comedians you should know

Get That Fame Carrot Away From Yedoye Travis’s Face

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 Yedoye Travis.

What would your Real Housewives tagline be?
Is this an evergreen question or did I give the impression I’m a fan of this show? I’ve never seen it, but as I work on unlearning patriarchal values, I’m torn between thinking shows like that are regressive, materialistic, and misogynistic, and that watching would somehow make me gay.

What of your work do you think you’re best known for, and what of your work are you most proud of?
I don’t know. People that watch my old anime channels keep coming to shows and saying they didn’t know I do stand-up. So I guess I’m best known for writing Batman. But I’m most proud of all the work I haven’t done over the years.

Tell us one story from your childhood you think explains why you ended up becoming a comedian.
I did stand-up for the first time when I was 13, and my music teacher who couldn’t sing said I wasn’t 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?
My name would be Craig Robinson and I would be a music teacher who can sing and respects his students’ dreams.

If you had to come onstage to just one song for the rest of your life, what song would it be and why?
The last 35 seconds of “Slither Conspiracy,” by RXK Nephew. Or “Limbo,” by Yellow Magic Orchestra. I just like good bass lines and knowing who does and doesn’t smoke crack in Hollywood.

Tell us everything about your worst show ever.
Early on, at a show just outside ATL, the host asked an older woman at the bar how much it would cost for her to take her tiddies out (he pronounced it “tiddies,” these are not my words), and she said, “Nothing,” and we did the rest of the show to one of the most divided audiences I’ve ever seen. Never seen a bluff called harder than that.

Nominate one comedian you don’t know personally who you think is overdue for wider recognition and why.
I usually at least say hi to comics I think are funny unless they’re already famous or otherwise unattainable, so I’ll just pretend I don’t know David Perdue, Lauren Knight, and Mandal.

When it comes to your comedy opinions — about material, performing, audience, the industry, etc. — what hill will you die on?
I’m convinced capitalism has limited comedians’ imaginations so severely (beyond just limiting our ability to talk about any given billionaire in a special) that we’re stuck between people complaining about cancel culture and people who, if they do substantially examine anything, will interrogate stand-up comedy as a format instead of just sincerely making an effort to unpack the shit comedians are supposed to unpack.

What’s an embarrassingly earnest goal you have?
To escape the notion that being earnest is embarrassing. But also, I just want a reliable enough income that (at 30-plus years old) I can finally start doing creative work that I actually want to do instead of having the fame carrot waved in my face for the rest of my life.

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?
Best comedy advice I’ve gotten at several points in my life is to just enjoy it, and I really wish I had listened to that before I got to this point. Worst advice I’ve gotten is literally anything about how to build my “career.”

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Get That Fame Carrot Away From Yedoye Travis’s Face