Comedian Bobby Collins has an ability to truthfully translate the human condition. Audiences across the country relate to his comedic characterizations as he exposes the humor of day-to-day situations as well as serving up resplendent rants on world events. Through precise physical timing and impeccable audience insight, he has honed his talents while performing from hole in the wall clubs to sold out theaters. Bobby Collins’ rise to top headlining, comedic master was inevitable. His true dedication to his craft is what keeps his vibrant shows consistently sold out.
A native New Yorker, Collins possesses a confidence and genuine everyman likeability that can only be earned. He knows what it’s like to work a day job, in order to pursue a dream. He’s flipped his share of burgers, as well as signing on as a substitute high school history teacher, to pay the bills – all the while performing in comedy clubs at night.
He caught up with Collins to see where his heads at after all these years, discuss the political situation, and how the New York City subway can cure depression.
You’ve been doing this for a very long time Bobby. Where are you at these days with comedy? Do you think about it the same way you did when you first started?
Funny you are asking this because I was just examining that very thought just the other night. For instance, I have shows in North Carolina, and look what’s going on there. So when you ask how it’s changed in my head, I’ll take if from not the point of view of a comedy club. What do people want to hear? People are very uptight. You have to take an overview of what’s happening. You have to appeal to that. These people around our country are so angry and so uptight. I did a one-off night in Iowa and a driver cut my driver off. That never happened. They would always wave someone through. Everyone is uptight. I don’t think Donald Trump helps with what’s going on in the world today. I would have voted for El Chapo over that guy. And I know Donald Trump. And I can’t believe he’s appealing to the uneducated.
With that said, I have to remember that when I go to a place like North Carolina, I have to think about what I’m going to say. Because my job as a comedian is to entertain and make them laugh. But it’s also your job to educate. And most people learn something a lot easier from someone who can make them laugh while they’re hearing it. If you can make people laugh, you can make them look at things from a different point of view.
When did you learn you had the power to educate and not just have to focus on the funny?
It took a while. It took a good 10 years because I was falling into trying what everyone else was doing. You have to really take a hard look at yourself. Remove yourself from yourself. And I did that about 10 years in. I realized that I had a strong likability as soon as I walk up on stage. I’m at the point now when I walk out on stage people are yelling my name and yelling out specific bits and so I don’t have to worry about that part anymore. I can just walk out and say, “Hey, we’re sharing this planet with a bunch of different types of people. We’ve got to start thinning out the herd. The gene pool could use some chlorine.” And I just open them.
Comedy and Politics are tied together more now than ever. Do you think it is a necessity for politicians to have to partake in comedy now?
Well, again, you’ve got to go back to the overview. With what’s going on in country now, especially with the politicians that we had run for election this past cycle – who looked like the day room in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. It’s really just the unveiling of how our political system works. And it’s despicable. People are seeing it now for what it is. And I think it’s a wonderful thing because growth means change. Change doesn’t always mean growth. As you grow you have to change, if not, you’re doing the same material as a comic which you see a lot of comics doing. It’s the same thing as a country. When you see these politicians now appealing to the comedians, they’re doing it for the right reasons for them, to get votes. They need that millennial vote. However, the rest of us are saying, “Look at them come down to a level, a wonderful level from which we can relate to, which is comedy.” And it’s always fascinating to see how they handle it. It’s all about the perspective of how we look at it.
Do you think a comedian, or someone who started out their career as a comedian could be President of the United States?
Absolutely. Because, to me, most comedians are intelligent people. I’m talking about the cream of the crop. When you see the cream, they’re smart. They are intelligent people. They’re telling you things from a perspective, same window, just a different angle looking out. And that’s wonderful. And that’s what people need to hear. And when they feel that and they see that going on in our country it’s really nice to see. I think comedians are intelligent hard working hot shit people with a sense of humor.
A comedian friend of mine recently said that he gets depressed and I said, “What do you mean you get depressed?” I don’t understand that world. He then said, “That’s when I get on a subway in New York City. And I look around and I look into people. And I see the unhappiness.” Most people can’t stand their job, can’t stand their boss, can’t stand how crowded it is. And then he said, “That makes me feel better about what I do as a comedian.” “It makes me feel better about who I am and how I relate to my family.” That was very interesting to me. I find myself getting caught up in the world and when I do I get a little anxiety. All of the political stuff is affecting us all. And I figure that I have to the be example, I’m the one standing on the stage in front of people paying their hard earned money to come see. So I have to be an example for both them and myself. And then make them laugh and feel good about who you are.
Head over to Collins’ site to find out where he’s going to be performing next.