Trenton Davis was raised in a dual parent household in a rural county of Greensboro, NC. He attended a high school that was 97% white and then followed that up with attending a historically black college. His unique experiences have shaped his views and created one of the best comedic minds of our generation. Trenton looks at everyday problems (i.e. war on Iraq, dating, politics) and offers hilarious non-everyday solutions.
Comedian, motivational speaker, actor - Trenton Davis has been performing since 1997, has lived in three major comedy cities (Chicago, San Francisco, LA) and has made his mark on each one. Diverse audiences and fellow comedians alike are drawn to his charismatic style and witty material like a moth to a flame – always leaving them wanting more than one set can offer.
Trenton features for over 12 comedy clubs across US. His largest credits to date have been featuring for Jon Lovitz, Josh Blue, Natasha Leggero, Steve Trevino, Will Durst and many more. Trenton Davis currently resides in Hollywood, California.
Day Jobs: Comedian Trenton Davis demystifies the neccesary evil.
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When Jesse asked me to write another article for Antithesis, I knew exactly what I wanted to talk ab...When Jesse asked me to write another article for Antithesis, I knew exactly what I wanted to talk about. I wanted to talk about the importance of having a “day job.” I know talking about having a day job is not going to win me the “most popular comic” award. I realize that corporate America to an anti-establishment, alternative, raw, starving artist, authentic comic is like kryptonite to Superman. But bear with me if you will, allow me to explain how “The man” can actually be your number one supporter when it comes to accomplishing many of your goals and dreams.
I’ve had the pleasure/honor to perform weekend feature work at several different clubs all over the US. I wish I could tell you that I was so funny, my reputation preceded itself and these club owners/bookers called me out of a million other comics out there to come and feature at their humble establishment. I wish I could write that – but the truth is I ain’t that good and if I wrote that it would be the best joke I’ve ever written. The truth is, each of these engagements was preceded with my day job sending me to each of these locations for work and rather than hang with my co-workers/customers after 5:00pm I would find the local comedy club, introduce myself as a working comedian, and ask if I could perform at their open mic or do a five minute guest set at their already scheduled show. This routine/strategy has lead to bookings that I never would have gotten if I only performed within driving radius of the city where I live.
There is a flip side however to performing outside of your driving radius – most clubs do not pay for travel, accommodations for features. What that means is even if I were to get lucky enough to get booked at a club to do feature work outside my driving radius, I would most likely have to sleep in a nasty hotel (think hostel), walk back and forth to the club (sometimes in the rain, sleet or snow) and live off of McDonalds, Burger King, or some other fast food joint for the weekend. If its one of those clubs that books Wed – Sun (Zanies Chicago) – that could really be a problem!
But having a day job can remedy that situation. Having a good day job means you can tell a club owner – “pay me like a regular in town feature and I’ll take care of the rest.” This shows humility and shows that this is someone who is serious about his or her craft. Sure I know – you are thinking well “won’t club owners take advantage of me?” Yes! – but the truth is they are doing that now. Most of us are begging for 10 to 15 minute sets at our local comedy club right now (I know I am) – and we do them for FREE! Why because what we as comics relish is stage time and club owners know the comics who are not national touring headliners (95% of us) will do almost anything for stage time. So if you are going to be taken advantage of – at least get something out of the deal. If an owner/booker is going to use you, then use him or her right back. The best way to do that…rather than doing 15-minute sets for free – make him or her pay you for (6) 30-minute sets over the course of the weekend. Most of the times what I get paid to feature ($400 to $600 bucks) for a weekend, won’t cover the expenses I pay to get to the gig (flight, & a bad hotel) – however whatever I’m in the hole: A) I write off on my taxes, and B) If you have a dream that is not worth your investment (time and money) then it probably is not your dream.
The last thing I’ll say about having a day job is that it expands our horizons – broadens the number and types of people we hang around, affords us different experiences. Most of us comics sound just alike. We don’t know it but we do. Go to How many hear weed jokes do you hear a night? How about rape jokes? Masturbation jokes? Facebook jokes come a dime a dozen. And if you are at an “alternative” room add a few jokes about comic books, Star Wars, Atari, Dungeons & Dragons, blah blah blah – you get the picture. Sometimes
Cruise line comics vs. Legacy leavers: Trenton Davis on comedy done right
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Same rules apply as the last article I wrote for Jesse and Antithesis – when I think about the reque...Same rules apply as the last article I wrote for Jesse and Antithesis – when I think about the request “write about Comedy done right” I ask myself “who are you, Trenton Davis, to decide what’s right? Who do you think you are? Who died and made you the authority?” If I were to answer that question literally I would speak of Martin Luther King Jr, John F. Kennedy, Medgar Evers, Bob Marley, and countless other artists who gave their lives so that my generation may not only express ourselves but do so in an environment where the only thing we have to fear is a bruised ego. When I first began doing comedy, like most I didn’t take it too seriously. After all I have a day job, I have a college degree, this will be something I use to get girls and talk about at corporate Christmas parties. I mean how can you take making people laugh that serious? But then something changed. Somewhere in the midst of 2008 the money I was getting from my day job wasn’t enough to make me happy. The Christmas parties were no longer fun and the idea of living in a cubicle the size of a jail cell for the remainder of my life no longer seemed appealing. I can still remember sitting in a comedy room in Los Angeles Memorial Day weekend of 2008 watching a comic control the room, giving them the gift of laughter and the voice in my head speak ever so clearly to me. It spoke “Trenton, what are you doing? Why are you not on stage making people laugh – I’ve given you the gift of laughter and you’ve buried it to do what, sell widgets?”
From that moment on – I viewed comedy differently. I viewed comedy now as my goal, my passion, and decided this is the life I chose to live. From that day forward I hit open mic after open mic, drove countless miles from one city to the next coveting the four most important things to a comic: a stage, a microphone, a crowd, and laughter. In the beginning it was laughter at all cost – Hack comedy. I would tape plastic bags to my stomach to make jokes about colostomy bags, I would demean pop culture, demean myself, my race, my family – nothing was off limits – it was laughter at any cost and I would justify it by saying to myself – I’m a comic, this is what I’m supposed to do. I suppose nothing would have changed if I would not have attended a comedy show on an April Chicago evening. As I sat in the audience I watched an unnamed comedian discuss tired topics: eating pu$$y, sucking d*ck, bad breath, etc – nothing new and exciting – nothing artistic. The coup de gras was when a lady old enough to be my mother was brought on stage, initially to be wished a Happy Birthday, was berated for her age while the host proudly discussed her experience sucking d*&k. The crowd ate it up – all the while I was disgusted. Blame it on my old-fashioned dual parent upbringing, blame it on years in the church, blame it on my southern roots, blame it on my simple humanity – I was no longer interested in just making people laugh for the sake of laughter. I guess for me, that’s when comedy became an Art. Art has been defined in the past as any expression, whether singing, or painting, or acting, or comedy, that moves people towards a higher level of consciousness after being exposed. Art can remind us about the past while at the same time give us hope in regards to the future. Art, comedy specifically, often times makes us take a hard look at the man in the mirror and demand change. So what is comedy done right as Trenton sees it? There is a small portrait on my mantle that reads the following: Obligation…We owe it to our ancestors and to the sacrifices they made, to continue to achieve higher goals, while maintaining our identity
As comedians it is imperative that we view ourselves as artist. It’s imperative that we understand our duty every time we have the honor to stand behind a microphone and address a crowd, regardless the size. The people, knowingly or not, came to hear from us. They came to hear our point of view.
Welcome to Chicago: Trenton Davis indoctrinates us into Chicago’s burgeoning underground comedy scene
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When I was first asked to write a piece on Chicago stand-up comedy I was a little hesitant because: ...When I was first asked to write a piece on Chicago stand-up comedy I was a little hesitant because:
1) I’m not originally from the Windy city and
2) there are so many other comedians who have done great things which make him or her far more qualified to write about the art of stand-up comedy in Chicago versus myself.
That being written let me first offer deference to anyone who has gotten up enough stones to stand behind a lonely microphone in Chicago and tried to make people laugh. Your hard work, perseverance and dedication has not gone unnoticed and I realize that you truly paved the way for young comedians like myself to have a path to follow my dreams. For that I write Thank You.
I decided to write my perspective on comedy because despite where I was born, and despite the fact that I may not be considered among one of Chicago’s elite I too have a perspective. After all that is what comedy is – it is telling the audience how you as a comedian view the world. Regardless of how much money has been made, regardless of the numerous rooms performed, no one’s perspective is any more or less valid than another’s – to believe that one opinion is more valuable than another is arrogant and just not so. So the following piece that you read is my perspective, it isn’t right, it isn’t wrong, it’s Chicago stand-up comedy as I’ve seen it.
The first thing I’m asked when I say I am a comic and I started in Chicago is “Do you perform on the North side or the South side?” That is Chicago comedy. It’s broken up into primarily two very different groups: The North side pubs, comedy rooms, or clubs versus the South side: Urban versus mainstream, Cubs versus Sox. The North side is predominantly White: White comics, White audiences, and a perspective that mirrors what I imagine would be the White experience of living in Chicago. The South side is predominantly minority, Black, Latino, etc: the comedy there is a representation of the minority experience of living in Chicago. It’s important that I stress one is not better or worse than the other; the two exist much like segregation during the 60’s – separate but equal. When I answer the aforementioned question of where do I perform, the response I gave was both. I have had the honor to perform at Zanies, The Improv, Red Bar, and almost every pub that has a comedy room on the North side. Conversely I’ve also performed at Joke and Notes, Outriggers, Watra and several rooms on the South side. When you take into account the massive number of comics in Chicago, there is really only a select few that successfully matriculate both sides of Chicago comedy – to do so requires flexibility, courage, but above all be funny. Funny is funny. Funny doesn’t have a color, funny doesn’t have a tax bracket, funny doesn’t have a sexual preference – funny is Prescott Tolk, Marty DeRosa, Vince Acevedo, Lucky Luciano, Beth Sterling, Emily Lake, Brian Babylon, Mike Von, Kevin Williams, Leon Rogers and countless others.
Chicago comedy offers you several places to get on stage on any given day (http://www.badslava.com/chicago-open-mics.htm). Any comic will tell you the only way to truly make progress as it pertains to stand-up comedy is stage time. The best writing in the world does not take the place of stage time. Stage time teaches us how to deal with a loud bar crowd who is more interested in the ball game then the schmuck behind the microphone. Stage time teaches us how to deal with an angry drunk heckler whose only goal in life is to squash your dreams. Stage time teaches us how to win a crowd over that is upset because the previous ten comics before you have been less than what they bargained for. That’s the beauty of Chicago, if you don’t mind looking stupid you can find a room, albeit it may not be in your neighborhood, where you can showcase your talent and learn how to excel in front of any crowd; North or South. When I first began truly pursuing comedy (truly pursuing means hitting an open mic
1st Black President
1st Black Pope
War in Afghanistan
Black character in School plays
Cute as a kid
Insecure - perfect size
Men are simple
Dating a liberal woman
Dating Keyser Soze (liar)
Seeing a shrink
Strong enough for a Black Woman
Not in the mood
There are no upcoming dates at this time.