In 2017, my wife and I became comedian groupies (is that a thing?) for Jashad “Shaddy Feel Good” McCoy, a local comedian putting his stake down on the national comedy scene and on the cusp of becoming a household name.
We first saw him perform at the UNO Lakefront Arena, where he was the MC for the Labor Day Comedy Soulfest With Anthony Hamilton & Michael Blackson. We left that event singing our favorite songs by Hamilton, and of course we recalled and laughed at a few jokes told by Blackson, but what we really couldn’t stop talking about was how funny Shaddy Feel Good was. So we looked him up and saw he had a weekly event called Funny Friday at 59th and Bullard, and as any good groupies would do, we cleared the schedule and attended that following Friday.
Despite the headliner being well-known comedian Shuler King, who has recently blown up on social media with millions of views of his videos providing commentary on viral pictures and videos, we left that night talking about how McCoy stole the show again. Eventually, those Funny Friday shows fizzled out, but McCoy hasn’t. In fact, since then he has been on Kevin Hart’s show, “Hart of the City,” began touring around the country, and is currently working on a comedy series with Netflix. If you haven’t seen or heard about McCoy’s act, you will soon. Before his name completely blows up, I was delighted to get a chance to ask him a few questions about how he got his start in comedy, his thoughts on why New Orleanians are naturally funny, and how he sees the comedy game changing with social media.
People down here in New Orleans seem to be naturally funny. Why is that?
“It’s built in the culture. We grew up ‘ribbing’, and we do that all day since knee-high. That spills over into natural personality and people growing up knowing and embracing their faults. You know, in New Orleans, you might see a guy with no front teeth with hella confidence. People have a certain personality here, a certain confidence that transfers well into being able to make other people laugh.”
Were you always the funny guy?
“Yeah, pretty much. My brother owns a barbershop, so he has always had rotating characters coming in and out. I grew up in the shop around guys five and 10 years older, so I learned how to make them laugh. I tried to keep up with those older cats, so when I got around my peers, you know I was killing them; I was lightyears ahead of them. Then in school, I would say certain things where even the teacher had to be like, ‘Dang, that was really funny.’ On top of all of that, I was smart. I would be in geometry class clowning in the back, and the teacher would think he could call me out. He would say one of those cliché lines like, ‘If you know the material so well and have time to talk, why don’t you come up to the board and show the class.’ I’d go up to the board, work out the math problem, and the answer would be correct. The teacher felt a little played, but then he would just teach me the material beforehand, and I would teach the class some days. Everybody was already focused on me because I was clowning, so it only made sense.”
View this post on Instagram
How did you get your start in comedy?
“When I was coming up, I would always have these dreams where I was famous, but it was never clear why I was famous in the dream. I mean, I knew I was funny, but there wasn’t really a local comedy scene, so I didn’t have much to latch onto. I mostly just watched Def Comedy Jam on television, where all of the legends would perform. If you made it to Def Jam, you really made it. All of that had an impression on me.”
That was your inspiration, but when did that lead to you actually getting up on stage?
“I went to a local comedy show, and I was just watching these guys up there on stage, and I was telling my friends ‘I’m funnier than all these cats,’ and my friends were letting me know, ‘Man, I ain’t gonna lie. You are funnier than this dude.’ And you know, I’m the type to be brutally honest, so when one of the comedians at the end asked me what I thought as I was leaving, I let him know it was just okay. He then bet me that I couldn’t do better, so I came to the next show and killed it. From there, I’ve just been rolling with it.”
Do you sit down and write your material or does it just come to you throughout the day?
“I’m not really the type to sit down and write material. I can find the funny in anything, and sometimes that will get me in trouble. There isn’t anything I won’t talk about. Even if it’s a messed up subject, you have to be able to find the funny in it. I’ll be in a funeral, and it really shouldn’t be funny, but I just notice the comedic aspects of certain interactions or moments. For example, my girl and I just adopted a 4-year-old, and even during the process, I started thinking about how adopting a kid is just like buying a used car. They run your credit and tell you what kind of kid you can get….”
Wait, what? So like there are good credit and bad credit kids?
“Yes, I’m telling you, it’s just like getting a used car. What kind of kid you get depends on your credit. I was trying to explain the similarities to my girl, and she wasn’t really hearing it. But that is the way my brain works; I’m always going to see the funny side, even if I probably shouldn’t. That’s apart of comedy, though: making jokes about topics that make people wonder if they should really be laughing, but they can’t help it at the same time.”
How do you feel about some of these new-school comedians who start on social media? What are some of the flaws in starting your career on social media?
“Now, some of those people have already been comedians and been in the game for a long time, but they just caught the social media wave and ran with it. For those guys, social media is just a way for them to build their audience. But then there is the new wave of comedians who are strictly getting their start on Facebook, Instagram, and such. Because these guys have huge followings, they are being asked to headline shows, and it can be very difficult to transition directly into headlining events. Some of these guys are being thrown into shows where seasoned comedians are leading up and building up the hype, but then there is a let down when that headliner, who is pretty much completely new to the game, dies out there on stage. It’s watering down the game and people are leaving dissatisfied, and that leads to people losing trust in the idea of going to a comedy show.”
I saw you on “Hart of the City”, Kevin Hart’s show. How’d all that happen?
“So they had a competition at the Orpheum where they picked the top comedians in the area. We auditioned in front of a live audience. There were 80 comedians, and they only selected 3. When I performed, I knew I got it because I really killed it that night. It was special to get selected as one of the top comedians out of that talented group. Sometimes you can really lose faith in what you’re doing, and that can lead to comparison, and sometimes you can wonder why it’s not blowing up for you, so it was really nice to get recognized amongst that seasoned group. They then flew us out to Los Angeles and we started filming from there. Kevin came out and did his thing, and the whole thing was really great. That show has lead to so many connections and opportunities. Right now, I’m currently in the process of working with Netflix to putting together a series featuring some of the best comedians from each city.”
Where can people go to watch you perform?
“Tuesdays at Caesar’s on the Westbank and then I do some at Club Lyve on Tulane Avenue. Those are the spots that people go to on the regular. You can also check out where I’m going to be by looking on The Feel Good Company on Eventbrite.”