When the “Power 98.3 Comedy Slam #5” plays in Phoenix on Saturday, comedian Jay Reid plans to entertain Valley audiences with his dynamic and pertinent sense of humor.
“Myself, I’m an energy comedian,” Reid said. “I’m bringing a lot of energy, talking about my relationships, talking about things I’ve been through, my past relationships, and making it relate to everybody else.”
Although he admires big names in comedy like Chris Rock, George Carlton and Eddie Murphy, Reid says that at the end of the day, he just loves talent. Judging from his remarkable career and diverse resume alone, talent is one thing Reid has in spades.
He first got his start at the age of 19 doing comedy along the Las Vegas Strip at such distinguished venues as Caesar’s Palace, the MGM Grand and Planet Hollywood. Reid soon garnered national attention with “Coming to the Stage,” a stand-up comedy competition on BET (Black Entertainment Television Network), which brought his career to a whole new level.
He went on to star in his own comedy special, “L.M.A.O.,” and released two comedy albums. He also appeared alongside the likes of Kevin Spacey and Lawrence Fishburne in the 2008 blockbuster film, “21.”
A year later, Reid was chosen to tour across Iraq and perform for the U.S. Army troops, which he describes as an extraordinary experience.
“That is definitely something you never forget,” Reid said. “Going over there and entertaining — it’s a beautiful thing because those troops there, working long hours every day, they’re in a place they don’t want to be in. You go over there and keep them smiling, and those soldiers really embrace you and show you so much love. I can’t wait to do it again.”
No matter where he is, Reid looks to what is going on around him when brainstorming ideas for new stand-up material. He says relationships are the most common theme throughout his comedy routines, as well as one of his favorite topics to speak about.
“That’s something that everybody goes through — everybody has a relationship, everybody has problems in a relationship, no relationship is perfect so everybody has different situations,” Reid said. “When I’m on stage I can actually talk about things that I’ve been through, people relate to me and laugh — that’s an indescribable feeling.”
One relationship that is very important to him was the one he shared with his father, Sammy. The same day Reid performed on the “Who’s Got Jokes?” stand-up comedy competition on television, he was devastated by the passing of his father. He went on to win the competition, and hopes he can continue to make his father proud doing what he loves.
“My father was definitely a big comedy fan,” Reid said. “When I first told him I was going to be a comedian, he kind of laughed at first, I don’t know if he really thought I knew how hard it was and the work that you have to put in. Once he saw I was willing to and could actually do it, he was proud of me. I’m just glad that I had the times that I had with him. I definitely learned a lot.”
Reid is currently preparing to launch a solo tour and working on a few film projects that are in development. The Showtime Network will also be airing his “Ladies Night Out” comedy special on television, which Reid and fellow comedian Bill Bellamy are elated to see.
“We can’t wait for the world to see it because we definitely feel we’ve got something special on our hands,” Reid said. “We had a great time doing this.”
The “Power 98.3 Comedy Slam #5” plays March 31 at 8:30 p.m. at the Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix, 440 N. 32nd St.
To purchase tickets, visit www.celebritytheatre.com or call (602) 267-1600.
To learn more about Jay Reid, go to www.comedianjreid.com.
• Patrick Ryan is interning this semester for the Ahwatukee Foothills News. He is a sophomore at Arizona State University.