BOCA RATON – Tim Hanlon sees a self-awareness in C.J. Landry not normally visible in a comic at such an early stage of his career.
“The thing that he’s figured out way before most comics do – comics go up and do jokes and then they find out who they are,” Hanlon said. “He went up and found out who he was and then made it funny. It’s really good to see.”
Landry had only been performing for about a year when, in 2019, Hanlon came to Dallas with Matt Bellak as part of the Dope City Comedy Tour.
A Louisiana native, Landry moved to Dallas to launch his stand-up career at age 24.
“I hung out with them after the show and we just started talking comedy,” Landry said. “They gave me a little bit of advice, and then a year later I moved to L.A.”
Landry didn’t receive much support for his decision to head west from other Lone Star comics.
“I don’t really have any connections in Dallas,” Landry said. “I was only there for a year. It seemed like [Dallas and Los Angeles] were the same.”
Not long after his move to L. A., Landry ran into Hanlon and Bellak at the Improv, once again striking up a conversation.
The duo had an upcoming show at the venerable Ice House Comedy Club in Pasadena, Calif,, and were looking for a comic to host. They offered Landry the spot.
“My first show in L. A. was at the Ice House hosting for them – which is, like, a big deal,” Landry said. “I thought I would do mics for years before I would do any big club or something like that with a big show.”
Bellak and Hanlon liked what they heard from Landry enough to invite the young comic to join them as part of their Dope City Comedy Tour.
“Right off the bat, man, he’s personal,” Hanlon said. “He talks about sh*t that is straight from C.J. You get a sense of who he is in his opening joke. His whole set, it’s C.J. Landry. There’s no [made up] character. There’s no fakeness. It’s all exactly his life experience. It’s who he is. And that’s such a key to comedy.”
Landry joined the Dope City tour as the opener in late 2019, shortly before COVID effectively shut down the comedy world.
Now that restrictions are being lifted, he’s back with Bellak and Hanlon. Dope City recently completed a tour of Florida comedy clubs. On Monday all three took a turn at the mic during the Bellak-produced show at the Whistle Stop in Boca Raton, honing their acts prior to leaving for a tour of Ohio.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” Landry said of the trip. “I kind of want to talk about [former LSU and current Cincinnati Bengal quarterback] Joe Burrow on the Cincinnati stage. I’m a big LSU fan. It kind of made me a Bengals fan. I will watch the Bengals now because I just want Burrow to succeed.”
As for the past month spent living in Florida, Landry leaves impressed by the big-city feel of the South Florida comedy scene.
“It’s got an Improv,” Landry said. It’s got regular local shows. It’s got comedians you’ll see at the mics with 30,000 followers. They are making videos with 12,000 views. And it’s just some open micer from South Florida.”