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Jerrel Beamon '19 Performs at Apollo Theater in New York City

February 17, 2023
By Jessica Graue, Contributing Writer,

Dayton comedian performs at legendary Apollo Theater

By Jessica Graue, Contributing Writer,
Feb 17, 2023

Four years ago 21-year-old Jerrel Beamon graduated from Carroll High School in Riverside. Two weeks ago he performed at the iconic Apollo Theater in New York City. For someone who’s known he’s wanted to do comedy since he was 10, he seems to be on the right track.

While Beamon has been performing since 2019, his first foray into trying comedy was at a talent show in high school when he was 16. But according to him, that might not be the best way to start a comedy career.

“The show was in front of 300 people and I got third place,” Beamon recalled. “I wouldn’t advise that be your first time. I went to not just a school but a private Catholic school. People were laughing thinking this could go somewhere.”

His first open mic was at Wiley’s Comedy Club where he’s met many comedians that have helped him on his journey. Over the years he has honed his skills and style.

“I’m very thought-provoking about silly stuff,” he said. “I trick people into thinking I’m going to be deep and then it’s silly. It’s total misdirection.”

Beamon has traveled to many places to do comedy. During a show in Akron two years ago, Beamon was interrupted on stage by Bob Sumner, one of the co-creators of HBO’s Russell Simmon’s Def Comedy Jam. Sumner proclaimed that he “found his guy.”

“He had me fly out to the East Coast for a 30-minute special,” Beamon said. “He booked the night at the Apollo. It was a great honor. I had only been performing for three years. My first thought was ‘I made it.’”

As Beamon was walking up to the Apollo Comedy Club with his dad on Thursday, Feb. 2, he saw his name across the marquee. Beamon said that the show was sold out, and the whole night was surreal.

“I’m not usually too sappy but that was the most memorable thing right before (the show),” he said. “It was a little emotional. You go through so much in this journey and now I see the results come out of it at a historic place.”

Beamon took the stage after the host and stuck to his tried-and-true material. Although Beamon was performing in New York City, he made sure to give some love back to Dayton. He made sure the audience knew where he was from.

“Some people get to New York and want to talk about New York but I didn’t care,” he said.”I talked about Dayton. It was transcendent and they found it relatable. Some people who like your act want to know where you’re from and Dayton is who I am.”

Beamon made sure to shout out to Dayton comedians who have shown him love throughout his career. He currently hosts a podcast with Dayton comedian Ray Jackson called the “Unk & Nephew” podcast. Beamon wants to produce more of his own shows and promote local talent.

“I want to make comedy for the people,” he said. “I want to carve something out in the Midwest for the talent we have here. I want to give some shine to all the unsung people. I want to stay humble and professional. It’s gotten me this far.”

While he’s only been doing stand-up a short time, Beamon has a special in the works as well as numerous sold-out shows on the books. He stressed that getting into stand-up isn’t easy and being able to ignore some of the social media chatter is necessary.

“Don’t care about what people say about you failing,” he said. “You’ll be stronger and better. The audience didn’t see all the times that I failed but those moments have helped me get to where I am now.”

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Tags: alumni news
Posted in Alumni in the News

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