Tracey Ashley: Witty comedian brought the heat to local club



Arts no chaserThere aren’t many things worth going outside for on a December night in the Twin Cities. Comedic ace Tracey Ashley is one. Homegirl truly got skills.

This summer, Tracey Ashley opened for Dave Chappelle at the State Theatre and was a hit, delighting her fans and winning new ones with crackling fresh material. This night, I can’t wait to see her light the Acme Comedy Club up. Ashley is here, closing a week at the venue, recording her CD debut. No concrete word on a release date, but an inside source says late 2013 is a possibility.

For background on this rising star, consult www.trac She’s done, in a list of notable accomplishments, Last Comic Standing (NBC), The Lucky 21 (HBO), been interviewed on Media Talk, has co-hosted TV Land Prime Movies and is all over She also spends a lot of time doing college campuses.

Tracey Ashley pretty much has can’t-miss stamped on her in block letters. She is just that subtle, fluid and, in general, dead on her game. This night, she makes it look it easy with expert timing, quicksilver wit, sweet sassiness and a bit more personality than the law probably allows. She could walk into an empty room and a good time would break out, as it does with this audience.

The crowd clearly is with her from the word go. Especially when she drops local references to, for instance, being a former employee at WCCO-TV and the Minnesota Vikings (she’s originally from Georgia). Naturally, bringing up the subject of her White husband marked her as a perfect fit for Twin Cities life, since you can’t swing a dead cat in these parts without hitting an interracial couple somewhere.

Honestly, it is such a relief to watch a top-flight talent who doesn’t have to be vulgar in order to hit your funny bone. Ashley doesn’t need to turn the air blue and talk about body parts below the waist. She draws on things like topical humor, situations with family and friends, even how Black women smell (pleasantly, thank you) and, always, sharp-as-a-tack delivery. Suffice to say, she’s well worth going out in the cold.

A plus: Local veteran K Jay is supporting. I haven’t seen that rascal on stage for a good minute. So, it’s going to be a double delight, catching Tracey Ashley and K Jay on the same bill. Sure enough, he is in fine shape, working new material into his act, spinning some of the old yarns as well.

It’s always hysterical when K Jay regales an audience with his ribald take on the old nursery rhyme about a butcher, baker and candlestick maker. No matter how many times I hear it, it still sounds fresh. Because this guy is a master at sardonic, laid back, down-to-earth wisecracking.

The night, naturally, belonged to Tracey Ashley. Next time this national act comes through, be there. However, don’t sleep on K Jay, a brilliant talent in our own backyard.


Dwight Hobbes welcomes reader responses to P.O. Box 50357, Mpls., 55403.


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