It’s easy to dislike someone like Kountry Wayne because, well, he was a Facebook star before becoming a comedian. Then I found out that he used to be a rapper, but switched to comedy to make more money? Unheard of. And so it’s even easier to hate him for being successful. But once I spoke with him, I realized he’s a person who respects the dedication it takes to make it in comedy. He’s no flash in the pan; rather, Wayne’s a genuinely gifted entertainer who used his charm and quick wit to his advantage—and the advantage of his nine kids. Seriously, my loins ache just hearing that.
You were a rapper in Atlanta before you started doing comedy. Why did you make the switch?
I was rapping with a DJ in Atlanta, and we had this song called “Twerk Alert,” you know? I had money ’cause I had two nightclubs at the time. … I had lost some money rapping, you know? And since I had nine kids to feed, I decided to try out comedy to make some money.
How did you get started in the club business?
I used to be a party planner, and I used to get 50 percent of the door. Then I eventually started renting buildings myself and getting 100 percent of the door, because I put my own money. That’s when I saw the profits of alcohol, because I didn’t know how much money alcohol made at the time, so once I see that I said, “I’m gonna open my own club.” My first club only cost me $10,000 to open up, and made $144,000 in profits after the first year.
What do you think makes a club successful club?
You got to have a relationship with the people. Basically whatever area you in, you basically have to go hang out. You got to go to the cookouts. You got to help build your community. You got to get involved, because those are the people, and once you get involved with the people, only thing you got to do then is make sure your business is ran good, because the people are gonna come. I took that same technique and brought it to the comedy world. I bring out large crowds and never been on TV. Never been on Hollywood, but I bring that large crowds because I’m involved with the people.
When you made the transition from music to comedy, what was the reaction from the people around you?
They thought it was a trend. Eventually I’d get back into music. They say, okay, let’s use the fans on the comedy and bring them back over here. And that’s cool. But after long it was like, shoot, the comedy is what it is.
Why did you made a conscious decision about being a clean comedian?
Seinfeld. He’s the most successful comedian. He’s never been in a big movie. He just kind of walking on beat and he did it, clean. I heard an interview where he said that you reach a wide audience being clean. So I’m like, I got nine kids. I need as wide as an audience as I can get. I’ve been dirty my whole life, so I might be clean at something.
You started with comedy videos. How hard was the feeling the first time you bombed in front of an audience?
Oh, crazy. But I never had a chance to bomb, really. The way I came into to the game, my fans didn’t really give me a chance. I came in with fans, so my first time on stage everybody was in there to see me. I was hosting the show, and now, I did say something that didn’t get a laugh, and that was weird. That’s when I went to my improv skills, because I’m a solid entertainer. I didn’t have really have material yet, but I was an entertainer, so I said, “I tell you what, if y’all don’t laugh, I’m strip butt-naked right now.”
And I went to my backup plan, and everybody busted out laughing, and since that moment I just freestyled. It wasn’t material, but I was riding up my fame at first. So, when people saw me for the first time they was so happy to see me they didn’t pay attention. Now the second time they seen me, I had to have material because they were over the hype of seeing me.
So you have nine kids?
Yes. Two boys and seven girls. Oldest one is 12.
Don’t take this the wrong way when I ask, all with the same woman?
Hell no! Kountry Wayne is an R&B singer with the gift of gab. I’m a playa from the Himalayas. A player first gotta get the gift of gab to talk his way into it and and out of anything. That’s how I got all of these kids. I made them girls laugh their panties off, then they hit with the child support. That’s when I realized the joke was on me.
Are all nine kids in the same city so it’s easy to spend time with them?
I got two of them. I married my last baby mama, so I got my wife, I’ve got three kids by her. In all, I got seven of my kids. And I got two in my hometown of Statesboro, they still down there with their mothers.
Do you bring any of the kids on tour with you?
I took my two oldest boys with me. They don’t care about nothing except Fortnite. They just hang out in the green room and eat wings. They can’t wait to get back to play Fortnite.
Do they understand their dad is a performer, do they think you’re funny?
Oh yeah. They definitely understand that. And yeah, they think I’m funny. My wife don’t.
How did you get the name Kountry?
Everybody at school one day, they called me that. Back then I was in Savannah, Georgia, with my dad because he was a playa too. So we lived with his girlfriend. Then when I started rapping I say, “Kountry Wayne, swag, right in everything.” And it just ran together so I kept it.
If you had to use one of these two songs as your intro music going on stage, which are you coming out to every night: “Country Grammar” by Nelly or “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” by John Denver?
John Denver, because I never heard it before. It’s so unique it’ll catch people’s attention. If I use “Country Grammar” they gonna be like, “Oh, he think he’s cute.”
Do you see a parallel between the music and the comedy industries?
Oh yes. There’s definitely a parallel. Music is figuring it out faster, comedy is trying to figure it out. Find your audience first, and when you find the audience then you evolve.
What is the glaring difference between being a musician and being in comedian?
Being a comedian, you don’t have that music behind you. You have to find your own rhythm. In music you have the rhythm behind you. I think comedy is more challenging, but if you could get them with comedy, I don’t think you’d ever have to worry about work again.
You’re a vegan, right?
I’ve been vegan for three years. I got off pork first and then I lost the taste for beef, it was just a process. After a year or so I started seeing the results—more energy, clearer skin, you know? More energy on shows. I started seeing the real results man. And I like to look good and feel good. I liked it. I’m addicted, it’s like a drug. After about two years, I finally got off milk and dairy, and I went to a restaurant one day and told the waitress, I said, “But I don’t want no dairy. No meat, cheese, milk, egg, none of that.” She said, “Are you vegan?” I said, “What’s a vegan?” She told me it was someone who didn’t eat meat or dairy, so I said, “Well, I guess I am.”
Favorite vegan snack to eat before going on stage?
I chomp down on spinach before I go on stage like Popeye.
What’s the vegan item that you weren’t sure about at first, but turned your head the first time you had it?
Jackfruit. They make jackfruit into everything. There’s this barbecue chicken jackfruit. I couldn’t believe that it can taste like that. I eat it every day, all day. I’m pretty sure when I go to Boston, I’ma Google “vegan restaurant.” It’s going to be delicious.
See Kountry Wayne at Laugh Boston from 8.16–18. Tickets can be purchased at laughboston.com. For a full listing of all the comedy shows in Boston visit bostoncomedyshows.com.
Deadair Dennis Maler is a comedian, actor, writer, & podcaster who has been heard on radio stations throughout the country including SiriusXM, DC101, The Party Playhousewith Jackson Blue and more. He has been featured on comedy festivals throughout the country, founded BostonComedyShows.com, is the Comedy Editor for DigBoston, and hosts the iTunes podcast So What Do You Really Do? He’s funny, loud, abrasively social, and allergy free since 1981.