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Bob the Drag Queen, Mo Amer, Catherine Cohen, and more comedians reveal what shaped their comedic voice

·3 min read
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Getting laughs isn't easy — even when comedy is your chosen profession! That's why we decided to turn to several comics participating in this year's Netflix Is a Joke fest and asked them what the one thing was that helped them find their funny.

Read on to find out what Bob the Drag Queen, Carlos Santos, Mo Amer, Guy Branum, and other comedians had to say about their biggest influences and how they went about shaping their comedic voice. Or you can just watch the video above.

Naomi Ekperigin

The comedy writer and actress looks back on the show Def Comedy Jam as one of her biggest influences. "All the best Black comics, everyone we know, was on Def Jam, and it was like 'look at all of these Black people thriving,'" she says.

While Ekperigin notes she probably was too young to be watching the '90s program, which featured comedians such as Mo'Nique, Bernie Mac, and Bill Bellamy, she's grateful she did.

CINCINNATI, OHIO - OCTOBER 23: Naomi Ekperigin speaks on stage during Together Live at Taft Theatre on October 23, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Duane Prokop/Getty Images for Together Live)
CINCINNATI, OHIO - OCTOBER 23: Naomi Ekperigin speaks on stage during Together Live at Taft Theatre on October 23, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Duane Prokop/Getty Images for Together Live)

Mo Amer

Stand-up comedian Mo Amer — who is set to star in Mo, a new Netflix show he co-created with Ramy Youssef show — credits the 10,000-hour rule as the thing that helped him to shape his comedic voice. With the rise in comedic personalities popping up on the internet, Amer believes it's important for comedians hone their craft through repetition on stage. "It's really, really important to respect the art form and to go up on stage as much as possible, and to go on the road," he says. "That really truly would shape your comedic voice."

THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON -- Episode 1019 -- Pictured: Comedian Mo Amer performs on February 20, 2019 -- (Photo by: Andrew Lipovsky/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images)
THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON -- Episode 1019 -- Pictured: Comedian Mo Amer performs on February 20, 2019 -- (Photo by: Andrew Lipovsky/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images)

Solomon Georgio

For podcast host and comedy writer Solomon Georgio, it was the strong women in pop culture who helped him find his funny. "When I was a kid, it was Grace Jones for sure," he says. "Watching her on Conan the Barbarian to achieve that epic line of 'If I want a man, I take him, I grab him!' and that spoke to me so much."

AUSTIN, TEXAS - APRIL 22: Comedian Solomon Georgio performs onstage during Moontower Just For Laughs at the Paramount Theatre on April 22, 2022 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Rick Kern/Getty Images)
AUSTIN, TEXAS - APRIL 22: Comedian Solomon Georgio performs onstage during Moontower Just For Laughs at the Paramount Theatre on April 22, 2022 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Rick Kern/Getty Images)

Catherine Cohen

The Spice Girls have influenced people around the world and one of those people is comedian Catherine Cohen. "Spice Girls invented me," she says, "I'm obsessed with the Spice Girls. The glamour, the drama, the outfits, the looks, the music — they have everything. And their film Spice World was absolutely formative."

LATE NIGHT WITH SETH MEYERS -- Episode 856 -- Pictured: Musical guest Catherine Cohen performs on July 15, 2019 -- (Photo by: Lloyd Bishop/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images)
LATE NIGHT WITH SETH MEYERS -- Episode 856 -- Pictured: Musical guest Catherine Cohen performs on July 15, 2019 -- (Photo by: Lloyd Bishop/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images)

Carlos Santos

While several Latinx comedians influenced comedian and Gentefied star Carlos Santos, he singles out seeing Pablo Francisco doing stand-up on television as his first introduction to the medium.

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 04: Carlos Santos attends Spanish Aqui Presents "En Directo!" held at The Paramount on March 4, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 04: Carlos Santos attends Spanish Aqui Presents "En Directo!" held at The Paramount on March 4, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images)

Bob the Drag Queen

Whoopi Goldberg was a big deal for comedian and Drag Race winner Bob the Drag Queen. "Watching Whoopi Goldberg on film when I was young has certainly helped shape my comedic voice," he notes, adding that Chris Rock, Wanda Sykes, and Adele Givens also influenced him, in addition to watching ComicView on BET.

Bob-the-Drag---seaon-8-part-2_v1_current
Bob-the-Drag---seaon-8-part-2_v1_current

Guy Branum

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and Douglas Adams' entire series was a big deal for Guy Branum who loves dork, sci-fi comedy. "Douglas Adams just has such a sense of the absurd with the mundane that made me fall in love with that power. the ability to turn any noodley little thing, any obscure fact into a joke," he shares. "I love it."

AUSTIN, TEXAS - APRIL 24: Comedian Guy Branum performs onstage during Moontower Just For Laughs "Sarah Silverman & Friends" at ACL Live at The Moody Theatre on April 24, 2022 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Rick Kern/Getty Images)
AUSTIN, TEXAS - APRIL 24: Comedian Guy Branum performs onstage during Moontower Just For Laughs "Sarah Silverman & Friends" at ACL Live at The Moody Theatre on April 24, 2022 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Rick Kern/Getty Images)

Matteo Lane

For Matteo Lane, Joan Rivers was a huge inspiration. "I didn't realize you could use comedy as kind of a weapon," he explains. "It was so empowering to watch her on stage."

To him, there was a sweetness in the way Joan yelled at everybody during her act that resulted in the unique sense of humor that was deeply influential to the comedian.

Another influence? His aunt Cindy, who was quite the storyteller.

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 22: Matteo Lane performs onstage at the 2019 Clusterfest on June 22, 2019 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic for Clusterfest)
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 22: Matteo Lane performs onstage at the 2019 Clusterfest on June 22, 2019 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic for Clusterfest)

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