BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — This Black History Month, we here at 23ABC are shining a light on the victories and triumphs of African Americans across Kern County.
Therapy comes in many forms. Some will seek it through exercise, others through food, but certain people might say that the universal therapy is comedy.
23ABC’s Rosaura Simone visited a Black-owned comedy club in our community to learn just how powerful laughter can be.
The voice you’ll most likely hear entering the Laughing Stock Comedy Club is Dejon Jernagin, Co-owner of the club. He said comedy has been a part of his life for a long time.
“I wasn't a kid whose father played Beethoven and told him to go to bed. I listened to Dolomite and Richard Pryor, so to be able to bring that out some 20-30 years later it’s amazing.”
He said from a young age he saw the value in comedy.
“Going through the things that I’ve gone through in my life; it’s always been a safe space. So, it makes me happy when someone’s like ‘you know what I just need? To laugh.’ So, they come on through to the Laughing Stock, and you know what we gone help you laugh it out.”
Dejon said that comedy may be difficult at first, but you can turn that pain you have into laughter.
“Literally it is pain turning inside out, it is that. Kevin Hart said it the best, ‘laugh at my pain’. I meant that’s what it is, it's a good thing to do. Come and laugh about it.”
Jernagin said comedy has always been a source of pain relief for Black people and one of his favorite comics, Mark Macabe, agrees.
“It's healing, you know, it's like being a doctor. Just not the salary of a doctor.”
Macabe has done comedy for years touring all across the country but always held a soft spot for Kern County stating that Kern has some deep Black history of its own.
“Allensworth, a lot of towns that are here [are] one of the first founding towns in Black history.”
Macabe said Black History Month brings with it a lot of pride for him, something he and Dejon share.
“The first word that comes to me for Black History Month is pride. Just being proud of my people, my lineage, those who have come before me. Just be proud, proud to be a young entrepreneur, a young Black man that’s doing something, so it means a lot.”
Dejon said he knows what it's like to first start in comedy and although it isn't easy it is worth it
“The advice I have for up-and-coming comics is don't try to be anybody else, and go write.”