We had the good fortune of connecting with Tyson Paul and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tyson, how do you think about risk?
Whether I’m a stand-up comedian or an entrepreneur trying to succeed with a traveling comedy entertainment company, there’s never a moment in my career where I’m not taking a life-changing risk.
I started doing stand-up comedy at the Red Lion Hotel in my hometown of Bakersfield, CA, in November 2004. I may have started then, but very few know that I began WORKING on my material almost two years earlier, writing jokes in my notebooks and practicing jokes on high school/college friends and family. I literally remember the first night like it was last night, and everyone who was there to watch me BOMB so bad that the DJ played the music to get me off stage because no one had told me about The Light yet (Thanks Darell Kiedo)!
Even though I was embarrassed after my set because I knew HBO wouldn’t come knocking on my door and offer me a one-hour special the following day (Yes, I did think it worked like that back then). Luckily, I had my twin brother and my cousin Jermaine there to remind me that at the time, almost everyone in my city thought about being a comedian, but I was the only one willing to take the risk and turn it into something. After that night, I fell in love with comedy more than ever before and was ready to risk anything and everything to succeed in the stand-up world. When I first started, Bakersfield was not the comedy hotbed that it is today, so I knew if I wanted to be taken seriously as a comedian in my hometown, I was going to have to risk long drives and abide by any rules and terms that different areas had to offer to achieve my dreams. Being born and raised and trying to be a premier comedian running a comedy business in Central Califonia, the likes of We Own The Laughs come with significant pros and some cons. Still, you must be willing to take many risks and continue moving forward even when the risk fails. I’ve taken a considerable risk that has resulted in success that turned into a company. I’ve also taken chances that weren’t successful and caused me almost to be forced to quit comedy, sending my mental health on a downward spiral. But I’ve learned all risk, success, and failure is temporary, and you can get through every part of it.
Eighteen years later, my risks for going everywhere I needed to go just to do what I genuinely love to do has not only helped me get We Own The Laughs to where it is today, but I also want to think that I’ve inspired other comics from Bakersfield that they can also do the same, probably even better.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Starting back in Aug. 2014 (Originally First Friday Funnies), We Own The Laughs is a traveling comedy showcase being featured around various venues and comedy clubs around the west coast. Since late 2018, WOTL has expanded throughout various highly respected comedy clubs/venues throughout California and Arizona including Cobb’s Comedy Club (San Francisco), Ice House Comedy Club (Pasadena), Punchline Sacramento (Sacramento), The HaHa Comedy Club (Los Angeles), Ontario Improv, San Jose Improv, and Tommy T’s (Rancho Cordova).
For the past 8 years, We Own The Laughs has continued to produce one of the best shows in the nation featuring numerous all-star headliner comedians such as Kel Mitchell (Kenan & Kel), Kabir Singh (Family Guy), London Brown (HBO Ballers), Matt Rife (Wild ‘N’ Out & MTV “TRL”), JR De Guzman (Netflix/Comedy Central), Brian Hooks (SoulPlane), Tahir Moore (Insecure), Kate Quigley (Playboy TV & Showtime “Undercover”), Mark Curry (Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper), Adam Hunter (Real Husbands of Hollywood & UFC), and Rachel Wolfson (Jackass).
Set in an upscale environment, We Own The Laughs allows you to laugh and drink with friends while listening to amazing comedy from some of the biggest comedians in the country.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Many people think that Bakersfield is just a very boring place in the desert, but really, Bakersfield is completely what you make it and I can make it very fun for anyone who would like to visit. It’s the summertime, so I’m not gonna lie to you, it will be very hot. So we will be spending a good amount of time hanging out by the pool.
On the weekend, we’re definitely getting up early to either visit a farmer’s market, have breakfast at a some of the best diners in California, or have good coffee at Cafe Smitten, and on Saturday, Let’s stroll through old town Bakersfield and have a few good drinks in the sun at Luigis, Pyrenees, and Narducci’s
During the evening, depending on the day, we can have some great food and drinks at many great places including Sorella’s, Sonder, Noodle Bar, KC Steakhouse, Wool Growers, Rancho Grande, Frugatti’s, Just Wing It, and of course, how can I ever forget about La Costa.
Most importantly, Bakersfield is not about the places that make it so great, it’s about the people that make it truly amazing. Family and friend bbq, birthday, or just having out enjoying time together can create the best moments in life. But, if you still need some late fun there’s nothing wrong with hitting up downtown bars with old friends only to end up at the legendary VIP.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
All my family, friends, and everyone from my hometown of Bakersfield, CA
Nick Larson Photography (1-3) Jennifer Giralo (Pasadena Comedy Club) Last Photo (We Own The Laughs)