Corey Manning
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Corey Manning

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The best kept secret in music


By Michael Marotta/ Comedy

Saturday, March 24, 2007 Corey

Manning has a confession to make: He knows what people want to ask a black man.

The Dorchester comedian recently posed a question to anyone who would listen, through his mailing list, MySpace [website] page and in person: “If a black man had to be honest, what would you ask him?”

The answers he got inspired his show, “Confessions of a Black Man in Boston,” tonight at 8 at the Roxbury Center for the Arts at Hibernian Hall.

His one-man show, with the help of a few female representations, aims to mix comedy with social commentary on a range of topics, from interracial dating to relationship commitment.

“What I like about comedy is I’m able to expose different views, and things people are not necessarily talking about,” Manning said by phone as he traveled on the T Thursday afternoon. “It’s a play more than a comedy show. It’s all mixed in with comedy, but then there’s also dance, dramatic pieces, music and poetry.”

With a background in theater from North Carolina Central University in his hometown of Durham, N.C., Manning strives to blend all types of art and expression into his performances. While he usually performs as one-third of the self-proclaimed Dynamic Duo of Comedy, Manning said he feeds off the power of performing solo, and last fall took part in Jamie Foxx’s Laffapalooza in Atlanta.

But while he may be on stage by his male lonesome this evening, he’s really reflecting the thoughts and opinions of many. Responses to his question ranged from “What do men look for in a good woman?” to “Why do black men always date white women?”

And no examination of interaction between men and women is complete without tackling the dating scene. “It’s centered around a man’s inability to commit,” Manning said. “All men are able to identify with one or more of the characters.”

Manning also draws upon his own experiences with the ladies. He moved to Boston in 2001 by “following a lady” to the Hub. She was the mother of his child.

“The relationship didn’t work out, she moved back to North Carolina, but I decided to stay,” he said. “I love it in Boston.”
- Boston Herald

By Jim Sullivan
Saturday, 24 March 2007

Corey Manning’s one-man show Saturday March 24 at Roxbury Center for the Arts Hiberian Hall is called "Confessions of … A Black Man in Boston."

But it’s not really just one man. Manning – who started doing comedy in Boston in 2001 – plays several characters (it also includes three women) in this production, which he’s been sculpting over the past nine months.

"The concept is if he had to be honest, what would you ask a black man?" says Manning. "People find me personable, and they tend to ask questions they wouldn’t ask others:
Black women ask ‘Why can’t men settle down with one woman?’
White people ask ‘Why are black people so angry about things that shouldn’t necessarily be angry about? And why do black comedians seem to always talk about the difference between black people and white people?’

"Manning, who graduated with a theater degree from North Carolina Central, mixes song, dance and drama into the show. He says there is conflict, there is edge.

"Comedy and the stage takes down the wall," Manning says. "Being in Boston, people shy away from talking about racism, like it doesn’t exist."

On stage is where Manning explores the reality – and at the end of the show opens it up to a Q and A.

He says his comedy is the Chris Rock vein, but when he’s on the comedy stage "I’m somewhat limited as to how far I can push the envelope. With this piece, I’m able to do that."

Manning is taping the show and hopes to take it on the road. Starts at 8 p.m. Tickets; $20 at door, $15 advance. -

Corey Manning has a confession to make: He knows what people want to ask a black man.

The Dorchester comedian recently posed a question to anyone who would listen, through his mailing list, MySpace page and in person: “If a black man had to be honest, what would you ask him?”

The answers he got inspired his show, “Confessions of a Black Man in Boston,” tonight at 8 at the Roxbury Center for the Arts at Hibernian Hall.

His one-man show, with the help of a few female representations, aims to mix comedy with social commentary on a range of topics, from interracial dating to relationship commitment.

By Nick A. Zaino III, Globe Correspondent, 1/9/2004

At 6-foot-5, Corey Manning can seem like an imposing presence onstage during his regular Friday night gig at Dick Doherty's Beantown Comedy Vault, hosting what he calls "The Fun Room." But a few minutes into his show, the North Carolina native puts the audience at ease with a gentle touch, sometimes laughing at a joke he wrote on the way to the stage.

After only 2 1/2 years in comedy, he's barely an infant on the stand-up growth chart. But Manning is already booking comics on a prime weekend night at the Vault and has created a successful "Boston Jams" urban comedy show for the Boston International Comedy & Movie Festival.

"I love it here in Boston," says Manning, who with his loose style covers a wide range of topics from race relations to dating. "There's so many opportunities here. Which me being a country boy in the big city, I see everything as an opportunity."

He points to a three-day span last year in which he played gigs in Kansas City, Boston, and Maine. "I couldn't imagine doing that when I was living in North Carolina."

But Manning has learned the pitfalls of taking on too much too soon. He moved here from Durham in 2001 with a degree in theater management, started comedy a year later, and quickly found himself booking three rooms at one time -- the Vault, a room in Maine, and one in Rhode Island. That's when he noticed that, for all his efforts, his peers were starting to pass him as a comedian.

"They started growing, and I was still doing the same material," he says. "I was doing a lot of crowd work, but I wasn't doing the writing like I was doing before I started the room."

Since then, he has taken the time to make the rounds, watching and learning from headliners like Tony V, D.J. Hazard, Kevin Knox, and Jonathan Gates. This month, he'll record his first CD and christen a new improv group with fellow comics Chris Tabb and Bethany Van Delft (at the New Bedford Boys and Girls Club on Jan. 19).

"I want to be respected as a great comic, not just as a person who starts rooms," he says. "I love it, I'll continue to do it. I just want to be a great comic. I don't see myself making people laugh, I like making people happy."

- Boston Globe

By Bella English, Globe Staff, 12/18/2003

Derek West took to the stage to the roar of the crowd, expertly removed the mike from its cradle, and began cracking on the school cafeteria food. "You ever had a school hot dog before?" he asked. "Once, I took that hot dog and threw it on the floor, and it bounced back up on the plate.

"At recess, when we played `Off the Wall,' instead of using a ball, we used a school hot dog.

"Then I threw it at my friend's head, and it knocked him out."

Maybe you had to be 12 years old and a regular consumer of school hot dogs to laugh hysterically, but then, the crowd was pretty much 12 years old and regular consumers of school hot dogs. They cracked up.

West and his friends might not be ready for "Saturday Night Live" yet, but they filled the Blarney Stone on Dorchester Avenue Tuesday night, billing themselves as "The Kids of Comedy." The event was planned by students at the Grover Cleveland Middle School -- the so-called "world food" prepared by students and the entertainment provided by students. The food consisted of fried rice, chips and salsa, and quesadillas.

The event was sponsored by Citizen Schools, a nonprofit that places volunteer professionals in city schools for after-school classes. One of the classes was taught by Corey Manning and Chris Tabb, two very funny guys who are regulars on the Boston comedy circuit.

For 10 weeks, the duo worked with 10 students, teaching them the basics of being funny: finding material, writing jokes, timing, and delivery.

Oh, and stage presence. Never mind that the Blarney Stone "stage" was a pool table covered with a heavy piece of board. Rodrigo Monteiro, 12, got a huge laugh right off the bat when he did a pratfall, Chevy Chase style, up the stage steps. Then he took pokes at his little brother, who, he said, reminded him of the rap artist Fabulous: "He's got a big old watch and one of the biggest chipped tooths, I ain't lying." The brother might not have appreciated it, but the other kids did.

Next up was sixth-grader Kholton Pascal, who obviously knew how to warm up a crowd. First, he asked the audience if anyone had a sister. Then, he asked if any of the women or girls present had hair extensions or weaves. One brave woman raised her hand. Pascal continued: "I went to a friend's house today, and his sister has a weave. I told her to give that horse back his hair. Y'all got your own hair. Why you wanna take the horse's hair?"

The crowd loved it.

Before the performance was over, the kids had made fun of their teachers, their families (many in the audience cheering them on), and their school. West acknowledged being nervous beforehand, but he had a backup plan in case no one laughed at his jokes: "I'll laugh real loud myself."

Danaisa Brown, who told jokes about her little sister, said she loved the comedy class because she learned self-confidence.

Pascal said he loved performing because "I felt like a star when people were laughing at me." But he was sorry he didn't include his little-sister joke. It goes like this: "My mom always goes to yard sales. My little sister says, `Why you want to buy a yard? You don't have no place to put

it.' " Ba da boom!

As for the teachers, they were proud of their charges. "This is far beyond what I expected," said Tabb, a semifinalist at this year's Boston Comedy Festival. "Stand-up is so much more than just telling jokes. It's about using your words and mind as opposed to using your fists or weapons."

Added Manning: "A lot of these kids are the class clowns. We tell them, `Instead of acting out in class, write it down, and save it for the stage.' "

© Copyright 2003 Globe Newspaper Company.
- The Boston Globe

By Sean L. McCarthy
Friday, January 6, 2006

Many Boston comedy fans know Corey Manning as part of ”the dynamic duo of comedy,” with fellow stand-up Chris Tabb.

Does that mean they’re Batman and Robin?

”No,” Manning said. ”We’re more like a DC Comic matchup of Superman and Batman.”

Which one is which?

”I’d be Superman because I have more powers than Chris,” Manning said. ”And plus, Chris is a little more, uh, how should I say it. Actually, I guess he’d be Superman because he’s more PC - Batman gets carried away sometimes. Chris always says I’m willing to take it there. No matter what subject matter or issue, I’m willing to take it there.”

Where is there, exactly?

Perhaps it’s his Southern charm that does it. He is from North Carolina, having moved to Dorchester five years ago.

”It’s great to go back down for the holidays, because I’m able to recapture my country-ness, which is different,” he said. ”I got my r’s back in my words.”

Does he feel at home in Boston yet?

”Oh yeah, I get pulled over all the time. I fit right in,” he said. ”Down South, when a person shoots you or robs you, they do it nicely. And they use titles, like ’Mister, could I please have your wallet, sir? Thank you.’ ”

Manning backs the city on wanting to get rid of the ”Stop Snitchin” ” T-shirts and likes the alternative ”Wait Until You See My Degree” shirts.

”I might come up with my own shirt: Where Have You Heard My Jokes? Or maybe: Where Can I Fix My Credit? That’s a good one,” he said.

Manning mentors children, and he’ll host an upcoming fund-raiser Jan. 26 at the Comedy Studio for the Adoption and Foster Care Mentoring Program.

”It doesn’t take that much time to listen, not talk, but really listen to a kid,” he said.

He said he was funny even as a child.

”I was so funny, I used to do private shows at the principal’s office all the time,” he said. ”It was an on-demand performance. Usually it was prefaced by an announcement over the PA system that I’d be performing at the principal’s office. Some people might call it detention. I’d say it was a performance.”

That’s what you see any given Sunday at the ”Big Funny Sunday” show he co-hosts with Tabb at the Emerald Isle in Dorchester.

”Usually I get out of control, and then Chris has to come in and clean things up,” Manning said.

They have guest comics both from Boston and New York, ”and of course, we have stars coming down from Maine, too. Most of them have their teeth.”

He boasts that their show is the most diverse comedy offering in the Hub.

”You’ve got two black guys hosting a show at an Irish pub,” he said. ”How much more diverse can you get than that?”

Corey Manning peforms tonight, tomorrow and Sunday at the Comedy Connection in Providence. Manning also co-hosts the ”Big Funny Sunday” show at 7:30 Sunday with Chris Tabb at Emerald Isle, 1501 Dorchester Ave., Dorchester. Tickets, $5. - The Boston Herald


Still working on that hot first release.



With performances in Jamie Foxx’s LAFFAPALOOZA! New Faces of Comedy, the Bay Area Black Comedy Competition and Festival, and the Boston Comedy and Movie Festival, Corey Manning is a talented comedian who is gifted at his craft.

A native of Durham, North Carolina, Corey quickly found himself a home in the New England comedy scene delivering sidesplitting, high-energy entertainment. Highly imaginative and extraordinary, Corey immediately grabs the audience's attention and keeps them laughing with his distinctive style. His ability to perform to the delight of a broad range of audiences has made him one of the most sought after comedians on the east coast. One third of Dynamic Duo of Comedy, a premiere black comedy duo, individually Corey was a semi-finalist in the Boston Comedy Festival, and hosted the Boston Comedy Jams to a sold out audience. He recently hosted the first Boston Soul Music Festival.