Roy Wood Jr., known for his peculiar comedic take on race and social injustices, plans to put a spin on some of the most pressing issues of the time like Colin Kaepernick and fast food.
Performing this weekend from Oct. 6–8 at the DC Improv in Northwest, Wood, a correspondent for Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah,” hopes to touch a nerve in a funny way.
“Roy Wood Jr. is a comedian who sometimes hopes that he’s touching a nerve on issues going on in society,” he said. “I’m a guy that’s mad about all the wrong things. There is definitely a lot of social injustice in the world, but I believe there is space for multiple conversations, so let’s also talk about why fast food restaurants charge for additional sauces.”
When asked is charging for additional sauces a problem affecting America, Roy responded in a way that his fans expect from him: “It’s affecting me, so it’s a problem affecting America.”
Recently dubbed the new host of Comedy Central’s storytelling series, “This is Not Happening,” which returns to the network in the winter of 2018, Wood plans to deliver the same layman style he gives nightly.
“I bring the perspective of the everyday man, and that’s usually what I try to bring to the show,” he said. “For me it’s about figuring out a way to laymanize – wait, that’s not a word – to try to make something a little more layman for people.”
Hailing from Birmingham, Ala., Wood’s Southern heritage informs his opinions on race in a different way than his cast mates on “The Daily Show.”
“Being from the south has definitely giving me a differing perspective on race,” he said. “Growing up I’ve experienced some racism and I say that in a lower case form, because I feel like the generations before me experienced capital, all caps, bold print racism.
“It’s definitely influenced my process, because that’s where I pick from and I create a balance with Trevor Noah,” he said. “Where he has an international perspective as a minority and I have a domestic one – and we’ve both lived experiences as Black men that the other one did not live – so I feel like we cover a lot of each other’s gaps.”
At “The Daily Show,” Wood considers himself more of an agitator within the cast, but he said all of his stories aren’t about race.
“Race is a big issue in America, but I also had an opportunity to get inside what people have going on in Middle America. It’s been fun.”
The comedian got his comedy start years ago as a student at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Fla.
“I started doing comedy while I was still in college and it was fun. I started off doing stuff over at Florida State, ironically. There was a small independent comedy scene in Tallahassee,” Wood said. “College was a very fun part of my life and I’m very fortunate to have started comedy while I was still in school, because I was able to learn the ropes of the business.”
Wood asserted that his time in school allowed him to make a lot of mistakes, but ultimately bounce back.
“To be able to learn comedy during college at a lower stake, when I didn’t have a lot of bills and responsibilities was very pivotal to my growth as a comedian,” he said.
Wood said that even though he’s on television, he still enjoys stand-up as an art, but he isn’t worried about censorship that other comedians complain about.
“I don’t ever feel like there is anything I should or shouldn’t say, but anything that I say personally is said from a spirit of trying to make a particular point,” he said. “I’m not out to try and stir the pot or outrage people and I think what comedians are getting wrong is that you still have freedom of speech, you will not be arrested for saying what you said.
“That’s where it stops. Freedom of speech is not freedom from consequence,” he said. “Everyone has a right to decide if they don’t like what you said, and you just have to be willing to risk that in exchange for your own truth.”
Wood asserts he’s looking forward to performing in the District, which he called one of the best places to do comedy in the country.
“Comedy works best where people understand the world and they are willing to hear your opinion of it and withhold judgment until you complete a sentence,” he said. “In D.C. there is a level of social openness and awareness. It’s not an anomaly that some of the best comedians on earth have come from that city like Dave Chappelle and Martin Lawrence.”