K Jay the Comedian is on the rise. The ace Twin Cities humorist, who transplanted to L.A., returns to headline the House of Comedy at the Mall of America, April 26.
K Jay, commonly known as Kelchi Jaavaid, stepped up his game in December with a next-level move, relocating to Los Angeles.
He observes, “In this business, you need national exposure.” He’ll still hit clubs here and elsewhere in the Midwest. “I wouldn’t be going anywhere…[without] the people who have come out, liked my shows and keep coming back.”
This ace cutup has delighted local crowds at House of Comedy, Acme Comedy Club and Royal Comedy Theatre. Bringing killer hilarity, he spins topical yarns, brandishing wry, bone-dry wit. Laid back with Swiss clock timing, K Jay is, in a word, smooth.
“I’m a storyteller and traditional comic,” he says. “I observe life — job interviews, the police, my niece’s wedding serving cereal at the reception — life writes a lot of material for you.”
Landing jokes in a singular style has put him on stage in New York City at Gotham Comedy Club, and his setting up shop in L.A. was preceded by West Coast gigs at The Comedy Union (Hollywood), Flappers Comedy Club (Burbank, CA) and the Ontario Improv Comedy Club (Ontario). Las Vegas appearances include The World Series Comedy Tour and several shows at The Minnesota Fringe Festival, to name a few.
“Whopper Freakout” his hit routine with Twin Cities cohorts Asa the Comic and Kevin Craf, has notched upwards of 50 million YouTube views. He’s done television on Divorce Court (FOX-TV), The Morning Show (KARE-11) and Focus Five (KSTP-TV). For several seasons he was co-host with Bill Borea at Spectator and will, from time to time, put in guest appearances on the issues oriented Man-Up (Minneapolis Television Network).
His recordings, The Romance of Comedy (DVD), Scholar of Comedy (DVD), Late Nite Poet (CD) and The Art of Life (CD), do brisk business at the merchandise table. For good measure, he has acted at The Playwrights Center and Brave New Workshop, modeled for, among other clients, Treasure Island Resort & Casino, JC Penny, Best Buy, Big & Tall Casual Male and Science Museum of Minnesota.
While he quite naturally enjoys arriving as a headliner, K Jay also loves filling other spots on the bill like emceeing and being featured as a supporting act. It’s about getting on-stage as much possible.
“I put in work. Room work. Two, three open mics a week. I have an insane work ethic. I don’t even like to take a night off. I have a high love affair for my craft.”
Many a woman wouldn’t particularly appreciate that love affair. In fact, many would tell K Jay to get a real job, a true profession. But those women are not Angela Jaavaid, who got her own feet wet in show business with Divorce Court.
She believes in her husband, reflecting, “I have his back because I see his multiple talents and brilliant ideas. It is a pleasure to witness his work ethic every day to make it happen. I love it!” Angela adds, “Also, I don’t want to spend my life with someone who will complain about regrets for not given all they have to achieving their goals.”
K Jay reflects on partnering with his wife, “Angie sees that I’ve raised my game. You need a team player in this business, a support system. Angie does above and beyond. I thought it was dope that she [is financing] this transition.” It doesn’t hurt that in an industry so much about image, they cut a strong public figure, the quintessential, head-turning, handsome couple. He’s a strapping, 6′-6” with good looks, she’s a fetching, statuesque 5′-11.”
K Jay doesn’t mind helping others achieve their goals as well. Filming and fundraising for In Between Unknowns (www.InBetweenUnknowns.com), documenting, he states, “The insights that known and unknown artists go through to achieve some level of success. It characterizes the journey through interviews and highlights in its various genres. Filmmakers Sam Petrov and Hugh Simons are co-producers with me.”
The film brings fledgling artists together with the likes of Tony Woods, Honest John and prime-time’s acerbic Lewis Black, who at a showcase in Detroit once counseled K Jay. “Yeah, you got something,’” Black told him. “Keep goin’. You just gotta get the right exposure.”
There is, of course, no place like L.A. for exposure. He says of reaching this career plateau, “I’m grateful. It’s all a work in progress.”
K Jay the Comedian is at House of Comedy in Mall of America, April 26, 7:30 p.m. The cover charge is $13-$20. For more information go to www.kjaythecomedian.com.
Dwight Hobbes welcomes reader responses to P.O. Box 50357, Mpls., 55403.