We had the good fortune of connecting with Jay Smith and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jay, can you share a quote or affirmation with us?
“Don’t be afraid of yourself.” It’s something I have on my wall at home and it encourages me during times when I’m feeling unsure of my direction. Most of us are more than they appear to be on the surface but very few of us truly try to present their whole selves publicly. That affirmation always reminds me to embrace every part of my purpose equally and hopefully it inspires others to do the same.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My subject matter comes directly from my life and deep observation. The hardest part about being so transparent is the fact that you expose yourself, the upside is when you’re proud of who you are no one can use your truth against you. Most challenges that I and others face are internal. The fear of failing or the fear of embarrassment keeps most people living in a cage of their own fear and that’s something I’ve promised myself I wouldn’t do. After moving to Atlanta and working in the film industry for a few years, working out at open mics became harder to do on a consistent basis. I knew that I still had to work my comedy muscle so I churned out online sketches until I had time in my 60+ hour work week to actually try the jokes in front of people. Now, the next challenge has been working jokes out during a pandemic lol. Using the internet allows me to still test material in a different, although less efficient way, as well as sharpen my branding with vlogs. My hope is that my brand will inspire people to figure out a way to use every one of their gifts in a cohesive way.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
West End is one of my favorite areas in Atlanta. I try to eat healthy most times so I’d definitely take them to Tassili’s Raw Reality and Slutty Vegan. Ponce City Market is definitely a cool vibe so we’d have to check that out as well. I would take them down Edgewood just so they could get that experience lol. I’m not big on clubs but whenever I have a reason to celebrate I enjoyed going to the El Bar or The Groove r&b parties before Covid. At The Groove you can easily run into some of the legends in the music industry, blending in and having a good time. Atlanta has so many large attractions but I prefer smaller hole in the walls spots frequented by locals.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Wow, there’s so many people I would have to shot out. Like most people, I started using my gifts in church. My dad would make me sign up for oratorical contests in elementary school that involved me writing my own material and delivering it in front of judges. I’d usually try to get a laugh in even in between the most serious topics. That left little room for showing stage fright and also built my confidence in the ability to convey my thoughts through words. Church in general opens you up to critical thinking, discipline, and sharpens discernment. All of those things are also used in comedy, creating content and delivering complex messages in ways that are easy to digest. In college I was apart of a theatrical troupe called MADDRAMA where I met friends who encouraged me to take my comedic talents to the stage. After graduating from college I also was casted in stage plays that toured around the country for a few years and that also allowed me to come up with more material and sharpened my acting skills. All of those skills I picked up from touring from Oklahoma all the way up to Maine contributed to my artistry today.