Last Comic Standing
Comedian Billy Wayne Davis
This year will see a new trend on the show Last Comic Standing, which airs on NBC and focuses on the art of stand-up comedy. Emmy Award-winning comedian Wanda Sykes is on deck to produce the reality TV-based competition — which compiles 13 one-hour episodes — along side her partners Page Hurwitz and Javier Winnik (The Marriage Ref) at Push It Productions.
There are several comics from Tennessee in the lineup — Billy Wayne Davis, Keith Albrerstadt, and Tim Northern — to name a few. Seeing how these three middle Tennessee comedic juggernauts made it to the top 100 — and watching them win the approval from comedic legends/judges Roseanne Barr, Keenen Ivory Wayans, and Russell Peters — leads me to believe that the ol’ Hank Williams Jr. song is correct: “A Country Boy Can Survive.”
Billy Wayne Davis, one of the contenders on Last Comic Standing, has performed in virtually every corner of the United States, including an interesting variety of venues like The Ryman in Nashville, the now defunct alt haven Rififi in New York City, the Comedy Works in Denver, and the LA Improv. He has appeared on TruTV and written for NFL on FOX. His festival credits include the Bridgetown Comedy Festival, the Laughing Skull Comedy Festival, Bumbershoot, and Sketchfest in San Francisco. His Rooftop Records release, Billy Wayne Davis, was featured on Sirius XM and named one of Paste Magazine‘s Top Ten Comedy Albums of 2012. He has worked with some of the biggest names in comedy, including Colin Quinn, Lisa Lampanelli, Louis CK, and Mitch Hedberg, and he has toured as the feature act for national headliner Ralphie May.
So tell us about your Last Comic Standing experience so far?
It’s been very interesting. It’s a lot of not knowing what’s actually going on.
What was it like performing in front of Roseanne Barr, Keenen Ivory Wayans, and Russell Peters?
I’m a huge fan of both Roseanne and Keenan, they were both very nice and complimentary to me after my set. I wouldn’t have changed a thing. I heard Roseanne belly laugh during my set and can’t describe the thrill that gave me.
What part of Tennessee are you from, and being from the South, do you incorporate faith or religion in your comedy?
I’m from Crossville, and, yes, growing up in the South makes it hard not to incorporate faith and religion into my act. I enjoy pointing out some of the sillier things in religion that people tend to get caught up in and end up missing the point. Of all the faiths I’ve studied, they all seem to have the same goal: inspiring us to respect and love each other, despite our tiny differences.
Do you live in Los Angeles now?
Yes, I live in the Silverlake neighborhood of LA with my girlfriend and our dog, Bo Jackson.
Describe your comedy style to a new fan; what kind of sets do you usually perform?
I’ve got a laid back, conversational approach. I like being in the moment as much as possible. It’s what makes live comedy so much fun.
Are you familiar with the other contestants on the show from Tennessee?
Yes!! And I love every one of them. We all used to do the same open mic in Nashville at the BarCar in Cummins Station. It was pretty surreal to look over and see them during the taping.
How can people learn more about you and see some of your performances?
It has all my live dates and a link to my album.