Transcripts > The Tim Ferriss Show > Jamie Foxx on Workout Routines, Success Habits, and Untold Hollywood Stories
Hello boys and girls. This is Tim Ferris and welcome to a very exciting episode of the Tim Ferris Show. At least I hope it will be because it was for me. Of course, every episode it is my job to deconstruct world class performers whether they’re in entertainment, military, chess, sports or otherwise.
How do they do what they do? What are their routines? What were their influences? Favourite books? What did they do for exercise? What is their favourite cereal? If it comes down to that. etc, etc.
And this particular episode features James Foxx. Jamie Foxx is the most consummate performer and entertainer I have ever met and I’ve met a lot of people. He blew my mind. We spent 2 and a half hours together in his studio at his home. He is an Academy Award winning actor, Grammy award winning musician and of course he cut his teeth as a famous stand up and improv comedian. He can do it all.
And in our conversation, which goes all over the place, we do cover it all; and that includes him playing live music, just off the cuff, it includes impersonations: Oprah, Mike Tyson, Kermit the Frog, Bill Cosby, Clinton, Reagan, Sammy David Jr, Ray Charles and dozens more - Morgan Freeman - it goes on and on.
But he also talks about his origin stories; so how did he, for instance, match a 1 million dollar party thrown by Puff Daddy with $400 in LA? How did he go about doing that? How did he build up his fan base? What was it like to bomb in the beginning? That’s B-O-M-B not B-A-L-M, even though I said it that way. The connections, initially, how did he connect with Kanye? How did he connect with Jay-Z, Pharrell, etc? And we get into a lot of nitty-gritty; we talk about hard times, we talk about what he learned from his grandmother; the skills he develop as a kid, what he uses as far as parenting style with his own kids, we go really deep and all over the place.
I was so excited, nervous at the same time in this interview. It was one of those times, and for those of you who have done interviews, you’ll know the feeling, where the stuff that’s coming out is so good you compulsively check the audio equipment to make sure that you’re getting it.
So, I hope to provide some bonus material on top of this and we’ve had that before, for instance, where Arnold Schwarzenegger has answered some of your questions after the interview. And to get any of that you’ll need to sign up for the newsletter. So just go to 4hourworkweek.com/friday. That is 4hourworkweek.com/friday and that’ll get you the ‘5-Bullet-Fridays’ which is just a short bullet list of all the cool things that I’ve managed to find in a given week and I sent those out on Fridays. So sign up for that and you might get some goodies related to this episode. So check out Jamie on twitter @imjamiefoxx and for all of the notes, all of the links, the resources and so on from this episode, as always, you can find it at 4hourworkweek.com/podcast with all the other episodes. And that all having been said, holy shit, out on a seat belt, have a cup of coffee and please enjoy the incredible Jamie Foxx.
Jamie, welcome to the show.
Man, thanks buddy.
I’m so excited to be here. I’m admiring your set up here.
This is crazy, right?
This is where the magic happens.
To be honest with you a lot of magic happens here. For the people that are listening, we are actually in my studio. My home studio. Now, you know studios, we’re talking about tech world, studios because of tech world a lot of them dissipated and closed doors. Because if you think about when LMFAO came around, they didn’t need studios. They did all of their music on a laptop.
Flying from here to Germany or whatever like that and just dumped it on to […] iTunes. So studios have almost become obsolete. But there is something very interesting about this studio. First, just for people that are listening, this studio, and I’ll describe it - it’s sorta plush, the carpet is grey, we’re sitting next to a grand piano, you hear the grand piano, fits a lot of places. [plays piano]. So we keep a grand piano around just to make sure that we don’t lose, you know, we don’t get too tech-y but whats interesting about it is, its actually electric. But its an electric grand piano so we still have the wood to give you that warm sound, which I think it makes a lot of sense because as music starts to progress, because of the way we record now, sometimes you lose a little bit of the heart of it, so I think within the next 20, 30, 40, 50 years it’ll be this type of music, the real sound will remain.
If that makes sense. Now the studio, when I first got the house, looked like a old porn set. It had like a old basement carpet and a couch and like a Metallica poster. And I was like what would I with this, because I needed a place to work and do music. Whats interesting now, I got a guy to change the whole place, so you can see, well take pictures and show for you guys that are listening but they did a very good job. If you look over here this is where we do the recording, there’s a booth, which is normal; but also there’s recording on both sides. We’re able to do animation, we’re able to do, if we wanna do ADR for movies.
What is ADR?
ADR is when we’re doing a movie but we’re recording the movie outside, there’s a lot of noise.
Oh you’re doing pick-up audio.
So we do pick-up audio. And most any actor/actress will tell you ADR is the worst thing in the world to do, so to be able have it here I can do my ADR here, I can do my animation here, and things like that.
And so, the studio itself, the actual brains of the studio, its a old hard drive. And the reason I kept that old hard drive, I used to have a smaller studio in a smaller house, but when I had that small studio, I wasn’t in music. I built the studio in my smaller house because I wanted to get in music. But I was from comedy and from acting and things like that. But what I would do is I would throw parties. And I would invite musical people over.
And when they would come over, like if I had Puff or Snoop or back at that time Jon B or Brain McKnight I would say “Hey man you know I’m trying to get into music, would you leave me some music in my studio”. So people would leave me like 16 bars, 24 bars.
Meaning they would record something while they were in the studio?
Yea. They would record, we would have the party going, and I’d say “Hey man lets go in the back”. You know while we were drinking and whatever like that and go and I’d say “Hey man just leave me a little something” cuz I was trying to get into music. And then I met this kid, named Breyon Prescott. We played basketball, we’d play basketball, pick up basketball games and he say “Hey man, why don’t you ever do music?” I said “Man I’m trying to get into that shit man, I just you know, don’t know how to get into it.” And then one day, I throw this big party, and the party was crazy because, as I digress a lil bit, I would follow Puffy Combs around back in the day when it was just like Puff, and JLo. And back at that time, no one could get into his parties, but the reason he would let me in is because I would carry a camera with me everywhere I go, but it was back in the day, day. Like you know, the big cannon cameras.
Wait, he would let you in because you carried a camera?
Yea because at that time I wasn’t [grandiosely] “Jamie Foxx”, I was just [humbly] “Jamie Foxx”, so I couldn’t get into all the parties, because Puff was so big like, he come to LA, we couldn’t even get into our own clubs. But I took a town car everywhere he went, jumped out of the town car one day and said “Yo Puff, can I record?
No at that point he didn’t know you at all? or he did?
He knew me, the kid that was on In Living Color, whatever like that, but it wasn’t elevated.
And plus he was having parties that were like huge, like no body’s getting in and so he saw me with the camera, he’s like “Yo let him through”. And it was back in the day, like the big cannon camera with the light and I had to change the battery. It wasn’t like how today you just got your phone in your pocket, no I had production.
But I would follow him around and one day we had this party in Philly that I recorded for him and he said “Yo money, you know how much this party costs?” I said “What?” He said “It costs 1 million dollars for this party.” I said “You paid a million dollars for a party?” He’s like “Yea, that’s how we [do].” I told Puff, I challenged him, I said “I’ll throw you a party at my house in LA which is way smaller than this situation, but I’ll spend maybe $400 and it will rival this party. Not in the scale of it, but in the type of people that are there.” And he was a lil upset, you know Puff, he always likes to win.
He’s a competitive guy.
He’s a competitive guy. So he’s like “Yo big, you playing, you out your motherfucking mind playboy, you gotta understand the essence of this party.” I was like “Alright, I get it.” And he actually came to LA a few weeks later and it was a Saturday. He said “Yo playboy make that shit happen”. So he called me at like 9 in the morning, right.
For that night?
No, in the morning. For the day. I said “No problem”. So I go into my cell phones, call, I have a list of people that since I first came to LA, the way I got into knowing everybody, I was the first social media guy without social media. I would go do a stand up comedy routine at a club, if they liked the routine, I had cue cards, back in the day, and would have people sign cue cards, sign their names, did you like the set, give me your pager number, I will text you and let you know where I would be form time to time.
You were ahead of the curve.
There were like index cards?
Index cards. So a box and it had these - I gotta get rid of this fly man, stop it for a second.
Alright so picking back up, we just took a fly break. I just have to admire this, cuz the studio is, what would you say, maybe 30 by 15 feet on the floor and then another 15 feet tall, and you said I’m gonna stop and get this fly.
This is a lot of space, and it took you about 7 seconds to track this fly down and kill it, I was very impressed
We gotta get shit done in here, we don’t have time.
So the cue cards
So I would get cue cards and like I said I would send, you know I had a list of about 800 people, had 600 women because women at that time, this was around ‘90 ‘91, women at that time loved to go to comedy clubs. So it was all the pretty girls, cuz pretty girls liked to laugh, you know, there’d be about 8-9 girls together, saying “Jamie you know so crazy”, whatever, and so I had 800 signatures, 200 guys, because they wanted to be where the girls were so I would take that list and also, say okay well now I’m having a party here, here, here, whatever whatever, if you wanna come by… So that same list along with the other people that I met as I started to grow in the business, I text and said “I’m throwing a party for Puff” and this when one Puff had [beat sounds] ‘We Ain’t Going Nowhere’ was out. And it was poppin, I mean even the LA dudes was like “Man we don’t wanna fuck with this New York dude but this shit, the song was so hot”. So, I text, I said listen “Puff is coming” and the people that I text were only cool people. Like no guys that’ll be hating, you know, the girls were pretty, not slutty, but not too tight, you know what I mean, it was just really ‘uhh’, it was ‘uhh’ ‘uhh’, and so I hit him at 12 noon I said “Yo where you at? we’re at a fevered pitch. Its going off over here in my little house”. And when he gets there, his mind is blown. And he shows up with the entourage, you know, Puff was like Gatsby and he walked in he says “Oh that’s the girl from that show, and that’s the girl on this”, I said “Yea Puff, we all live out here”. You know so all the people you see in Hollywood, I know them, they’re my friends” And so hes like “Oh shit” So the party’s is incredible, we’re playing his music through my little sound speakers, everybody’s really toasting him, and I said “Puff the people that are here are different in the - what the fuck, there’s another fly - hold on, stay right there
Two for two [Laughter]
Its crazy. And everybody’s in-tuned with him and I explained to him, I said “Puff let me explain to you who you are”. I said “These are the people who not only live in LA but I think I found the right set of people who appreciate the art as well. because what you do musically and what you doing on the artistic side is blowing our minds as well”. And I said “Therefore, look at the table. I only spent $400 on the table, there’s Kentucky Fried Chicken, I just put it in a nice bowl, there’s cola, I just put them in pitchers”, I said “So no more than $400 but people are here”. I said “Because here’s the thing - a fitted baseball cap, New York, is $58 maybe retail”, I said “But Puff on your head its priceless, we just wanna be around this fly shit right?” So we partying, and Puff is partying and there’s a dude standing on the wall, no one’s talking to him, we got a little green jump jacket on, guess who it was, it was Jay-Z. Nobody knew who he was.
Jay Z, I said “Yea I know that dude”. Missy Elliot has one room, Puff had the other room, then I go to my garage, to grab some of the drinks, and I see this tall dude and this little dude and the little guy goes “Yo B, it’s like this all time?” I said “Yea what you mean? you know the girls, and karaoke?” I said “Yea, yea man, who are you?” “Oh we’re the Neptunes. My name is Pharrell”. I said “Yea man I heard of you. yea man I like your shit.” So that’s how long ago this was
So here’s how I make the music play though. So as Puff is there, I get people to leave me different bits of music or whatever cuz I’m trying to get into the music thing. So I turn that into a show, in a sense, to where I would have different people I would toast, and try to, you know, get my music on, so one day, my boy Breyon brings in this kid, he has a back pack on, his jaw’s a lil busted, his name is Kanye West. And I say “Yo, who’s that?” “Yo that’s a new kid, Kanye West, hes coming on”. I said “Really, what do you do?” He said he raps, “Well shit, hes gotta perform that shit cuz everybody that comes to my house they gotta perform”. So I said “Yo man they say you the shit”, and he was really quiet, you know, I said “Man let me her you rap, you need your beats or whatever?” He said “I don’t need no beat”. Freestyle. Chopped everybody’s heads up, just amazing. I said “Dude, I don’t know where you come from but you are going to be one of the biggest stars ever”. And he said “I actually have a song for you”, I said “Moi? Me? A song?, like, what you mean?” He said “I got this song”. He says “I wanna record it” I said “Well you happen to be in luck, because I got a studio in the back”. So we go in the back and my studio at time, I called it the Porsche, it was a lot smaller than this, it was like nifty, it was like a layer jet
It was compact
It was compact, the sound was toasty, I had a engineers from all over the city, dial it in so that when real artists come they don’t think ‘Oh this comedian just fucking around’, some real shit. So we go in and Kanye, you know, quiet, but at the same time, he knew what he wanted, he says ‘Okay, the song goes like this - “She says she wants some Marvin Gaye, so Luther Vandross a little..” I said “I got it”. And I started going “She says she wants some Marvin Gaye” [rhythmically] and he said “What the fuck are you doing?”
I said “Well see young man, you don’t nothing about R&B, see I’m a R&B motherfucker, see I gotta give them the shit, i gotta put the shit on it”. And he goes, really politely, he says, hits the button, he says “Uh, don’t do that”’
I said “Bitch you don’t know what you talking about”. He like “uhh that ain’t how the long goes, you gotta sing it this way” so in my mind I’m thinking ‘You know what, Imma sing the shit, the song is wack, its not gonna make it’, cuz I’m thinking old school R&B, but he was teaching me the simplicity of hip hop. Which I didn’t know. I was like man whatever, cool guy, great rapper, I don’t think its gonna happen for him’. So I go off and do a bad movie, and when I come back, my boy says “You remember that song you said was wack?” I said “Yes” “It’s number 1 in the country - you, Kanye and Twista”. Kanye’s first record. And it was actually Twista’s record. I said “Oh shit!” So I’m at a club, he says “You don’t believe me?” I said “No” We’re in Miami, they played it, everyone ran to the dance floor. I grabbed the mic, said “That’s me, that’s my song, I’m on that”, you know, and so that’s how I got into the music. Now the reason the story is significant, is because the same brains that we used that same hard drive that we used, I brought it to this studio. So that hard drive is magical, because we also did, just to give you a history on the music, Breyon found that song Slow Jamz, it went number one, and then as we started getting into music there was a song that Breyon brought in and he would play these, Breyon would call me like he said “You wanna be in the music business”?, its like 2 or 3 in the morning, he called me and says “You wanna be in the music business? I said “Yea”, he said “Then wake your ass up”. I said “What?” He said “I got this song you gotta hear”. So I drove all the way from my house in the valley to this little studio. He says, “You ready motherfucker, you ready?” and Breyon always says everything 3 times: are you ready motherfucker, are you ready, are you ready? I said “Yea yea man play that shit”. So he plays it and the song was ‘Blame it on the goose, gotcha feeling lose, blame it on the a-a-a-a-a-‘. I stopped it. I said “Listen, first of all, please tell me that’s my song.” He said “Yea its your song but you gotta record it right now, because a lot of people are listening to this song and they don’t know if its a hit or not. But i know its a hit.”
We did ‘Blame it on the Alcohol’, that night. I sung it exactly like the record, which goes way in contrast to my R&B roots, cuz it was out of tune and everything like that but we wanted to sing it exactly like the demo, so we wouldn’t loose the essence of it. I don’t wanna be like [in tune and rhythmic] ‘blame it on the alcohol’ - you know, some corny shit. So we did that, and the way we broke that record is that we went from every club, we went to the strip clubs first
Went to the strip clubs first?
Strip club. We did a East Coast run, we gonna break the record in the east coast. So we went the the strip club, we went to New York, my man Peck took us around and I would go into the club and use my comedic vernacular, to get the song off. I said “Fellas, you ever been at the club, you meet a girl, you been drinking, you think she looks like Halley Berry, you get her back home, she looks like Haley Scary, you know what you gotta do, ‘blame it on the goose, gotcha feelin loose, blame it on the a-a-a-a - I’d stop the record. “Ladies you ever meet a guy, you get back to the house with him and you’ve been drinking too much and you say I usually don’t do this, but you do it anyway, you gotta ‘blame it on the a-a-a’ - so we took that and we went all the way down from New York all the way to Miami. This was like 2008. And then the song took off, and so long story longer, ‘Blame it on the Alcohol’ was done here, ‘Slow Jamz’ was done here, so this studio has that essence to it that you just, don’t throw that away, and just the building itself, Natasha Beddingfield’s been here, she’s cut, Kelly Rowland’s been here, she’s cut, The Game has been here, he’s cut, right here on this floor, and for you guys listening, I’m pointing to the floor, to the carpet, a young man by the name of Ed Sheeran slept on this carpet for like 6 weeks, trying to get his music career going. He came over from London, he heard about a live show that I do in LA, “do you like share if its possible, I have some music to elevate”, here this kid with this red hear, “You wanna do my live show?” and i’ts mostly black, but it’s really that music people, like really hard core music people, there’re very finicky, you know, people that have played for Stevie Wonder. I had Miranda Lambert one night, I had Stevie Wonder on stage, I had Babyface, I said “So this is the real shit you talking about, you can come here, i don’t care about the London and the accent, you gotta really come with it” he said “I think I’ll be okay’, I said “All right”, so I take him to my live night, 800 people, people playing, black folks sweating, just getting it, you know, people singing, they would tear American Idol up. These people haven’t necessarily made it, so all of a sudden Ed Sheeran gets up with a ukulele. Walks out on to the stage. And the brother that was next to me was like “Yo Foxx man you the fuck is this dude right here with the red hair and shit the fuckin ukelele?” I said “Man his name is Ed Sheeran, lets see what he does”. Within 12 minutes he got a standing ovation.
From that crowd. And I said “Bro, you are on your way”. So this studio has, like I said, a lot of history, and it has that magic to it as well.
Now you mentioned getting to music but it seems like from what I’ve read of you, that music in some ways came first.
Music did. Music did. When I was a kid my grandmother made sure that I took piano lessons, and you know that’s tough for a little boy in Texas. You know, laying fleur-de-lis, and Chopin and Mozart..
We’re talking about Houston
No we’re talking Terrell, Texas. And I love my city, my city was dope because it was only 12,000 people, so it was a litteraly like 12 or 15 families. So we all knew each other. But you know for a little boy playing at that time, you know, the kids didn’t understand, ‘Yo man why you doing that?’ ‘Man, my grandma want me to do this’. and so sometimes I would be belligerent and be like “Why you want me to do this?” She says “The reason I want you to learn classical piano is because I want you to be able to go across the tracks and play your music”. For people listening, across the tracks or on the other side of the tracks for southern a city was the tracks that separates the city. One side is black, the other side is white. So in our city the south side of town was where all the black folk live. The north side of town was where the white folks live. So she says I want you to be able to go on the white side of town and play classical music. So she taught me how to play classical piano, a lady by the name of Lenita Hodge taught me how to play classical piano. And I literally would go on the other side of the tracks and, you know, started playing for like wine and cheese parties and things like that. But my grandmother took it a step further too cuz she was able to see the future. Here’s a lady with a eighth grade education, she had her own business for 30 years, she had her won nursery school business, she says “When I said across the tracks, I don’t just mean in Terrell and those people over there, I mean the metaphoric, like across the track, like meaning everywhere in the world”. “Music connects you to the whole world”. So, in doing that, I would connect with people on the other side of the tracks who, in a southern city, in Terrell, you know we were a little behind the curve when it came to race relations. Lets just say it that way without, you know, I don’t wanna demonize my hometown, but there was that, who’s that little black kid? and my grandmother would be like don’t, you know… Play
Do your thing
And when I would play, you know, a lot of that broke up. I remember even like, being armed with just my music in sorta that racial setting and that sometimes. like there was a time when it was a Christmas party…
Where these paid gigs?
Yea I made like $10-$15. At that time it as a lot of money and I played for the church, so playing for the church I would make like $75 a week so if you count that other one, its like $300 a month, you know, that’s real money at 13/14. My grandmother would my grandmother would take the money though, she would put it [away, and say] ‘gimma this money’ I said “Granny what you doing with my money?” “Shit you ain’t paying no rent, you gotta give me this money”. So but I remember at that time being armed with just my music and there was a Christmas party that I was supposed to play for. Myself and my best friend who was 17, I was 16 at the time. And so here is a little bit of the racial misunderstanding shall we say. I went to play for the guy, its Christmas time, maybe its like December 17th. And we show up, its two little black kids on the white side of town and when he opes his door he sees these two little black kids, he says “Whats going on here?” I said “Well, I’m here to play for your Christmas party”, “Why are two of you here at the same time?” I said “Well, I don’t have a license, he drove me. Is there a problem?” “Yeah there’s a problem I can’t have two niggers in my house at the same time.” I’d been sorts used to the racial misunderstandings and I said well is there any way he could wait outside?…, “He said he can’t wait outside on the street. It starts at 6:30 you have to make your mind up now”. So I told my boy just ‘listen, come get me at about 8:30’ which was pretty late for kids at that time, you know. So I go in he says “Where’s your tuxedo?” I said “Well you didn’t tell me to have a tuxedo” so we go into this room which looks likes a bedroom and I’m looking like why the fuck does he have clothes hanging up in his bedroom? but there is a walk in closet. I ain’t never seen so shit like that. We’d make a split level condo out of this shit. So he gives me a Brooks Brothers jacket that had the patches on the elbows. I’m like ‘Oh shit, highfalutin’. So now I’m really playing.
But as I’m playing, the grown-ups there were doing racially misunderstanding jokes. I’ll say it like that. And my grandmother taught me something at that time she said that when you are in a setting like that, there’s a word that I want you to remember, it’s called furniture. I said “What’s that?” She said “You are part of the furniture so you don’t comment on what’s being said. You play, that’s what you’re there for, you let these people enjoy their [party]” And the lady of the house felt bad, she said “I just want to apologize to you for what they’re saying” I said “No problem” she said “Can you sing something for us?” And I was like sure, I could something for us, and this was the song that I sung:
[The Christmas Song (Chestnuts roasting on an open fire)]
Anyway, so as I’m singing I remember watching those white guys, old men, some of them faculty at my school, that had just said something, you know, probably not, I don’t think it was that they meant harm but it was..
They’d have to resign today
Yea and they look and they immediately change. They say “Wow man, that’s good, you know any other songs?” and I sat and I did about, maybe like a 6 song set. And I saw what my grandmother talked about, that music cracked them in half, they saw a different me, and then afterwards he gave me 100 bucks. And I’m like “Shit, call me nigger every day, I got $100, I’m rich!” And what was interesting was I went to give him the jacket back and he said “No I can’t wear the jacket” So there was still a little bit of residue left over but I saw what the music did and I remember when my boy showed back up I said “Listen, it was a cool gig, we got paid” I said “but I gotta get out of here” because I’m too smart for this, I need to go elsewhere and I did. I changed my major I changed the college that I was gonna go to, I was gonna go to another college in Texas and study music instead I came to California, San Diego to study music at International University and what was interesting about that was, was that, being in Texas it was Blacks, Whites and Mexicans. When I got to International University, it was 81 different countries represented at that school, all connected by music and other things: music and sports and the Music Arena at that time was high-end strip child prodigies from Japan, child prodigies from China. I had a Russian music teacher and a Yugoslavian music theory teacher so it was really across the tracks but because of that and because of Estelle Talley and Mark Talley picking me up every weekend to go play music, it set me on a crazy wonderful journey and so the music was first. My college was interesting, I didn’t know anything about Jewish, Palestinian, I had no idea, I was at the student center and there was this argument going on, I said “What are they arguing about?” “They are talking about the Gaza Strip” “I said what the fuck is that?” And they said “The Jewish, The Occupation, the this, the that” and I got a quick history lesson on that, I got a quick history lesson on people from Argentina or I would see a person who looked black and I would be like “What’s up my brother” [mimics response in French] and I’d be like “Oh shit where are you from?” “I’m from Paris” What the fuck, they got black people [in Paris]. So, that music gave me not only an opportunity to share but an opportunity to be educated about other people, because we study Texas history and in studying Texas history it was interesting. Like if it didn’t happen in Texas it, didn’t happen. So when you look at, this is just a side bar but when you think about politics and what people know and don’t know in politics and what they know about across the sea or what they know about even on the next block or what they know about what’s different in Texas from New York, the reason politics is so interesting is because the people don’t necessarily have educations of other people. Which is why I think that once we start opening up a little more and traveling a little more, because what is it, less than how many percent, less than 5% of Americans have passports and things
Its a small number yea
So anyway that music took me, took me everywhere
Your grandmother seems like a very wise woman and I’ve heard you describe her, I’m sure, I’m paraphrasing but that she was the bow and you were the arrow and she pointed you in different directions. I’m wondering what other lessons did you learn from your grandmother?
My grandmother taught me confidence as well. My grandma was a very confident person. And very smart and just, how would you say, just naturally intelligent. She was a Taurus, you know what I’m saying, natural, it wasn’t some[one] that was super educated or anything like that
It was like an innate..
Well I’ll give you a hint of my grandmother. I’m 10 years old maybe, I think I’m in the fifth grade, ‘76. President Carter. The preacher started preaching about homosexuality. Now I don’t know what it is, I’m 10 or 8 or whatever. So he saying ‘God made Adam and Eve, God didn’t make Adam and Steve’. So people was like, you know, its southern, its Texas ‘“Amen”. My grandmother stood up and said “You stop that”. And the whole church stopped. “What’s that Miss Talley?” “You stop that”. Now her words, what she said next was very interesting. “Let me tell you something; I’ve had this nursery school for 30 years. And I wanna let all ya’ll know, that God makes sissies too”. And the whole place went “What?” she said “These little boys that I’ve watched since they could walk, they play by different music, and you stop that because you’re making it hard for them to navigate”. [She] sits down, he goes to another subject, eventually he leaves the church, but I found that very interesting. At that time I didn’t know what that meant, until I got to be about 18, I was like “Granny what as you talking about?” She says “Yea its true, you know, I’ve had this nursery school I see the difference in the kids and so therefore I would have these kids come to me after they graduated from high school, gone to college or tried to have a family, although they were living with this’. So she was the type of woman who had natural intelligence. I said “Well granny, well what does it say about religion, doesn’t it say that its wrong?” Being a kid from Texas, it’s a natural question. She said “You know what I think about it? You have to open up the umbrella of religion”. I said “What do you mean?” She said “If you only open up the umbrella half way, only a few people can stand under it”. She said “You have to open the umbrella all the way through, so God’s children can stand under it, because no one here did not get made by anybody else or anything else but God”. So that was my grandmother.
The move in church, that’s a very bold move
Very bold, very bold. But my grandmother raised those people in church. See I was adopted, at 7 months, so she was much older, […] so all of the kids that grew up or all of the grownups that were there
She was the matriarch
During the year, it was a school. But then during the summer, you dropped the kids off at my grandmother’s house and just let her keep [them]. So she was very powerful in that sense and then when I did finally make it, it was wonderful to tell my grandmother come live with me. So my grandmother is living with me, so we go to the clubs. My grandmother was like 83 at the time, she would go to the clubs, we would hang out, This is in LA. I had a little apartment, split level condo, remember when that was hype? the split level condo. So I had a loft, oh yea, Ricardo he’s only 19 he doesn’t what I’m talking about but I had a loft, and we were living in that loft, and then we eventually rented a house, me and my grandma.
And I didn’t know I was a mamma’s boy. We’d go to the parties, come back, have an after party at the crib, and then one of my homies came said “Yo uh, yo Foxx, there’s an older lady out here in the front room”. I said “Yea that my grandma, whats up?”. “Oh yea, of course”. And then you’d hear a bottle of champagne pop “What we doin? We getting it or what?!” you know, so, she was amazing man. So you my grandmother, we’d party, hang, have a good time and she was 83 years old and then the big thing was ‘Granny, you know its Christmas time why don’t we do something we ain’t never done’ Your son making a little money, why don’t we go to Hawaii for Christmas cuz I got some friends from Hawaii. “Yea well lets get it going, gas up the plane” so we fly to Hawaii one year, and it was amazing being able to show my grandmother another side of the world, it even made the papers in Terrell, Texas. Estelle Talley, on her way to Hawaii, you know.
Just a fun time. I remember we’re having a good time, going everywhere and she had a boyfriend at the same time who was 83 too. And he was on the land side and so its like December 23rd and we called her boyfriend just so they could talk. So she’s on the phone “Yea having a good time, the weathers nice, sunny, food is good, I got my own seasonings, well I’ll tell you something, don’t let me comeback there and catch you with no young girls, cuz I don’t play that, you hear me?’
So she hangs up, there’s like 3-4 families there, we are having a little Christmas party and we all go “Granny what, when you said the young girls, what are you talking about” “You know 60, 65. I don’t want him to mess with no 65 years old, shit I’m 83 no sir I cant no 65 year old woman all in my shit”.
So she would just a great person, tough girl, I remember there was some situations were I did make it and some people in my family felt like I should give them all of my money. This lady walks in, we are in my apartment, she comes in and says ‘My rich cousin’. I didn’t even recognize her cuz I’d only seen her maybe once or twice growing up. So anyway, she gets around to it she says “I need $10,000 for a kidney”. I was like, “whose kidney?” “Well I need kidney surgery”, something like that. So if you give me the cash I can take it and get the kidney. I said well don’t you, if its a situation of medical, I know some doctors, maybe they can help you. “Oh I would prefer the $10,000”. “Okay, I’ll hit you up”. I didn’t call back, I was like, so that became a problem for her. She called me one day and left on the answering machine, young fellow, when’s the last time you seen the answering machine? So I’m checking my answering machine and she leaves this scathing message “Well you know what I didn’t the money from you. And that’s fine cuz you part of this family anyway, you was adopted, nobody wanted you anyway” That’s what this lady is saying to me.
I was like “what the hell?’ so I let my grandma hear “run that back”, played it, “whats the number?” and she called and I remember listening, now I’m grown, you know I’m 22, so I’m grown, and i hear she stuck up for me. She said “let me explain something to you boy” and i could hear “I got he boy when he was 7 months old, and everybody wanted him. I wanted him, everybody. He may not be blood, but he’s our family”. And it was just incredible thing. My grandmother was absolutely amazing. I think you need people like that. The way you talk about that bow, that sword, that’s my reference to raising kids.
And I got my own kids now. When you raise your kids you are the bow and arrow. You are the bow they are the arrow and you just try to aim them in the best direction that you can and hopefully your aim isn’t too off. And that’s what she did form me and she watched my whole career. All the way up until getting nominated for an Oscar. For all of the things that she taught me came into play. When we did, Ray Charles, that was an opportunity to play the piano, to be funny, to do an impersonation, and of these are what my grandmother championed so when we embarked upon that film, I was like oh man, granny was right, this is taking me on the other side of the tracks. And even when I got a chance to meet Ray Charles, that’s my grandmother’s era, and she didn’t get the chance to meet him because at that time, she couldn’t move, bed-ridden a little bit. But being around older people, you know I understood that muscle too cuz I was always the young kid, with the old parents, so meeting Ray Charles was like seeing my grandfather or one of my uncles. When I met Ray and we were trying to do Ray Charles the movie, and Taylor Hackford who was the director says “I’ve been wanting to do this movie for 25 years, I’m glad you came along cuz its the right time” And I remember meeting Ray Charles, walking out of his studio, clean, looked almost like he could see, you know? and I said “Mr Charles, I’m trying to do the best I can to do your movie, your bio[pic]” he said “You know what, if you can play the blues man shit, you can do anything man” I said “What do you mean?” He said “can you play the blues, shit, that’s what I’m asking” I said “I guess so” He said “Well then come on” and we go and we sit down and all of the hard work that my grandmother put in, all of the days my grandfather drove me to piano lessons, here I am sitting with a legend and we were like … (playing piano) and I was like playing the blues with Ray Charles and as we were playing, I was like ‘I’m on cloud 9’ then he moved into some intricate some like Theoleous Monk, [scatting] I was “Oh shit, I gotta catch up”, and I hit a wrong note. And he stopped, cuz his ears are very sensitive. “And now why the hell would you do that?” I said “What is that?” “Why you hit the note like that, that’s a wrong note man shit”. I said “well I’m sorry Mr Charles” “Let me tell you something buddy: the notes are right underneath your fingers baby, you just gotta take the time to play the right notes, that’s life”. So that was a lesson, that the notes are right underneath your fingers, metaphorically, so now you gotta cross the tracks, that someone like Estelle Talley teaches you, when you got Ray Charles explaining now that you’re across the tracks, what notes are you going to play? And so now we go on and we do that movie which we didn’t know what we were doing. We didn’t know that it was going to be like that. It wasn’t a studio film, it was independent. And doing the process of the movie was interesting. My background, being from Terrell, knowing how to mimic, but I needed to know how to do Ray Charles like the young Ray Charles, so I got in touch with Quincy Jones, and for all of you young ones out there listening, make sure you google Quincy Jones and Ray Charles, and the reason why you should do that is because they were the building blocks of our music today. Which started in Seattle, Washington, which was interesting. Seattle at that time was a big hub for jazz music, jazz musicians and that’s where Ray Charles migrated to, running into a young Quincy Jones. Ray Charles actually taught Quincy Jones everything he knows about music. Who is Quincy Jones for you young ones listening? Quincy Jones was the one who did, he played, he was the band director for Frank Sinatra, all of the those guys, the Ratpack, all of those guys. He was the band leader. When I met Quincy Jones, he talks about that “Yea man, shit man, music man, these young cats don’t know music anymore man. Shit, they’d play in the key of Q if they would man, shit. Man, when I played baby, Franky baby” I said “Mr. Jones who’s Franky?” “Man, shit! Frank Sinatra man. Shit I was young man. The band we were playing in Monaco man we didn’t even have time to rehearse baby. We’re just there playing waiting on fucking Frank to come in”. I said “What do you mean?” He says “We had to play this show in Monaco, Frank had never met me, knew that I was thing young kid who was great with the music, I become the band leader, we don’t get the chance to rehearse, Monaco, where there’s billionaires and millionaires in the audience, waiting on this incredible show” and he says “We’re just vamping man, shit and Frank doesn’t even come out on the stage, he comes through the audience man, shit, talking and shit. I’m like man, I’m nervous as hell”. And then Frank got up, he said he sung, the band was tight, and Frank Sinatra knighted him, like gave him a ring that as like, pretty significant, if you know what I mean and if you guys google Frank Sinatra you’ll understand what I mean about the La Cosa Nostra. And so, here I am now talking to Quincy Jones and hes telling me about Ray Charles, he says “Yea man, Ray taught me everything man, shit man, he taught me how to dress, we were wearing zoot suites and shit and he had nice suites, tailor-made” and I said “Why did he have nice suits?” “Shit man, he was always around women man and woman would tell him those zoot suites are ugly, cuz he couldn’t see so the women would tell him how to dress”. And I said “Well Mr Jones I’m trying to figure out how to do Ray Charles but I need the young Ray Charles” right, and he says “Well man, shit,let me look” And he gives me a cassette tape. To you young ones out there a cassette tape back in the day was away for us to … I’m just messing with you.. to share music. And I said “Okay” I got the cassette tape, I had to go rent a truck from Hertz rent a car because there was no cassette players in the cars. So I popped the cassette tape in and on the tape was “Hi, This is Donna Shore form the Donna Shore show, we have two very wonderful musicians here today: Mr Kenny Rogers, and Mr Ray Charles.” And you hear the young Ray “You know what Donna I’m just so happy to be here, so happy to hear that you know my music and man this is just great” and it was the young Ray. When I was talking to the older Ray, I didn’t want to grab those bad old habits, I wanted to play him right, so I hear Ray talking young on the tape and then all of a sudden, he’s in charge of the interview and hes doing his thing and then all of a sudden she says “Talk about the drugs Ray”. And then he started to stutter, “Well you know, I” So I use that as DNA to play the iconic character Ray Charles that when he’s talking about his music hes fully in control, when hes confronted with real life things, why are you doing drugs? why don’t you take care of your family? Why you cheating on your wife? He would stutter. And I say this long story to say this: after the success of Ray Charles, after bring nominated for an Oscar, my grandmother got a chance to witness all of that. She got a chance to see the bearing of the fruits of her labor. For her young kid, coming from that racial misunderstood town which I love and wouldn’t change anything anything in the world when it comes to Terrell, Texas. Her saying get across the tracks, we’ve now gone across the tracks, we’ve gone all over the world and now here we are and think about whats the odds of a kid who lives in a town, population 12,240 people form Terrell, to go all the way to Los Angles California. Meet Puff, meet all these different people and then actually have an opportunity to win an Oscar. And you’re grandmother gets a chance to see that. Now October 23, 2004 she passed away, which, if you know the actual awards was 2005. in February but she got a chance to hang in there and feel it. So my grandmother was just like the blueprint.
How do you think of teaching confidence with your own kids? Because you’re clearly a very confident guy. Grandmother was [a] very bold very strong woman, how do you try to teach that to your kids?
Well what you do with your kids is, like, when I see my oldest Corinne, I would always ask them “What’s on the other side of fear?” and they’d be like “Huh?” I said “What’s on the other side of it?” Meaning like if I stood in the middle of this floor and just yelled ‘ahhh’, whats on the other side of that? or if stood in the middle of the floor and went (weakly) ‘ahhh’, whats on the other side of it? meaning like either you do or you don’t but there’s no penalty, there’s no reward, you just be yourself. So I taught them whats on the other side of fear? Nothing.
People are nervous for no reason, because there’s nothing, no ones gonna come out and slap you or beat you up and that, you’re just nervous. So why even have that? and so, that’s a building block that they can use, not just about the entertainment business, because that’s the other thing, you don’t have to be an entertainer, but whatever you go into, whether you’re a lawyer, school teacher or tech guy or girl or whatever it is, there’s nothing on the other side of it.
Whats on the other side of fear?
I like it
So its like, when people say I’m so nervous, what are you nervous about?
It reminds me of this quote, that I sort of recite to myself, and I’m gonna paraphrase it. Its from Mark Twain, it says ‘I’m an old man who’s known a great many troubles, most of which never happened
Because all of it is in our head. When we talk about fear or lack of being aggressive, or whatever, its in your head. So not everybody is gonna be super aggressive, but the one thing that you can deal with is a person’s fears. So if you start early, if they are a shy person, they just won’t be as shy if you keep instilling those things so…
The mimicry, the impersonation, how early did that start?
As a kid
Because I read, and you can tell me if this is off or not because you never know with the internet. Your second grade teacher used to reward the class if they behaved by letting you tell jokes?
Yea. They would let me tell jokes cuz I would get in trouble. Miss Reeves, I think it was my third grade teacher, Miss Reeves. Cuz I would like talk, but I was very smart. My grandmother had a school, I lived in a school so I already, from 1st to 8th grade, I already knew all of the lesson plans. So a kid like me sitting there with nothing to do, Imma get in trouble. So she would let me do stand up comedy on Fridays. For the kids and all I would do was my grandmother would watch Johnny Carson and the only room that had the television was my room. So I had to watch Johnny Carson too as a kid. So [at] 7, 8, 9 years old I would just take the jokes that were being told by David Brenner, Steve Allen, and a young David Letterman, who else would be on there, Franklin The Jive, you guys when you’re hearing this, go Google these guys, young Jay Leno, these were like Richard Pryor so I would take those jokes and tell them in school
Please tell me you used Richard Pyror on Fridays
He was on Prime-time he couldn’t really say anything on prime-time, he was clean but, like Rich Little and Google Rich Little because Rich Little was the first person that I saw do impersonations so this had to be like ‘76 1976, so its like 5th grade for me, the joke was, Jimmy Carter the President at the time singing You Light Up My Life and at that time his brother was getting caught drunk all the time, Billy, so it was Jimmy Carter going “so many nights me and my brother Billy would sit by the window waiting for somebody to bring some peanuts and beer” and so that was my first attempt at an impersonation and then it went on from there to do Richard Nixon “I am not a crook” so you know what else would I do
Reagan came later but Reagan came like in the eighties when I was actually 21 and I was the first black guy doing the Reagan impersonation, probably the only one, so I would be on stage doing my impersonations and going to Ronald Reagan and people were like “no there ain’t no way” “Well, as a matter of fact, I well oh no there you go again” and so that being young and that teacher Miss. Reeves and Miss Doucette and all those teachers, Miss Cole allowing me to be myself helped me hone in on what I was going to be doing for the rest of my life. Literally my friends from Terrell go like ‘How the fuck did you do that? This is the shit you used to do
[Laughter] You did your third grade act.
… in the cafeteria. it was literally the same shit I’d be like ‘Wow millions of people are watching this shit and it’s the same thing’ and then as people came up the impersonation you know Cosby is back in, to do the Cosby impersonation is back in. Don’t know how I’m going to do it but there’s definitely a Cosby joke somewhere I don’t know where but I used to do Cosby “because of the people and the Jell-O pudding and the filth and the and the flying and the farting” which Eddie Murphy did but people didn’t know didn’t know Cosby’s real speaking voice is not like that
What is his speaking voice like?
The speaking voice was different because I remember I got in trouble with Mr. Cosby because he felt that the the movie Booty Call was not cool and he said some things in the Press about us and I was a young comedian like ‘damn man I’m just trying to work’ but his speaking voice when he was on the phone “Well see the thing is when you do something like Booty Call, what is a booty call? why are you calling that a booty [call]?’ you know whatever but it was so… and then you’d find out that that was his schtick ‘because the kids and the child and the people’ so I know that will come up, I’ll find a joke for Cosby that will be a little ‘uh’ but it’s going to be funny and shit and now Doc Rivers from the Clippers “Hey you know you know it it’s not the blanks fault next year we’re gonna we gotta do better” so I’m working on the new impersonations and the way you do an impersonation is usually musical. Like say Kermit the Frog so Kermit the Frog is ‘Urh’ or you do your (higher pitch) ‘uhr’ you know what I’m saying it’s finding [plays piano] the actual voice tone is in the key of G for permit the “Frog Kermit the Frog here with the Sesame Street” so and then once you get the voice tone it’s how you manipulate your mouth to get the sound. So its sorta constricting and then it’s asking the character to come sit with you [mimics Kermit the Frog] and at the same time Kermit the Frog who sounds like who else sounds like that Sammy Davis Jr. a little bit “Well because you know man,” so now Kermit the Frog is one way but if you just twist your voice or twist your mouth to the right and grab some swag now you’re Sammy Davis Jr. [transitions from Kermit the Frog to Sammy Davis Jr] you know so that’s the mechanical way of getting to the improv
So you would start with not the visual because obviously for the people listening they can’t see this but the mannerisms also very much on point
Mannerisms are important because like I do a LeBron James impersonation, which is really not a voice it’s more of his mannerisms it’s the jaw it’s the look “Let’s go roll you know the game of basketball you know we just tried to you know” its that it’s right after playing you know when he comes off the court they catch him he still tired “You know the game of basketball we just trying to do the best” so it’s the mannerisms so people will appreciate the mannerisms first so
The physicality of it
The physicality of someone like LeBron or different personalities bring about different things
When you look back on what Ray said to you, if you can play the blues you can do anything. If you had to translate that for your own kids? Let’s just say if you can do x, fill in the blank, you can do anything, what would you put in that blank?
I would say this. It’s a couple of things when you have kids who grow up around Hollywood. If you can stay motivated and if you can not do some things, not be jaded, not be entitled, not be spoiled, not do drugs, not get into all the bad stuff because, you know, our kids live in an elevated space. So what I try to do and Ricardo sees this all the time and so does Justine, we don’t play around when it comes to discipline, as well like when the kids are here and all of her friends, the size of the house means nothing. If you don’t do the right thing, you’re going to get in major trouble and you going to get in Texas trouble, you know what I’m saying, like how my grandmother discipline, so it’s a different thing when it comes to kids that are living a privileged situation. Luckily my daughters are very very, especially my oldest daughter, my oldest daughter never even asks me for money, never ask for the new car, no never ask for a plane ticket, ride Coach, so I think she really really has a great head on her shoulders. I remember I got this Rolls Royce and I went to go pick my daughter up in the Rolls Royce thinking that’s going to be nice ‘Pick her up in the Rolls Royce, drop the top’ so I’m writing going to pick her up at school she won’t get in the car
I said’ baby what are you doing? Look at the top, it comes off’. She says ‘Dad I’m not getting in the car’, calls her mother can you come pick me up? I said “what are you doing?” “I’m not getting in the car. You goofy. You made me look stupid in front of my friends” I was like uh and so she’s really… and that’s something she really got on the inside. My youngest daughter is a little different. She wants to ride in the Rolls Royce all the time ‘daddy let’s take this car’ we riding down Sunset Boulevard she playing Rhianna with her shades on so she’s a little different in that sense and I remember telling her “Annalise we can’t ride around in LA, in the limo, in the Rolls Royce with the top down, we’re on our way to the Soho House and they are sort of finicky up there” So I got to at least put the top up she’s like “why” I said “listen let me ride until I get to Soho house and then I’ll put the top up as we get there” “Okay” so we ride up in the Soho House we are in the Valley and all these celebs and people coming out and she yells out” Jamie Foxx and the house” I’m like “hell no” I’m trying to pull the top down and all the other celebrities are like ‘look at this motherfucker being arrogant and shit, he’s so gaudy and he’s got his kid announcing him” so you know it’s a lot of things you can tell your kids man and you just have to hope for the best and be there
What is your birth name?
Eric Marlon Bishop.
And how did Eric Marlon Bishop become Jamie Foxx?
Man, I was Eric Marlon Bishop, graduated high school ‘86 I get out to California and I started doing… I’m in college and doing the music but I would go on these open mic nights for comedy. So I’d go I do really well, I get like a standing ovation and then I came to LA got to standing ovation, and then when I came back every week I wouldn’t get called up. I was like damn what’s going on, but what I noticed was
How does the open mic work?
What you do if you put your name up on a list and they pick from the list and they say okay these are the people that are going up. So I went up, had a great set and then for the next 3 or 4 weeks they never called my name. I said “Yo Money, you see my name he said yeah you were on the list but we got other people’ but I found out that the comedians we’re actually running the list. So the comedians that had been here for a while was like ‘we don’t want him on here cuz he’s showing us up’ so I was like ‘fuck’. So I ended up going to this ‘Evening at The Improv’. The Improv like in Santa Monica and so I had never been there and so I wouldn’t know the set. 100 guys would show up, [about] five girls with show up. The five girls would always get on the show because they needed to break up the monotony so I said hmm, I got something. So I wrote down on the list all of these unisex names ‘Stacey Green’ ‘Tracy Brown’ ‘Jamie Foxx’ and now the guy chooses from the list he says “Is Jamie Foxx is she here? she’ll be first ‘no my niggah that’s me’ ‘okay, alright well you are going up, you’re the fresh meat I said what is that? They were shooting Evening at The Improv’, this old comedy show back in the day he said you’ll be the guy that will just throw up to see if you get a laugh or two, you know, this is going to be a tough crowd
Fresh meat I said ‘cool’ so I go up in between two other guys, get a standing ovation. People were like ‘who’s the kid is he on the show? ‘No he’s a fresh meat, he’s an amateur’ So then they started yelling my name “Yo Jamie, Yo Jamie, Hey Jamie’ but I’m not used to hearing it so now they think I’m arrogant ‘this motherfucker thinks he’s the shit, he’s not even listening to us’. So I took that name and it stuck and then I started building everything off of it. Back in the day people used to wear jackets and put names on the jacket so I had ‘Sly as a…’ ‘Come into the Foxhole’ things like that. Imma grab a little something to eat.
Yeah sure thing
Okay we are back after a little food break and we talked about some of your comedy, starting a third grade maybe earlier, we talked about your grandmother and what I’d like to talk about a little bit more is Fear. So you mentioned ‘on the other side of fear’ by the time you got to doing the open mics getting up on stage where you nervous were you afraid or were you over it?
I looked at it first. I went to open mic nights and saw the guys I was like ‘man these dudes is terrible’ and so when you go on stage and your whole life is not ‘I want to be a comedian’ I went on stage like ‘Yo I’m just fucking around’ So if I hit cool, if I miss, I wasn’t trying to be that anyway, you know, I wanted to do more music but when I went on stage it was just like natural. I belong here, so I think that’s the thing to when it comes to entertainment, there’s a certain like ‘oh I belong here, this is what I’m supposed to do, how successful I will be or won’t be that’s something out of my hands, but I do know that this is where I belong’ and that’s with anything and anybody like when you can sort of listen to that voice in your head or what’s in your heart and you get a chance to do something that you really feel like you’re supposed to do - that alleviates a lot of the fear. Now if it was a surgeon or a lawyer or something that I’m not versed in or something like that then maybe there will be more fear but with this you don’t have or I don’t have those types of fears and as I’ve gotten older in the business I’ve sort of simplified things. Like now I just execute. I have to ask people like Ricardo, Justine, Justin what should I execute so this fear of a celebrity or an artist now is how do I get my art off in a world where it’s the social media-driven sort of ridicule and criticism. Like I always said like this a person like Prince or person like Michael Jackson could have never survived in today’s world because in the day of the internet and where everybody has a voice, most of the voices are hateful voices or not understanding. Like if you saw Prince with a guitar and a bandanna and the way he dressed people would meme the shit out of it, you know, so now it’s not a fear it’s just a question that I have to always ask them like ‘yo, is this the cool shit to do or not the cool shit to do? So what I learned is when it’s just executing something, when its either executing a song or executing a joke or executing things within entertainment, it’s cool, but then you have to wonder like how do you get it off how do you… even now when you talk about the Bill Cosby joke, back in the day we’d just tell the joke, now you gotta be like, okay now I gotta tell the joke in a way that is still funny, it still keeps the bite on it, but you know. So those are the different [things] for like me as a Entertainer where there is not fear it’s just like questions
Makes sense, that does make sense, the considerations. Have you bombed on stage before?
Two things: when you are bombing what is your internal dialogue or response and secondly..
Internal dialogue is boy you stink!
Boy you bombing. It wasn’t a lot I only bomb like twice
Do you remember your first?
Yeah yeah. I did this show for this guy named Latimore, old blues singer, I’m 21
What was his name?
Latimore, sounds like Voldemort
Yea, Latimore. So this guy saw me at this other club saying ‘hey man you know Latimore’s performing around the corner why don’t you go open for him’ I said ‘whatever’ I said ‘how much it pay? he said It pays $50 I said I’m there 50 bucks, I need it. So this is like ‘89 ‘90 so I get there and I don’t know who Lattimore is I just know it’s a lot of older people I mean like old old, I’m like ‘oh shit where the people at?’ these are the people so I go up and the setting was different. It was like the chairs we’re way in the back, it was like a banquet setting and it’s in the middle of the hood, Crenshaw, and the tables were like here from to where like 20, 30 feet away from me so I didn’t have that
Oh you didn’t have that proximity
Yeah and I hadn’t been doing stand-up comedy that long. I’d only been doing it for like a year. So I had if I’m funny I got an hour, if I’m not funny it’s about 10 minutes worth of shit cuz I would just tell a joke and keep spinning it and spinning it. So my first joke didn’t get, my second job didn’t get, I said ‘shit I’m damn near out of all the jokes’ so I said well let me do this before I do anything. Let me just talk about people in the audience: so I looked and I saw this guy with this sort of suit on with a butterfly collar. Like old shit I’m a talk about him with the butterfly collar but before I could say that, I looked around everybody has a butterfly collar. This is what they really want to look like and so I just said ‘hey man I don’t know what it is you all want and pretty soon Lattimore is going to come up with you guys ready for Lattimore?’ And I said I’m going to take a break, so I get off stage and the dude that was washing the dishes takes, his apron off and says, I got it. He grabs the mic, ‘how ya’ll feel?’ and he started doing these old stock jokes. Kills. And so I said okay now I know what it is. You got to have jokes that are appropriate for your audience so I learned how to tell jokes for everybody because at first my job was geared towards women there was singing and that so what I started doing from that day on I would go to like Des Moines, Iowa, Davenport, Iowa, Boise, Idaho, where is all white, Gunnison, Colorado, all white, and I will go do like 40 minutes of all black material to see what they understood or didn’t understand so if I go to these all white places and if they understood 15 minutes I log that 15 minutes. I can go to any place where there is just all white
And you would determine if they understood it by the laughs?
I would ask, y’all know who this is? and so I would tell the joke and if in 15 minutes they understood it I could go to any place in the world that’s all white and they get it. Then I would go to my chocolate cities: Chicago, DC, Florida and do all of my political highbrow stuff and see what the black folks understood “man what the fuck you talking about, dog?” Now they understood 15 minutes, now I got 15 to 30 minutes or 45 minutes that wherever I go, no matter what age they’ll understand. No matter what gender, no matter what gender, no matter what race, they’ll understand this 45 minutes. So I had to learn to use the formula in order for you to be funny. And then once you got your comedy license, once you’ve been seen by enough people, in the highest way like if you look at the arch of a Kevin Hart. Kevin Hart takes that art, takes the same formula I’m not sure how he put it in his mind but he’s doing the same thing to where he’s going to all of these places all over the world, implementing his comedy and if they get it he’s gathering all of that so that now when people see Kevin heart no matter where in the world they’re gonna laugh. Becoming a great comedian is also having a formula going in in your head because if you paint yourself into a corner like ‘you’re only the black comedian’ or your only the Hispanic comedian or whatever it is, then hard for you to become Universal. I mean Eddie Murphy was great he had an opportunity to do Saturday Night Live to get to give it to everybody but it’s definitely a formula to not bombing.
So that was the first bomb. You mentioned two. What was the second?
The second one…
And if its hard to recall, the follow-up question is going to be what is the post-game analysis when you stepped off the stage after bombing? Say the second time
When I bombed the second time it was way later in my career when I’m working out jokes, but I don’t like to work out jokes and tell people I’m working out I like to actually do a show come and do the show
So when I…
So you don’t tell people that you’re working on material?
No, no, no. I think that’s cheating and I think you get bad habits so I do a show at Irvine California, first show I killed, they was just ready for me. I’m like oh man everything works, 2nd show bombed because I didn’t take time to dig out the jokes and that so but when you bomb you go like ‘Okay let’s go let’s check it out so’. I got a team of my guys I said ‘let’s go okay that didn’t work, you know you gotta put this in front of that you’ve got to put that behind this because that’s going to kick this off people didn’t know what that was so maybe we don’t say that’ so you know you have to when you take the L it’s not like you’re not funny
What’s the L?
Like you take the loss. When you take the loss it’s not like you’re not funny, it’s just like okay you didn’t put the shit together. So that’s the other thing too when you do become funny it’s going to be harder now to make people laugh because you set the bar so now you’ve…
Yeah so watch this: the hardest part for Chris Rock was after he had done something great in stand up. Because now you gotta top that. The hardest part for Eddie Murphy, cuz Eddie wants to come out and do stand-up is, how do I top that, in your head. The hardest part is coming for Kevin Hart in the fact that you smashed them now, you gotta know how to refresh because when do you do something like… I would look at my stuff and go like ‘I gotta quit doing that because that schtick that I’m doing, people are catching on and they’re like okay mother fucker we’ve already seen that shit’ so that that’s the other thing. You got to have great material and you gotta have you got to know how to move. Cuz like right now is the perfect time for Eddie Murphy to come out and do stand-up because it’s been so long, it’s nostalgic. It was 30 years ago so now you can catch a new young, you can still excite the older, so being a stand-up comedian is tough and you seen a lot of funny guys not be funny no more, why? Because you can’t top what you did. You look at a Jim Carrey and go ‘okay man where you at? where you at?’ you know don’t give up the funny or you look at Chris Tucker and be like motherfucker where you at? Don’t leave us because being a stand-up comedian is an interesting thing, most stand-up comedians when to look good
In what way?
They just want to look good. Think about this; when Eddie Murphy started doing stand-up he was funny but then he started doing, you know, [he would] wear the leather suits and it was the fly shit and the rings and, they what to look good. Joe Piscopo started working out, with the muscles, so as a stand-up comedian we got to be we got to be careful not to look too good because people start going with ‘the f*** are you doing? you ain’t cute niggah, we just wanna laugh’ but when we started getting into our shit that’s when we lose because I did that. Like my thing was after In Living Color, the show called In Living Color that I did, I felt like I had made it. So I wasn’t necessarily on the good-looking ship but I was on the I’ve made it jokes. I went on stage and was doing ‘rich jokes’. ‘I just got that Range Rover anybody else? it’s crazy out here you know they’re so finicky right?’ Motherfuckers is looking at me like ‘what the fuck is you talking about?’ and then I was talking about ‘the square footage in the house you know when it get a certain square feet that shit is crazy to maintain it you know’, motherfuckers is like ‘motherfucker get off the goddamn stage’. I’d lost it. I lost it and I walked offstage and all of a sudden, I walk offstage they say give it up for Jamie Foxx and I’m thinking they’re going to go crazy yeah thank you thank you so much, and I’m standing outside the club and I hear the crowd going crazy I’m like ‘What the fuck they doing? I just went off stage, what the fuck are they laughing?’ and I open the door and it was a kid, skinny little tank top on barely fit: his name was Chris Tucker. He was smashing, no one has been that funny within 15 minutes. I’ve never seen, and I watch them all, I’ve never seen a stand up where people were laughing so hard like I said ‘he’s going to kill somebody’ like when he says how was last night ‘yo I killed’ it’s going to be true so what’s going to have a fucking heart attack and I sat down and I went ‘I can’t do that’ I lost that. So I left, went to another club that night bombed, so finally I went to Old Canal where the troops were and started doing stand up over there for the troops to sorta get back. It was my Rocky moment like I was running up the steps chasing chicken and shit, trying to get back and for stand up comedian that’s the one thing you can never let go, you can never stop being a certain goofiness to you and so like when you talk about fear and when you talk about bombing, it different when you done it for a long time and when you do bomb you just got to get right back up and you got to acknowledge it ‘Okay I stunk nigga’ cuz they’re going to let you know like today’s world, you can’t do nothing in today’s world without somebody letting you know niggah you fucked that up
What are the sources or where do most of your best bits come from? When you look back at the stuff that just killed, is it, the shower, the thing that bugs you 3 times so you write it down, I mean how do you develop your material?
It was observation and you know I do jokes with that, it was sort of like observation. You know early on it was the black and white thing you know ‘black folks do it this way, white folks do it this way’ which was the way we were doing comedy in the eighties, late eighties and nineties or ‘the average white men heart beats like this [beatboxes steadily] while the average black man’s heart beats like [beatboxes rhythmically] you know ladies that’s why you have the choice, would you rather make love to somebody like this [beatboxes steadily] or would you rather make love to somebody like this [beatboxes rhythmically]? I mean that was the jokes, you know, at the time so it was observational and then it was personal like you do your observation first and then it was personal. My grandmother who was, you know, we live together and when she first heard on television what AIDS was - being old she didn’t know it exactly meant, she just knew that it was bad but she thought that since she was always on me anyway, that I’m going to catch AIDS, but it was for the wrong reasons. Like she would say ‘boy’ its 6 in the morning, ‘you go wake up, shit, half the day done gone’ I said ‘granny what you mean its 6’ ‘shit I’m not sleeping’, anybody sleep that long got to have AIDS.
I said ‘granny I don’t think that’s how you…’ ‘no I saw it on TV you sleeping too long you got AIDS’ I said ‘granny I don’t think that’s how that’s not exactly…’ and then I would use her towels, you know old southern women had them, there was a towel used and it was a nice towel so I use the nice towel “Boy I know you ain’t use my towels, you can put the AIDS on the towels don’t use everybody’s towels anybody use the towel like that got to have AIDS’ I said ‘granny I don’t think that’s how…’ you know so it was observation and this was she was actually saying so when I did that joke on stage, people was just would die, so it’s observational then its personal and then some of the comedians are great politically. I’m not necessarily a political guy my thing was the impersonation of the politicians like Bill Clinton you know ‘I did not have sex with that woman’ you know it was things like that but um it’s so many different ways and so many different guys out there that you look at and oh ‘uuu’ like when I would look at a young Chris Rock, the way he was a technician or you look at Jay Leno or you look at even Arsenio Hall when he would work out or you see Eddie working out a joke you know, or watching George Lopez who knows how to tap into the base and just really bring you into his world and stuff and so so it’s um guys like Sarah Silverman, just, I mean, a technician, Amy Schumer watching her on Saturday Night Live when she’s working her shit out a young Whoopi Goldberg at the Met there’s so many people that you can watch and see how to tap into your own skill set but I try to look at all of them and try to just not steal from them but just get inspired by it all
Who are some of the most underrated comedians who come to mind or people who you think haven’t had their due, haven’t been appreciated?
oh I wouldn’t say underrated I think they were just warriors that didn’t get that shine. There was a guy named TK Kirkland who was a warrior but he never got the shine and TK had a colorful past, you know, and he’ll let you know he said he was a crazy motherfucker but TK had jokes like ‘and why does Kermit the Frog always say hi ho hi ho? Is he a pimp? And why do fat people wear leather pants, do they think that she is cute? and why do people in wheelchairs tie their motherfucking shoes, do they think they’re going to trip?’ oh man it was just he was just amazing and his delivery he say he says ‘cuz I’m T to the motherfucking K that’s what type of motherfucker I am, don’t play me, play Lotto, you got a better chance’ and he made himself a character on stage that was just, you know, you guys are too young to know this joke but Bugle Boy jeans. Bugle Boy Jeans used to have a commercial where a girl would pull up in a car and says ‘excuse me are those Bugle Boy’ she would say this to a guy like he’s walking in the street with his jeans she says ‘excuse me are those Bugle Boy jeans you’re wearing?’ ‘why yes they are’ and she get in the car. TK had a joke man that was so funny he said man let that motherfukcer be a motherfucking black girl in the motherfucking car ‘excuse me are those Bugle Boy jeans you’re wearing? yeah, getting the car motherfucker’ I mean people would just go, people the dude had so many levels and he just he’s an underground guy who else? There was a lot of people Earthquake, amazing, what’s the dude’s name Tony Roberts, amazing, Tony Roberts: I’ve never laughed he said I have to dig out some of his jokes but he talks about, he’s very physical, but he talks about being on a plane and the plane is going down and he says he was on a plane and he thought the plane was going down so he says ‘So I wanted to fuck everybody before’ you know, while the plane’s going down. He’s fucking everybody, he fucked a nun, he was fucking everybody and then the plane leveled off. ‘Oh I’m sorry about that. My bad.’ Just hilarious and there so many man, not a lot of new comedians now that are actually as funny right? that are actually dangerous now. We don’t have dangerous comedians. The dangerous comedian that we have right now is Amy Schumer, she’s dangerous.
In what way?
Like she’ll say it, it’ll be hot-button, you know what I mean?
Have you ever heard… I saw this guy on a… actually heard of him through a guy named Evan Goldberg who’s Seth Rogen’s writing partner and so Gerard Carmichael; his special, oh my God, he’s like ‘I would never make a rape joke, this is more a rape question’ and it’s like oh my God, that struck me
Yeah, he’s funny, he’s dangerous and there’s not a lot of that anymore. There’s not a lot of dangerous comedians and I think that’s where we sort of go you know where is that danger? you know, when you see Amy Schumer you see like I saw her in the room talking about catching the dick in front of Robert De Niro like we’re at the American Film Awards or whatever like that and she’s just, I mean, hardcore dangerous which is what so Sarah Silverman started out as, you know, but Amy looks like she’s rounding the corners now really making it, making it dope for herself
If you look back at In Living Color and I watch the show and if in retrospect it seems like such a magical combination of people. So how did that group get assembled, and what made that team so special? because I mean you look at the list right? I mean you’ve got Chris Rock, you’ve got Jim Carrey, you’ve got the Wayans, you’ve got it just goes on, you got Jennifer Lopez, you go down the line it’s just an All-Star roster
Well at that time Keenan Ivory Wayans, he put it all together. And he was able to grab all of these incredibly talented people and make them get along and figure out how to squeeze all of this talent into 22 minutes of programming. Cuz it was only a 30 minute shows was only 22 minutes. But he was very disciplined in how we made jokes, you were not allowed to come in and be half-assed, he’d pull you to the side and say ‘As a black comedian you cannot be half-assed, you’re either great or you don’t exist’ so and he said don’t take the racial part of that any kind of way, that’s just what it is. Because he wrote for Eddie Murphy, he was around the greatest he says ‘Im around the greatest all the time so that’s what we’re going to do’ so when you see Damon Wayans come in and I just got hired, they had already been doing this show for a year or two years, so when I saw Damon walk in and Jim walk in it was like fucken Jurassic Park. It was like fucking T-Rex, and the way I got on the show was crazy too because, it went from the auditioning process was 100 comedians down to 50, down to 25, down to 10, down to 5. I was part of the five but I was losing. I wasn’t doing well within the Improv of it because I just wasn’t catching the right shit. And then Keenan says something incredible he said ‘well I dig this but I want to see y’all on stage doing stand-up cuz I want to have stand-up comedians. I was like oh shit, that’s my shit, that’s my shit and the other four people didn’t do stand-up there was only one other girl that did stand up, God bless her, Yvette Wilson, but the other three didn’t do stand-up so I was like oh man so that night everybody’s going to the Laugh Factory which was just starting because at that time ‘The Comedy Store’ was dominating, Laugh Factory was just… and they begged Keenan can we please have the audition at the Laugh Factory so I show up late on purpose, because I wanted to be last.
So I show up late and Tamara Ralrit, who was the producer, said ‘what are you doing you’re late oh my God why aren’t you here you were supposed to go on early you were supposed to be first Jamie oh my God you’re going to kill me’ I said ‘oh damn well can I just go last?’ ‘yes you have to because we’ve already started get in here’ whatever so going in now, this was interesting for me because I was in a white world, I was on the mainstream I did all my jokes in the hood at the time, I was the hood guy so I was like oh shit, we up town, everything is clean, ain’t no weed in the air or nothing know what I’m saying, ain’t nobody snuck no drinks in shit and it’s an audition thing so I’m watching the guys and you know God bless them, they just had never done stand-up, so I had my cassette tape and I knew what I was coming up to. I was coming up to Heavy D’s ‘in effect with More Bounce to the Ounce’ so I give the dude my type he’s like ‘what’s this?’ it’s my tape, you know, up there they didn’t go on with music they just went up by hand claps. I said no man I gotta come in with Heavy D’s in effect with More Bounce to the Ounce. I need the crowd going, so he sitting there with the tape and then Shawn Wayans gave me a great tip he walked up and said ‘Yo Jamie just go up and do your act, stop worrying about [it], don’t worry about the characters, just do your act, yo Marlon Marlon come here tell Jamie, just do your act I said ‘oh really just you my act? do my act the way I do it in the hood? yea do your act like you do in the hood’ I said ‘oh straight, cool’ so I go up they don’t play the music. I’m waiting on him like yo you got my music the dudes like, I said well I was supposed to have some music and I said if this shit goes wrong, you will actually see me working across the street at the gas station and I went into a character, man, I was in there with Keenan and all of them dog and I just did this little character, and then I went into my act and I got a standing ovation. And I remember seeing Jim Carrey, Keenan, fly girls on their feet like oh man this is great and that’s how I got on the show> And during the show I did this character called Wanda; where I said all the good-looking ladies clap your hands, now all the ugly ladies let me see you make some noise, it was quiet, ain’t that a bitch then all the ugly girls at that time ‘hey, for real though, he ain’t talking about me’ so we did this character, Keenan was like I want you to do that character on the show cuz I think that’s where are you’ll really flourish and when I did that character, that’s when everything sorted changed. Because I was trying to find my bearings on the show cuz we got on the show, but we were there for a trial basis, but when I did that character it was like playing football and I was like, the punt returner and I was the rookie and I ran it all the way back the first day, so nobody really knew who I was but they knew that this character was slamming and so that sort of gave me like my stripes, because, these guys were juggernauts. I watched Keenan, I said Keenan these jokes ain’t funny that the writers wrote. He says get on your feet, everybody get up, let’s do this, so he’s like there’s never a joke that’s not funny you just go to work and find it’ So he taught us the formula for finding the jokes and he was right every single time and so to be there watching Jim Carrey create Pet Detective on set, he’s writing Pet Detective, I said, what’s that you working on? ‘Hey man, just ah you know working on some stuff, just got some stuff I’m working on’ so what is that? ‘just a little thing called Pet Detective’ I said ‘oh it sounds funny’
And was he developing it for the show at that time or for a few months later?
For his own shit. I gotta make one phone call.
No problem. Alright so we’re back we take a little breather but to catch us up what were we just talking about?
We was talking about how nowadays it’s that you don’t get a chance to control your own narrative. Like we were talking about there is two different people: some people think that the tech world and social media things on the internet is taking us to a great place, and those people who think that its a horrible place. I spoke with a young lady who had been burned bad, bad by the Press; bad, to where she lost her job and what was interesting about her job was that, what they were scolding her about was, like me knowing her, I was like you’re not like that at all she said there’s nothing I can do, everybody thinks so. And they went through emails and through her personal emails, I don’t know what it was, but it was, just like you’re not like that at all so. When I was on the phone talking with her she was like ‘they’re saying this and that’ I was like ‘oh don’t worry about it you’re cool you’re not like that I don’t give a fuck. I don’t even need to read it, what could they possibly say? and when I looked it was a national story. I went ‘what the fuck?’ she lost her job and so like even like you’ll do something where you think that it’s, either, you’re making fun or you’re having fun but, they’ll take whatever it is you say and make it what they want it to say. Or craft it where like, if you do a joke it’s not about doing a joke anymore. ‘Jamie Foxx slams Caitlyn Jenner’ ‘Jamie Foxx trounces…’ It’s like ‘no I’m a comedian’ but everything is something that they control and it’s tough because when I say Justin Bieber what do you think? What’s the first thing that comes to mind, be honest
Hair that I’m jealous of
Yeah, but what do you think. Something about the kids who can’t get it together. When I say Chris Brown what do you think? Its something negative when I say Jennifer Aniston what do you think?
I think the cover of Rolling Stone, photograph, black and white. [Laughter]
You think Brad Pitt.
you think what?
The cover of Rolling Stone magazine black and white naked laying on a bed
Oh that’s hilarious
But the average person would think of, not what they do, but what the headline is
Right but the impression, the subliminal images they got at the checkout counter
Yeah it’s the headline. If I say Jennifer Aniston, you automatically think, because nowadays they control, we don’t control our own narrative to where it’s like, they talked about this thing with Quentin Tarantino. Which I thought was sad because usually when you see a story about Black Lives Matter or anything black, it’s usually the same black folks with a coofie who’s trying to be heard; and they’re absolutely right. There’s so much wrong going on in Black World, there’s black on black crime, then there’s the divide that is because of social media, that is going on between the police officers and black folk. Police officers, on the whole, are great folk. I know them. I know a gang of police officers but the one or two that have been caught on social media makes it look, paint the picture, that is all of them. Now granted, we’ve known for a long time that blacks and police officers have always had a divide. We’ve done music, we’ve done movies about it, we’ve done books about it, it just is the way it is, now my take on it is because I call it residue. It’s slave residue. Meaning that slavery for 300 years, you saw a person of color a certain way for three hundred years, you’ve always saw them as a slave or the criminal or something that you didn’t value. So therefore, coming out of that of course there’s going to be a divide when it comes to police when it comes to blacks, that’s always been that way. So take that off the table, but in today’s world of how do we bridge that gap… I’ve gone to Quantico, Virginia, saw what a police officer sees, I’ve talked to police officers saying how can we bridge the gap. I’ve suggested that you go get a white police officer who you think might not like black folk, get that person to go into the hood and throw a picnic for a kid who is 8, 9, 10 years old, who’s African-American, so that he can see another side of the police officers; because right now on social media or in media period… The stories that are the most salacious, were it’s the black guy being killed by a cop, it’s hard to erase those images. I’m a black man when I see that I have to react to that, because I’m like wow, that troubles me, but then I have to sit down and think ‘okay let me not think of the worst thing to say, but let me think’ because I know how media tries to make things or heighten it, how do I bring people together in spite of the headlines. Because what people don’t understand is that when you keep showing the images of the black guy being killed by the cop that does something to you
That’s like whatever you believe in. If it was a Jewish person, if it was a gay person, you cannot sit and not be bothered by that. At the same time that cop when he sees the other side of it, when they are saying all you guys ain’t shit, which is not what is really being said, most of the time it’s with the individual cop. Now the cop sees the story, in his mind ‘Now, well fuck’, well it’s a problem now. So now imagine that cop who’s watching the story driving in the street, that young black kid is watching the story, walking on the street what happens?
01:40:58] Jamie Dynamite, because we can’t get anybody responsible on the media side to say ‘let’s stop interviewing people and putting labels on them let’s interview this man and this woman but don’t say that they are a Democrat don’t say that they are a Republican don’t say that they’re a cop just have them talk’ because when you’re watching TV and you see something that you agree with, you agree with them only and you can’t hear the other person that’s the first thing. Two - like when I look at Quentin Tarantino. To demonize this guy…
Just because people might be listening to this for years, could you catch people up on the confusion
Quentin Tarantino, who is a purest when it comes to his opinions and his emotions. I could go to Quentin Tarantino and say something like ‘you know as a black person and so and so and so’, he’ll say stop doing that, stop hanging it just on black, hang it on things that are substance first, and then let it be [hanged]. So I’ve heard this guy speak, when there’s no cameras, I said ‘wow you know what, you make a lot of sense’ So Quentin Tarantino sees the Black Lives Matter campaign, sees the individual stories, 40 different people of individual stories where a police officer had killed the person who was unarmed, it touched him. The reason I thought that was impactful because you seldom see the ‘White Superstar’ go and stand with the black folk who just trying to be heard. Even high end black guys don’t go stand with a black folks that’s trying to be heard. Especially Hollywood cuz you know people in Hollywood are so scared ‘oh they won’t see my movie or they wont sing my song, If I stand up for anything of substance’. They so fucking scared. So when I saw this dude do that, I was like ‘wow, that’s great’ but then, the misinterpretation of his words, where he says ‘I’m standing here with the murdered.’ Quentin Tarantino speaks that way. If you saw any of his movies, he speaks in those terms, he says ‘I stand with the murdered’. When I see someone being murdered, I call it what it is, it’s a murder. That’s a murderer that killed this person. However the story got spun was that: ‘Quentin Tarantino is a cop hater’, he hates all cops and all cops are murderers. And I was like ‘oh here we go again’. Here’s a person who was a willing to put aside his ‘White Cushy-Hollywood-ness’, he could live on his mountain and never give a shit about anything. He came out and said man I felt something, and now, they paint it so bad and now you got the New York cop saying ‘we got something for his ass’. Now it’s a beef, that’s not what we trying to do but you can’t do anything right now, because the media story, if it’s not salacious we don’t want to report it. You feel what I’m saying?
No I do and ‘if it bleeds it leads’ right? So they put the salacious, the visually viscerally impactful stuff upfront because it gets the clicks or the purchases of the advertising. The only flip side to that, and I have a very specific question from a fan that I’d love to ask related to some of these race questions, the good news is if you can look at it in these terms is that, the necessity for new is so high that if you starve a story of oxygen it will often die on its own. Because they can’t regurgitate the same thing, if there’s no response, and so you can let it kind of died on the vine. But we were talking about this before I mean I’ve had instances and I won’t bitch and moan too long because I think the question is more interesting than my bitching, but I’ve had instances where these formally ‘Outlets of Record’, very prestigious Outlets, magazines, I’m not going to mention them by name
I know what you’re talking about
But I was interviewed and profiled by a magazine at one point. Very, very highbrow magazine there were six or seven misquotes or erroneous facts in the piece and I corrected those with the fact checker, went to press with no corrections. What do you do in that situation? When those things then end up in Wikipedia? So you have to develop a sort of strategy and this will get even more interesting once we have smart stadiums, once we have facial recognition like you see on Facebook once that’s implemented across the board it’ll get very interesting, but I’m going to go down that rabbit hole and instead I’m going to bring up a question.
But before you go into that
Here’s the problem. Back in the day, if there was a misquote and you went to that entity and said ‘hey you quoted me wrong’. Oh we’ll release a statement, saying that we miss quoted you, and it erases. The problem with today’s world once it’s out there you can’t get it back. You cannot change, because it’s going to stay there, when I punch up your name that’s the first thing that’s going to come up, or the second thing.that’s coming, you can’t get rid of it. And when you talk about the regurgitating or just letting it die, you could let it die but the problem is you have to at least once it starts, hope that you can give another side of it, that people may see a little bit [of]. What’s crazy about our society right now, no one wants to see anybody reconciled. Nobody wants to see anybody come together or say that when I think about Quentin Tarantino I spoke and said I back you as a friend and keep speaking the truth and don’t worry about the haters. Meaning speak the truth from you, not whatever the comment was, but whatever you’re saying in your truth, you say that, because you ain’t out there, you could be promoting your movie, you could be trying to make money. I know the way he thinks. I’m going to go talk to them if they are wrong in what they’re saying I’m going to tell them. But if they alright I’ll be the one that can go to the cops and say that, and now look at how it is so crazy, go ahead ask the question
I think you’re right. I think that people want gladiatorial games and we don’t have gladiatorial games, so they use the front page for gladiatorial games. But speaking of conflict resolution; so this is a question from a fan T.J.: My wife is pregnant. We’re moving to a very non diverse neighborhood. We are kind of worried on how it will go, she’s black and I’m white. What is some advice you can give to a young couple raising a child of color in today’s world?
I’ll say this about America. Let’s use America as an example. To me America is the most incredible civilization that has ever been created. Hundreds of years from now people will look at this place and marvel. There’s the bitching and complaining aisle where everybody bitches and complains about every single thing, but the one thing about America that is incredible is the Evolution of Freedom. The change. When I talk about slavery that happened, 300 years of it, look at the evolution. We come out of it, we have a black president. People are more welcoming now. We used to live in a world not too long ago where it was frowned upon, it was tough, it was this… What I would say to people like that: ‘Just live your life’. Like I live my life in places where at times there was definitely racial misunderstandings but I would talk to that person. I would make sure that person understood who I was as a person. I was not going to compromise who I am as far as a black man, but I’m also going to give you another version of it. Not the version that you necessarily see on television, the version that you see on the internet, Imma give you me and most of the time we are alike in so many instances. So when he saying, moving to that non-diverse place, it’s different man. I hate to say this but [in Cosby accent] ‘listen to the kids bro’ but when you talk about the kids; the kids today… I’m at the gym last night, 24 Hour Fitness, the kid is playing Future, white kid. When I first moved into my neighborhood years ago and I felt like I made it. I’m in the white neighborhood now I’m here, I’ve made it, and I hear NWA blasting. I look out there I see these kids they were 16 years old. So times are changing man and do you have to start giving people the benefit of the doubt that they’ll get it right. And for all those people that were here back in the old days and that are now 50 60 and 70 years old; that’s dying out. The way of thinking is dying out.You may be looking at a situation where you may have the first female president; it’s the evolution of freedom. Think about how we treated women at one point: no voice, no rights, no nothing. I’ve heard people say I’d rather have a black person tell me something to do then a woman any day, but now it’s [different]. So we are on the right path man. Love who you want to love, be where you want to be, because we are evolving. Look at the steps that gay rights took in the past few years. That’s huge. When you talking about people in the Bible Belt and how they felt so if those things are now, like my daughter taught me, like when she was 13, she’s 21 now. She was 13 and this was nine years ago and we was talking about gay rights and things like that and I asked her friends I said what do you think about it? Dad we don’t think about it. That’s you guys
That’s a good answer
She said that’s you guys, that’s old people. That’s why we’re turned off from religion sometimes, that’s why were turned off from all of these different things because old people argue about ‘where are you from’ ‘what you do’ ‘what you look like’ we don’t give a shit and so thank God for the Youth, thank God for that couple because what they’re doing is there showing the new world. And she said ‘Dad, if someone was doing something somewhere that was straight, gay, black, white or brown somewhere else, does it affect you at all? does your air change? does anything around you change because the people are living the way they want to live, as long as it up breaking the law?’ I said ‘you know what you make great points’. She went on my radio show and talked about it. So we are in a new day. What we gotta do though is, like, I was telling Justine we got to make shirts that say ‘let’s put media out of business’, We gotta quit allowing them to control the narrative. Those people like with Quentin Tarantino or the Black Lives Matter or people that speak up on something that is broke or that is wrong; you don’t give them a chance by painting them in a bad situation
Are you going to do another comedy tour?
Yeah I’m going to do another Comedy Tour but I’m going to start it organically. Like, maybe a hundred or two hundred people start it organically and sort of grow it. I got some great jokes and that’s the thing, when you’re a comedian you have to pray that the jokes will open up, so I got some great jokes that people will get and understand, and then just the stuff that’s been going on with me you know, getting older, you know not realizing you the old G. Like the young hip hop guy [saying] ‘Whats up old G?’ Damn that’s right, you know, it’s just some funny stuff, it’s some funny stuff. Any comedian would tell you that it’s hard to be funny when there’s nothing funny happening but there’s been so much funny shit happening. Like my mom who gave me up for adoption at 7 months, she comes back to live with me and as she’s living with me … the first day she walks down the steps as and says ‘I want a Phantom’. I’m like ‘Bitch of the Opera? what are you talking about?’ and she’s talking about a Phantom Rolls Royce. And it was just funny, the fact that everybody lives in my house. The fact that my mom, my dad lives here, my two sisters. My dad still dates, you know, and my mom is going on his side of the house when he has a date, just assessing, just being in the way ‘Oh hey, hi, I didn’t know you had company’. And they’ve turned into kids. So you know my dad will come to my room ‘Could you tell her not to come over to my side of the house when I have a date?’ and I’m like ‘Now parents…’ So you know what’s funny things that happen
Lots of organic material
Yeah so it’s organic now we got funny shit.
When you think of the word ‘successful’, who is the first person that comes to mind and why?
On the bigger picture, because I witness this in 2008, to see President Obama become President to me. 2008. Not talking about after he became president because everyone will have their views on that, I know what it meant to me. To see him stand up there, put his hand on the Bible, and say you know and become the President of the United States, that is success in so many different ways. And that also jars you, for every person that says ‘Oh man just because I’m black I’m something’. Maybe you can’t use that all the time, because this man now shows you. And whatever side you end up on, cuz it’s not a political thing, to see that and the reason it means so much to me to see an African American man do that. And literally, this was interesting, and this is how we connected, when he was 30 points down for the nomination, 30 points down, no one knew who he was. I get a call from Oprah Winfrey “Hi Jamie Foxx, its Oprah. Hi Jamie” I was like ‘what’s going on’. There’s this guy named Senator Obama I think he’s going to be the next president. Then I got a call from Norman Lin “Jamie its Norman Lin, the senator’s on fire”. I said ‘who is he?’ it’s Senator Obama but he’s 30 points down, so nobody knows him. The reason they are calling me is because we have a radio show that was reaching everybody especially a huge Urban Market. So I go on my show and I say ‘I’m voting for this guy named a senator Obama because he’s back’ and I go to commercial.
When I go to commercial, my phone lines light up with all black people saying that ‘we will not vote for this guy just because he is black, don’t treat us that way.’ So we ended up educating everybody about him, he gets the nomination and he goes on and he wins and to me; it was all odds against him and I thought that type of success, regardless of where you come from, like I say whatever side you stand on to me that was something monumental. When we talk about where this country has come from, when you talk about the greatness of America evolving and evolving to that type of freedom and him taking advantage of being an American and becoming President to me, that’s just success. That he redefined what it is.
What historical figure do you most identify with?
Who do I identify with historically? When it comes to entertainment, Sammy Davis Jr. is a person that I look at all the time who, I go on the internet and watch him play the drums and watch him sing and watch him dance or watch him do jokes or watch him do a movie or watch him spin guns, to me he was just the ultimate Entertainer.
He was a ‘full stack Entertainer’ as one engineer said that’s what he called you he had all the tools in the tool kit
Oh man that’s great. And then there’s other sides of me too. So like the sports side, like, I was a Magic Johnson, like you know the person who loved being competitive but also wanted to get everybody else involved you know the way he played basketball. When it comes to social consciousness…
May I interject for a second? So this might seem like a funny question but do you feel like you identify more with Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar?
Yeah. The reason I feel more than Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is because Magic smiled and it was fun and he was happy. Not say that Kareem wasn’t but Kareem was a more serious guy, if you’ve ever met him he’s completely serious. I’m more the fun dude let’s have a good time you know. When it comes to Social Consciousness and Social Issues, that’s where I draw from a lot of different people. I think watching Martin Luther King and going to Atlanta and seeing what he did, and how he did, when he did it; when I look at the bravery of him, it’s beyond. Cuz I look at social issues today how we’re so afraid to step out on anything like ‘oh my cars and my wealth and my money’. And not to say that I’ve thought this way all my life. Literally it just happened, not too long ago, where I was like, we got to step up more socially,’ even if some of the people say ‘oh fuck it, I ain’t going to your movies’ Okay fine, you weren’t going to go anyway. But we had to step up a little more social wise. And when when I went to see what Martin Luther King came from, what he did and how his house he actually came from middle class, big nice house but it was right across the street from poverty and it sorta taught him how to deal with other cultures, taught him how to deal with financial groups, he says I don’t want to see people hurting he says I want everybody, you know. So I think like that, I’ve always thought like, even when we talked about earlier, the Jews and the Palestinians in the Student Center, the rest of the story was I befriended both of them and we all became friends because I called myself Spackle which is the stuff that goes in between the bricks.
In between the cracks
Yeah. I’m Spackle. I get along with all religions, get along with all people, and try to bring them all together, So when I think about it socially it is the Martin Luther King thing because I think sometimes we overlook that the world is big enough for all of us to live on it’s big enough for all of us to get along and sometimes I question why is it so tough to get along, you know, which is what Martin Luther King questioned. He said I just don’t get it and I won’t stand by so and like I said I’ve only thought like that in the past few years after watching Harry Belafonte go on stage before I was supposed to get a Lifetime Achievement Award and he goes on and says something so prolific, he says, they were talking about violence and he said, ‘the violence that’s happening in America is mostly black violence and you black entertainers sit here mute and we laid all of this groundwork down for you guys and you guys are disrespecting and not picking up.’ That’s the one reason I said I think more socially.
I mentioned Kareem Abdul-Jabbar because I saw, just by chance, a fantastic a documentary called Minority of One. And it’s so good and it detailed, in particular and I’m not at all well versed with basketball so it was also a glimpse into that world for me, but his relationship with Magic Johnson, which was fascinating. Do you have any particular favorite documentaries or movies that you just feel are must watches for human beings? and it’s a big question…
I think documentaries on cultures are important. If you get a chance to see any documentary about Jews and what they went through, watch it. Any documentary about Palestinians and what they’ve gone through watch it, blacks and what they’ve gone through watch it, women and what they’ve gone through watch it, The reason that I say it is because if we’re talking about the human aspect of it, I didn’t get it until I watched The Pianist, and I just went shit I didn’t know it was like that, I didn’t know that. And then when I listened to some of my friends who live in the Middle East and then go and do that I said shit, I didn’t know it was like that. So I think anytime you get a chance to watch people and where they come from or culture and what they went through [watch it]. You could even look at white’s breaking away from, I need the 13 colonies, breaking away from England. You go ‘Oh shit, I didn’t know you went through that’. So it’s like when you do that you come away with a sense of ‘okay I get you now’.
Right, it helps build your compassion
Yeah it helps build your compassion, because, you only live in your own world, do you know what I’m saying, and unless you get a chance to see what it is, a lot of times your views will be narrow and just watching documentaries like that to open up your views are just amazing. When you look at the story of, like I said the story of slavery, there was a book that I showed these young guys called Without Sanctuary.
Its a book where, a guy, a photographer, went around the South during the time of slavery and documented lynchings. And he would document the lynching and make postcards because at that time, it was commonplace. It was a party. So people would get their food, this is where you got a picnic from, they would get their food and drinks and whatever and they would go down and watch the lynching. So there was a postcard it said ‘here is the lynching of Nigger Charlie, hope you like it, hope everything is well’. So that was something that was mind-blowing because, it was commonplace. So when you get a chance to see cultures in history you understand what’s going on today. And this is the last little factoid: if you get a chance pull up the Harrison Act. The Harrison Act was an act about taking drugs off the street. And making them illegal, because at the time, in our culture, we were able to use whatever drugs that was out there, that was available. But the government sort of didn’t know how to get it off the street, so they ran a story: ‘black man gets high on cocaine and fights cops’. And people were like so we got to get rid of drugs. people were like fuck that I’m not going to get rid of our drugs, get bigger guns, give cops more jurisdiction, finally they run a story ‘black man gets high on cocaine rapes and kills Caucasian woman’ that’s when the Harrison Act [comes in]. Cuz they were like we don’t want that, but because of that, Harrison Act, with the jurisdiction of a cop; that plays into a little bit of what we’re dealing with today. Because it was sort of set that way. At a time where it was commonplace to see slaves, it was commonplace to see blacks as second and third class citizens, and it’s not to incite anything, it’s not to make you feel anything, angry, it’s just peering into someone’s Genesis to see where we are today, so that you can understand or try to have the compassion for all of us who live here in this country because like I said it’s the best in the world.
And Beyond. A friend mentioned to be honest watching planet Earth and he said there’s a companion of some type which I really want to see called Humans of Earth and it actually profiles different civilizations different cultures around the world and it shows you how humans have adapted; Mongolians using Falcons for hunting and all of this and whatnot. I totally agree with you, I think that if a culture is a set of beliefs and behaviors you have to in a way be taken on that sensory experience to develop the compassion, you don’t get it through text alone necessarily. If you could have a billboard, anywhere, what would it say?
It would constantly change. It would be those new billboards.
Oh that’s a sneaky answer, I like it.
It would be the billboard saying ‘ball out dog. Have a great time, go to church, love somebody, teach somebody, get angry a little bit.’ It would just change you know because these guys know me I’m all about having… and the end of the last one would be ‘have as much fun as you can’. Because in the blink of an eye we’ll all be gone. 100 years compared to Infinity is nothing. I talked to my sister all the time, “why you [mad]?” “what’s wrong?” I said ‘Girl you better start having some fun, we gonna be gone in a minute’. You going to look back and say shit, I should have been laughing and now I’m dead. So yeah my billboard would change constantly cuz I think we all change and so on.
You said get angry a little bit, and I remember, I was given this advice by a guy named Po Bronson, a writer many many years ago. I asked him at an event, I was sitting in the crowd, I said ‘what do you do when you get writer’s block’? and he said ‘I write about what makes me angry.’ And if you were teaching a ninth-grade class, mixed race, mixed-gender what would you teach that class about? What would you teach? What do you think the most important things, skills or otherwise that you could teach 9th graders might be?
Well like I said it would have to be different tiered. If it’s a ninth-grader of today, I would teach them, as much as you can, interact with actual humans. You know the toughest thing in the world is like looking at my daughter and where in Paris and ….
Generation of Thumbs
Yeah they’re on their cell phones, so as much as you can, interact with people. Because people, it’s the best interaction because, there’s all types and there’s discretion when it comes to people. Like there’s no discretion when it comes to thumbs and what you can say on the internet and that’s why you get drug down by it. Because it doesn’t take anything, if it’s an anonymous person they say you’re ugly and you’re this and you’re that and your this, there is no discretion there, so they can sort of get the Venom off. If we are in a surrounding, I may feel something about something but I won’t say it because I don’t want to hurt somebody’s feelings. I don’t want to have them hurt my feelings. So that’s the one thing, interact with people. The second thing is, interact with people from all over the world because you become a narrow when you’re just all about my block and just being about your block, in today’s world, is going to hurt us because people don’t understand global. We don’t understand Global Market, we don’t understand Global things that - how does something in the Middle East affect me in North Dakota, because of the way we’re set up like this, so it’s like, you have to get the education. I would bypass, no I wouldn’t bypass any of that, get the education of people all over the world. And then the last couple of things would be History, know your History. Know why we’re here, especially when it comes to rules and legislation and things like that. Know why we vote, why we don’t vote. If you think about it, this wonderful country runs on just like a human brain. We only use a little bit of it when it comes to voting Market. You gotta vote, get out there and be active. A lot of times we just ‘hey man, whoever is President is the President’ and whoever is of this or that, so that, and then the last part was that I would teach is: the last two things - hustle. Teach your hustle, your hustle muscle, is the most important thing. When you hustle and you go get it, a lot of times that alleviate your problems. When you don’t hustle or you leave it to chance, when you leave things to chance, and you didn’t give it all you that day, now you start to argue or wonder about them bills, ‘fuck I gotta get that done’. Oh my relationship, ‘how did that…?’ But if you hustle; for one, it’s going to take up a lot more of your time, so you don’t have time to concentrate on the worrying. If I put the work in I got my my check. And your check, it doesn’t have to be monetary, it can be anything, it can be I put the work in at the charity and this happened because of the charity. But whatever it is put that hard work in, and now, you can see things coming into fruition. And that takes 70% of your worrying away because you did give it your all. And then, the last part is of it is, reflect. Sit still for a minute. Cuz when you’re working… that will strain you as well, so you have to be able to decompress. You gotta be able to chill, whatever it is that you chill with, if it’s your home or if it’s your friends, take time out to be like, you know what, if it’s out of my hands is out of my hands, I’ll get a better crack at it tomorrow. Colin Powell said something incredible, he said, I always feel like in the morning I got a brand new chance. I’m paraphrasing. I love getting to the morning because it’s a new opportunity. But really take that time for yourself, relax, chill, whatever it is you believe in, if it’s God, Buddha, Allah, Hindu, all of them, whatever it is that gets you on that ‘Okay, I did what I was supposed to do, let me relax now and then tomorrow or the next day get another start.’
What does the first 60 Minutes of your day look like? or do you have any morning’s routines that are important to you?
Morning routines, I wake up, I text the people that I dig and love.
What do you say?
I just send them encouraging, you know, there’s a few people that just really mean a lot to me, want to let them know that I’m thinking about them, the whole nine and then, it varies man. Sometimes I put some work in, so I put in 8 days, so maybe these two days I can chill, just from the physical part, I get my 50 pull ups in, 100 sit-ups you know maybe a hundred crunches and it’s easy I used to not be able to do it. My boy Tyrone turned me
How many sets for the 50 pull ups?
For the 50? So I do 15 first, 15 pull ups… This is what it is: I do 15 Pull-Ups, 50 push-ups 100 sit-ups then I go back and I do 15 different
Grip. So that’ll get me to 30, another 50 push-ups, that gives me a hundred push-ups and I’m done with the push ups and then I do 10 + 10 back to the first grip and you don’t have to do it every single day, you can do it every other day, and then what you notice is the pull-up bar and Tyrone kept telling me this, I got a homie Tyrone, he played Kane in Menace to Society and I kept wondering how is he always in shape, he says man I’m trying to tell you the pull-up bar is everything. So that and then, just, make some calls on what I need to get done and make sure I’m in the right position, get the kids
Do you drink coffee?
I don’t drink coffee. I don’t drink coffee.
Have you ever?
I had to stop.
Oh you stopped.
I had to stop having stimulants. Earlier in my career I was all about the stimulants
So at a certain point I had to
Ex-nay on the Affeine-K. Yeah I’ve been cutting that out as well, it’s not good for me people are like aren’t you worried about depressants alcohol I’m like no, stimulants, that’s what I need to worry about
Because when I tell people that drink coffee, after a while you keep hitting that same muscle in your brain, to wear… I know people right now who could drink 4 cups of coffee and go to sleep.
Yeah I used to do that
And one of my boys loves Red Bull. And he won’t understand why some days who does he like is this, so I had to stop and it was tough because I had to have coffee everyday I would drink double espressos, I had to have the up but now I know how to go get it inside of my… you know I know how to go get inside.
Last question here is what advice would you give to yourself 3 different ages at 20, 30 and 40. So what advice would you get to your 20 year old self?
Man put the condom on.
Shit stop playing around
You 20 man, put it on buddy. And not the fish that one either put the real one on.
Anything else for 20 or should we move to 30?
20’s… I had my daughter at 26 so the advice I would give me was, calm down, you know. It was like calm down and just make sure your paying attention to your daughter and to the daughter’s mom. Twenties was tough because I just got to LA I was just, you know, the whole world was opening up so I’m like man I’m trying to do all of it while I was like, calm down, and luckily it was 26 so moving into 30, I was on my way to calming if that makes sense.
It does make sense. So then you hit 30.
What advice would you give your 30 year old self?
It’s going to go fast
In what way?
It’s going to go fast, the time is going to go fast. So just make sure that you start now planning for your future and not only is it going to go fast but don’t spend all your money. Don’t buy the jacket that’s $12,000. You know, relax, just relax and 40 is going to come so fast and you don’t think that it is but it’s going to come so fast
And would you say that because you want your 30-year self to pay attention to the present moment or do long-term thinking or do both?
You got to do long term. When you’re 30, you got a kid and you’re in my business, and in any business, all businesses, my business is about me though so I have to be careful in my decisions, socially and plan for the future. I remember doing my television show and the five years went fast and I would tell the people on the television show it’s going to go fast man and if you finish at 35 but you live to 70, you know, so you have to really think about the future
A long game
And then 40. The big 4-0.
Wow. 40. They’re going to be tough decisions that you have to make when it comes to business, because when your forty in my business, the window is closing on certain things, so you have to be able to open those windows to other things, and some of the people that you’ve gone to battle with till your 40 may not be the ones that you will battle and do business with towards 50. And take a little bit of your personal feelings out of it because I’m very personal. Meaning like I would stay with someone even if I felt that there not up to par business-wise, but you know we have history, take a little bit of a personal out of it still remain friends if you can with that person because now it’s really pending. Like 50 about to be here, you know I’m saying so it’s like and I would tell my 40-year old self: ‘grow up in your mind but not in your body’ necessarily. Meaning stay young in your body but certain parts of your life, you have to grow up and be grown about things because now you got another kid your other child is, she’s 21 now which is just, just this past year so but she was 13, 14 when I was 40, but now you gotta start living, you can always live your life 100% for you but now that you have your kids of a certain age, it’s gotta be 30 - 40% you 60 - 70% what you going to leave for them and how you going to leave them because like I said it flying and that’s it.
Jamie so much fun I really appreciate you taking the time and where can people find what you’re up to, find you online?
Well they can find me @imjamiefoxx on my periscope, is that right? am I saying this right?, you know I got these young cats telling me
And then @ImJamieFoxx on Twitter also
@ImJamieFoxx on Twitter. And I’m doing better on Twitter, I’m trying to do better on Twitter. You know the old fella trying to [do better].
And the latest album?
The latest album is called Hollywood: Story of a Dozen Roses, its out. I don’t care how you get it, you can download it, boot legged it, steal it from a friend, I don’t care. I just want you to hear the music. The song that is out right now is ‘I’m Supposed to be in Love by Now’.
So make sure you get that
‘In Love by Now’ is out it’s a song that my daughter made me… she sort of made me do. She said ‘listen, stop with the club stuff’. And that’s my oldest daughter, she’s funny, she said ‘stop with the club joints, stop. You trying to be too young’. I had on some shoes one day that she thought I had just too young of a shoe
She’s like ‘dad, that what is that on your feet’? I said ‘well they the new style baby. They’s is the Giuseppes, you know, it’s the new style. It had a zipper on it and a buckle and my name engraved she was like ‘Stop it’ she said “Dad you have old feet’ I said ‘what does that mean?’ ‘you have old feet, like you have feet for marching, like, a civil rights… you have civil rights feet’
But she said ‘Do a song that we know that it’s from you’ and it’s true. It says I’m supposed to be in love by now so that and ‘jumping out of the window’ and we just shot the ‘In Love by Now’ video with George Lopez; is the priest. I get stood up at the altar. George Lopez as a priest. Nicole Scherzinger, and we all know her from the Pussycat Dolls but also her solo career and everything else, she plays my love interest, which is great because she’s a good friend and so we were able to really get into some, you know… They don’t do old school videos anymore, like, is this actually has a bit of a story. My man Tank is in it and then all of my friends, my daughter, my little daughters in it and my mom and dad is in it, you know. so it’s kind of cool.
I was jamming to ‘Baby’s in Love’
That’s the type of music I listen to, when I’m headed somewhere to write, sit down, do some creative work
Yeah man [singing ‘Baby’s in Love’]
[singing ‘Baby’s in Love’] I think Justin Biebers supposed to do that song first. And we were lucky enough to get it. But Baby’s in Love, Kid Ink is on there so, you know, we got some good stuff going. And then later on, Sleepless Nights will be out at some point, and then we’ll start work on the Mike Tyson bio, and that’s it. And then, the stand up comedy is coming, cuz like I said, I got a lot of stuff that I gotta get off m chest
Since you brought up Mike, what would Mike say if he were here right now?
Well, I’m gonna say it like this: because now that I’m about to do the movie, to do the Mike Tyson impersonation, would be a little disservice. What I would say is that: I met Mike when I was 21 years old, I went on stage and I was doing my joke, and I was getting to my Mike Tyson joke, and I went into it and no one laughed. Because Mike was in the audience.
A guy was in the audience with Mike, and said ‘Yo Mike is in here motherfucker’. I was like ‘oh man’. The black girls in the front was like ‘what you gonna do Jamie? You gonna tell your jokes? You scared of Mike Tyson?’ This was when Mike Tyson was knocking people out for nothing. And then the guy yells out ‘Mike said do the joke. And that shit better be funny’. It was like oh shit. So I do the joke, its a standing ovation. I come off stage and Mike goes ‘There he is I wanna talk to you, you’re so funny. Come hang out with me, you’re funny motherfucker. Grab something, come on get in the car with me’. And we take off. And I started hanging out with Mike Tyson at 21 years old. It was the most incredible thing in the world. Mike was bigger than Michael Jackson at that time. He was the biggest person, biggest star in the world. Mike would be in a club, see a girl and ‘Hi, how are you, you like BMWs?’ She was like ‘huh?’ ‘Do you like BMWs, you like cars?’ and she’d say ‘yea’. He would go open up the BMW dealership, he’d buy a car for a girl, that’s how dope he was. And all of his boys would go to all the different cities and pick up the cars that he bought for girls, and say ‘Yo, come one, give the keys back, you know he was playing’.
So it was great to see him during that time, then it was tough to see him when he went through what he went through, and then, when we finally decided to do this movie, this is the Mike Tyson that I think people will really be able to grasp is that, when we show Mike Tyson, older, and I called Mike and I said ‘Mike how are you?’ ‘Oh I pray this to Allah my brother, I’m happy, how are you?’ I said ‘I’m good Mike, you know, what’s up, whats going on?’ ‘I’m just happy, I’m happy because I don’t have any money anymore, so I’m happy’. I was like, ‘Mike what does that mean?’ He said ‘No its just all the vultures that were around me the whole time, they was always after my money so I don’t have any money so nobody wants anything from me so I’m just so happy.’ And if you notice, his speaking voice, like what I told you with Bill Cosby, is completely different from when he’s on-stage, when he’s getting ready to fight. So he was like ‘I’m just so happy’ and I could tell, I said ‘Mike, that’s the person we need to tell’. That’s the story. We always see the person who rises to the mountain-top, but we don’t see the other side of the mountain, and all the jagged edges and all the things and you’re about to slip off of that mountain.
So, Terry Winter who wrote Wolf of Wall Street, Boardwalk Empire; and Martin Scorsese who’s gonna direct it, who hasn’t directed a film about boxing since Raging Bulls. So, finger crossed if it all goes together, we’ll be able to see Mike Tyson in a different way. And we’ll be able to transform to where… I wanna be so good as Mike Tyson, that I look so much like him, and when I walk into his house, his kids would acknowledge me as their father. And then I wanna be able to sit back and reflect, and he’s what I’m trying to do with the career: Is establish characters. In Living Colour, it was Wanda .’Hey, for real doh. I rock your world’. Then, it was Willy Beamen Any Given Sunday ‘My name is Willy, Willy Beamen, I keep the ladies screaming’. Then, its Bundini Brown from Ali ‘Mohammad Ali’s a prophet, how you gonna beat God’s son? Soon as you come out the garage you’ll be number two’. So Bundini Brown. And then its ‘Eh, yeah, Well I got a woman, well […] is good to me’. Then it’ s Ray Charles. And then its ‘D’jango you know they love him every well, D’jango’ so the D’jango experience, you know, working with Quentin Tarantino, which was mind blowing. To be able to so in and read for that, and I didn’t know about that part. I thought Will Smith was gonna do it, and I was like ‘wuu, Will Smith and Quentin Tarantino, its gonna be incredible’. It didn’t work out that way, I meet with Quentin Tarantino, I told him I understand the script now I only need to have my own horse. And I ended up riding my own horse in D’jango. And I knew that that was going to be another character that’s gonna change the game. And so they’ll at that, so they’ll say D’jango, and then hopefully if everything goes right, Mike Tyson will sit with those characters. So that you’ll be able to, after a while, look at a career where, you transforms into a character, people know it, and were moved by it and hopefully, if it all works out, it’ll be a great opportunity to look back and see like ‘wow man, look at the things that you were able to do in America’
Well its an incredible cannon already. And my brother gave me Mike Tyson’s autobiography. For Christmas last year, and I sat down, I read it because when I was a kid, I would watch, on the grainy VHS, ‘Mike Tyson’s greatest hits’. Over and over and over. And you’d see his reception in Japan, he was the biggest star on the face of the planet. But you read the autobiography and there are layers upon layers.
A guy who just wanted to be in love, he just wanted to, you know, it was more simple than we thought it was.
Yea. And I can’t wait to see it. I hope it comes together.
I hope so
Jamie, you are the consummate performer and entertainer, so please keep creating. This has been such a gift, thank you for your time.
Thank you buddy.
And for everybody listening, you can find all the show notes, links to everything at 4hourworkweek.com/podcast, you can search my name and Jamie’s and it will probably pop right up. And as always, thank you so much for listening.