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Comedian Genesis won’t bow to clean comedy, and he shouldn’t have to.
Genesis has three decades in the game, and as he approaches his 57th birthday, it’s high time we recognize his contributions to comedy.
This Thursday night, Genesis will headline Comedy at the Kingdom, the new Vince Taylor comedy showcase production at Bronze Kingdom on International Drive. The premier on May 20 brought a full house, and Genesis is looking forward to a great night on the 27th, with opening acts Jacoby Bruton and Desmond Atkins opening and Tim Allen hosting.
Starting his comedy in Tucson in the mid-80s, Genesis has been a comedic powerhouse in the Southwest as well as Orlando. He refuses to shy away from dirty material, instead proclaiming, “I don’t want to be clean. I like to be dangerous.”
When Genesis performs, he is calm. He is deliberate. And he has masterful control over his voice. Some of that can be attributed to experience, some to vocal training, and the lion’s share belongs to his innate sensibility. His talent.
Over the span of his career, Genesis has been forced to adapt to unfortunate health setbacks, particularly Bell’s palsy, a neurological condition that causes paralysis of muscles. Before he dealt with this disease, his comedy was much more physically involved, including dancing and pratfall bits.
“I could do all of that stuff before I was diagnosed with Bell’s palsy, which means half of my face can’t animate as much as I want. That’s why I don’t smile as much as I’m happy. I can’t do those facial expressions. I had to literally change my act so it would fit who I am today.”
He had a stroke in December. Despite these complications, he continues making hilarious comedic statements. In fact, some of his jokes have burrowed through channels without him.
“I can’t tell you how many comedians have stolen my material and used it for themselves.”
While he recognizes the value of borrowing and deriving influence from other comedians, he criticizes outright plagiarism of his material.
“If you’re not on TV, it doesn’t matter if someone takes your joke because now it’s their joke and you can’t do it anymore. But I say my joke beat me to Netflix.”
Booking Genesis as a headliner for Comedy at the Kingdom was a no-brainer for Vince Taylor.
“Genesis is an undervalued gem in the Orlando comedy community. No one does stand-up comedy while sitting down so well. Despite his longevity and ailments, he maintains the ability to rip crowds of all demographics in all locations. The world better love and cherish his unique sense of humor now before he decides to hang up his microphone.”
Genesis is a mentor, and he welcomes young comedians looking for feedback. His guarantee: he’ll tell the truth. No sugar-coating. He has been a mentor to comedians on the come-up for a long while.
Jersey the Haitian Sensation has endless gratitude. “He was the first to teach me how to slow down and read the crowd. Without Genesis, I don’t think I would be the comedian I am today. I started in downtown Orlando in 2004. Genesis was the main act, but he took the time out to talk to every young comic, give us pointers and make sure we were comfortable on stage. The greatest thing that Genesis ever told me was ‘be yourself, embrace being the Haitian Sensation.’ To this day I owe him so much.”
Memories from over the years remain poignant for Genesis, too.
“I was doing comedy in Arizona while Ken Miller was still in the military. He saw me perform in Arizona and thought I was hilarious. Then he saw me in Orlando and thought someone was stealing all of Genesis’s material, but it was me and then we became friends.”
We caught up with Orlando heavyweight Ken Miller at Toojay’s in Altamonte Springs and got his side of the story.
“Genesis was the first comedian I saw live, when I was in the military and I was in Arizona and before I was doing comedy myself. Then I saw him again years later in Orlando, and I didn’t realize it was him. I thought it was somebody else who stole the jokes,” said Ken.
“I never forget a comedian’s jokes, that’s how much of a fan I am. I said to him, ‘Yo, I heard those jokes twenty years ago,’ and he said, ‘yeah, that was me,’” Ken mused.
The strength and force of Genesis’ drive to keep comedy pure has broken down barriers. “Whoever said it’s the comedian’s job to make people uncomfortable, I believe that. Be funny, be insightful, but make the audience uncomfortable. No matter what nationality you’re coming from, we should all be able to talk about each other.”
Genesis takes risks, and that will never change. He will forever be pushing the envelope.
Catch Genesis live at Comedy at the Kingdom this Thursday. He also frequents mikes around town like Mondays at 9 p.m. at Harry Buffalo and the All Jokes Aside showcase Tuesdays at 9 p.m. at Night Shade Lounge.
Follow Genesis on Instagram