comedians you should know

Devon Walker Thinks More Comedians Should Be Pilots

Illustration: Franziska Barczyk

This week, we’re highlighting 24 talented writers and performers for Vulture’s annual list “Comedians You Should and Will Know.” Our goal is to introduce a wider audience to the talent that has the comedy community and industry buzzing. (You can read more about our methodology at the link above.) We asked the comedians on the list to answer a series of questions about their work, performing, goals for the future, and more. Next up is Devon Walker.

What would your Real Housewives tagline be?
“I’m a pretty bitch that can’t read, and I will NOT apologize for it.”

What of your work do you think you’re best known for, and what of your work are you  most proud of?
I guess anyone who knows me knows me from seeing a live show or seeing something I’ve done with Comedy Central. I’m most proud of the fact that I’ve worked enough that I don’t have to live in the basement that I lived in when I moved to NYC. Imagine having a good day then you gotta go sleep underground? It’s not right.

Tell us one story from your childhood you think explains why you ended up  becoming a comedian.
I don’t know if there’s anything from my childhood that explains it, but I know as an adult I’ve had a bunch of jobs, and the only one I’ve ever been good at is being funny.

If a network green-lit a semi-autobiographical series for you to star in tomorrow, what  would your character’s name and job be?
I’d play a psychologist with a very Italian name, but the show would never explain why. I have a friend named Enzo — my character would be named after him. It’d only get one season, but there’d be a strong community of people who gather once a year to watch it. They’d all make custom T-shirts with my catchphrase “I wouldn’t do that if I were you” on it.

I don’t know why I gave myself such a corny show to be part of, damn. I could have picked anything. If any networks are reading this, I can do better, I promise.

If you had to come onstage to just one song for the rest of your life, what song would  it be and why?
Something by Sade. I’d just sort of vibe up there onstage for a while while “I Couldn’t Love You More” plays. Maybe I wouldn’t even do any jokes. I’d just have a bunch of 50-something-year-olds quietly grooving in their linen pants.

Tell us everything about your worst show ever.
I did a show at this secret weed club. People were smoking weed in every imaginable way. They literally had a blunt-rolling contest before the show started. I went up, and everything I said was bombing. I’m not even getting chuckles. About halfway through my set, a woman in the crowd yelled out, “HOW MUCH TIME YOU GOT LEFT?” I wanted to be mad, but she was thinking the same thing as me. I finished my set to mostly silence, then left as soon as I got offstage. Didn’t say bye to anyone. In the elevator down, a man patted me on the shoulder and said, “You’ll get there someday.” I hope he’s right.

Nominate one comedian you don’t know personally who you think is overdue for wider recognition and why.
I appreciate where this is coming from, but nah. If anything, there’s a ton of people in comedy who should quit. There’s too many of us. There’s a pilot shortage right now — I think the airlines should start recruiting at open mics. It would make the world a better place.

But I WILL tell you some people who I do know personally that I think should have more success. Shout-out to my guy Conner McNutt. He’s been grinding for a while and I think his time should come soon. Marie Faustin is already doing stuff, but I think she should be in everything. One of the funniest people I’ve ever known, onstage and off. Her and Petey DeAbreu. They deserve it all. And Grace Kuhlenschmidt — she’s one of the only people online that really makes me laugh.

When it comes to your comedy opinions — about material, performing, audience, the  industry, etc. — what hill will you die on?
I’ll never forgive Instagram for incentivizing Reels. That app is supposed to be a place where you go to see pictures of women with BBLs and cool photos from your acquaintances. Now I gotta watch my peers pump out low-res videos with captions. I get why people have to do it, but I absolutely hate it.

What’s an embarrassingly earnest goal you have?
I want to be Michelle Obama’s second husband.

What is the best comedy advice, and then the worst comedy advice, you’ve ever received, either when you were starting out or more recently?
Some of the best advice I ever got was from Martin Urbano. I had just moved to New York and was trying to figure out how to break into the comedy-club circuit here. He told me, “Most of these clubs need you more than you need them,” and he was right.

I’m sure I’ve gotten a lot of bad advice too, but I don’t really remember any off the top of my head. I have a hard enough time remembering the important stuff.

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Devon Walker Thinks More Comedians Should Be Pilots