…keep an open mind. There are plenty of people with different thought processes and ideas that you can meet who can just give you a revaluation on life and help to change and help you mature. One of the best things I ever did was talk to people. I get ideas from them, possible opportunities and build friendships. It just gives you a different perspective.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Demonte Miller aka Monte Foolin.
Demonte is an uprising comedian from a humble background. He’s learned from many people in entertainment and hopes to spread equality through his career and by laughter. He’s a person out to heal others with laughter and connect people throughout the world.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Well I took the career seriously during the end of my 12th grade year in high school. I would get called down to the guidance counselor’s office and he would ask me what I want to do. I would say the usual thing any 12th grader thinks you want to hear is go to college, graduate, get a job and start a family. I didn’t really want to be there, I didn’t want to be at school at all that year. I just hated sitting in the classroom and listening to someone talk all day so I was ready to get to the next part of my life. Then he said “I didn’t ask what’s expected of you, I asked what is it you personally want to do.” Then I took a moment and paused. I thought to myself ,”should I tell him the truth? You see my truth was comedy. It started when I was in 10th grade. I faked being sick because why not nothing important was going on at school anyway. I was bored at home so I jumped on Facebook to text my friends, until I realized none of my friends text me back because they are in class, so i made a video. The next day I went to school and noticed this kid staring at me. I didn’t think anything of it so me and my friends laughed at him and made jokes because that’s what we did in high school. After school the kid walked up to me and said “you made that video? I remember you were in that cardboard box. You know you really helped me yesterday, I got online to upload my last post before killing myself. When my feed refreshed I saw you jumping around on my screen and I watched. I watched it over and over, then I didn’t want to kill myself anymore, thank you.” That gave me a new perspective on life but not enough to take it seriously. That played in my head as I told my counselor that I wanted to be a comedian. His face lit up because it was something no other kid was coming into his office saying. He was one of the first people to listen to my idea and not laugh or brush it off so I been going ahead with it since then.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
My first stand up comedy set. I look back on it and laugh because I think of it as a teaching moment. So I hired a manager kind of. He was a stand up business and I thought, me being the first client and also being a start up, it would go hand and hand. I knew that nine times out of ten it was going to end up being a teaching moment, but I took the risk. So he books me two stand up shows. I wrote out a skit about a family going to the zoo but the animals could talk. This was my first jab at comedy and writing a script for it. So I go down to the club, my knees turning to peanut butter and jelly and stand up on the stage with the bright lights in my face. I instantly thought of all those days I could have studied my set but didn’t, so I pulled out my piece of paper. This is like one of the worst things to do as a beginner because you start to read. The problem with reading a script is you forget to tell the story and emphasize funny parts. So I got a few laughs, okay I lied the only one laughing was me at myself walking home. I promise if they could’ve thrown bottles I would’ve been getting stitches that night. I knew my set was so bad because the host gave a speech on confidence you need to just step up there.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
When I first started uploading skits I had an iPhone 6. Now this iPhone had no cracks, wasn’t broken, and it wasn’t scratched up at all it was just so slow to upload on. I was at my cousins house trying to make a video, my phone just said no connection. I wasn’t aware that Instagram was down so I got mad and threw my phone. Then I realized I didn’t have money for a new one so I went to get it. I threw the phone behind the house but I didn’t know they had a dog. I went to pick up my phone and a pit bull ran across and grabbed it before I could. I instantly ran because I never come to my cousins house so I’m thinking they got extreme rats or maybe a raccoon that’s up during the day. I ran on the side of the house and peaked around the corner. It was a dog house with two dogs chilling outside of it. I never house their little crib before so I’m checking it out, both dogs smiling like they were proud homeowners. I completely forgot about my phone because they had a little carpet in their house. They were living better than me, automatic dog food dispenser, little pillows, I was in the middle of making a bid on the home when my phone rang. I went to grab it and the dogs went crazy, they almost bit me. I was actually hurt because I wanted to rent out the back room they had in the back of their cottage. My cousin got the phone and the dogs went into their house. I guess they were mad because they needed a phone to order more food I don’t know.
Ok thank you for all that. Let’s now jump to the main focus of our discussion. Can you describe how you are helping to make popular culture more representative of the US population?
Well the way I go about creating content is by using people’s perspectives of things. You see there can be one situation, ten people could see the situation but unless they are given a summary of what happened, they make a conclusion. That conclusion can come from their way of life, a stereotype, or a many other things. So by studying different outlooks in life and connecting to different types of people through conversation. I build a kind of connection with them and understand a piece of what they are feeling, and try to accommodate or alleviate something that could be affecting them. I treat my comedy like therapy. I like to look at it as a service to people and to unite them through laughter.
Wow! Can you tell us a story about a particular individual who was impacted by the work you are doing?
There have been many people message me or comment about the way my page helps them take a load off or just relax. A mother of three messages me saying, “ I watch all your videos. You really know how to brighten someone’s day. Keep creating.” That may seem small to someone else but for me it was consolidation that my content isn’t just being scrolled past. A little girl wrote to me about how she loves me and her whole family watches me and is supporting me. It’s just the feeling you get when you put the work into something and you watch it grow and help others. It’s watching an idea grow and produce for others.
As an insider, this might be obvious to you, but I think it’s instructive to articulate this for the public who might not have the same inside knowledge. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why it’s really important to have diversity represented in Entertainment and its potential effects on our culture?
For one, the industry of entertainment is either produced by, majorly populated by, and run by people who aren’t minorities. So that gives less hope to kids growing up. They think they have to look a certain way to be able to achieve a career in entertainment. It turns into a cycle because they never achieved their dreams, so they tell their kids that they should be more realistic, or think of something they want to do that’ll be a better fit. The reality of it is, there are ways to achieve your dreams in the entertainment industry, if you study it just like you would study for a test or for an exam at school, you’re bound to get closer to your goals if you have the talent.
Can you recommend three things the community/society/the industry can do help address the root of the diversity issues in the entertainment business?
Society should take a look at who they are affecting when they comment, talk about, and judge people about wanting to be in the entertainment industry. Social media plays a huge part in that because it’s where most people go to escape. It’s also used as a type of heat check also. Maybe people will post or talk about their dreams to post or online and be instantly shot down. People will kill somebody else’s confidence to get a laugh or just because they feel that way about themselves. I see it all the time where people will want to start something like a business or a career in a field that can be a leap of faith because no one else around them has done it, and people will harshly turn them down. I know because I was one person being joked about and told I couldn’t do something just because no one else had done it. If the community and online community where more accepting of positive things instead of making a joke of other people’s dreams, there would be definitely more people in the entertainment industry, but the entertainment industry is one place that requires extreme confidence and most of the time you’ll be your only supporter.
How do you define “Leadership”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?
Leadership to me is taking responsibility and steadily moving ahead through transgressions. To be a leader you can’t only want the wins and the constant recognition of others because neither will be around for long. One of my favorite verses in a song is by Kendrick Lamar, “ I want the credit if we’re losing or we’re winning”. To be a leader you have to take credit for the losses. If you’re constantly pushing the blame on to someone else you are still at fault because you called yourself the leader. To be a leader to me is to take fault and be able to build on that and to not let your failure make you.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
First, I wish someone would’ve told me that I can do it. I feel that even though I’m young, I could’ve stayed sooner if I wasn’t shot down repeatedly and told I couldn’t do it so I would just want to tell other people, you can do it.
Second, build connections in the industry. This is one of the most important factors of this industry because when you build connections with people you meet in the industry have valuable information and opportunities they are just sitting on. A simple way to gain some insight is just to talk to people. I’ve Met people on TV show sets, behind comedy shows and just talked with them. I’ve learned different ways to explore the industry by just starting a conversation.
Third, you should keep an open mind. There are plenty of people with different thought processes and ideas that you can meet who can just give you a revaluation on life and help to change and help you mature. One of the best things I ever did was talk to people. I get ideas from them, possible opportunities and build friendships. It just gives you a different perspective.
Fourth, don’t subject yourself to one kind of entertainment. Many people in entertainment are content with being in a group. You can honestly miss out on opportunities because people looking to hire you for something won’t think you have any depth or experience. You could have the look, personality, and mindset they want for a campaign, but they notice you never step out of your comfort zone so you can really hold yourself back.
Lastly, take a chance on you. I used to ask myself all the time, is this really for me? Do I really think I can do it? Should I have done what everyone else wanted me to do? The thing is it’s okay to be uncomfortable with a decision. It just means you have never stepped out of your comfort zone and it also goes back to confidence, which is a big key in entertainment.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I would like to see all the people for and against the black lives matter movement to find a way to understand each other fully. I’m not saying that everyone should like, agree, disagree or listen to each other’s ideas, but if they could hear each other that would be the biggest step into ensuring basic human rights are never overlooked for people of color, minorities, and any other person. The fact is no one wants to have those uncomfortable talks, but if we were to fully coexist by learning from each person individually and not grouping them together stereotypically, communities would be safer for all people. We should all be looked at as people and not let something so petty as color, define our future as it did our pasts. That’s the kind of environment I want to create with my comedy.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
It came from a mentor at my high school. He actually worked at the recreation center in my neighborhood so I knew him already. He said something so simple to me but it resonated with me because it’s one of those things you think is common sense, until you hear it aloud and truly understand it. He said to me,” we all have dreams right? Well if your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough.” It hit me hard because I was about to have a stand up session later on that night. I was thinking of skipping it because I was scared, I almost got bottles thrown at me at my first set so I want debating if this path was for me. It really took me by surprise and whenever I have an idea or think of being nervous on a stage in front of people I’ll sometimes laugh and think of that simple sentence.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
I think I would like to have breakfast with one person, Karlous miller. He’s someone I look up to in the industry like Kevin Hart but he’s closer in distance. I see him like a guru because he has that experience that people in the industry have that are jewels for upcoming people like me. He’s one of my top five comedians Kevin Hart, Mike Epps, Eddie Murphy, Bernie Mac, and he’s tied for fifth with Will Smith and Martin Lawrence. I feel there’s a lot to be learned and I value all positive information to be gained from people who have successfully walked the path of life I have chosen. I also pay attention to the knowledge by him often on the 85 south show, his platform and podcast because Dc young fly, Chico bean, and him are kind of mentors to me.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
They can find me on any social media @montefoolin I post content daily of Instagram, YouTube, Tik Tok, and Twitter.
This was very meaningful, thank you so much!
Thank you for the opportunity.