It’s not uncommon for celebrities to dabble in fields other than what they’re known for. Many of us still remember the 1991 cinematic masterpiece “Cool As Ice,” rapper Vanilla Ice’s first and last attempt at movie stardom. And who could forget Shaquille O’Neal’s brief foray into the world of hip-hop, with his debut album “Shaq Diesel”? Some celebrities have had more success in branching out, like Jennifer Lopez who has maintained a steady flow of top 40 hits and successful movies, and Donald Glover, with triple-careers in acting, stand-up comedy, and as rapper Childish Gambino. Regardless of their success, people in the public eye have occasionally switched it up, and the results have generally been either cringe-worthy or admirable depending on who was doing what.
Whether you want to applaud them or cringe at them, here’s a bunch of people (who aren’t known primarily for doing stand-up) doing stand-up comedy.
In 2014, professional basketball player Blake Griffin did an open mic at The Laugh Factory in L.A., reciting basketball-themed poetry from a notebook to an entertained audience. Watching the set, it’s easy to think his material is not on par with professional comedians because, well, he’s a basketball player. But with that in mind, he seems to be having fun and seeing Blake Griffin at an open mic would certainly be entertaining to a live audience. He also did a set at a club in Montreal- no poetry this time.
Kellyanne Conway did a set for charity in Washington D.C. I repeat, in 1998 Kellyanne Conway did stand up, and there is video footage of it. There’s not much else I can say about this, except that she sings in it too. I commend you if you can make it all the way to “The Pundit Blues.”
John Mayer, of highly acclaimed musical fame and “10 Douchiest Celebrities” list of the 2000s, also did a set at the Laugh Factory. It’s a more serious attempt than Blake Griffin’s poetry, but whether that makes it better or worse depends on what the viewer is expecting. Summary of the video: it’s John Mayer, and it’s about Dateline’s “To Catch A Predator.”
Unfortunately for celebrities, the criticism is much harsher due to the audience assuming they would have the same expertise with their new hobbies as they do with their day jobs. On the other hand, they are able to bank on their notoriety and entertain people purely based on their publicity. In the end, it may not matter so much what jokes the celebrity is telling, but whether his or her public persona closer to that of Kellyanne Conway or Blake Griffin.