James Davis Gets Real

There’s something to be said about someone who devotes their life’s work to making us laugh out loud, literally. James Davis does just that. We’ve seen him everywhere from MTV to BET and more than likely if you haven’t caught him on your good old fashion primetime television, you’ve definitely succumb to his comedic penmanship somewhere along the way.

We sat down with the hilarious hometown hero to get his perspective on being an actor, comedian and writer, in a day and age where the internet is taking over and immediate and quick content is king. We even got the funny man’s perspective on some pretty serious issues. From Black Lives Matter to Bill Cosby, Davis doesn’t miss much. He may have been the class clown but he without question has a mind that works a million miles a minute and he didn’t shy away from proving so.
BYC: How did you get your start in comedy?
JAMES: I did performing arts program in my neighborhood and ended up auditioning for the movie, “Life With Mikey.” I didn’t focus on acting again until I dropped out of college to pursue it as a career. While waiting for auditions I decided to give stand up comedy a try, since a lot of my favorite actors had comedy backgrounds. I did a show at The Comedy Store on Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood. I promised myself that if I did well I would keep on doing it and if I did bad, that would be my last night of comedy. I did well and now its one of the loves of my life.

BYC: Being a Los Angeles native is rare these days. How would you describe growing up in L.A?
JAMES: There’s a certain confidence and awareness that being from LA naturally gives you. Growing up in a city where the most beautiful and talented people come to live has humbled me and made me a hard worker. But I also have watched peoples’ dreams come true over and over again in front of my face. That’s inspiring and makes me look at success in Hollywood as a something that can be accomplished instead of a far off fantasy.

BYC: Would you say that growing up out here gives you an advantage in working in the entertainment industry?
JAMES: Definitely. I don’t get star struck ever. I’m used to seeing ‘celebrities’ so when I have a show or a scene with a ‘huge star’, I just focus on the work and the human being in front of me instead of the hype surrounding the ‘celebrity’ of that person. Also I can retreat to my family and friends I grew up with when life gets stressful. I have the support system within the city I grind in.

BYC: Every time we look up you’re on another show but what a lot of people don’t know is that you are heavy into writing as well. Can you shed a little light on that?
JAMES: Yea I’m a writer along with being an actor and a comedian. People appreciate my natural humor and performance, but they also respect the way I think and communicate my ideas on stage. That has lead to many opportunities writing for other people and shows. I have written for the last eight BET Awards and BET Hip Hop Awards. I’ve unofficially wrote aka done ‘creative consulting’ for MTV2’s Wildn Out and Joking Off. When they were trying to bring back In Living Color on FOX in 2012, Keenan Ivory Wayans chose me to be a writer/performer on that project as well.

BYC: Impressive. How important would you say having that balance of both performance and writing is for you?
JAMES: The power is in the writing. I write and develop projects for myself all the time. Sketches, songs, TV shows, movies…I love to create opportunities for myself and others. Writing allows me to do that. Writing also allows me to forge relationships with producers and executives that will help me in front of the camera in the future. I’ve met many powerful people because of my pen game. It’s a blessing. From Kanye to Jay-Z to Kendrick Lamar, most of your favorite artists have written for other people. They were just THAT good.

BYC: From stand up to improv and everything in between how vital is adopting new material and do you find your need for more content affects your life off stage?
JAMES: I respect my fans and myself so much that I would hate to have someone question my creativity. I would hate to be that comedian who tells the same jokes over and over again. I’m always growing and bettering myself, so that is reflected in my material. If my material isn’t growing, then I must not be either. That’s the way I see it. The world is also really crazy and I feel like we’re at revolutionary time in history as far as the #blacklivesmatter movement. As things, negative and positive, happen in the world, it’s our responsibility as artists to comment on it all.

BYC: The vine comedian epidemic is alive and well. What are your thoughts on vine comedy?
JAMES: Vine is a great platform. Shorter and shorter content is the new wave. It’s great for those who are great at it. King Bach is a genius. I respect what him and DeStorm and those guys are doing for sure. Vine is not a priority in the plan that me and my team have set out for myself but I have a lot of respect for what Vine is doing for certain people in comedy and I’ll definitely be stepping into the vine game here and there with some epic shit featuring some of your favorite viners.

james davis
BYC: You do stand up pretty regularly, would you say it keeps you on your toes for when you have to film for MTV or BET?
JAMES: Stand Up is the main exercise for my comedy muscle. It keeps me on my toes for the MTV and BET shows but also for writing, auditions, meetings and general interaction with people. Stand up is a self-esteem boost at the end of the day. You walk out there and make a room full of strangers laugh and fall in love with you and then you move on to the next challenge life has to offer.

BYC: BYC initially launched as an anti bullying photography series. Have you ever been involved in or experienced bullying? What are your thoughts on it now?
JAMES: I’m all about positivity, especially in terms of how we speak to each other. I have never been bullied but I often have to check people on how they speak to me. We only live one life and we are in control what we tolerate from others. You can never have too much self love or self respect and if anyone goes against how you feel about yourself…FUCK’EM.

BYC: What are your thoughts on internet bullying nowadays?
JAMES: Treat others the way you want to be treated.

BYC: With so many important issues in the news as of lately do you ever feel compelled to discuss any certain topic even if you dress it as a joke? Example?
JAMES: Yup. I talk about Bill Cosby, Rioting, how black people should act around the police in this tense national climate. I try to keep it Tupac on stage from time to time.

BYC: Where do you pull your inspiration from?
JAMES: The list is too long. I’m inspired by greatness in every arena. I cry when I watch an athlete win his first championship. I just want it so bad. God is by far my greatest inspiration. I just want to be example of his love and grace in all that I do, comedy or no comedy.

BYC: A lot of people don’t realize that comedians can also be revolutionary in what they discuss, for instance, Richard Pryors content was extremely thought provoking for the time, do you ever have some serious undertones in your routines?
JAMES: Yea those are my favorite jokes. I was really inspired by the Nina Simone documentary on Netflix right now. Tupac is my favorite rapper. Comedians step on stage and night after night we are blessed with a room full of people listening to us. It only makes sense to use that moment and do some good or spread some messages.

BYC: With social injustices and racial profiling being so prevalent in the news lately and being a black man in America, what are your thoughts on the current state of society involving police brutality?
JAMES: I’m happy that there is a national awareness and dialogue going on regarding these topics, but I’m waiting to see more change. I don’t wanna have to hashtag RIP another young black man or woman’ s name on twitter anymore for being killed by the police.

BYC: If you were on a raft in the middle of the ocean and you saw Kevin Hart, Chris Rock and Eddie Murphey drowning and only had room on your raft for two, who would you let drown? Nope, you have to answer.
JAMES: I would save Kevin. It would take the least amount of energy.

Okay okay now for the petty wap portion.

BYC: Marry, fuck, kill, Amber Rose, Nicki Minaj and Khloe Kardashian?
JAMES: Marry Amber, fuck Nicki, Kill Khloe lol

BYC: Who was the last person you WCW’d?
JAMES: yo grandma

BYC: How many women have you hooked up with off of DM?
JAMES: none. Only 6’s being DM’n me.

BYC: Single, taken or somewhere in-between?

BYC: Who do you typically listen to before hitting the stage?
JAMES: Future, Young Jeezy, Drake or Eric Thomas the motivation speaker

BYC: Meek or Drake?
JAMES: Tupac