The Bronx-born comedian went from the streets to the stage, and two decades later, he’s still making us laugh (even in our 60-second challenge!) Find out what the funny man is working on next, and learn his rules to making it in the comedy world.
Singersroom: So where are you today? In New York City?
Capone: I’m actually on my way to New York. I’m getting ready to film my own movie, so I’m meeting a couple of writers today at a comedy club.
Singersroom: Is this a movie you’re actually producing?
Capone: Yes I’m going to film the trailer first, and then if it gets picked up, I’ll do the movie.
Singersroom: So what’s the movie going to be about?
Capone: It’s going to be a comedy that features my company, The 5 Mics, which is a group of up-and-coming comedians. We put out a comedy skit on YouTube.com, which got unbelievable reviews from the industry, and people started asking when we were going to do something bigger. Scripts aren’t being given out anymore. Since most people want to see a media package, that’s what I’m doing. The movie focuses on three themes- betrayal, love and comedy- and I’ll play one of the lead roles.
Singersroom: So tell me more about the 5 Mics and what else is happening for you.
Capone: It’s Capone and the 5 Mics. I have two tours going on right now. There’s the Top Dogs of Comedy, which is a group of four veterans, and we started three years ago. I also recently developed the 5 Mics, which is a group of amateur comedians who are hungry to make it in this business. We started our tour in New York City on Fourth of July weekend. We’re currently setting dates in new cities.
Singersroom: That’s great. So why did you choose the name Capone since most people associate the name with the gangster, Al Capone?
Capone: Al Capone came from the streets, and so did I. I used to be a drug dealer and I was notorious for getting money, not hurting people. After getting caught up and being sent to prison, I decided that wasn’t the way I wanted to spend the rest of my life. I’m lucky I went to prison because I might have wound up dead. Al Capone had another side that people don’t know. He actually looked out for and loved his people. I adapted that throughout my comedy. The fact that God gave me another chance, and I learned from my mistakes is something that I think is a gift. Being that I now have a voice is a gift, and my voice has reached millions.
Singersroom: Is that why you chose comedy?
Capone: No comedy chose me. This isn’t something I planned. I was ruthless for snapping on people, and one day I snapped on a comedy producer. He asked me, “If you think that’s funny, why don’t you bring it to the stage?” And I did, and the rest is history. And here I am 19 years later.
Singersroom: Nineteen years is a long time in the comedy business. Since you’ve been doing it for so long, has it gotten easier over time and how has it changed for you?
Capone: I don’t ever look at it as being easy. I think I’m good at what I do, and I definitely have the ability to become great at it. The one thing I’ve learned is that anything you do in life, you have to become patient and humble. And a lot of times it’s easy to get caught up in what other people are doing. I’ve seen the Katt Williams, the Dave Chapelles, and they’ve been doing it just as long as I’ve been doing it, but they had a spark where greatness was being contended and something happened where it fell short somewhere. I’ve watched a lot of people and I’ve learned from their mistakes. I won’t do a movie just because someone gives me a good script, I want to go in and practice acting, and make sure I’m prepared. To me, being prepared is more important than getting a major role. You can become a star, but are you prepared for what society has in store for you? Over the past 19 years, I’ve done comedy, and prepared myself for several things to come, including failure.
Singersroom: So who do you think is the funniest comedian right now?
Capone: JB Smoove [actor on Curb Your Enthusiasm and host of Russell Simmons’ new comedy program, Comedy Central Presents: Stand-Up at The El-Rey]. Hands down, he’s one of the funniest men alive. Plus, he’s very underrated.
Singersroom: Now I’m going to put you on the spot. Can you tell me a joke and try to make me laugh in the next 60 seconds?
Capone: OK real quick: Why did the Mexican throw his wife off the roof? Singersroom: I don’t know.
Singersroom: [laughs] OK that was funny. It was kinda lame but it was funny.
Capone: In sixty seconds, you’ve got to come up with anything.
Singersroom: You’re right. You didn’t have much time. It was funny though. So what advice would you give to someone who wants to be a comedian and break into the business?
Capone: Just as anything else in life, there’s always a negative that comes with a positive. Nothing is as great as it seems. It’s hard work. It’s definitely patience. Being humble is mandatory. The best advice I can give to them and anyone I’ve taught the rules of comedy is whenever you’re handed a mic, always have something to say. There’s plenty comedians that think jokes are jokes, but they don’t have anything to say and they wonder why they don’t build a fan base. Everyone’s telling jokes, but it takes a great comedian for someone to remember your name.
—— By: Crystal Tate