That Time Marina Franklin Opened for Tracy Morgan Wearing Ketchup Stained Jekyll & Hyde Explorer Pants

Chicago native New York comedian Marina Franklin has a hot new special out today, available via all on demand and digital purchase outlets and we are so excited. Marina is one of those comics who has achieved so much, and is beloved by everyone who sees her, adored and respected by all comedians. “I am so proud,” she said in an interview about her new hour. “It’s been a long process because I taped it last year. I’ve just been waiting and waiting and getting it together so that, you know. And then the more time that passes, you just want people to see it. So I’m really, really happy that it’s finally getting out there.”

And she deserves the chance to celebrate her twenty plus years on stage, and share it with friends, family and fans. She thinks so too, in fact and has described her special as the stand in for the wedding she never had. “It’s kind of like going back home and letting the family see the wedding. I never had, I never had a wedding. So there’s no better way to get people together that, you know, from your hometown then a comedy show is better than a wedding. You don’t have to be a bridesmaid. You don’t have to spend the money. You’re laughing. It’s fun. You know, you’re getting something out of it too. You don’t have to leave a gift.

Single Black Female [order it now!] covers the best of her material that she’s accumulated over the years, and still feels current, hip and timeless. “These are jokes that have evolved from my experiences in life and they have just gotten better over time. And then there’s new stuff that’s in it, which is based on how I’m feeling. You know, the black excellence, black girl magic, what it’s like to be woke or not woken up. Those are current feelings and it’s just me expressing myself like an artist,” she said. “No one’s ever see me do longer than five minutes, a seven minute set on Conan or Late Night. So this was really, you know, putting everything together was based on what I want people to see and where, you know, where Marina is now coming from and where it is now.

One of the things we love about Marina is her delivery. It’s 100% her own creation, and its incredibly musical and rhythmic. She says developing that rhythm has been a key to whether a joke flies or dies on stage, and attributes that rhythm to dancing. “I know that sounds crazy, but I have rhythm, rhythm, dancing and music. And so I didn’t realize I was doing that on stage until people would tell me. I was always doing a sort of like, what is my rhythm onstage? Like people said I have perfect timing. Like when I first did Last Comic Standing. That was one of the things that Jay Mohr said about me, and I was like, I do? I have no idea what, you know what’s happening? And then I had someone else say to me, yeah, she’s like, when she’s holding the microphone it goes, it’s like she’s spinning the wheel. And I was like, I am? I don’t realize I’m doing all of this. So it’s like, I’m not aware of it until people tell me. And then, I guess now I’m aware of it and I’ve just sort of honed it. So it’s more of like that.

“And I just realized what it has to be is I’ve always loved rhythm and music. And even when I, when music is not on, I can see…”, she pauses worrying she’s overanalyzing the topic, and with a laugh says, “Oh now I sound like Mozart. What is wrong with me? What am I, Mozart? I can see music! I can see it!” But the self deprecating moment is brief and she adds, “But it is true. It does feel in a certain way, like you’re dancing with the audience. They play. They give, you give, the less they give, the less I give, the more they give, the more I give. Sometimes I have to give more because they’re not giving enough. Sometimes I have to depend on how to pull back. Sometimes I have to know which way to look. And it’s really a dance.”

And when she loses the rhythm, she risks losing the audience. “They can tell. They can absolutely tell. Actually years ago, Greg Giraldo told me that when I was in England and I was like a younger comic and I was all terrified and I was doing a warm up set. I had a weird part in my set where I didn’t know why they didn’t get it and Greg Giraldo told me, he said, you just, the rhythm change is a different type of joke and they couldn’t follow it. You did a whole different rhythm styles and it just took them off like a record scratch and you know, that’s when I knew I said, oh I see. So those segues are important.”

We talk about her history in New York City, where she has been a part of the evolution of modern comedy in New York, and I learn that she never planned on a career in comedy. She had trained for stage, but as an actor before discovering she had a talent for stand up. She started comedy by taking classes before finding out that nobody takes classes in stand up, and then moved into the open mic scene. And she has one of the best stories I’ve ever been told about  one of her first real (ie non open mic) gigs. And it happened while she still had a day job, working as a server/character at New York theme restaurant, Jekyll and Hyde.

“Eventually I quit that job, thank God, when I started getting more stage time on my own. I had to, I had to just leave. But I was working at Jekyll and Hyde. I remember there was a day that– Jason Steinberg was my manager and he said to me, you’re funny. And this was before I even knew what a manager looked like. I was so excited! He saw my first set at Gotham and he said, you’re really funny. And that’s when I said stay with it. But I was still working at Jekyll and Hyde and he pulled me out. He said, can you do a show opening for Tracy Morgan?”

Marina had to beg her manager at the theme restaurant to let her take the evening off work. “I had on my explorer outfit and I was like, come on man, come on, Hugh! Hugh, let me go. And he’s like, all right. All right, I’m gonna let you go. And I had like, it was like a clear see-through book bag that we had– I had to carry that with me to the gig cause it’s like they didn’t trust us at the restaurant. We had to have see-through book bag. So I had my explorer outfit on and I’m trudging over there with like ketchup-stained khakis. I had no clue what I was doing.”

The gig was at Catch a Rising Star, just shortly before it closed. It was one of the last shows that would take place on that famous stage, and here comes Marina, fresh off the open mic circuit, to perform. “And I went in there with my see-through bag and my khaki pants and I looked around and I was so excited about the scene of comedy. Then I remember thinking, these are the guys that I’ve seen on TV and I’m just like about to go on stage with them. What! I just came from like doing table tents and and combining ketchups. I was freaked out too because it was also, it was my first time performing in front of a 100% black audience. I had been working at Gotham. The audiences there were mostly white, or predominantly. And then some of the open mic scenes were like kind of like alternative scenes and white. So this is like the first time doing a black room. And it was a black room. I mean it was live. It was like music was playing, people were into it. Food looked good. I was dying inside. I was like, I’m going to ruin their night. I’m going to ruin it. Everyone’s having such a good time. And Jason just looks at me like, are you ready? And I was like, I guess.”

It didn’t go well, at least not by her account. “Oh boy did I take a fat one. I went on right after Tracy, I didn’t go on before him. They put me on after and I was like, I’m gonna bomb so bad! And I went on stage. I said, what, you know, like as a black performer, you don’t realize sometimes how you put yourself out there and you just sound like an idiot. And I was like, I just haven’t performed in front of black audience before. I said that. I said that. To people who look like me. And it went down hill from there and it just was not good. And that was my first moment. That was my first real wake up moment. But I still loved it. I mean, every part of that moment fed me and made me want even more.”

Marina’s come a long way since then. She’s in demand at every major festival in North America, and around the world, and it seems like every comedian who gets a shot at a television show, a film or a major tour has asked her to be a part of it. From Last Comic Standing, Chapelle’s Show, the Jay Leno Show, the Jim Gaffigan Show, Louie, Larry Wilmore, Amy Schumer’s Women Who Kill, Inside Amy Schumer, Conan & Friends, Sarah Silverman & Friends, Crashing, Wanda Sykes Herlarious, Michelle Wolf’s Netflix Show, Horace and Pete, Women Aren’t Funny, to  Trainwreck, Marina is in demand and delivers every time.

Do not miss the opportunity to check out her debut special, Single Black Female, and find out why everyone loves Marina.  It’s available on itunes, Amazon Prime, Comcast, Spectrum, Dish, Google Play and more!

Watch the trailer below and get it!  Here’s a nice easy link to order it on iTunes right here, right now Single Black Female via the comedy Dynamics network!

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