We had the good fortune of connecting with Corlis DeLauren and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Corlis, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
My work life balance dramatically changed when I became older. Before, I had a philosophy that I need to work hard with jobs that paid my bills and try to make time for my comedy career on the side. Now I feel completely different when I consider my life’s dream and my job. My natural personality has always exhibited strong work ethic. Meaning when I go to work I always give 100% effort. So when I told my younger self to work harder essentially I was draining myself of any extra energy I had for my career. And it had a negative effect on my life. I barely had energy to attend open mics, my efforts toward auditions lack passion and focus and I began to resent work. I even dealt with episodes of depressions because it just felt like I wasn’t enjoying life and things I loved to do. My knowledge of how “dead end” all hourly and some salaried job positions grew and gave me a new perspective on what I should focus on more… my career. Working harder in those position will never give me the comfort I craved and honestly it didn’t have any positive affects my financial obligations. I never had enough money and I never had enough time for comedy. So why would I continue burning my inner spirit for a company that had no interest in my life other than the amount of hours I could work. Now I know that it important for me to make time for comedy and only devote the hours that I am paid to work to work. At first, I felt it was selfish of me to avoid extra shifts and reject “advances” in positions but deep inside i knew I would still feel empty. It would never be enough financially or mentally because it was just a job in my mind. I needed to make advances in entertainment, focus more hours on my writing and comedy skills. Ironically enough, when I came to this realization, I found a great job that supported my career and time towards comedy.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
The art of comedy is an extremely unique form of expression. Basically each time I perform, I need to get a live audience of strangers to understand my perspective on life and laugh at the same time. And if I don’t captivate them within the first minute, it is a very delicate process to win them over. Most times you are performing for a specific group of people that have no idea who you are. Meaning they didn’t chose to see your performance. They just came to a comedy show and want you to make them laugh. What if they’re alt right conservatives or liberal? Can you still convince the crowd you’re funny?
At an early age, I was constantly telling stories to classmates with over animated gestures and exaggerated truths for laughs. As I got older, some individuals were not so accepting of my spirited nature. I was told women need to be more demur or I laugh to much. At one point, I was so ashamed, I began to hide my inner thoughts. I did it for years! And I was miserable because I could’t keep it up. It’s impossible to be everything everyone wants you to be in life. As soon as I gave up on being a fake version of myself my entire career went in to high gear! There was a community of people that said, “No you CAN be you!”. I never looked back. My style, my humor was embraced by my peers and audiences. I began landing acting jobs because agents and producers would see my stage performances. I was being myself and it felt great.
My comedy is unique but for reasons the world should be ashamed to admit. Do you remember the demur woman I spoke about earlier? Well they still feel some level of this in the comedy world and I do not take that slant in my sets. I talk about sex , relationships, politics and pop culture and ridiculous people all while running around the stage demonstrating the story that helps propel my point. It IS unique for women to bring such physicality to the stage. I DO have a lot of male comedians that inspire my art. But I love doing it and it works for me. The part I am most excited about… I don’t even make much money performing stand-up. The exhilaration I feel during my sets is indescribable and it can not support my livelihood. I can not wait until I can quit my day job and work as a full time comedian.
If only I could list all the times my creativity was hindered in life. The crazy part is that sometimes it was in settings that most would deem a creative environment. I have dealt with pettiness from instructors, sexism at professional competitions and jealousy from the most unlikely sources. It has been a battle to get to this point. I remember comments like, “I was not impressed with you”, “I hope you have a back up plan because you will not make it” and “No one wants to hear a beautiful woman tell jokes just be beautiful”. Thank God I developed a backbone early on in childhood! And really the hate was ‘fuel to my fire’. The adversity I received developed the sense of humor I have today! Thank you HATERS!!! The entertainment industry is full of negativity so it’s important to have the confidence to ignore and believe you are a unique individual.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Houston really has some wonderful and exciting activities for visitors. But that is not my MO with my city. I like to eat and I like to eat great food with friends. Out the blocks, when I scoop them up from the airport after a long flight, I have to take them to What-a-Burger. Their breakfast lunch or dinner menu hits the spot, I know it’s delicious and it sets the tone for the rest of the week, food. Next we will take a twist with a fine dining experience at Steak 48 happy hour on Thursday. Delicious cocktails, wonderful entrees and sexy business men. What a treat! Now it Fri-yay, and we have to stop by Taste. Great music accompanied with the Duel lobster tail entree, baked gouda mac & cheese and a side of collards greens. This the perfect way to present southern cuisine with a flair. If you decide to skip their moist and fluffy waffles that can be eaten at random or accompanied with crispy fired chicken; I would like to advise they travel well and are snack-able size. Hint, hint. What’s next? Brunch, brunch and more brunch. Bar 2200 has the craziest variety of mimosas that are so plentiful in size guests stumble back to Uber after 2 drinks. They use Hennessy bottles fill to the brim with frozen margarita, fresh squeezed orange juice and champagne. they have the best jerk lamb chops and grits in the city to help soak up the alcohol. I knw this is not exactly what you asked for but it’s my passion in Houston.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would love to thank my family and friends for believing and supporting my dreams. Most people in this industry do not have the privilege of being encourage by family and friends the way I have over the years. At times, I truly believed they championed my career more than myself. I have a wonderfully loving family and I pray that anyone in this competitive industry has the backing of someone that reflect the love I received from them. Adrienne, Kadria, Crystal P. and Brandi thank you for being my motivational speakers and therapists. Mommie, thank you for being so ‘clutch’ even in times you did not have it to give; you always make a way. Debbie, I want you to know you are my absolute favorite aunt. Always a call or a surprise visit to one of my shows. Introducing me to industry people that may help my career. Christian I love how you called to pitch a joke idea with such enthusiasm I can’t help but try it on stage! You help me think outside the box. Cara & John I will never forget that you gave me my first new car that I used to travel to California. I stayed with you guys rent free for three years and you never sad a word. I am grateful. Crystal H. thank you for the countless times you bailed me out of troubling situations and respected my dreams. Candice, at this point, I think I owe you thousands of dollars; thanks for making me dream bigger and better. LOVE YOU GUYS!
Facebook: Corlis DeLauren
Youtube: Corlis DeLauren