Nichelle Stephens, Comedian

First Video Of My Stand-up Comedy Set


I have been doing open mics around for the past seven or eight months now. I really like doing stand-up comedy and I am happy that I waited until now to do it. I don’t feel competitive, and I love when other comics make me laugh. My goal is to have a tight five-minute set.  This video from when I performed a few weeks ago at Foxy Loxy, a coffee shop in my neighborhood. Over the Thanksgiving holiday, my sister kept feeding me “jokes” that she thought I could use in my set.  She gave me ideas, but it takes a while to formulate a joke. Joke writing is not as easy as it looks. You have to have a set-up and a punchline. Also, a callback is also good.  When the audience can see how you called back to a previous joke, they laugh not only because they see how clever you are for making it, but also they feel clever they are for catching it. It’s a win-win!

Watermelon

Nichelle Newsletter and Random Thoughts

I am so OVER summer. It’s too hot. It’s record breaking hot. My natural hair will not look decent until after Labor Day.

I appreciate laughter.  I love comedy.  If I can make someone laugh,  I have achieved something.

Gawker.com is dead. I thought I would feel some kind of schadenfreude about the end of that website, but I don’t. It’s the end of a blog era. Now I hope someone writes a really good tell-all book and it becomes a Ryan Murphy tv show called, American Blog. Sean Bean can play Nick Denton.

I am back to creating my Nichelle Newsletter, and I promise weekly updates. Subscribe on Tinyletter.  So far, I am done two weeks in a row.

I created a Tumblr for my Savannah photos. My goal is for my Savannah content makes the first page of a Google search for Savannah.

I also did a podcast this week. Check it out on Soundcloud.

 

There’s No Universal Way To Be Black

HBO 'Insecure' Panel at the TCA Summer Press Tour, Day 3, Los Angeles, USA - 30 Jul 2016
Mandatory Credit: Photo by Rob Latour/Variety/REX/Shutterstock (5810011a) Issa Rae HBO ‘Insecure’ Panel at the TCA Summer Press Tour, Day 3, Los Angeles, USA – 30 Jul 2016

My favorite mantra is “black people are not a monolith”, so I am happy to see Issa Rae address that in her TCA panel about her new HBO show, “Insecure”.

There is a “notion that there’s a universal way to be black,” Rae said at today’s TCAshow panel. “It’s been portrayed throughout media and has been accepted by mainstream media, [but] what does that mean if you’re not ‘black enough?’ Does that mean that I don’t fit into this box? I always find the humor in that because you can’t escape being black – it’s who you are.”

This Comedy Stuff Is Becoming A Thing

I went up at comedy open mics here in on Thursday and Friday.
Thursday’s open mic was at the Sentient Bean. The crowd was mostly stand-ups and I was the thirteenth comic up. It takes patience to wait out an open mic. I don’t want to be first, but I would love to be about sixth or seventh.

Friday’s open mic was at Foxy Loxy Cafe. It is so much fun to do stand-up outside in a courtyard. The crowd was mostly locals, and I think my jokes got more laughs that they did on Thursday. Anyway, I am performing again this Tuesday at Crash Comedy at the Sentient Bean at 8PM. I will be doing a character in a piece that I am still writing.

I also made a podcast episode, Episode 5.

Self-Care: Family Dinner and Thrift Store Shopping

Bought a bag of silk #ties from the thrift store in Woodstock, Georgia last weekend. I got all of these for $1.25. Going to use
I practiced self-care by spending the weekend with my family in Decatur last weekend.  I went to the Park Ave Thrift Store in Woodstock with my mom and got lots of stuff for only $26. The cool thing is that I got a bag of silk ties that I using as headbands. I am hard pressed to pay retail after that shopping trip.

I advised my sister to not binge-watch ‘Orange is the New Black” but since I set up the Chromecast in her bedroom, she couldn’t help herself.
fried chicken

My Dad made fried chicken and I helped.  In addition, he made candied yams, fried okra, collard greens, cornbread, macaroni and cheese and quick-pickled tomatoes. It was the perfect comfort soul food Sunday family dinner.

Anyway, I just put up an episode of “It’s Nichelle With An N“.  Listen to it when you get a chance.

New Podcast: It’s Nichelle With An N

I have dabbled in podcasting off and on for years. I used to use a digital recorder, upload a file and then use some podcasting software to compress to upload to my blog. I have used Odeo’s AudioBlogger, Audioboo, and now I am using Soundcloud. In addition, I have been a guest on a few podcasts, and co-hosted amTWib for three months back in 2013.

So I have done three podcasts so far and you can listen to them.

What I Wrote Last Year About Rihanna’s #BBHMM

Rihanna BBHMM

Today I wake up to news that Rihanna and Drake are actually dating. I don’t know if it is really true. I just hope it leads to great music and internet memes.

Coincidentally, I read my Facebook post a year ago and it was about Rihanna’s video, “Bitch Better Have My Money“.

1) If the ‪#‎BBHMM‬ video came out a bit sooner, maybe Hannibal wouldn’t have gotten canceled.
2) One of her accomplices in the video is wearing a partial doobie wrap which Rihanna sported at an awards show in 2013. Nice callback.

3) Rihanna wears granny panties on her head in one scene of the video. (Gotta protect the black hair.)

4) I feel like Rihanna has a future career as a director once she’s done with all this music stuff.

Boat on the ship with reflection

I Went to New York And I Fell Out Of Love With The City

I went to New York for a few days last week, and it feels different. I love New York, but I am no longer in love with New York.  I feel like I can’t be myself there.  That city is a place of compromises. I was suffocating from all the new construction. There are so many tall buildings. Anyway, it was great to see my friends.

 Tricia, Dara and Me

Tricia, Dara and Me

Cat, Kristen and Me

Cat, Kristen and Me

Statue of Liberty

 Statue of Liberty

No One Wears Khaki Pants

Pink Pants
I was asked if I were a hipster. That made me laugh. Maybe I am. Maybe I just know people who are or know people who make things that appeal to hipsters. Hipsters are the same as millennials. Some millennials are decidedly basic. They are normcore-wearing people who are averse to student loan debt and wearing pants. Seriously, no one wears pants anymore. It is either skinny jeans, leggings or shorts. I worry about the sales of khaki pants. I don’t wear pants often either, but I have some.

Anyway, there are way too many people living on this earth. There are so many generations alive right now and because of technology and internet-sharing, you can have access to all of their thoughts and dreams. This is an excellent time to be a sociologist who can use big data to provide insights into what is the culture now and what will happen in the future.

I am more interested in learning what we can do to change anti-social behavior online and offline. Sometimes it seems that the world is so mean. It makes me sad. However, it could be that I see it more with social media and the 24-hour news cycle.

What I do know is this, “intent does not absolve you from impact”. If you have offended someone with your words and actions, then recognize that even if your intentions were good, it doesn’t matter if someone was offended. We can’t please everyone, but we can be contrite if we fail.

My Obligatory #LEMONADE Thinkpiece

Beyonce Lemonade

One of my most popular Facebook status updates went something like this:

You don’t have to have an opinion on everything.

I believe that to be true.  The only thing is that I rarely see people with dissenting  views from popular opinion speak up.  As much freedom as we have to say what we feel, many of us have been relying heavily on letting others do that for us.  Whether it is a retweet or share, it seems as though we have ceded our opinions to others who have either wrote it first or better.  Although I enjoy reading and sharing what someone has said more eloquently than I, I can’t silence myself in deference to others. So here are my thoughts on Beyonce’s LEMONADE.

Don’t worry. My thinkpiece is short.

It’s my opinion. It is my perspective and life experience. I don’t speak for all black women. In case you don’t know, black people are not a monolith, and especially not black women. I am happy that some black women feel vindicated, validated or (Black Twitter-verified) by LEMONADE, but I am not one of them.

First, if you plan on writing about this yourself, please heed the warnings of people who will let you know that everything is not for everybody. (Thanks, Very Smart Brothas!)

As Jasmine Masters from RuPaul’s Drag Race famously said “No Tea, No Shade, No Pink Lemonade”, I will pass on sipping Beyonce’s LEMONADE.

LEMONADE has merits. It is a visual album that has a tighter concept than  the previous Beyonce.

The cinematography is stunning. The production is great. The music is phenomenal.

However, the content is not my cup of tea. Calling out the messy details of your marriage may be cathartic, but it does nothing for me. Walking around with bat that says “hot sauce” is a bit on the nose.

My other complaint is that I abhor “plantation chic” fashion. I love a cotton dress, but dressing like a doily is not my thing. In fact, I wish the styling was more of the Afro-futuristic rather than antebellum.

I do like that Beyonce is stepping outside the comfort zone of a pop star, but LEMONADE did not resonate for me personally. I am not thirsty for LEMONADE and that’s OK. Everything is not for everybody. Furthermore, everything Beyonce is NOT for all black women.