WEST PALM BEACH – Dec. 28 is both an anniversary and a launching pad for comic Jay Legend.
When Legend takes the Palm Beach Improv stage that night as a finalist in the Florida’s Funniest Comedian competition, it will be exactly four years since he first performed stand-up comedy.
“I don’t think that’s by chance,” Legend said. “I think that’s by fate.”
Legend’s come a long way since that 2018 show at a St. Petersburg bar named “Old Key West.” It’s an even longer trip from Harvey, Ill., on the notoriously rough south side of Chicago. That’s where Legend grew up and developed his sense of humor.
“Coming up in an area where it’s hard, a lot of the release we had was making fun of each other and joking,” the 31-year-old Legend said. “That really became a part of my personality.”
APPLAUSE BREAK Q&A: Meet Jay Legend
APPLAUSE BREAK: Why did you start performing stand-up comedy?
JAY LEGEND: I’ve always been funny but I was working in a kitchen as a chef and one of my fellow chefs (Andrew Silas) who was a comic at the time told me I was too funny, and told me to come to an open mic. After the first time, safe to say I was addicted.
AB: Who is your favorite comic and why?
JL: Me, because if I don’t love me who will? No, but seriously, I would have to say Eddie Murphy “Raw” and “Delirious” were the first ever comedy specials I watched. Took my breath away.
AB: What do you do when you’re not performing stand-up comedy? What is your job and hobby?
JL: When I’m not performing I work and manage a McDonald’s and take care of my son. Outside of that everything I do is related to comedy in some way.
AB: What’s your pre-show routine?
JL: Can we say smoke a ton of weed? If not, then I would say I just vibe and listen to music.
AB: What can people expect from your Florida’s Funniest finals set? How is it different from your normal headlining set?
JL: People can expect a lot of excitement, a lot of fun, a lot of laughter, and to genuinely feel at home. It’s only different from my headlining set in the fact that you headline for 45 minutes to an hour, so I have to take all that time and condense it to 6 min. So you just won’t get everything.
AB: Where do you see your comedy in five years?
JL: In 5 years I see my comedy advancing to superstar status. It will have put me on movies, videos and anything else my heart desires.
AB: Where did you perform in the first round of Florida’s Funniest? What do you remember from that show?
JL: I performed at Tampa Improv and I probably just remember how nervous people were. Not me, but other comics.
AB: What’s the weirdest thing that’s ever happened to you at a show?
JL: After a show an older white lady about 80 grabbed my penis. It was very quick. I was very shocked, and after she offered to take me for dinner. I should have done it, but she was too aggressive for me.
AB: Of the other comics in the finals, who are you most looking forward to seeing perform? Why?
JL: Probably Nadeem Awad mainly ‘cus so many comics I know have performed with him and I’ve never got the chance to meet him.
AB: What would winning the Florida’s Funniest Comedian contest mean to you?
JL: It would mean so much. Although I keep a strong face, I’m going through a lot of painful things in my life, family, being homeless, and many other things. Winning this would just show that my focus and determination for comedy was not in vain.
AB: What else should comedy fans know about you?
JL: That I’m super humble and super easy to talk to. I always just live to have a good time and laugh and I want people to know that.
Previous Florida’s Funniest Finalist Q&As
- Orlando area comic Joe Latham
- Jacksonville area comic Danny Johnson
- Jacksonville area comic Wes Johnson
- Miami area comic Ricky Cruz
- Kissimmee area comic Donald Evans
- Boynton Beach area comic Nadeem Awad
- Tampa area comic Jay Legend
- Miami area comic Luis Diaz
- Orlando area comic Dewayne Williams
- West Palm Beach area comic John Loveless
- Fort Myers area comic Nathan Wallace