Watch: Skye Townsend on telling jokes

Written by on July 21, 2023

Skye Townsend tells us how to tell compelling jokes. CultureCon LA is full of exciting and informational events.

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Skye Townsend knows her way around a joke. Coming from a family of comedians, Townsend lets us know her way around a joke at CultureCon LA where the atmosphere is alive with Black excellence, as creators from all walks of life proudly showcase their talents.

The following is a transcript of that conversation.

James L. Gilmore: [00:00:07] We’re excited to have you here. Is this your first time? [00:00:11][4.4]

Skye Townsend: [00:00:11] This is my first time at CultureCon. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So I’m excited. [00:00:13][2.1]

Gilmore: [00:00:15] It is Juneteenth. So we’re celebrating Blackness, highlighting Black voices. How does it feel to be a part of the very first one? And what does this mean to you? [00:00:21][6.4]

Townsend: [00:00:22] You know, I feel like it’s important to celebrate greatness, Black greatness. You know, the reason I love panels and stuff like this is because we get to hear about people’s journeys and we remember to not, like, compare ourselves and where we’re at in our own. You really hear that everybody’s putting in their 10,000 hours to get to where they need to be. So this is inspiring to me because it’s like, OK, let’s focus on, you know, enjoying the journey versus like, how do I get to success? …There’s joy in the journey. So I’m happy to be here celebrating that. [00:00:48][26.8]

Gilmore: [00:00:49] Great, great. You came from a comedy background. You know, you have the roots in comedy. What does it mean to you to see other Black directors, writers and, you know, your show on HBO? Like, how does it feel? How does it feel to, like, open that door for other Black people that want to do stuff like you? [00:01:06][17.1]

Townsend: [00:01:06] You know, I mean, I grew up around pioneers, so I grew up like, if you’re not going to open the doors for others, don’t do it, you know? So I’m just excited now to even be in a position to do sketch comedy, opening doors for Black women doing that because it’s such a small group. So it’s like once again, position. Then what do you do with it? Right? So I’m just yeah, I’m trying my hardest now that I’m in a position to do a little something with it too. But I grew up knowing that it’s important to pass it on. So that’s what I’m trying to do. [00:01:29]

Gilmore: [00:01:30] Again, like CultureCon, theGrio, we’re all about connecting with, you know, entrepreneurs, people trying to build businesses. What would you say to someone that’s trying to start a, you know, a business or …what would you say to other, you know, young Black people like yourself? [00:01:47][17.3]

Townsend: [00:01:48] OK, trying to go into comedy? Make sure when you’re making jokes that they are laughing with you, not at you. And second, study. I think, like, we think that because we have natural talent or God-given ability, we are owed something. The studying never stops. So I think, you know, it’s really easy to see the microwave culture where things are happening overnight and people are just blowing up and they think that, OK, now I’ve gotten here, the work stops; the work never stops. So I encourage anybody to study because the greats are still studying, they’re still in class, they’re still trying to learn new voices. Never get comfortable with success because it could be gone like this. [00:02:21][33.5]

Gilmore: [00:02:22] Great info. Great info. So what’s new? What are we trying to achieve? What’s going on? What’s next for you? [00:02:27][5.5]

Townsend: [00:02:28] Oh, man, I’m just, you know, I’m moving into movies now. Just finished my third season of “A Black Lady Sketch Show.” The Emmys are coming up. [00:02:34][6.3]

Gilmore: [00:02:34] Which is hilarious. [00:02:36][2.2]

Townsend: [00:02:37] Thank you. So it’s been exciting. You know, I set a personal goal this last season to play a man very well, and it went very well. I played a guy from New York and it was amazing. And so, so yeah, I just, I’m open to new opportunities. I can’t really talk about the other things I did. I hate when people say that, but I literally can’t. But I’m just excited. You know, doors are opening and I’m taking advantage of the moment. I worked really hard to get here, so now it’s just making sure I make the right moves. [00:03:00][23.0]

Gilmore: [00:03:01] Thank you, Skye. Here at CultureCon. [00:03:02][1.4]

Townsend: [00:03:06] We at CultureCon, y’all? [00:03:08][1.3]

Gilmore: [00:03:09] Thank you. [00:03:09][0.0]

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