Interview w/A Comic: Elijah R. Flowers
1. What else do you recall being good at as a child, and how did you come to choose comedy?
A: I like to believe that I was pretty good at just the shooting part of basketball … not all the other parts of it. but i could shoot. Oh and math. In math class things just made sense. English had silent letters. FUXK THAT! Science had that damn periodoc table i think gold was AU. And was like how ?! WHY?! Yep done with science. but in math everything was everything. 2+2=4 and that was it! like forever … mon-fri. But now that i look back comedy and jokes was always present. In basketball because i was short an unathletic i would make my opponents laugh so that i could have a chance at stopping them from scoring. Or in the classes i struggled in i would hang around after class to voice my frustration with my teachers, they would laugh at my rationale and offer extra credit or some would just give me a C because they liked me too much to fail me.
I came to choose comedy after being involved with the stage play you and your mom produced… wait am i suppose to be talking to u like i dont know u ??? welp too late … What up Byrd?! ayyyeeeee!!! anyway after the play that rush of people looking at u and laughing just level of importance u feel and just i guess the feel of knowing u helped all these people have a better day. Its adddictive so in wanting that and not wanting to sit and wait for an oppurtunity to come back around i started stand up. You can always go somewhere and tell a joke.
2. Who are your influences, and which comedians do you like to follow on social media?
A: Maaaaaaaajor influences in the form of people are just those people who are unapologetically themselves in the public eye. Being flawed in the public eye takes a lot of self-awareness and courage. I pay alot of attention to Kobe Bryant and Kanye West and Dave Chapelle. Media scrutinized men who may or may not be misunderstood but are always themselves on top of being so good at what they do that even if you do not like them, its hard to deny that the talent is there.
3. How do you balance being a father and a pursuit in comedy?
A: sheeeeeeeeeeeesh shit just got deep. But man its still something im working on. A lot planning ahead and in a sense keeping tally. What have i done to move forward in the comedy world and what have i done that is completely about the lil one. All lthe success in the world wont mean anything if the people closest to you arent there to share it with, especially my son. In an ideal world the things i do now lay a solid foundation for our relationship. So if later down the line i miss something i want to be at, he knows i exhausted all other options and just couldnt be there. At the same time making sure the events that are missed are few and far between. Oppurtunity cost is the name of the game. In other words if i steal a moment i have to make sure i recreate it and then some. I also have dope people around me so i never feel like im doing this thing alone. dirty E N T we all we got.
4. Why do you want to make people laugh?
A: on a surface level i want to make people laugh because im good at it. but the more i do it and research it and study the power of laughter the more i recognize im blessed with something this country needs right now. And that need is growing EVERYDAY. Moments like these birthed the greatest comedians we know. The more tragic the time the greater the comedian. Pointing out everything that makes us cry and turning that feeling into laughter. If just for a moment.
5. What was your most embarrassing moment on stage?
A: HA!! ok so there was this NBC audition event happening in San Francisco EVERY comic in the area went to try to get this grand chance at being picked and getting whatever prize was promised. I go too, mind u ive only been on stage liek 3x prior. These guys know each other. Some have been around like 10years otheres 3 yrs, everyone is talking to everyone. Im just to myself. No conversation, no one is sharing ideas with me… nothing. So after lie 4 hours i start to flip out… second guessing my topics like minutes before i go on. they finally call my group in. Now the audience is all Comics!!!!! 3 NBC judges and ALL COMICS. My topic was bascially about how being new to comedy and how much im realizing the profeession is dominated by losers who cant get real jobs. so once i realize im basically going to be telling black jokes to a room full of kkk leaders. I go up switch everything and bomb so hard. I did so bad they cut my mic off and i only had 3mins in the begining. BUT of course im not done embarassing myself i proceed to check the mic and grab the stand tug on the cord etc….. pull it too hard knock down a giant speaker which hits a table and spills another comics drink. I still ended the whole thing with a sign off… like annnnnnnddddd im Elijah Flowers. The best part is i hung around after to watch them post names… because u never know… maybe they saw something in me… smh
6. What is your goal for 2016?
A: To expand my name. Go places i havent been and do what i do. Last year was about figuring out who i am and if i could be this guy on stage an affect change. 2016 is about showing who i am to as many people as i can in as many places as i can. While never forgetting who and what i do it for.
7. What bit of criticism has affected you the most positively or negatively on your journey?
A: I usually go to shows for two reasons. one to just see whats funny to people and two, too see how i can get on that stage. I had a guy tell me id have to wait 3yrs before i could get on his stage. and i just remember thinking why?! the guy didnt think to ask what i had done or if i were even funny. it was just about time put in. That upset me for sooooooo many reasons but mainly because one. Nigha this place is half full and slowly diminishing and more importantly thats whats wrong with everything. People are so jaded by their own journey they arent willing to give shots to new and up and coming talent because “ nobody gave me a chance” like bruh ! Hov did that so HOPEFULLY u wont have to go through that. It was a negative inteaction that had a positive effect on me… im gonna get on that fuxkin stage and destroy before im 3yrs in… Hell i might just go back introduce myself as a new person tell him i did 3yrs of comedy in like ATL not like u have to have a verified comedy resume. Fuxk that guy he is dumb
8. What was your childhood like?
A: My childhood. my childhood was fun. We struggled. We moved alot. Didn’t know my pops because he was in jail for the whole thing but my mom had this way of making NOTHING feel like the world. A trip to the laundry house to wash clothes for like 4 hrs somehow turned into a game of memory for matching the socks and buzzer beaters to shoot clothes into the hamper. I remember all the things i did not get to do because of money but i those nothing out of something days. I think that's why im never really down. When things do go as planned and they hardly ever do i automatically go into this mode of making it work for me. Tailoring life to my wishes and using what im given.
9. Who was the first person you told you were going to pursue a serious career in your dream, and how did that conversation go?
A: I dont think i told anyone i was going to make this grand change. Its not like i went into work and quit. Or like i stood in front of a massive crowd and announced where i was taking my talents. I think it was more like people would ask where im going or what im doing or did and id be like oh stand up. I think the first person to check me out on stage was you… Byrd.. .. unless im not suppose to be talking to u … then the first person to check me out was Jesse Byrd … and thats only because he / YOU had that lil video thing (Google Glass) and i needed somebody to record it. Gotta use your friends for their stuff otherwise they’re useless.
So i guess there wasn't really a conversation about it. Just like i wanna do it … so i started doing it. but the thing i do find funny is that when people found out everyone pretty much was like… duh … about time… i was puzzled by how many people been waiting on me to do it and said nothing prior. Like wtf … all yall just let me go to college for!!! a big part of me feels like everyone should chip in on my student loans.
10. How do you want to be thought of when you’re no longer around?
A: You mean like when im dead ??? or like when i make so much money i just disappear ? im gonna answer it like you asking when im dead. you go missing peoopple talk shit… you die they focus on all the good shit. When im no longer around i want people to be inspired and aware by my work. Of course i want them to think i was one of the greats. but i also want them to say i spoke for them. i want them to say they learned from me. i want them to get it. and by it i mean they get my message and the understand why. i want cats to say that more great things were linked back to what i did. that the brick i laid in history was one that needed to be there. Tombstone say something beautiful like “ Elijah Flowers flawed and ambitious” and it be actually true. not just own it because people being nice. I wanna earn some beautiful words. I feel like i strayed on that answer a little but whatever.
11. Lastly, where can we follow your work?
A: Instagram me @ _ElijahFlowers