Dallas Black comedy group FCC Presents on making comedy personal
Eight comedians make up FCC Presents, an all-Black comedy troupe based in Dallas. The group’s ongoing Blackout show series features improv performances, sketch comedy, stand-up and even some musical elements. Prior to taking the stage at Stomping Ground Comedy Theater last weekend, some of the members in the troupe shared how they approach comedy:
When Smith isn’t taking on another persona on stage, blonde wig and guitar in tow, she’s working her day job in social media marketing. She said she’s used to the feeling of being the only Black woman in the room, and in her view, those experiences are what make the show so much richer.
“I would say that as a Black woman, I have a lot of experiences that I like to pull from when I think about inspiration, when I write sketches, but also when I develop characters as well.”
Freeow said initially, Blackness wasn’t supposed to be the focus of the group’s subject matter. As they had conversations with each other about their experiences in the North Texas comedy scene, those conversations organically transitioned on stage. Now, it’s at the heart of every show.
“A lot of what you see on stage is us doing a meta take about what it is to be a Black comedian in D-FW comedy, and then it switched to just being a Black person in general.”
Cotton is not only one of the founding members of FCC Presents, she’s also a comedic storytelling coach. She bares her most personal moments on stage, and as a mother, daughter, worker and self-described “idiot,” she said she’s got a lot of experiences to draw from. To her, what makes something truly funny is simply recognizing it for what it is.
“You’re never having to do anything to be funny, what you’re doing is recognizing how ridiculous this thing is called life that we all live. We just work to find those moments, bring some levity to it, and then throw it on the stage to help everybody laugh at life, ‘cause we’re all living it the same,” she said.
Agbon is a newer member of the troupe. He’s been doing comedic sketches and improv for almost five years now, but he said he’s hopeful to eventually get into stand-up one day.
“Comedy, to me, is based on the way we see the world. And the way that I think about it is, our identity is the lens in which we see the world. So for me being a Black male, a lot of my comedy comes from real-world experiences, and sometimes we use comedy to highlight a situation while also making fun of it.”
Since Harper joined the troupe in 2019, she’s been doing improv and sketch comedy. But during the day, she’s a psychologist and a research scientist who has worked extensively in mental health. She said it’s important to acknowledge how performing can be a tool for well-being, both for audience members looking for a laugh and comedians looking for an outlet.
“I think that performing is a great way for people to kind of balance out the toughness of our world right now, and it helps me to cope with everything that causes stress and anxiety in these times.”
Weathersby describes the Blackout shows as “a cornucopia of comedy,” tackling a variety of comedic forms and styles. Despite being a show that’s meant to appeal to everyone, he said they manage to stay rooted in Blackness.
“As a queer Black person, I try to approach comedy from a truthful space. So for me, there’s a lot of religious trauma that comes up every now and then, and I like to poke fun at that. There’s a lot of stuff around sexuality and gender, so playing with things like that.”
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