Monroe Martin returns missed phone calls

When my phone lit up and buzzed two minutes before 11 o’clock on Wednesday night, I figured it was my friend Brian or one my many female admirers.

OK, fine. I thought it was Brian.

Upon glancing at the vibrating, illuminated device, I was pleasantly surprised to see it was stand-up comedian Monroe Martin calling. After Martin finished a set in New York City, he saw a couple of missed calls from my number and suddenly remembered that we had agreed to chat earlier that day.

Then, Martin, a Philadelphia native and former foster care kid who has been outstanding on “Last Comic Standing” this season, called me, and after I answered, he apologized for not being available at the time we had set.

This doesn’t happen often, but when it does, good luck getting the smile off my face. That a guy like Martin, who has a burgeoning stand-up career, who is on TV a lot and who, quite frankly, doesn’t need me for shit, would return a phone call and agree to an interview makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. He didn’t have to do that, but he did, and I appreciate it and if the Q and A below serves as your introduction to Monroe Martin, I’m thankful that I was the person who bridged that gap.

Martin and I talked about the “Last Comic Standing” auditioning process, how growing up in foster care helps him deal with the cutthroat nature of show business and much more. For more Martin, check out his website, follow him on Twitter and don’t forget The Best Tweet I Can Find In Five Minutes at the end.

TC: You’ve been doing stand-up for seven years or so. Do you still get nervous before shows?

MM: It depends on how big the show is and it’s funny, but the bigger the audience, the less nervous I am. I’m going to relate to somebody in there and then somebody is going to want to relate to somebody else so I feel like that laughter is going to be contagious. As long as I don’t trip up on the words and say something offensive, then I’ve got it.

TC: Do you have “Last Comic Standing” viewing parties?

MM: We’re not allowed to because it’s a licensing thing.

TC: You’re one of the highlights of the show for me.

MM: I appreciate that, man. We work hard in hopes that somebody will appreciate it and I’m happy that a lot of people…I’ve been getting noticed in the streets. “Hey man, you’re that guy from TV” and I’m like, “Oh, thank you.”

TC: Is there a tryout process for the show or do the TV people come and find you?

MM: My manager submitted a video and they pick people from there to come out and audition in person. I auditioned for the producers and they put me through to the next round. It was like any show where you have the pre-audition before the audition.

TC: Do you feel like your upbringing helped you develop a thick skin, which is a good thing to have when you’re getting started in stand-up?

MM: Some people use (a rough childhood) and it makes them thin-skinned or more sensitive or whatever, but it definitely hardened me. My mentor helped me see that because I would get nervous for certain opportunities outside stand-up whether it was going on an audition for a show or meeting with a network.

I’d go, “I’m nervous” and he’d go, “Why are you nervous? You’ve done the hardest stuff in life already. This should be the easiest stuff that comes to you. All you have to do is go up there, be funny and be likeable.” He helped me out a lot with that and since then, I’ve been able to take things a little bit easier and not stress out and just be like, “All right, I didn’t get this, but so what? I’ll get something else.”

TC: I love the McDonald’s or Burger King tattoo bit. Do you have any idea what Rashawn is doing these days?

MM: I don’t. I started working at that school like maybe five years ago and I remember him bragging, “I just got a tattoo!” and I looked at it and it was literally Money Over Bitches, in flames! I was like, that is the dumbest thing ever and then I put it together in my head, “Oh, that’s funny. It can also mean McDonald’s Or Burger King and it’s in flames already.” (Interviewer laughs)

TC: If you had to venture a guess, what do you think he might be doing?

MM: I don’t like to think negatively so hopefully he would have already…he’s in his first year of college right now. That’s what he’s doing. Fingers crossed. I hope that he’s in college having fun.

Here it is, The Best Tweet I Can Find In Five Minutes: