DiscoverOWC RADiOMichael Williams, the “Godfather of Comedy” Talks About the Beginnings of Black Stand Up in America
Michael Williams, the “Godfather of Comedy” Talks About the Beginnings of Black Stand Up in America

Michael Williams, the “Godfather of Comedy” Talks About the Beginnings of Black Stand Up in America

Update: 2020-02-01
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Cirina Catania, the host of OWC RADiO, talks with Michael Williams, the Godfather of Comedy!



If laughter is the best medicine, the doctor is in!



Imagine living in LA in 1985 and being an African-American fan of stand up comedy but having nowhere to go to see comedians who resonated with you!



Michael Williams had the unique idea to open a comedy club that featured all-black stand up comedians tailored to and reflecting the culture of his African American race. It had never been done before, but the results were pure magic.



This conversation is about what happens when one hard-working person has the courage to try something completely new.



It is about changing the world. It's about giving a voice in the '80s to what, at the time, was an under-represented culture. It is about creating a legacy and passing on wisdom to the next generation. And...it is about having fun, poking fun, healing wounds and finding joy.



If these themes interest you, get ready for another great episode of OWC RADiO as Cirina Catania interviews Michael Williams, the real Godfather of Comedy.



Michael was honored during a celebration of African American history, on the 4th of February, 2020, at the City Hall in Los Angeles. The world has been too quiet for too long about this selfless pioneer. We hope he will continue to get the recognition he so well deserves. The exhibit honoring Michael and several of America's most popular comedians is entitled, "Stand Up: Art and Politics in Comedy" and will remain on display for the entire month of February.



Follow whats next in 2020 here: https://www.comedyactplanet.com



For more about our host, filmmaker, tech maven and co-founder of the Sundance Film Festival, Cirina Catania, visit cirinacatania.com.



If you enjoy our podcast, please subscribe and tell all your friends about us!



We love our listeners. And, if you have ideas for segments, write to OWCRadio@catania.us. Cirina is always up for new ideas!







In This Episode



00:08 - Cirina introduces Michael Williams, the Godfather of Comedy. He opened a comedy club that featured all-black stand up comedians and was tailored to and reflecting the African American culture.04:23 - Michael shares the first time he saw TJ McGee on stage performing at the Comedy Store.07:42 - Michael shares that Robin Harris was his first host and how he was unique to everybody who knew him. 14:21 - Michael shares how he encourages people and gives them chances if they want to be a comedian.18:54 - Michael shares how he inspires comedians to have freedom of expression, allowing them to be themselves.24:21 - Michael shares the story of how he opened his third club in Atlanta, and how he had to rebuild it in less than four months. 27:18 - Michael shares the names of the comedians he helped with their careers, including Chris Rock.32:07 - Michael shares the impact on the audience and the connection to the comedian in watching live comedy.36:01 - Michael shares how some comedians perform on stage to cope up with their life struggles.39:34 - Visit Michael William’s website comedyactplanet.com to learn more and stay updated.



Jump to Links and Resources







Transcript



This is Cirina Catania with OWC Radio, and I'm here at CES, and I ran into Michael Williams. I'm so excited. This man, this young man is the godfather of comedy. That's your Nickname, right?



A lot of people say that.



So why CES? What are you doing here? 



When I first started my business, which was in 1985, technology like it is today, it was just not here. 



Not even close.



I didn't have a computer, I didn't have a cell phone, I didn't have a fax machine. Even though I had access to a fax machine, that was that paper that would soon fade when exposed to the sun. I forgot what it was called.



We all got stuck with thermal paper.



Yeah. Thermal paper, that's what it's called.



And if you didn't file it right, it can get away from the air.



Exactly.
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Michael Williams, the “Godfather of Comedy” Talks About the Beginnings of Black Stand Up in America

Michael Williams, the “Godfather of Comedy” Talks About the Beginnings of Black Stand Up in America

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