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So You Want to Be a Comedian

Finding humor and laughs in my own life’s pain and negative experiences…

I did not learn about my father until I was in my late 30’s when a lady named Elsie Stinson asked me to attend a family reunion, in Milwaukee, to meet my family. I asked my Mom about it and she said I should go. I had only seen my father once when I was 12, when he visited Milwaukee and I know he died in my 1st year of college. I had been mad and angry for years as I saw others with active fathers around them. I went to the reunion and like a scene out of the movie “Antwon Fisher” I was overtaken with emotions as I met my half-sister Shirley and a lot of cousins at the Price-Drive-Stokes family reunion. I learned about the life of my late father, Charles Price, from my cousin Sarah Moten and other family members. One of the biggest surprises was that my best friend from college, who also majored in Architecture, David Stokes, turned out to be my cousin. When I went to the ‘Million Man March” in 1995 I forgave my late father on the D.C. Mall, in my prayers…I felt whole and complete after those family revelations and experiences…

In April of 1967 I was beat up by the Milwaukee Police Department at the age of 14 on 4th & Reservoir in Milwaukee, WI., on a Sunday night after a weekly teen age dance party. I was taken to the hospital after my arrest/beating and then held until my mother came and picked me up. I never was charged and or went to court. I was sick for a year and was very angry, scared and afraid of the police until two things happened in my life to help me move forward. I met a policeman at MATC (Milwaukee Area Technical College), in my 1st year of college, who helped me with an assignment and then over the years, many of my friends/peers became police officers. I never thought of how this incident could be made into a humorous monologue, or be funny at all, until Richard Pryor’s 1st album turned the pain and humiliation of negative and brutal interactions with the police, in the African American community, into a funny and hilarious comedy monologue which had me laughing and crying, like many others, at the same time….he was a master at making the pain of brutality, be something funny and insightful…

My Mother, got sick in 1969, and our lives were changed forever. Mom was the sole income for our household, so me, my brother and sister had to make life work for us all for 6 months after our electric/gas/water, were turned off… We made life work for us, with the help of friends and family, through the summer, fall and winter until Mom got back on her feet…We could not ask for gov./social services help, which was limited back then anyway, as she had a rule that whatever goes on in this house, stays in this house….I appreciate the journey of life and the small things of life, even more, as I remember what is was like to do without life’s necessities….

I became a Corporate and Facilities Engineer in my profession life in the late 1970s’ and through the 1980’s. I experienced hate and racism, being one of the first African Americans to have these career and job types. I saw my first Live KKK rally in 1980 in Middletown, Ohio, I experienced the joy and pain of being stereotyped and marginalized in corporate offices and on construction job sites but through it all, I kept my wits, faith and humor about it all, confined to the comedy stage which became my “Comedic Therapy”. A lot of My friends, peers and colleagues  were there for me and helped me turn the pain into laughs and biting satirical humor, in my comedy monologues.  Comedy became my escape and allowed me to see my life and value in other ways….Drugs, alcohol, racism and negativity can destroy you, if you let them….I chose family, laughter and humor, as my therapy;… faith, salvation and forgiveness, as my way to move forward, in my life…

 

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So You Want to Be a Comedian

So You Want to Be a Comedian