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The best kept secret in music


"Houston Comedian "Ali" Exclusive Interview"

Houston Comedian "Ali" Exclusive Interview
By Marcus Wiley
Mar 5, 2008 - 12:39:34 PM

From Jus Joking Cafe to BET’s Comic View, Houston Comedian Ali has is quickly becoming one to watch for in 2008. With a new spot on HBO’s hit series, Def Comedy Jam, Ali is an great example of hard work paying off. It was hard work, dedication and don’t forget--- TALENT that landed Ali his spot, but his rewards have come with many trials.

Comedian Marcus D. Wiley recently sat down with Ali to talk about his path to HBO, what else is in store, and who he gives credit for his start as a comedian.

MW: Did you choose comedy, or do you feel like the path chose you?

Ali: I felt like the path chose me.

MW: Around what age did you say, I am going to be a comedian?

Ali: Around the age of 14. When I was 14 I really was getting in to the streets and not really my comedy career. Prison really showed me I was going to be a comedian. I was tired of people around me being depressed. It forced me to just go ahead and cut loose. It was almost like my guardian angel said, “Ali, I think you are good. I need to go ahead and sit you down. As your guardian angel we need to go ahead and get this boy in the penitentiary so he can make it as something else.”

MW: That’s deep! So--- Jus Joking is where you really started?

Ali: That’s Correct. You can say Jus Jokin is how I started in the free society but other than that, closed custody is really the before-- before (if you know what I mean). That’s where I was able to just get wild and let loose. It was truly amazing to people. They were all shocked like, “Man he’s only been doing it for about 4 months and his material is great!“ I was like yeah it gotta be, because being incarcerated with these hoodlums you had to play it fast.

MW: (Laughing) So, you’ve come a long way since then. Let’s look at some of your milestones. What would you say some of your biggest achievements have been since you first started?

Ali: The biggest thing for me would have been when I went to Benji Academy and perform for a group of 3rd graders. That was really a huge moment for me. Just being able to be invited to go out and speak to males. It makes me feel good. I am a comic and I have a history, but even then I try not to dwell on that history--- I try to tell them how to avoid going down the same path. If it wasn’t for the negative things I have done, I would be so much farther along than I am now.

MW: Ok! So you have been on BET and HBO. You have toured with the Kings of Comedy, and done several shows in lots of major cities, but the biggest thing that stands out is the community work…

Ali: Yeah and that might sound crazy but most of the things I do is a way for me to get to the community work. I love doing it and honestly if you think about it--- it’s the “big” accomplishments opening up the door for them to want to listen to me. If I was considered common or your regular Joe, they wouldn’t really listen to me.

MW: Tell us about your comedy style and how your style separate you from other comedians?

Ali: I don’t even think it’s my style that separates me from others. There’s one thing about comedian and that’s the fact that everybody has jokes. You can’t be taught how to be charismatic, nor can you just write and come across as captivating. There are a few times when you see a comedian and you watch him do the same jokes over and over.

For example let’s take JJ. I know when the Jermiah joke is coming. I’ve heard it over 60 times and it’s still funny to me. I know Marcus Wiley’s jokes, and I can recognize Dave’s material, and I enjoy watching because honestly all of you are very funny to me. It’s about being charismatic. I really don’t think we are separate. I think we are all on one boat, but we have each found our niche. You really don’t have to run the whole game, you just gotta run your lane.

MW: Do you feel that there is a difference in style between up and coming comedians and veteran comedians… for example, Eddie Murphy or Martin Lawrence?

Ali: If we compare our comedian to the veterans I would say we are on a decline. A lot of the older cat’s tried their best to be original. They took chances on stage! Some of the younger guys stick to material that’s considered “safe”. They don’t appear to really want to be a part of this craft. They have other motives than just doing comedy. Some of them dropped out of school, not really doing anything so they up and decide, “I’m gonna do some comedy.” Most of the real comics study and research to make their material genuinely funny-- because you need to know something about what you are joking about on stage.

MW: Looking back on the first time you appeared on BET’s Comic View, how does that compare to your premiere on HBO’s Def Comedy Jam?

Ali: Man, that’s like comparing apples to casaba melons. (laughs) It’s like having a food that you like and then having your favorite food. You got somebody who makes meatloaf, but then you got your moms meatloaf. BET was cool. I flew myself in, got my room, they paid me and it was great. The first year I was like the 4ooth comic on the very last show, and I was the very last person. This time they, (HBO) flew me out, I stayed in a very nice hotel. This was my very first time having a PA- personal assistant. I would open my room door and he would be like, “Sir do you need something?” I was really just checking to see if he was still there! Everything was great from the gift bags to everything. I looked around like this is really Def Jam!

I must admit I did something corny! When I found my trailer I took a picture with my face next to my name. I was trying not to let anyone see me, but it turns out everyone was doing it.

MW: I hear that Def Comedy Jam has a pretty rowdy crowd, what was the energy like walking out onto the stage?

Ali: The pressure really came from DL. (D.L. Hughely)- who invited me to the show. I remember being backstage and watching Marcus Combs and Marcus Scott and I realized I was about to be called. When it was my time I walked on that stage and all I could think was, “if this first joke goes over it will be ok. I honesty did not know what to do first? I called a few friends, including you Marcus and everyone’s like - just do what you do. I just went out and done my thing.

I do remember one thing that I call a blessing. There’s a comedian name Eric B, who I really don’t have a close relationship with, told me to do the joke about my daughter. I had the crowd going and then I did the daughter piece and it just erupted!

MW: When you consider people like Jamie Foxx, Martin Lawrence, Chris Tucker etc., there have been quite a few comedians who have used Def Comedy Jam as a stepping stone into stardom. If you were able to do the same, where would Ali end up?

Ali: If I’m able to make it even farther than Def Jam, I want to follow the same path as the other comics. Sitcoms, movies, commercials- I’ll do it--- even if it’s Schiltz Malt Liquor Bull, and I don’t even drink. I could be the new Billy Dee Williams. I don’t want to make it and come back. Like Kevin Garnett, I just want to take a few people with me and help them get what they want. I want to really represent Houston, and hopefully it’ll become a cycle. People helping people is what matters most.

MW: You appear on the final episode of Def Jam Comedy airing on Sunday, March 9th. What can the readers expect from your show?

Ali: I just hope they watch it. I would hate for them to read the interview and then not watch it. If they miss it it’s ok because it’s on HBO On-Demand all year! I also hope HBO invites me back for another season. They put me on the finale and I hope they did it on purpose like they meant to save the best for last!

MW: Good night and God bless!

- Isis Pages Magazine


.. Def Comedy Jam Tour 2005w/ J
Anthony Brown & Earthquake
.. HBO's Def Comedy Jam w/ D.L. Hughley Season Finale

Professional Performance Collaborations:

.. D.L. Hughley
.. Katt Williams
.. J. Anthony Brown
.. Deon Cole
.. Lavelle Crawford
.. Mike Epps
.. Juan Villarrel
.. Thomas Miles
.. De Ray
.. Bruce Bruce
.. Earthquake
.. Rickey Smiley
.. Arnez J.
.. Mike Bonner
.. Alex Thomas
.. Cool Bubba Ice
.. Capone
.. Lil J.J.

Musical Artist Collaborations:

.. Roots
.. Roy Ayers
.. The Gap Band
.. Cameo
.. 112
.. The Ying Yang Twins
.. Joe
.. Mike Jones
.. Talib Kweli
.. Lil John & The Eastside Boys
.. Juvenile
.. Frankie Beverly & Maze
.. Donell Jones

Colleges and Universities:

.. North Texas
.. Grambling State University
.. Baylor College
.. University of Houston
.. Mississippi Valley State
.. Texas Southern University
.. Texas A&M
.. Wiley College
.. Southwest Texas
.. Jarvis Christian College

Movies, Theater and Music Videos:

.. Kappa Beach Party 2000
.. The Family Reunion
.. 4 Deep, written by Larry Gardner
.. Its All In The Family
.. Best character in video “nominee” at
Dirty Awards
.. The J.R. Richard Story
.. Ali : Live in brazil
.. Stageplay: The Wiz
.. Stageplay: He is
.. American Dream Movie with Mike
.. G.T “ Beat The Trunk Up” Video
.. Mike Jones “Flossin”
.. Mike Jones “Back Then”
.. Money Black
.. Tango Redd



Determination to succeed best describes Ali’s rising star into comedy. Refusing to
feel life had defeated him, Ali began his comedy career in the penitentiary. He
emerged from the dreary walls of incarceration as a man with a zealous mission,
to become a professional humorist. A lot of hard work and dedication has
resulted in his swift and steady rise in the comedy arena.

Some of Ali’s comedy mentors include, Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy, Red Fox,
Steve Martin, Martin Lawrence, Damon Wayans, Mike Epps, Corey Holcombe
and Dominique.

Ali hopes to thrive in the industry and open doors for other comedians coming
after him. Look for Ali to continue climbing the ladder of success determined not
to stop until he is on top. This fall, viewers can watch him appear as a featured
comic on the 2000-04 season of BET’s internationally acclaimed Comic View.

“Comedy has provided me with an opportunity to reach out to others and spread
joy. When I make people laugh and smile, I’ve served my purpose