By Nathan Alexander
Eric Kimbrough has been performing stand-up comedy for over 20 years and is a favorite of comedians and audiences alike. He has performed all over the country — from bars to the KFC Yum! Center.
Eric credits Dale Jones as a big influence and an inspiration because of his 100% commitment to his art everytime he is on stage, as well as Eddie Murphy, Richard Pryor, Redd Fox, and Katt Williams.
Eric describes his comedy style as FREE: fearless, real and in your face. He wants his comedy to make people laugh, think, feel uncomfortable and have fun all at the same time.
“If everybody leaves with a different emotion or perspective on the topics I talked about, it was good,” he said. “I also want everybody to leave saying he is funny and the truth on that stage.”
Eric was kind enough to answer some questions for Louisville Laughs.
Louisville Laughs: What do you like about performing at The Caravan? How is performing in Louisville at your home club different for you than touring in other cities?
Eric Kimbrough: “The best thing about performing at home is that it is home. The Caravan is home. I am so comfortable on that stage. It is where I first started. It is where I first sucked. It is where I learned how to be and who to be on stage. I found my voice in that club.”
At what point in your life did you know you wanted to be a comedian?
“I always knew it. I knew I was funny. People used to tell me even as a kid that I should be a comedian, especially my teachers in school. I would say things being serious and everybody would bust out laughing. I used to get in trouble in class for that all the time.”
You’ve said that you started taking comedy more seriously in the early 2000s, and you started to gain some momentum around 2006. What was the big change for you that helped you get to that next level?
“What helped me get to the next level was consistency, having fun and being around more experienced comics who taught me how to be a comic. Such as Big John Richardson, Keith McGill, Rich Ragains and Cleveland Jackson. The likes of Dale Jones and Roy Wood Jr. would come through the comedy club, and I would watch and learn from them. My biggest influence was Spanky Brown (RIP). He just showed me how to be funny and how to be a professional comedian on and off stage. I miss him so much.”
You’ve been performing for over 20 years, how has your style evolved from your early days?
“My style has evolved in many ways. I used to be real wild and nonstop on stage, real in your face. I had to learn how to still be wild and in your face but under control. I also had to learn how to not make it personal. That is where I most evolved. At first it was just about getting laughs at any cost. Now it is about The Eric Kimbrough experience that you have when you come to one of my shows.”
You’ve worked with some of the biggest names in comedy including Katt Williams, Mike Epps, Earthquake and others. Who are some people you’d like to work with in the future? What’s on your comedy bucket list?
“I have worked with all my comedy idols for the most part. There is nobody I am dying to work with. But it is bigger shows I am dying to be on. My bucket list was to play the Yum Center at home, and I did that. So I guess the next thing is to become a MegaStar, hahaha.”
What is the best advice you ever got that you actually used?
“The best advice I got was from Reynaldo Rey. He’d say, ‘When you are on stage, MOVE.’ Move your arms, move your face, move your leg. Accentuate your punches on jokes.”
What is your comedy highlight?
“My comedy highlight has just been being able to work with the amazing comics that I used to see on TV and at comedy clubs before I became one.”
What is your comedy horror story?
“My horror story is so long. I got booed off stage in Dallas, TX in 2009. December 16th at 9:36 p.m. I tell it in my set (come to the show and hear it).”
Get tickets for his headlining weekend at The Caravan Comedy Club here!
Author: Nathan Alexander
Nathan Alexander is a humor writer and stand-up comedian based in Louisville with his wife, dog, and tortoise. His work has appeared in McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, points In Case, Slackjaw, and others.