Karinda Dobbins' new 'Black & Blue' comedy album's out

  • by Cornelius Washington
  • Tuesday February 8, 2022
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Karinda Dobbins
Karinda Dobbins

She's black, beautiful and brilliant. Stand-up comic Karinda Dobbins, a regular on the comedy circuit for years, has released Black & Blue, a new album of her recent acts. Raised in Detroit, Dobbins worked in the biotech industry before doing comedy at an open mic on a dare from her girlfriend.

Since then, she's performed all over, including opening for W. Kamau Bell and others, and has participated in local events like Litquake, Freight & Salvage's Pride Comedy Night, and Marga Gomez' Who's Your Mami Comedy.

When the pandemic lifts, Dobbins should be the next big comic superstar. Keep your eyes and ears on her and let the laughter begin. God knows we need it. Dobbins answered a few questions via email.

Cornelius Washington: When did you first learn that you were funny?

Karinda Dobbins: My family says I have been funny since the day I was born.

How did your humor, or your view of humor, change after you came out?

As a comedian I have always been out.

Did your humor, or your view of humor, change during the pandemic?

It just made me realize how important comedy is to the world. We could not have survived these past two years without it.

What is your career bucket list for after the pandemic lifts?

I want to write and produce my own show and record a comedy special.

What are your guilty pleasures during the pandemic?

Eating JonnyPops Summer Strawberry Ice Cream Bars and binge-watching foreign detective shows like Hinterland, The Fall, River and Broadchurch.

What humorous observations have you made about your partner during this time?

She is like a surgeon whenever she handles raw chicken. A sterile environment must be created. She uses a designated cutting board, makes sure it doesn't touch any other food, washes her hands eight times and checks it with a food thermometer three times before we can eat it. Let's just say I don't ever have to worry about salmonella.

Please describe for our readers how to build a great joke or comedy routine.

There is no one way. Comedy is very unpredictable. I can build what I think is a great joke and audiences may not agree and then I can do a joke that I don't think is particularly good and they love it.

Tell our readers how it feels to "kill an audience."

It's like a B12 shot or a rush of adrenaline. It's hard to describe, but you are so connected to the people in the audience and afterward you feel like you are floating.

I think that you are truly poised to be the next great lesbian comic. Your humor is right on the edge, while also being relatable to a major network audience. What would you like casting directors, producers and networks to know about you, in particular, and Black lesbians, in general?

I would like them to know that I have a varied past that allows me to be able to write and star in different types of stories. I am a Black lesbian but that is just one part of who I am. I can mine that experience and many others to contribute to a successful production. I'm ready for my close-up, Ms. Rhimes!

There is a great African-American entertainment tradition in which singers and comedians open for each other. What singers would you have open for you and for what singer would you kill to open (example: Patti LaBelle used to open for Richard Pryor, while Arsenio Hall used to open for Patti LaBelle)?

I would love for Syd Bennett to open for me. I would kill to open for Fantasia or Tamia.

Who continues to inspire you in your career?

Gina Yashere. She has been doing stand up and making television appearances for over 20 years and finally got her big break in Hollywood. She is the co-creator of Bob Hearts Abishola on CBS. She has been perfecting her craft and when Chuck Lorre gave her an opportunity, she showed the world how talented she is. She is a STAR who is also a Black woman and a lesbian. She inspires me everyday.

What do you think of the amazing rise of brilliant, flamboyant artists such as Billy Porter and Lil NasX, and what do you think of the controversy that they've faced for being so real?

We have always had flamboyant artists like Little Richard and Sylvester who pushed boundaries artistically and culturally. It is a centerpiece of Black creativity to have flashes of flamboyance (Rick James, Prince). Billy and Lil NasX are showing us that some of the same criticisms from the past can be dusted off and recycled. It won't stop their success. They will continue to rise and shine and be fabulous.

Sincerely, what does African-American History Month mean to you?

It started as a week to recognize Black achievements in 1926 by Carter G. Woodson and I understand why he had to do that. Honestly it really seems to be when other people focus on Black history. It's a year-round endeavor for me. I am always studying Black history and I believe we need to start to push that narrative. Our history is world history, so let's teach it all the time.

Listen to Karinda's Black & Blue on www.blondemedicine.com and www.karindadobbins.com.

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