Dulcé Sloan had no interest in telling jokes for a living
The stand-up comedian on finally embracing her funny side, why she’ll never be impressed by New York City, and her first paying comedy gig
You won’t hear any life-changing epiphanies on the moment Dulcé Sloan knew she would become a comedian. In fact, the Atlanta native had no interest in telling jokes for a living.
“I only got into comedy because a friend of mine worked at the Funny Farm, which was a comedy club in Atlanta,” said Sloan.
A few gigs at local Atlanta clubs helped sharpen her stand-up craft, including a second-place finish at Laughing Skull Lounge’s annual showcase. Her break came when she took home the top prize at the StandUp NBC comedy showcase in 2015.
Two years later, she joined The Daily Show with Trevor Noah as a correspondent. Sloan has become a favorite since joining. With her hilarious and all-too-real segments breaking down everything from why older black women support 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden to how to curb racist 911 calls.
She even had her own special on Comedy Central (which premiered Oct. 25) and is working on an animated series from the creators of the Fox hit Bob’s Burgers.
“You know, a lot of times people don’t hear from women who look like me,” said Sloan. “I want for people to see me as an actual person as opposed to a caricature.”
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
One of the funniest moments in your Comedy Central special is a riff about your unabashed hatred of New York.
I’ve heard about New York my whole life, especially as a theater kid. When I got there, I felt like I was in Disneyland but the rides were turned off. People were like, ‘Oh, the city is so vibrant!’ And I was like, ‘It stinks and it’s hot.’ People are always shocked when I tell them I don’t like New York. I didn’t say I was a Communist or that I think the earth is flat.
You majored in theater. What’s your go-to play or musical?
For my college thesis, I did Fires in the Mirror by Anna Deavere Smith. It’s a one-woman show and she does 25 characters. One of them was Al Sharpton, another one of them was an Australian Hasidic rabbi. I look for stuff that I can connect to.
You were hesitant about doing stand-up comedy.
I had no desire to do comedy. I met Big Kenney, Quincy Bonds and a couple of other Atlanta comedians. They were telling me I should be a comedian. So, Kenney had a sketch comedy class, and I wasn’t working at the time. My mother was the one that told me I should take the class.
Mom even knew.
My mother has been supportive my entire life. She was a performer. My uncle has been a professional singer since the early ’80s, so performing was in my family.
What was your first paying comedy gig?
It was at sports bar in front of country-a– Georgia black folk, a fun combination. I had been doing stand-up comedy for a month, so three minutes into my set these people get up and leave from their table. And I just started riffing off the people that was leaving. You know, just pulling stuff out of the moment of the room. And after I was done, the promoter said, ‘You really did your thing out there.’ He paid me 25 bucks.