COMEDIAN DARREN KNIGHT has been referred to as the "fastest rising comedian in the country." That's thanks in part to the Southern Mama series of YouTube videos that launched his career, and started his path towards pursuing standup full time.
Since he began pursuing standup, Knight has garnered a devoted fanbase and toured throughout the country regularly. Knight, whose influences include Chevy Chase, Robin Williams, and Eddie Murphy, says that he was pleasantly surprised by the success of the "Southern Mama" character, since it started as a reflection of growing up in Alabama.
"When I realized it resonated with so many southern women, it was pretty exciting," he tells Connect. "I wanted to see how many real life situations I could create as a Southern Mama."
Knight's shows are pretty unscripted, and he looks at his brand of comedy as storytelling. That particular brand went viral in 2018, when he appeared at the Just For Laughs festival in Montreal and sparked controversy for comments on racism made before and during his set (he also reportedly mocked other comedians backstage). The incident culminated in SNL star Chris Redd confronting him backstage in a now-viral moment.
When asked about the Just For Laughs incident, what he's learned if anything, and whether his perspective has changed about comedy as a platform for social change, Knight didn't go into much detail but instead remained firm on his views.
"I don't think guidelines or limitations should be used in comedy," he says. "Funny is funny."
- Darren Knight
Despite the controversy, Knight is continuing to tour and work on other projects, and says an animated project is in the works for this year.