JET Chats It Up With Comedian Quinta Brunson
This was an interview I just couldn’t pass on. Quinta Brunson is a comedic queen and her line “Hey got money” from this skit, gives me all the glory. Not only is she a viral superstar, but she has all hands on deck as a digital content creator and leader of Broke, a new YouTube Red comedy series.
The digital series is about Brunson’s personal experiences, moving to Los Angeles from Philadelphia, on a very tight budget to pursue her dreams. Tight budget, as in pennies. It’s a story that many millennials who chose to pack up and move across the country can relate to. Broke, comes as part of Buzzfeed Motion Pictures, a venture that blossomed from the BuzzFeed offices in 2014.
JET had the pleasure of speaking with Quinta about her background, viral success, and the adventures of being…of course, “Broke”. Check it out below.
JET: At what age did you and others notice your comedic sense of humor? Or were you always known as the “funny girl”?
Quinta: Probably when I was little. My brothers and sisters as a toddler they found me very funny. We used to do impressions of different Martin episodes or Wanda from In Living Color. I wanted to be on All That and my parents were constantly watching comedies. I really liked the Bob NewHart Show and the Mary Tyler Moore Show. So I had an appreciation for comedy pretty young. Like when I was three years old.
JET: Who are your biggest influences in comedy, or in life in general?
Quinta: The careers that I really admire; Chris Rock, I think Chris Rock’s career is pretty amazing. As far as going from stand up to producer, to director, and writer. It is pretty cool that he is so multifaceted, his career is pretty exciting to me.
Samuel L. Jackson’s career is something I think about a lot. [The way] he has defined this area where he can pretty much be himself on screen, no matter what role he is playing. I think that is really cool because he has carried with him a lot of background. He puts who he is in every single role he does, and he doesn’t really forget who he is. I’ll say those two for right now.
JET: Your rise to fame is a bit different than some veteran comedians. How do you feel the Internet has helped increase your popularity?
Quinta: I think’s wonderful. It was a lot of exposure sooner and I think that part is very cool. I think the part that is unique about it, is that I’m now growing up with the people that support me, the people who see my content. They have to grow up with me, they have to get into content with me, grow into ideas with me, they kinda have to watch it. I remember thinking that I am going to have to grow up in front of everyone now, I’m going to have to change my mind in front of everyone now. In that sense, there is something really unique about it.
JET: Your “He Got Money” (“Girl Whose Never Been On A Nice Date”) video series was a huge viral success. How did it feel knowing people all over the world were using the phrase?
Quinta: It was intense. That was cool. It was a realization that I have impacted culture. I was careful to not let it go to my head [because] I knew it was viral and things come and go. I didn’t know it was stapled in culture as it is now. I still hear people say it to this day in their own conversations. I think I was by someone the other day and they didn’t even know that it came from me. Some white dudes standing in line, one of his friends jokingly said it to his other friends. I love that my friends still use it, I love that people still use it, it’s fantastic. It makes me feel very cool and secure. I feel that it is wonderful and still a staple in the culture somehow.
JET: I see you as one of the faces of Buzzfeed. As a Black woman working for a tech company, what pieces of advice would you give younger women like yourself looking to stand out among the competition?
To just do their job well.
Basically, I’ve always wanted to do what I was doing and do it well and be as nice to people as I can. If something ever did bother me, I’d be honest about it, especially when it came to racial things. I’m very fortunate, I’ve worked in very liberal forward thinking companies. I’ve worked for Apple and BuzzFeed, so these are all places that felt good and safe to me.
My other advice is to make sure you’re in a space that feels good and if you’re not, you just keep charging and don’t get bogged down by the things that happen.
I have another friend of mine named Kendra, she works at Google. She is one of the few Black people there and she is in one of the higher positions and she’s young. Me and her talk about this a lot, you just have to keep going. If you’re doing your job better than someone else anyway, they will have a hard time looking for someone to replace you. Just be tight and be good at what you do. It might not be the right information, in every scenario, but to begin with, be good at what you do.
JET: Take us back into the brainstorming room of your new YouTube series “Broke”. How did this idea come to fruition?
Broke is the actual experience of me moving out to LA. I moved out here pretty much with no money in my pocket. I left school and everything. My two friends Gianni and Aaron, both were in the same bucket. They moved out here because they did fashion and they knew that they needed to be in either LA or NY. I did comedy so I knew there were only a few places that I could go. So I came to LA which is one of those places.
We didn’t have it all together. None of the jobs [we took on] were guaranteed and we didn’t want to take desk jobs. We were left in this weird middle ground where we all had to kinda be there for each other and encourage each other.
When I would go visit them downtown it would be too late to go home, because downtown is terrible. So I would wind up having to stay at their place all the time. They would have to stay at my place when they were between places and I would stay at places when I was between places.
It was something that I felt was a unique, intimate and special experience that wasn’t being shown at the time or in the media. I hadn’t seen three Black people platonically living together. It was happening but I hadn’t seen it shown. I thought that was interesting and it was an endearing time. There have been many special moments I felt should be written about and like now it’s great. At the time, there was no Atlanta or Insecure or anything thing like that and it’s wonderful to see these stories coming out and Broke being a part of it.
Watch the first episode of Broke below!