Everyone loves going on vacations!!! I don’t know a person who doesn’t like to get away for a few days. But check this, what if you could get paid to go? Well, that’s exactly what I get to do with my job. Now, don’t think I’m on some tropical island every weekend, getting paid to chill on the beach. I wish, but that ain’t it. The truth is, ever so often, I do get booked to do shows at some really nice places like, Aruba, Hawaii, and even Korea. My latest Comedy Hustle travels took me to Bermuda.
The good people over at Hustle Entertainment, one of the top promoting companies on the island, laid the red carpet out for me when they booked me for their Valentines Weekend Extravaganza at the Ruth Seaton James Theater for one of three comedy shows they do a year. They provided me with a first-class flight and car service from the airport to one of the most beautiful ocean view hotels I have ever seen. People, if you ever go to Bermuda and you see an event with Hustle Entertainment’s name attached to it… Go! They’re a first-class company.
But anyway, as a comedian, I always want to see if I’m funny everywhere, not just in my local city, state or even country. I’m a strong believer in funny is funny no matter where you go. So, I was hype to see how my jokes would translate to the people of Bermuda. The show had a great line up of comedians and musical talent. Will “Spank” Horton and R&B singer, Case, were on the bill for the night.
Before the show, I was able to experience Bermuda to its full potential. Even in going through customs, which can be a headache, I got to experience some of the island’s character. Besides the long lines slowing things down, the TSA’s asked me like a million and one questions.
“So, you’re a comedian? You don’t look funny.” “So why kind of jokes do you tell?” “Do you know Kevin Hart?” Dude, just stamp my passport and let me go. But after that, I was able to spend some time on an incredible pink sand beach. You know I had to write my brand in the sand. Took some pictures of the ocean, laid out, watched this lady about ten feet in front of me lay out with some side boob action. Yea, I was being a pervert. I also did some cliff-diving. And I just said that like it was nothing, right. I mean, I’m from north Philly. We don’t do ‘ish like that. So, hell yea I was hesitant, but when I got to the top of the mountain which was about 200 feet straight up and saw these lil’ kids jumping and this fine ass island woman was behind me waiting, I was like, ‘ish I have to jump now. The view from the top was amazing, nothing but ocean in front of me with huge waves. Then you look down and it’s a drop like no other into waves at the floor of the mountain. Let me tell you, it’s no joke. See the key is, to time jump when the waves are coming to the cliff and not away, because you could land and the wave come over top of you. I guess I was able to get it right because I’m still here writing this so…
Now for those of y’all greedy folks wondering about the food, let me tell you how I got the opportunity to destroy one the greatest fish sandwiches known to man. My experience with this sandwich is the perfect example of never judging a book by its cover. The promoter of show calls me and says, “Hey. Are you hungry? We’re about to go get some food. You can roll if you want.”
You know my greedy ass was like yup. Now, we pull up to a dirt road with no other stores or houses in sight and there’s this little hut looking place, no sign, bars on the windows. It didn’t even look like it was open. But, we go in and order three fish sandwiches. The guy who took my order looked like he wipes windows down at red lights for change. Like when I gave him my money, I didn’t know if he was going use it to pay for my food or put it in his pocket. He goes in the back for about twenty minutes and then comes back out with three nicely folded paper bags. The look on my face was like, what the hell. But, the promoter looked at me and said, “Just trust me.”
Let me tell you, once we got back to the hotel and I opened the bag, all I saw was this big square foil and the smell of deliciousness hit my nose like a crack head getting a fix, and that first bite was like sex in my mouth. It’s a damn shame how good that damn sandwich was. Once I got my nap in, because that food put me on my ass, it was time to get ready for the show. I got dressed and ready and once the car service arrived we were on our way. We got to the theater and the line to get in was crazy. The theater filled up quickly and it was show time.
I was up first after the host and when I tell you from start to finish it was non-stop laughs, joke after joke hit that crowd harder than those waves hitting the Bermuda cliffs. I was shocked, myself, at how well they took to me and what I had to say. But like I said, funny is funny no matter where you are. After me, my boy Spank went up and did his thing and Case closed the show out.
Bermuda is a small island, population about 64,000 but they showed mad love. I’m looking forward to going back, and not just for work, but for other things, like a real vacation, but to be real, I’m just going back for the fish sandwich. Until then, I’ll keep taking these paid vacations. #ComedyHustle
One of the things I absolutely love about doing stand-up comedy is traveling – going from city to city to share my views, my experiences, my life with different people each weekend. It was something I looked forward to when the idea of becoming a comedian made its way into my head. So, whenever I get a chance to hit the road to tell some jokes, I get excited.
A few weeks back I was booked to perform in Baltimore Maryland, at the Baltimore Comedy Factory. I am one of the host for the Plastic Cup Boyz Tour. If you’re not familiar with this group, it consists of William “Spank” Horton and Naim Lynn. These two comedians travel and perform with Kevin Hart on his world tours. They call themselves the PCB – Plastic Cup Boyz, and when they aren’t on tour with Kev, they’re out doing their own thing.
Okay, so now that the intro is over, let’s get into what happened on my trip to Baltimore. Now, I did say I enjoy traveling, right? Well, let me clear that up. I enjoy performing in different cities, but the actual travel part, I don’t like. Once I get to my destination, I’m happy, but where I am in my career doesn’t really put me in first-class when I travel. For me, most of the time, I’m on greyhound for five to six hours. I have to fly on those cheap airlines that charge you for every damn thing and never have a snack cart on the plane. I have to carry three or four bags because I’m gone for weeks at a time. It’s just not a fun thing to do. But, after flying to Philly from Atlanta, a two-hour greyhound bus ride from Philly to Baltimore and then a 20 minute Uber ride from the bus station to the hotel, I was finally able to relax, well for about an hour anyway.
We stayed at the Monaco Hotel in downtown Baltimore. It’s a great hotel, trust me. The only issue is the parking. There is none. Anyway, I arrived on Thursday, the first night of a three-day, six-show showcase. We had one kick-off show that Thursday evening and ticket sales were pretty good. The place held 400 people and we sold over 200 tickets to what we call the “warm-up” show – it kinda sets the tone for what to expect throughout the weekend. On that first night, I was able to test out my material, see what works and what doesn’t. Things went well and we gave a great show.
But, Friday night, mannnn! It was turnt up! Two shows in one night, so at this point I was really able to get in a groove on stage. Friday, I came out hitting right from the gate. Hitting left, right, upper cuts, right hooks, lefts hooks… all jokes. Things were going great. The first show was almost sold out, but the second show was wall-to-wall packed. They were turning people away at the door.
Now, I’m the host and I started my comedy career hosting shows, so I’m pretty good at it. My job is to get the crowd relaxed and ready for the main acts. I get a chance to really engage with them, really get them on my side by using my charming personality. By Saturday, I was ready for whatever. I was super relaxed and ready to go. I mean I felt like everything I said was funny. Like a basketball player who’s on fire and can’t miss, that was me on Saturday. Whatever I said, the crowd ate it up. Those Saturday crowds were lit, sold out show after sold out show. Nothing beats the feeling you get from those kinda crowds. It’s like telling a joke to a packed house and the joke hits so hard people are falling out their seats, holding their stomachs, screaming for you to, “Stop! Let me catch my breath.” Yeah, it was that kind of night.
One of the highlights of that night, for me anyway, was this couple sitting right in front of the stage. Now, the stage was high up over the crowd so I could look down at the people. I looked down and this guy had two hotdogs on his plate. Huh? Two hotdogs? Right. It really threw me off because I was trying to figure out who in the hell would order hotdogs off a menu when they go out. I mean you just looked right over the wings, burgers, fries, damn, even a salad and was like, “Look, baby. They sell hot dogs. I’m goin’ get two.” I mean, it had to be an off-pay week, because I refuse to believe a grown man with money in his wallet would order hotdogs from an restaurant food menu. I mean, what did he think this was 7eleven and they came with a slushy. Needless to say, I didn’t need any of my material that night! LOL!!! He was show!!
All in all the struggles of traveling in uncomfortable situation with stink ass bus rides and high ass airline charges for my bags , Bmore showed love and we showed it right back with some great work on that stage!!! #ComedyHustle
People ask me all the time what does it mean. Comedy Hustle is me. It’s my brand. It’s how I look at life. It’s the way I live. It’s the two things I can say I have fully committed to. But, it’s not just telling jokes. It’s not just getting money. It’s a lifestyle. It’s the ups, downs, struggles and victories all under the same umbrella.
On one hand, there’s comedy which dug its roots deep in me at an early age. I remember so many different situations where I was fascinated by comedy. Like when I would sneak to watch the Def Comedy jam marathon on NYE. I would stay up until 6 am just to see the whole season. I remember falling asleep to the sounds of Martin Lawrence’s comedy album, “Talkin’ Shit,” every night. I couldn’t go to sleep without playing it. Even in school, I would always have something funny to say back to my teachers, school bus drivers, basketball coach, just about anybody, but my father.
People would always tell me, “Lawrence you are something else.” Comedy was and still is everything to me. It helps me deal with life, by finding something funny in every situation whether it be good or bad. For example, my break up. It was very hard time for me, but when I took it to the stage I was able to talk about it to a room full of strangers and we, together, found reasons to laugh. Finding the funny in a bad situation helps people understand that it’s never the end of the world.
Now, on the other hand, there’s the hustle, which for me, just comes natural. Once again, it was something I picked up at a young age. I remember selling my FREE lunch tickets to the kids in my school and using that money to buy penny candy then selling it for five cents back to the same kids who brought my lunch tickets. Mo’ money! Mo’ money!
Then when I hit the working world, one of my first jobs was with a company called Total Sports. I started out working at a kiosk. Within a matter of months, I was promoted to a manger and was running my own store. Even in my beginning stages of doing stand-up comedy, I never wanted to hear the word ‘no’. And, you’ll hear that a lot when you first start out. Like, no, you cannot get on stage tonight. No, I don’t have any money to pay you for this show. No, those wings are not for free. I don’t care if you performed tonight. Where is my $8.50?
I learned that the only way to control the shots is if you create your own. So I started doing my own comedy show, “Tickle Me Tuesday” once a month at the The Laff House Comedy Club in Philadelphia. I was able to get on stage when I wanted for as long as I wanted and pay myself all at the same time. It’s just not my nature to sit around and be lazy. My mindset has always been to go out there and get it, no matter what, without an ego, and being humble enough to ask for help. Because of this, I have always found a way to get on stage and get paid to do it.
I remember when I first started doing stand-up. I got my start at a place called Rascal Comedy Club in Cherry Hill, NJ. They had “New Talent Night” where they would have new comics perform and the number of people the comics could get to come to the show would determine how many minutes they would get on stage. The maximum amount of time was 10 minutes. After doing a few of these shows, I started to see which comics brought in the most people. I figured if we did a show together we could bring in all of our different crowds for one hell of a show. I asked the club manager if I could do an “All-Star New Talent Night” where I got to pick the comics. It was a long shot, but they said yes. The normal ticket price for the night was $5, so once again, me being a hustler, suggested we raise the ticket price to $10 and split the profits. They agreed and it was a go. The first show was sold out and that night we all made about $150 each.
All of that came natural for me. I didn’t have to plan and think. It was something in me that just said I’m not getting enough out of this and I can do more. It came just as natural to me when I thought of the idea of branding what I love to do. The passion I have for comedy and my natural-born hustlers’ ambition made “Comedy Hustle” a perfect fit for me.
Thanks for joining the Comedy Hustle!