Comedian and Actor DeRay Davis is becoming a household name. From stand up, to television, to movies, he’s doing it all. But that’s DeRay’s life on stage. Now, he’s ready to show us what happens behind the scenes. DeRay is part of OXYGEN’s new show, “Living With Funny”, where we get a look into DeRay’s relationships with his 2 girlfriends. We spoke to DeRay to get the scoop on the new show and many other things.
By Corey Tate
CH: We know the stand up comedy and comedic actor side of DeRay Davis. Now, we get a view into your dating life. What can expect to see from you on the new show, “Living With Funny”?
DeRay: Well first off, “dating life” would be something totally different. A show about my dating life would convey things like going out, meeting women, etc. Dating is the sweet side of things. We’re past that point. Living With Funny is exactly what it sounds like; my two girlfriends Coco and Caro are living with me now. And when you watch the show, you can expect to see what happens off stage. You get to see what happens when the curtains close. For example, every man knows that when you live with a woman, most of us are powerless at home. I try to take on the king role and be the man of the house, but women control the home situations. Barack Obama runs the country, but you know Michelle runs that house. [Laughs]. So, when you watch Living With Funny, you get to see that dynamic come into play and how I try to balance it all.
CH: Your situation on the show, Living With Funny, is different from anyone else’s. You’re living with 2 women. Does living with two women feel like double the work? Is there struggle with trying to keep everyone happy?
DeRay: Hell yeah! It’s like trying to drive 2 cars at the same damn time. Imagine dating one woman, but everything is doubled. There’s 2 dinners, 2 shopping trips, 2 hair appointments, 2 attitudes, you get the point. It’s double the work to keep everyone happy. But on the flipside, I get a lot of material from being around my girlfriends at home. So it balances out.
CH: If you could give men 3 tips on dating women, what would they be?
DeRay: Listen. That’s number one. It’s so important to listen, because women will test you like a quiz. They want to see if you remember little details. So make sure you listen and remember the conversation. Even if you have to write things down. Have a go-to book full of notes, because she’s going to test you and it’s going to come in handy. Number two is honesty. Women love honesty. No matter how brutal the honesty can be sometimes, you have to deliver the truth. Because that gives women the option to choose if they want to be part of your situation or not. By being honest, you prevent your car from getting keyed and your tires getting slashed [Laughs]. And finally, have fun. And sometimes, having fun with your woman isn’t exactly fun. You know if you have to go shopping with your woman, it’s going to be a rough day. But just nod, smile and keep saying, “whatever makes you happy.” And whatever you do, avoid picking a certain dress or a certain shoe. If she asks, “Which one?” Just say, “Baby get both of them.”
CH: If you could have any celebrity roommate, who would they be and why?
DeRay: I would want to live in Jay Z and Beyonce’s guest house. I just want to know how the hell Jay Z keeps Beyonce happy. She’s a woman who doesn’t need anything. She has it all.
CH: You’re a comedic veteran and you’ve been a comedic veteran for a while now. It’s to the point where you have comedians like King Bach looking to you for guidance. How does it feel to know that you’re a well respected OG in the comedy game?
The word “Respect” in comedy is huge. Respect the first thing you want. You want to be a comedian’s comedian. It’s like the game of basketball; you want be respected the way players respect Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant. So, the fact that younger comedians like King Bach respect me is huge.
And Bach went a totally different route. He didn’t look at my career and say, “I’m going to do it the way that DeRay did it.” He took the bits and pieces that pertained to him, but ultimately, he found his own path.
CH: As far as newer comedians go, who are your favorites?
DeRay: It’s hard to say, because I’ve been focused so much on my career. Trying to tour, trying to get my next special together and of course, filming “Living With Funny”. So I don’t have a lot of time to watch everybody, but I do know that there are a lot funny guys coming up. Donivan Jordan, Meechie Hall and also a lot of the guys on “Wild N’ Out” are funny. Karlous Miller, Chico Bean, to name a couple. At the end of the day, you just hope to see everyone doing good. And one more thing I’d like to point out is, a veteran could be a new comic. I recently went to see Tracy Morgan perform post-accident. He was a beast before the accident, but his new material is even more fierce and fearless. He’s got a new outlook on life and that’s powerful.
CH: Your last special, “Power Play” was very well received and for anyone who hadn’t seen your stand-up, it gave them a chance to see it. Are there plans for a new comedy special in the works?
DeRay: Definitely. My last special, “Power Play” was great because it was an introduction and conveyed that I could do an hour. It also gave me the opportunity to learn what works for me and what doesn’t. There’s some things I loved about it and some things that I didn’t. For example, the lighting wasn’t to my liking. I’m more into the dark atmosphere, like Martin Lawrence’s “You So Crazy”. So my next special, “Funny As Fact” is going to be done differently. I’m excited about it.
CH: “Living With Funny” premieres the same week as “Barbershop: The Next Cut”. We loved you in the first 2 “Barbershop” films. Will you be reprising your role in the upcoming film?
DeRay: I love the Barbershop series and had fun doing the first 2 films, but I won’t be in the upcoming film. I’m not selling anything else in the barbershop anymore [Laughs]. I believe the writers and myself were on the same page when it came to this film. I was young in the first 2 “Barbershop” films. I’ve matured, gotten older and normally the dudes who sell things in the Barbershop aren’t that handsome. But I like to believe that my character has gone on to do better things. He was such a good hustler then, he probably owns 3 of his own barbershops by now. I just may do a spin off movie documenting my character’s new life [Laughs].
CH: Every comedian and actor does a film that’s pivotal to their careers. Such as Jamie Foxx with “Ray” or Will Smith with “Ali”. What would be the ideal role for yourself in a film?
DeRay: I’ve actually been developing for a while now, with director John Singleton and producer John Cheng. Those guys know my capabilities, almost as well as I do, so we’ve been trying to figure out what works for me. They know that I’m able to do action-comedies like my role in “21 Jump Street” and also the dramatic roles, like my roles in “Empire” and the upcoming Tupac biopic. It’s rare that comedians are given these kind of roles, so I’m happy they’re coming my way. I like to do projects where I can exercise all of my skills. Who knows, I’m light-skinned and may do “The Smokey Robinson Story” [Laughs].
CH: Speaking of the upcoming Tupac biopic, can you tell us more about your role in the film?
DeRay: I play someone who was pivotal in Tupac’s younger life. And in the film, you’ll see that the character is an influence in Pac’s adult life and also in his music. And I’m also excited to work with director Benny Boom. Benny was always someone who could always see my ability to do dramatic roles. I was supposed to be in the movie, “Next Day Air” but couldn’t do it, due to scheduling conflicts. So this Tupac biopic is an exciting project for me in many ways.
CH: You’ve worked with some of the best comedians and actors throughout your career. Is there anyone you haven’t work with, but would like to?
DeRay: There are so many people I want to work with. On the comedy side and the drama side. Comedically, I would like to work with my old roommate, Kevin Hart. He’s busy as hell right now, but I would love to do something with him. And as far as drama goes, I’d love to work with people like Sam Jackson, Bruce Campbell, Jeff Goldblum, and so many other people. And this goes back to developing my own projects. I would love to put guys like this in the films that I’m writing.
CH: You hail from Chicago. As far as comedy goes, Chicago comedians are really popping off right now. To name a few, Deon Cole, Lil Rel and yourself. Comedians that come out of Chicago are always good when they make the move to NY or LA. What is it about Chicago that prepares comedians to be ready?
Chicago is the perfect place to practice and get better. There’s multiple stages and everyone is trying to get as much stage time as possible. Hannibal Buress, Deon Cole, Corey Holcomb, Lil Rel. We all come from a city where we’re hungry and trying to eat as much as possible. So we’re constantly practicing. And when we do move to NY or LA, we’re ready. No question about it.
CH: Aside from “Living With Funny”, what else should your fans be looking forward to?
DeRay: The movies I mentioned previously. But mostly, I just want people to tune in to “Living With Funny”. I think it’s a good look into who we are off stage. You never get to see what happens in a comedian’s life behind the scenes and this show is an insider’s look at that aspect.
By Corey Tate
“Living With Funny” premieres Tuesday, April 12th on the OXYGEN network, at 9/8C.
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Original article: DeRay Davis Gives Comedy Hype Dating Advice, And Talks Respect In Comedy.