James’ responses to Chris’ questions:
How'd you feel after your very first set?
Drunk. I was so nervous that I was going to do stand up for the first time. I had many drinks to get up the courage to perform comedy. My main objective was at a bare minimum to have the crowd listen to what I had to say, I felt the laughter would eventually come. I would say I felt a mixture of alcohol and accomplishment for just doing it.
Who's your favorite artist to listen to before you perform?
This is a great question. I have my tried and true go-to song to get me hyped up and I listen to it if I have a big show on deck. That song is “What Could Be Better Bitch” by Son of Bazerk from the Juice Soundtrack. When I am writing jokes, however, I always listen to anything MF DOOM.
If you could be endorsed by any clothing company why would it be Ralph Lauren?
Ha! You know me all too well. It’s my favorite brand of clothing and I’ve been wearing it since I was 19 years old. Ralph Lauren has such a unique style and flavor to their fashion line. There are pieces that are so classic that you could rock something from 20 years ago and it still holds up. To be endorsed by them would be so dope, I’ve paid enough money for it that it would be nice to be compensated to wear some fly shit.
What is your favorite book that wasn't a school assignment and why?
I would have to go with Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth. I have always been fascinated with Mike’s story and this book gives a full look at it. His life was filled with so many ups and downs and to see his reinvention of himself is very inspiring.
Who is your favorite Transformer and why?
I have to be honest, I wasn’t the biggest fan of the Transformers! You’re right, how am I still alive?! But if I have to pick I would say Optimus Prime...I like the color scheme.
If you could have dinner with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Sean Price. That would be amazing to break bread, hear some jokes and listen to the gems of wisdom he had.
Chris’ responses to James’ questions:
What is your writing process like for your material?
I usually start with an idea that I think is funny, type a few bullet points into my phone, and then work it out on stage. It's a much less douchey way of saying that: "I write on stage.". I almost always record the audio of my sets and listen to the playback. From there I can listen for the laughs to find out what to keep/take away from the bit. The more that I perform it, the more refined it becomes. It's an ongoing process.
What is your favorite memory from doing stand-up?
There are so many to choose from, but one of them was opening for D.L. Hughley at Caroline's in 2012. He let me do guest spots for him that weekend. He was one of my favorite comedians growing up so it was pretty surreal to get the opportunity to work with him. One of the nights he and his crew took me to Tao (a fancy restaurant in Midtown NYC) and I had seabass for the first time. It was delicious!
If you could have one musician write a soundtrack to your life, who would it be and why?
That's really tough because I love so many artists, but I would say, Van Hunt. He's a fantastic singer/songwriter who writes about the human experience with a complex simplicity--if that makes sense. In other words, he's a fucking poet, bro! He'd score the hell outta my life.
What two tv shows would you like to see in a crossover episode?
A Lovecraft Country + The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air collab would be amazing.
An unlimited credit card for gas or for groceries?
Groceries! I'd ball out of control at Wegmans. Sorry, Western Beef!
You get to tell your 18-year-old self about life in one sentence, what is it?