performed on television? What’s the biggest adjustment you had to make to your material before performing in both the invitational rounds and the semis?
MM: I don’t feel like I beat them, I defeated my past performance. I knew in order to move forward I would have to be better than the last time I was on stage. Besides cleaning up my language a bit I really don’t think I made any huge adjustments in my material for the show.
RM: What do we need to know about “The Clo and Roe Show”? Do you have any signature segments that have become a part of the broadcast?
MM: All you need to know about the Clo and roe show is that the next season will be better. We have a little more filming equipment and deeper story-lines and hopefully more characters.
RM: Are there certain topics that you don’t like to discuss on stage at a comedy club? What’s your take on people that leave those establishments feeling offended by something a performer has said or done?
MM: I leave nothing off of the table. I am an artist and all good artist use every brush and every color they have available to paint their masterpiece. When people walk out of the show after hearing something they don’t agree with that usually means a comic is doing their job. If it doesn’t strike a chord then it’s not really worth saying.
RM: If you had the opportunity do anything else within the entertainment industry aside from being a stand-up comic, what would you really like to be able to do? How do you think that the abilities that you’ve developed as a comedian would help you excel in your new position?
MM: If I could do anything else it would be singing. My abilities as a comedian would probably make me a good entertainer.
RM: What’s up next for you in the remainder of 2014 and beyond? Anything big in the works that we should know about?
MM: I recently recorded a show on comedy central called Adam Devine’s House Party that airs in the summer. Comedy Central also paid me and two other comedians to write a pilot, so hopefully that makes it to the air by next year.
Official Website: http://monroemartincomedy.com/
Monroe on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/monroe.martin
Monroe on Twitter: https://twitter.com/monroemartiniii
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