George Wallace On Twitter and “Laff it Off”
Please make sure you finish your coffee before you get on the phone with George Wallace. The “comedian’s comedian” and Las Vegas mainstay will most certainly have you spitting up your beverage and we all know that good Starbucks doesn’t come cheap. So yes, I personally wasted some of my vanilla chai latte during our hour-long chat.
BUT I had to talk to Wallace, a certified Twitter must-follow (per Rolling Stone) as he prepares to debut his first-ever book, Laff It Off!
So talk I did to Wallace about the autobiographical and inspirational book; current events including the epidemic of “affluenza;” and his opinion on his “crush” Paula Deen becoming Twitter/pop culture pariah.
Plus, I got some of his sage advice about getting more attention and accolades online.
Check out my Q&A with the 61-year-old funnyman who holds it DOWN as the owner and producer of a long-running Sin City show at the Flamingo.
Kyra Kyles: Well, thank you so much for talking to me Mr. Wallace. Since I run the social media column for JETmag.com, I have to ask you this first: What prompted you to join Twitter?
George Wallace: Well, what happened is I’ve been doing comedy for quite a while. I came to Las Vegas for 30 days, then I was supposed to stay 60 days, and now we’re going on 10 years. I don’t work for the hotels. I own the show. And as far as African Americans, I’ve headlined longer than any African American and that includes Redd Foxx and Diana Ross. It’s a blessing to be here. But the reason I’m on Twitter is because I have to maintain a diverse audience. I need young and old, hip hoppers and gang bangers, so I’m recreating the brand of George Wallace.
KK: How do you like it on social media now that you’re a year in?
GW: I’m having lots of fun. Rolling Stone said I was one of the top 25 funniest tweeters. But I try to be careful. I have everyone following me, including Joel Olsteen and my Bishop. I’ve got to be the “clean kid” old as I am. So I censor myself sometimes.
KK: What do you like to tweet about the most?
GW: I like saying stupid stuff. The other day I tweeted about the saying it “came in droves.” I said: What the hell is droves? I don’t even remember what I do half the time. But I do remember that when I first started, I pissed some people off. (singing) I would tweet things like “588-2300-Empiiiiiire.” I’ve only been around a year, but there’s a Twitter Award I won in Los Angeles. I beat out Samuel L. Jackson…. Can you believe that? He’s such a nice guy. While I’m thinking about it, I tweeted about about his commercial for Capital One. He said something like “every damn day,” and I loved it when I heard it but I knew the company would change it. Now, it’s every “single day” I think. But anyway, I also tweet about people complaining about stupid stuff. People talking about [President] Obama shaking the [president’s] hand from Cuba. Hell, it’s a funeral! You’re not there for political purposes. We need to come together. We need to laugh it off.
KK: Is there anything that you don’t like about social media?
GW: Well, let’s just say I’m glad I did most of the things I did before everything was everybody’s business. I’ve been to Ibiza Spain where there were nude beaches, but that was before everyone had to take a picture of everything with their cell phones. Also, you can’t lie anymore. I don’t have a habit of lying, but if I did, I’d be afraid about social media.
KK: Yeah, that’s true. If you tell someone you’re sick and then Twitpic yourself on the beach or at a party, that’s not going to work.
GW: Exactly, you should never get in the habit of lying, but you sure will get caught out here today if it is your habit.
KK: Let’s talk about your book, Laff It Off. You mention in it that Paula Deen is your crush. She is Public Enemy No. 1 on Twitter. How do you suggest she get back into the public’s good graces?
GW: Well, I forgave Paula Deen. But I did write the book before it came out that she said what she said. I kind of figured there would be trouble for her at some point. I went to her restaurant back when she first started and there were nothing but Black people in the kitchen. She probably hears the n-word every day. You know she wouldn’t know about that butter and sh*t if it weren’t for old Black people. I used to go there and I said “She isn’t cooking sh*t.” She shouldn’t have said that word, but when I do my act, I ask sometimes, how many people in here never use the n-word?
KK: Oh, and you don’t use it?
GW: [laughing] I stopped last Tuesday. But seriously, we keep saying we gotta stop, but it will never go away. I live in New York and I was walking down the street and I heard somebody say “what up, my n*gga,” and I turned around and it was two White people embracing. What has happened is these young White kids think differently. They listen to the music their Black friends listen to and they sing right along. It’s generational. Those same White boys singing along to the n-word put [President] Barack Obama in office. And that’s why these Republicans aren’t going to get anywhere. They’ve got no Black, no Brown, no gays and no lesbians. They’re still not smart enough to know they can’t get anywhere with that platform.
KK: You are known as a comedian’s comedian. Who do you like? Who has “next” as they say?
GW: I love JB Smoove. He’s stupid. I love this young kid. Mal Hall. He’s half Black and Japanese. He’s sharp. His comedy is above and beyond. Not the young hip hop jokes. He’s out of San Diego and he’s not cursing that much. Nobody did it better than Richard Pryor, but there’s talent out here.
KK: Whose tweets do you most enjoy reading?
GW: Michael Ian Black… I like crazy people, Chuck Martin, Mal Hall, Alonzo Bowden, Vaguely Funny Danny to name just some of them. Another thing I like is getting back to just regular people. Some hit me up and they are so shocked when I respond. I like dealing with the tweeters.
KK: Could you give our audience a tip on how to get more Twitter followers?
GW: Have fun and tell the truth. They don’t need to know when you’re going to the bathroom though. Like focus on informative material, things that are happening in the news. That’s what I like to do. For example: Let’s talk about that boy who killed four people driving drunk. Even though he’s just 16, he needs to serve time. Probation? No. They need to whup his ass. Just thinking about it makes me want to go upstairs and make a peanut butter and Maalox sandwich.