Funny man Keith Robinson has been around the block and back and we’ve been waiting for him to pony up an hour long special for what seems like forever. The wait is finally over for fans on May 30th, when he’ll be slinging his set at Gramercy Theatre for two “sweet shows” at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. Produced by his buddy Kevin Hart, Back of the Bus Funny will no doubt be worth the incredibly long wait. We chatted it up with Keith to find out what took him so long to get this special going and cultivating the material involved with it.
What made you pick Gramercy Theatre to film your new special in?
I didn’t choose Gramercy, Gramercy chose me! [Laughs.] I went to see the theatre and it’s really nice. It’s tight and close. From what I hear, it’s one of the better theatres to shoot at.
How’d you come up with the name “Back of the Bus Funny” for it? What’s the back story?
Just through life. For some reason throughout my whole comedy career I always wanted to do a special and call it Back of the Bus Funny. The back of the bus is where everything happens! The front of the bus is boring as shit! The back of the bus was so good for me because the thugs would leave a seat open for me. No one could sit there but me. Then I’d get there I’d start snapping on everybody. Just messing with them like, look at this guy’s shoes, or shirt, or whatever it was. I’d just talk about them. That stuff only happened in the back of the bus, all the fun stuff went down back there. I always knew that “Back of the Bus Funny” would be the name I’d choose. It’s not a racial thing this time! [Laughs.]
Ha! I didn’t want to bring the racial part in, but I may or may not have been thinking that. How long did it take you to feel good about the hour for it?
Well, only about seven years! [Laughs.] And that’s for real too. Once you get it and you want to do it, you have to get someone to believe in you and let you do it. It doesn’t make a difference if you have an hour if no one is going to give a shit. It’s just time now and I’m ready to go with it. I’m ready to have some fun with it now. I’ve been on the road for six months to work it out so now, it’s good. It’s ready.
What kind of topics will you be covering in it?
A lot! It’s life! We’re going to go through a life cycle! You know, my son, his mother, our battles. And I talk about my mom too. It just has a lot of things you know: gun control, racism, it just has a little bit of everything and some spicy shit! It’s got some spice in there! I know you like it extra spicy, but some people like it real mild. [Laughs.] Like with wing sauce, you gotta make it extra spicy!
I know that Kevin Hart is producing it and you’ve been friends with him for a long time, but how’d you hook him in on the project?
No, it’s how Kevin ended up hooking up with me! It’s like this–I brought Kevin to New York from Philly. As Kevin started to get to where he is now, which is pretty god damn high, he’d always say “I got your back.” I’d be like, shut your stupid mouth! We met in New York one night for dinner and I told him I was ready to do this hour. He was like, let’s do it! It was that simple. He called and got everything in order like, the young fella took care of the old fella. I gotta get the hour out of the way! I have to do it before people are changing my diapers at a nursing home right next to Donald Sterling. [Laughs.]
I have a feeling Donald Sterling won’t let you next to him. Just a thought.
Yeah, you’re right. Well maybe in a different section I guess. The black section! [Laughs.]
Maybe the back of the nursing home…funny.
[Laughs.] Yes! You know I like that! That’s where I’d feel comfortable. Right there in the back. That’s going to be my next special, “Back of the Nursing Home Funny.” That’s great.
I’m here to help. So do you know when and where we’ll be able to see it?
We’ll shop it to the usual suspects you know, PBS. No. [Laughs.] Comedy Central, Showtime, EPIX, and Netflix. You know Kevin has all of the juice so whatever Mr. Hart says goes. He needs to be called Mr. Hart now. [Laughs.] I’d like to have it up by the end of the year. You know, a nice wintery day where you’re inside and you have to watch my ass! And I’m going to come across as sweet as pie so everyone will be like, “Oh everyone can watch this!” Then I’m going to knock them right upside their stupid heads like, “Ha! Too late!”
Keith Robinson performs at Gramercy Theatre on Friday, May 30.
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