It’s hard not to root for Kountry Wayne.
After building a sizable following online over the last seven years, the high energy Georgia born joker took his act on the road and has done all right for himself since then. Now he’s back in Houston and playing the big room with a one-night-only show at Bayou Music Center on Saturday, April 2.
For the comic that’s made his catchphrase “Help Is On The Way” – it seems like everyone is excited to help Kountry Wayne make his lofty dreams come true. On making it to the arena stage of his still-early career, Wayne is bubbling. “I feel like I’m moving on up, that’s what it feels like. I feel like, at the comedy club, you know, is more contained. I’m a wild person. The theater feels more free. I’ve got more room and it feels more exuberant. It’s just like more alive.”
While Kountry Wayne remained very online during the pandemic, releasing numerous vertically recorded “skits” on his social media profiles featuring him and a recurring cast of supporting players, the stand-up knows there’s no replacing the live and in-person laughs. “Man, I had some shows in between, Off and on, you know how it was,” he recalls. “But it feels like something starting [since coming back], almost like you’re a baby again – but this time you are much stronger. Going back into real life, knowing what you know now and you can do it in your past?
"It’s like, I’m way stronger as a comedian, this is like Lebron James going to play a high school pick up game. It’s not fair! To get to do this again in this environment, and I’m more appreciative of it all, being what we went through. I like to smell the perfume somewhere. Being online all you can see is the light, but you can’t feel the heat!”
Leveling up is a fair comparison, as slowly but surely, Wayne has been connecting with some of the big players in the comedy world who have successfully branched out beyond mere stage work. He’s been featured on Nick Cannon’s Wild ‘N Out and played alongside headliner Mike Epps on tour. “That’s amazing, you know, because you just sitting at home just seven years ago and seeing these guys on TV. Then man, to have the chance to be in the same room as these guys and not ask them for an autograph, you know? I’m in the game. So it's like wild, it’s like poppin’.”
Thankfully, Wayne has resisted the urge to approach his heroes and go right into doing his act. “It don’t be like that with these people,” he explains firmly. “It’s more like high school, and these are the popular guys – some more popular than others, the Kevin Harts and Nick Cannons. It’s like I’m 9th Grade and they the seniors. Actually, they like the guys who already graduated and come back to help from college. But I know I’m a confident freshman — I’m like you just wait till I get my shot!”
Don’t surprised to see Kevin Hart or Nick Cannon show up as part of the Kountry Wayne social media machine before too long, if all goes according to plan. “Oh man, I’m gonna shoot some skits the minute I get around them again,” he says doubling over with giggles. “And they ain’t gonna know, because I’m gonna be making money off them skits!”
Beyond rubbing elbows with comedy greats, much of Wayne’s time off the clock involves being surrounded by his family, many of whom he now employs. But that doesn’t mean he gets all the respect he might hope for. “My daughters say I’m not funny,” the 34-year-old shares with incredulity. “They say: ‘Damn, your jokes funny, but your funny when you try to do funny is not good!’ But they know I’m funny though. And they’re funny. They got know they got it naturally.”
As if stand-up and TV aren’t filling his days enough, Wayne also found time to work on his first book, a memoir to be titled (what else?) Help Is On The Way. “Hey, it's my life story all about the kids and all of that,” he shares. “It’s a part about Kountry Wayne that people don’t know, they meet me all along the way of my career, but this about the man the don’t know. Help Is On The Way tells the whole story of how I came from a country town with one red light with all the odds against me, and I still made it out with a positive mindset.
"It just that country story of telling you if I can do it, anyone can do it. Without all the dynamics of me having a lot of baby mamas, me keeping that under control and people keep asking me how I do it? I say: child support some how has a way. You pay it and it keeps everything in order. So you know there’s a lot of interesting things. It's about my family, I take care of my whole family from my sisters to my grandma. Everyone pretty much works for Kountry Wayne Entertainment, I guess. I’m trying to figure out when they gon’ get on stage for me! They say like ‘we here with you’ – and then I look around on stage...”
As a Cinderella story, Kountry Wayne fits the bill. But as far as bucket list items go, the comic isn’t shy to admit that perhaps the story doesn’t have the fairytale ending quite yet. He still hasn’t met his idol: Jennifer Aniston. “Man, Jennifer Aniston, man. Off Friends!” He pines, almost swooning. “I want to meet her so bad. I wanted her to DM me last night, you are one of the most beautiful women in the world. I don’t care if she married or not. If she married tell her husband if he listening, I’m sorry. I watched Friends when I got older. As famous as she is, Jennifer always felt like the homegirl from the store, you know. I really want to meet Jennifer. I’ma scream, I’m telling you. The scream I get, they probably gonna call security. AAAAAHH. I’m telling you, I really want to meet her – seriously.”
Performances are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 2 at Bayou Music Center, 520 Texas. For more information, call 713-230-1600 or visit livenation.com. $38-$78