Yedoye Travis is definitely a favorite here at Stellar Underground, and over the weekend, we got a chance to catch up with him about his upcoming debut album recording which is happening next week- October 14th at Relapse Theatre in Atlanta, Ga!
You were recently named a "New Face" at this year's Just For Laughs Festival. Congratulations! How does that feel? What does that mean to you?
Thanks! It feels pretty great, mostly as a way of solidifying that I'm an actual comedian. I can be bad at it all I want, but I'm still in the club.
Now you have your debut album recording coming up! When is this happening and where? Who's invited?
It'll be in Atlanta, at Relapse Theatre, 8 and 10pm on October 14th. Everyone's invited! Hopefully people from every part of my life will be there.
What made you choose to record your album in Atlanta, Ga instead of New York?
Atlanta is home for me so it's a pretty clear choice for where I should do my first album. It was never really up for debate. Also, everyone is recording in New York right now.
How long have you been building content for this album? Is the content specific to this opportunity or is it a collection of humor over the years?
It'll be a little bit of everything. I've been writing this material for as long as I've been doing stand up (which the short answer for how long is 5 years, though the first time I performed was when I was 12). It just so happens, as a black comic doing a lot of racial material, that this stuff goes through cycles of relevance, so I think it comes off topical when in reality, I'm talking about things that have always been going on. So, it'll be an hour of trying to figure out when this stuff was written.
How did you determine what to use and what not to use for this recording?
I mostly picked what flows well together and has a central theme, but it also comes down to being a bad comedian and not having a lot of material to pick and choose from.
Why do you refer to yourself as a "bad comedian"?
Oh I was kidding. Just saying I don't write as much as I'd like to, so this album is really most of what I have in the way of fleshed out material.
How did you decide/know you were ready to record an album?
Honestly I'm still on the fence about it. Everybody is releasing an album right now and even though I decided almost a year ago, part of me feels like I'm following this wave of dope people doing dope shit.
What are the benefits of recording an album, in your opinion?
It's a portfolio piece. Coming from the perspective of anyone who's worked freelance in anything, it's one of the best ways to showcase what you're capable of. You can do all the 10 minute spots you want, but the easiest way to show people you can headline is to just do it and do it well. Also money is good in modest quantities.
Where or who do you pull inspiration from?
It's hard to say a specific person or thing because it comes from everywhere. Sometimes I'll be staring into the distance and just remember something from years ago that I'm just realizing is funny.
Who are your favorite comics of all time?
I feel like I've pretty consistently said Jo Firestone, but also Lil Rel, Janelle James, and Casey James Salengo. All but Rel recorded albums this year.
How do you normally prep for a show and in this case- your recording?
It's odd because for most shows I don't really prep at all. At a certain point, if you can't remember 10 minutes of jokes, you have to do some thinking about yourself, but that said, one of the worst feelings is doing a show and getting off stage knowing you forgot to do the one joke you wanted to do, and that pressure is obviously way higher when it's gonna be recorded.
What advice do you have for other up and coming comedians who may want to record an album some day?
Just keep doing it as long as you can stand it and when you're very tired, record the album.
What else have you got going on that you'd like our readers to check out?
My show Rent Party is really it. That's every third Wednesday at Union Hall in Brooklyn. My brother, Tekena Travis, draws all the posters for that and is doing the artwork for the album, so I'll give him a shout. Everybody should follow him on the internet and hire him to draw your stuff.