Comedian found ‘voice’ as benchwarmer

Comedian Roy Wood Jr. is coming to UW-Whitewater and he’ll be displaying the comedic skills he’s been working on since he was a freshman in college.

Comedian Roy Wood Jr. began his comedic career in college when he would participate in open mic nights. Since then, he has appeared on national television. Photo from Google Images

“I started in 1998 when I was 19,” Wood said. “I was a freshman at Florida A&M University and Florida State University was right up the street. I would go up to Florida State comedy night and watch the comics. When I got the chance, I would jump up on an open mic and just build up my craft.”

Freshman year may have been when Wood started performing stand-up, but his interest in comedy came from the sidelines of a few high school sporting events.

“On all of my sports teams growing up, I sucked for the most part,” Wood said. “I was a career benchwarmer for pretty much every sport that I played and when you’re a benchwarmer, you get a lot of time to sit and analyze people and crack jokes. That’s definitely where my comedic sense got its start.”

That “comedic sense” took quite a few years to develop, as Wood didn’t come from a very humorous household.

“I was a quiet kid growing up,” Wood said. “As silly as I am now, I was never that when I was a child. My mom and dad were very serious. There wasn’t a lot of humor floating around the house.”

Wood also had to fight through some unfortunate perceptions that came from the city he grew up in.

“I grew up in Birmingham, Ala., and Birmingham is very small socially,” Wood said. “The thought process of a lot of people that are in Birmingham is that because you live in Birmingham, you aren’t relevant or you can’t do it … which is so not the truth.”

As Wood persevered, he developed a unique comedic style.

“For me, the funniest things are the most truthful things. There’s no joke that will ever be funnier than a joke that’s rooted in truth.”

What else does Wood find funny? Well, there are a few choice things he could laugh at all day.

“I love to laugh at people who deliberately hurt themselves for the sake of our entertainment and I love watching people who deal with the cops,” Wood Jr. said. “I can watch episodes of COPS dating back to the late 80’s and it’s still funny. Idiots trying to talk their way out of going to jail will never not be funny to me.”

Recently, Wood has gained popularity and taken his talents to a bigger stage.

He appeared on “The Late Show” with David Letterman and couldn’t have been more grateful for the opportunity.

“That’s like the comedy mecca,” Wood said. “Doing David Letterman’s show was hands down, one of the most inspiring moments of my career. As a comic, network television is what you strive for. You wake up every day hoping to get the chance to be judged with the very best and Letterman’s show only takes four to five comedians a year. It was a real honor.”

Wood will be performing his act at 8 p.m. on Nov. 3 in the Down Under.

SEAL, the organization that booked Wood, is expecting a good turnout for the popular comedian.

SEAL entertainment team member Brian Goetsch is excited for what Wood can bring to the table.

“We feel he’s really good in college venues,” Goetsch said. “He has a really good feel for what we, as college students, think is funny.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email