ORLANDO – The fame has yet to match the funny.
That combination made comic Nadeem Awad the perfect guest for James Yon’s “Funny Not Famous” show.
Awad performed a roughly 10-minute set on the show, which aired Saturday on Saturday and is viewable on social media.
“I thought it was amazing,” Awad said, “Everything was professional. They had a full staff there. The cameras were – I’ve never been on the Tonight Show but I image those are the same cameras.”
Recorded at the Afrotainment studios on International Drive in Orlando, “Funny Not Famous” boasts distribution deals – most notably via Comcast – that make the show available to 20 million people world wide.
A live studio audience – for this show, socially distanced to about half the 100-plus seat capacity – gives the show a live club feel.
“Audience was very strong,” Awad said. “If there would have been no audience in there, or 20 people, I would have had a different reaction to the crowd. The fact that it was like a club show really helped me out.”
To prepare for the performance Awad featured in multiple shows during the weeks leading up to the recording, and hit several open mics to refine his set.
Awad entered the recording with what he through was a good set framework. The next time he encounters this kind of opportunity, he’d tweak the approach.
“I’ll plan my set a little bit more,” Awad said. “I had it planned pretty good, but I threw in a joke I didn’t plan on doing – the Fourth of July joke.”
Yon served as the show’s host. Brody Love, Dexter Angry, Devin Siebold, and Ron Feingold followed Awad, all performing 10-minute sets in the 60-minute show.
Awad rarely walks away from a set completely pleased with his performance. This show proved no different.
While his early jokes elicited laughs, Awad didn’t feel as comfortable as he would have liked with his initial bits. The minor case of cottonmouth didn’t help, either.
“I was a little nervous up front, but once I got into the first couple minutes, the jokes, I got warmed up,” Awad said.
Prior to his appearance on Funny Not Famous, Awad’s television experience had been limited to a starring role in a non-paying in a national Burger King commercial.
Along with a paycheck for performing on Funny Not Famous, Awad left the show with wisdom he couldn’t have gained from the Burger King.
“Not so much to look at the cameras but not to just focus on a set of people in the crowd, because people at home don’t know what you’re looking at,” Awad said. “Sometimes I look at people in the audience and get locked in – forget that there’s cameras rolling.”
Yon primarily books comics from the Central Florida area for “Funny Not Famous,” but he has plucked a few performers from South Florida. A couple weeks before Awad took the stage, Richie Leis performed.
Even as gas prices continue to rise, Awad says the experience is worth the drive.
“I definitely think if anyone has the opportunity they should definitely take it,” Awad said. “It’s a great experience. It’s a TV credit, and there’s a video out there of me that I hope 20 million people saw – and I got paid.”