Gary Owens opens up about his return to the stage

The following is a transcript of the video shown below featuring John Kelley and Gary Owens. The transcript has been lightly edited for clarity.

Following the “Byron Allen Presents The Comedy & Music SuperFest,” Allen Media Group’s John Kelley spoke with Gary Owens about his return to comedy. The following is a transcript of the conversation.

John Kelley [00:00:00] Let’s talk about this night. Some magic out there. “Byron Allen Presents.” He brings the comedy, he brings the music. How much fun did you have and what does this mean to you as an artist?

Gary Owens [00:00:08] It’s weird. Like, you start standup and you’re open mic’ing and then everybody gets to a certain level and you don’t get to see them anymore. So nights like this, it’s like you feel like you’re back at the Comedy Store 20 years ago. Because I said, I told my manager, I go, “I used to fall back and I like to look at people’s process.” And you’ll see one guy in the corner talking to himself and then a girl be pacing. I go, “It never goes away.”

Kelley [00:00:30] Talk about what Byron has brought to this by bringing everybody together with the music and the comedy. It’s pretty special stuff.

Owens [00:00:36] Yeah. Good comedy and good musicians! You know what I mean? We’re not talking the third lead in Color Me Badd here! You know? This is the real – talking John Legend.

Kelley [00:00:48] That’s right.

Owens [00:00:49] Yeah. Not Terence Trent D’arby. John Legend. Remember that? “‘”Wishing Well?” That was the jam!

Kelley [00:00:54] Oh, of course. He was on fire for one song!

Owens [00:00:56] Let me tell you something. When I was like, ten, we was on vacation and my stepdad hated rap music, hated hip-hop and everything. And me and my sister was in the backseat, and we tried to turn it to a hip-hop station. He wouldn’t listen to it, he goes “turn that off.” He turned to a rock station. He didn’t know Terence Trent D’arby was a brother. He goes, “Yeah, it’s good music!” And I tell my sister I go, “He don’t even know he’s Black!” And it’s like, “Yeah, this is that good music. This is better than Kiss!”

Kelley [00:01:29] Terence Trent D’arby!

Owens [00:01:30] Terence Trent D’arby! He still holds a special place in my heart.

Kelley [00:01:33] I can see in your performances, I can see it in your eyes, when you’re up there that’s magic for you. And you’re a storyteller.

Owens [00:01:39] Yeah.

Kelley [00:01:40] How did you come to that and why did that become your comedy?

Owens [00:01:43] Well, I’ll tell you this. This is my first show since I got a divorce. So that glow, that was a different type of glow.

Kelley [00:01:50] You do look good.

Owens [00:01:52] Look at it. I’m like that guy in the “The Last Dragon” with the glow around him. I just walked on stage and I went, “Oh my gosh, this is different.” Like, my hand felt lighter.

Kelley [00:02:03] Is that what it is?

Owens [00:02:06] I was like “Whoa!”

Kelley [00:02:07] The divorce makeover.

Owens [00:02:08] It was crazy. Oh my gosh. I didn’t feel guilty looking in the audience. In the past, I felt guilty, I go “Oh, she’s cute – I shouldn’t be doing that.” [Now] I was like, “Oh, she’s cute. I can stare at her.”

Kelley [00:02:21] What stands out in your career when you look back at some of the moments that you’ve had? Is there a couple that kind of stand out that you think, “Man, that was magic!”

Owens [00:02:27] There’s a lot of magical moments in your career. But I told my manager tonight, when I first started doing stand up and I would just go to comedy clubs and sit in the back of a room and be like, “Oh my gosh!” I’d see a guy do an hour and I couldn’t even fathom it. I had like 5 minutes. And then to not see Cedric or Howie and guys like that for a long time and you don’t see their performance, and then when you see it, you’re like, “Okay, they’re pros, they know what they’re doing.” But then I also said, “okay, I feel like I belong now.”

Kelley [00:02:54] You know, now you’re a franchise player. You belong. Come on, man.

Owens [00:02:56] Yeah. Thank you. Thanks a lot. It means a lot, means a lot.

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