The funny fella known as “Kountry” Wayne considered himself a celebrity before he ever set foot on a comedy stage. “You know, I started putting the videos on Facebook up in 2014 and built up a following online,” he recalls. “There was a demand, you know? And I was already naturally funny but I just took it to the stage and having a good time. People already knew me before I come, because I was already famous before I hit the stage.”
Thus, the son of Georgia found his calling making folks laugh, as he’ll do for a few summer nights at Houston’s Joke Joint, a club he’s yet to play. “I came through on a weekday one time, was at the Improv,” he clarifies.
How do you describe an evening with Kountry Wayne, who has been making his bones onstage for nearly five years now. “I’m probably the most original thing they seen in they life, man. It’s more like Burning Man. Kountry Wayne: if you don’t know me, you gonna get to know me by the time you leave. It ain’t just funny, you’re gonna know who I am. And I’m just me.”By not only assaulting your funny bone, but creating an environment to truly understand this big personality – Wayne thinks he’s honed in on something special – organic laughter. “None of that soft laughter – its organic! It’s a good laughter, good time and your jaws, stomach everything will be hurting. All I know how to be is me. That’s the easiest thing, I’m comfortable being me. I am Kountry Wayne.”
Before making it as a stand-up, Wayne always has had a way with people and the social element of his new work was very liberating. “It was never scary because I was already naturally funny before I learned to perform as a stand up. I had a night club and I was the hype man. So no, I was never afraid of a crowd. You just had to form your material, and I was just being me. That’s what the people love anyway. So half the battle was done.”
While it should hardly strike fear into a potential new fans to the church of Kountry Wayne, the comic admits to enjoying working his crowd verbally to gather new ideas. “Crowd work is how I get my material. Talking to the crowd at first, then come up with a subject about a relationship and you’re like, ‘I got a relationship like that.’ I broke up with my girlfriend three years ago, and so I bring up my situation. The more they give me energy, the more comfortable I feel talking about it. And everybody got a funny life, its just are you comfortable enough to talk about it.”
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Contrary to many comics (and perhaps popular opinion), Wayne rarely commits his material to anything but memory. “I write in my head,” he states. “Never wrote a joke down. Like I come up with a premise, I see something funny going on in my life. I gotta tell this story! And I just add to it. I write it onstage a lot. I start talking about a subject and the more they laugh, the more comfortable I am going through the story. Then I just keep it. If the story hit, I keep it. If it don’t hit, I leave it alone.”
The sky is the limit for the King Kountry, and he aims to fly as high as his dreams will carry him. “I wanna go all the way, man,” he says, earnestly. “I gotta go all the way for the people of the south and the country. Cause a country boy ain’t really ever gone all the way. It’s the movies, it’s the everything you could even think of… and not think of! Kountry Wayne is going all the way – they let me in the door and they ain’t kicking me out.”
But for now, the silver screen will have to wait. He’s got stomachs stitches to burst. “Tell your wife and kids, come from church – cause my comedy isn’t very [raunchy]. The only words I say are damn and hell, so its clean comedy, have a good time. Everybody come cause HELP IS ON THE WAY.”
Performances are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 31, 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, June 1-2, and 7 p.m. on Sunday, June 3 at 11460 Fuqua. For more information, visit okejointcomedyshowcase.com or call 281-481-1188. $30-50.