Baton Rouge comedian Howard Hall spends his time being funny. By day, he works at local printing company, Circle Graphic South, and on air at Max 94.1. But despite holding a couple of other jobs, he sees comedy as his main gig. We chatted with Howard about his (funny) experiences in the comedy world.
How did you get started doing comedy?
I had a talent show in the lobby of my dorm at McNeese State and I decided to perform and everybody else dropped out, so it was just me, a microphone and 100 people.
Do you have a day job, or is comedy your main gig?
Well I see comedy as my main gig, so my side day job is director of color management and prepress for Circle Graphics South. I’m also a on-air personality for Max 94.1.
Which comedians are you inspired by?
Wow! How much time you got buddy? Too many to list, but Eddie Murphy, Martin Lawrence, Richard Pryor, Patrice O’Neal, Bill Burr [and] Kevin Hart, to name a few.
How would you describe your style of comedy?
I’m a story teller who tells jokes. I can just find the funny in almost everything.
What topics do you usually hit when you’re doing stand-up?
I usually write and perform about my life and experiences. I may talk about current events or pop culture but that mostly when I’m hosting events.
How has doing stand up in Louisiana shaped who you are as a comedian?
I can say it has sharpened me as a comic. Louisiana is not a forgiving audience when it comes to comedy. They either like you or they don’t and will let you know. So coming up in this scene has made me a lot stronger than most comedians. I have tougher skin because of it.
What’s the comedy scene like in Baton Rouge compared to other cities?
I can say that our comedy scene is growing, at one point we were on top. Our scene was bigger and better than our surrounding cities but now Lafayette and New Orleans are killing it. I believe we still have the best talent we just have to find ways to show that talent off. Our crowds compared to others are night and day. One show it will be packed out and you think we have something going and the next three shows you can hear a pin drop and it doesn’t matter who is in the lineup. We have to show Baton Rouge that there is quality entertainment right here and you don’t have to drive far to get it.
What’s your best advice for those just starting out in comedy?
Get on stage. Get on stage as much as possible. Write your jokes, perform them and repeat. That’s what we all do.
You have a stand-up comedy special out on DVD called “Hallarious.” What was the process of making that special like?
“Hallarious” was something I wanted to tackle. I had so much material by the time I decided to do it that I had to see what I wanted to use. Eight years of material and I still cut out about an hour worth of the show. It was tedious when it came to the logistics of shooting the special and choosing how to release and promote it. It was also difficult to choose to do a DVD instead of a comedy album but my team decided that it would be best for that time.
You recently posted on Instagram that you’ve been working on some major stuff for 2017. Can you give us a sneak peek of what’s to come?
I can give you a peek, I guess. Well I’m super excited that I was chose to present at TED x LSU this year so I have that. I’m also working on my first comedy album to be released across all platforms, In negotiations to bring back a monthly comedy show here in Baton Rouge and last but not least, you may see me on TV or at least my writing credits in the near future, but that’s enough for now.
Photo by Sean Gasser.