Yvonne Orji | Fearless. Faithful. Funny AF

How important is it to create content even when no one is watching? 

If you build it they will come. I think it is so important to continue to put out your art, talents, and gifts because you have no idea who is going to watch it. We are in such a digital age right now that something you put out just for fun or just for your friends can land in the desk/email/dm of somebody who can do something with it. Somebody can become a new fan and help your voice be heard in a way you never expected. That is what happened with me in 2008.  I put out a really silly sketch right before I went to Liberia to do public heath (not entertainment related) and that was the thing Issa saw back in 2008. She said “Oh, this girl is really funny.” Cut to 2015, she lets me know HBO picked up her show and (…) she thinks it would be a good idea for me to perform. That seed was sown back in 2008, when nobody was checking for me. You have to keep working and keep putting it out there.  It makes you better. I put out stuff that I don’t know if anyone is going to watch but its helping me become a better editor. Whenever I create something I can say, “Nope I want that shot. Nope I need it to cut off right there.” because I’m practicing getting my thing so tight. Practice makes perfect.

How did you know your were funny?

I didn’t know I was funny!  I found myself praying and I heard the Lord say, “Do comedy.” I said “No”, and he was like “What else you got?” I replied, “All these rhetorical questions Jesus, I don’t appreciate them.” But, he was right. I didn’t have anything else. It was at that moment I chose (…) to trust him and take him at his word. I had been reading my bible and the stories sound real nice but if you don’t put action towards them then they are just stories. After that, I wrote a five minute sketch about what’s funny growing up Nigerian in America. Before I knew it, people were laughing and asking me if I host weddings. (…) Because I was a clean comic, I would get asked to perform at churches. I didn’t even know comics were broke and the Lord knew I needed a really good entryway. If I found out how broke artist are, I would have been like “No, I have two parents that love me and goat meat at home, why would I live this other life!” I started making $500.00 for a three or five minute set at churches and I was like “I’m never going to med school.” I don’t know a doctor making $100.00 a minute. That gave me the gusto to feel like “Oh, I’m funny, I could be funny and I can get paid and make a living off this.”

Photosx: @eltonandersonjr for @creatorsofcolor/@blavity
Styling: @apuje
Hair: @alexander_armand
MUA: @jazzemakeup
Art Direction: @robert_vance
Editor: @ericavain
Interview: @directedbydamour

 

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