Howard Hall was once a class clown, but after opening the Baton Rouge Comedy Festival, which was headlined by D.L. Hughley, it was apparent that his antics paid off. Hall is now preparing to tape his “Hallarious” video special on Dec. 8 at the Independence Theater in Baton Rouge.
“I love comedy, every aspect of it. I love stand up comedy. Even if I wasn’t paid to do it and I didn’t want to do it as a career, I would still probably be doing it,” Hall said.
His obsession with comedy drove Hall to understand how to get an audience to identify with his funny stories, which come directly from his observations and frustrations.
“I write jokes, but my jokes do come from a real place,” he said. “They come from my life, so they can’t be duplicated by anybody else.”
Hall works on his own unique material every day. He said he feels any comic can tell a joke, but the greatest comedians tell detailed stories which take time to write and re-write to get them just right.
Besides polishing his comic material, Hall learned over his nine-year career how to be natural and confident on stage, which is something that takes all comedians a while to master.
“That confident ability to deliver a joke or and have that crowd control just comes with time. I didn’t really find my voice until four or five years into me doing stand up,” he said.
From that earlier time in his career, Hall knows what it feels like to totally bomb on stage and let down an audience that came to have a good time.
“The bad part is when you’re too green and don’t have that much stage material,” Hall said. “You can tell when somebody is rattled and doesn’t know another direction to go.”
But every performance -- whether it worked or not – taught Hall something. Hall improved his stage presence by repeatedly performing stand-up routines until he sharpened his skills to their present level.
“It only comes with repetition and going out and hitting as many stages as possible,” Hall said. “A lot of veterans have told me the best teacher in stand-up comedy is stage time.”
Over his career, Hall played many places, including the Funny Bone comedy club in Baton Rouge, where he recorded his “Y’all Stupid” album. He plans to re-release the album with his “Hallarious” comedy concert video.
In addition to his live stand-up comedy performances, Hall and fellow comedian Martin Holmes have made online video parodies, including “Black CSI Miami,” which mocks slick cop shows.
While he has ambitions to go as far as he can in movies and TV like his comedy heroes Eddie Murphy, Robin Williams and Chris Rock, Hall said he considers getting laughs for a living a success story.
“Success to me is doing stand-up comedy full time and making that my career, however that may be, wherever that may lead,” Hall said, “That’s my idea of success. As long as I’ve got that in my head, I can continue doing what I’m doing.”
See Howard Hall’s “Hallarious” comedy concert taped live at the Independence Theater on Dec. 8 at 8 p.m. Visit http://howardhallcomedy.com to buy $5 tickets (pre-event) or pay $10 at the door.