When some people repeatedly say your name in conversation shortly after meeting you, it can be off putting, making you feel like they’re going out of their way to remind themselves of who you are as you discuss politics, religion or something equally enlightening, like the rate at which paint dries or grass grows.
When other people, like stand-up comedian Dominique, bring your name up a few times during a chat, it makes you feel like you’ve known them for years and that the two of you are fully engaged in talking about the topics at hand.
Of course, it helps if the topics are more interesting than politics, religion and watching paint dry or grass grow.
During a Thursday afternoon interview, Dominique, who is headlining Goodnights Comedy Club in Raleigh this week, began and ended several of her responses by referring to me by name, and I got the warm and fuzzies every time she did it. Through her work in stand-up as well as roles on “Chappelle’s Show,” Adult Swim’s “Black Jesus” and other TV and movie work, Dominique has obviously established herself as an entertainer worthy of one-name treatment, so it’s easy to understand my joy at her wanting to be on a first-name basis with me as we discussed why she enjoyed being on the “Black Jesus” set, working with the late, great Charlie Murphy, the appreciation we should feel for postal service workers and more.
Enjoy the interview, follow Dominique on Twitter and don’t forget The Best Tweet I Can Find in Five Minutes at the end.
Tony Castleberry: Did you have fun working on “Black Jesus”? That looks like it would be a fun shoot.
Dominique: I loved it. It’s really, really funny. You know one of the things I loved about it the most, Tony? The directors, Aaron (McGruder) and Mike (Clattenburg, also the creators of the show), they let you just, like, go for it. It’s really fun.
TC: People tuning in for the first time might be like, “Oh my God! A Jesus figure smoking weed? A Jesus figure cursing?” But, at the heart of it, there’s a good message behind most everything that Black Jesus character does, don’t you think?
D: I think so, and I think that’s the whole point of the show. That’s why it’s important that people give the show an opportunity. You know what I mean? People should watch the show, because it’s full of different messages. To some degree, maybe not smoking weed, but we know Jesus drank wine, you know? So he has to be somewhat kind of like a homeboy. We don’t really know, but in some respects, he has to be homeboyish, kind of. We might push the limit with that a little bit on “Black Jesus,” but it’s still a message in it, and it’s very funny. If you’re a believer, you have to know that God does walk among us, so I think when people check out the show, they kind of get it and see the satire and the humor and the message.
TC: Were you shocked when you heard about Charlie Murphy’s death? I thought he’d be with us for another 30 years.
D: I was really shocked because I didn’t know that he had health challenges of that nature. I had kind of heard some things through the grapevine, but I don’t listen to those things. If I don’t hear it from the horse’s mouth, especially if it pertains to health and those kinds of things, I don’t really give it a lot of credence. But I was shocked and saddened when I heard because I loved Charlie and Charlie was absolutely great on “Black Jesus” and “Chappelle Show.” … I was just shocked and deeply saddened.
TC: He was not only really good at what he did, but people I know who saw him or worked with him at Goodnights said he was just the best dude. They said he was cool and nice to everybody. Is that the sense you got from working with him?
D: Absolutely. Somebody of his stature that was down to earth, I mean, that’s priceless to me. … When you have a person like that who will sit down and talk to you and chop it up with you and give you good advice on this journey, with the peaks and valleys that this journey presents, I think that’s an excellent thing, and it’s a rare quality. Charlie definitely had it.
TC: I get upset when I hear people complain about the postal service, partly because my mom delivers mail and partly because I think it is still an incredibly efficient service and people take it for granted. Having worked in a mailroom, what is your opinion of the U.S. mail?
D: I think it’s a great thing. It provides a great living as well. I have several people in my family that have retired from the post office. A couple of my uncles, cousins. I have cousins that still work at the post office, so I think it’s a great thing and it did well for me when I was there. It gave me a lot of material and everything. I think our postal service is pretty decent. … I’ll say this: Take it away and then tell me what you think. [interviewer laughs] It’s easy to (complain) as long as your letters show up on time and you get everything you need on time, (but) take it away. Let it disappear, like, today, and you will lose your mind. “I was waiting on a check. I was waiting on this and…” Oh, no. You were just saying it was garbage. Shout out to the postal service, and it’s hard work.
TC: No doubt. That’s part of the reason I get defensive. With what other service can you walk to your mailbox, drop a letter in there with a little stamp on it and two days later, it could be five states away. That’s still amazing to me.
D: As it should be. That’s what I’m saying, and I always loved, even when I didn’t work at the post office anymore, my postal guy. We’d maybe buy him some liquor if he was a drinker. Get him a little Christmas gift for being faithful and taking our packages, making sure everything got where it was supposed to go. Your postal workers deserve a pat on the back. It’s hard work to keep that mail and everything in order, so watch your mouth.
TC: [laughs] Do you think your comedy would have been different if you had come up in a place other than D.C.?
D: Tony, I think I would have been the same me no matter where I came up. I don’t think it was necessarily the location I came up in. My funny came from inside the house. As long as I came from the same group of people — mom, dad, uncles, grandma and all those kind of things — as long as I had the same core that I have now, I think I could have been in the middle of Iowa and been the same person that I am.
Here it is, The Best Tweet I Can Find in Five Minutes:
It's weird that there's a law about how old the president is. Like the founding fathers were worried we'd vote in a cool, skateboarding prez
— Tom Thakkar (@TomAThakkar) May 25, 2017