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Clayton English Stays Cool, Blunt & Blunted

  • Posted on June 2, 2017

A lot of comedy can feel delightful yet forced and phony, like a first date at a chain restaurant. Inversely, comedy can feel rough and necessary, like the umpteeth shift shot at a dive bar. Atlanta’s Clayton English, a 2015 “New Faces” selection at the prestigious Just For Laughs Comedy Festival, feels like the latter—effortless, blue, slow and steady street-level philosophies through a syrupy rasp. He delivers observations on weed, sex, and racism delivered with unflinching guile. All The Same, Clayton’s hilarious debut, is on some grown man ish. And if you’re particularly sensitive or highfalutin, God bless your heart, but make no mistake: Clayton doesn’t care. He doesn’t sugar coat or water down. It’s incredibly cathartic. His level of irreverence is uncanny. He blows up petty frustrations about hip hop and bachelorette parties with casual incredulity. He roasts wack cereal (i.e. big ass shredded wheat) with middle-school-yo-momma voracity!

Keep laughing at Laughly’s chill, urbane comedians

It’s Good To Be Different.

Urban comedy is cultural, historical, home to many innovations and archetypes. There have been generational showman like Richard Pryor or Eddie Murphy, capable, charismatic actors able to illustrate their world in monologue. We’ve seen bombastic, tour de forces like Redd Foxx or Robin Harris, so loud and unfiltered that they’re irrepressible and undeniable. Then there’s an even keel, downtempo, hipster type like Dick Gregory or Paul Mooney, pondering poetically in an understated, unassuming fashion. Clayton has elements of all three models, but leans towards the historical cool. He’s actively less reactive, his energy is relaxed, his social commentary is offhand, his uniqueness is down to earth. All The Same shines most profoundly when it evokes empathy, like when advocating legalizing marijuana or in celebrating differences: “We gotta kick it more often…[Racism is] still out there. But you know how you work on it? You do what we’re doing now. You kick it. You hang out with people different than you.” And that’s beautiful.

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