Earthquake – No Apologies

Words + Interview By Tyrone Davis

If you grew up in the 90s and are a fan of stand-up comedy, chances are you are familiar with comedian, Earthquake.  He and I spoke about internet outrage, the importance of representing your brand or employer properly and why he doesn’t believe in apologizing. 

For the younger generation, what is your background? 
I’m from Southeast D.C. and I live in Atlanta now.  I joined the military then I left that and became a comedian.  The rest of it is history, man.  Never looked back.

I grew up a military brat and we moved around a little bit and spent some time in Germany.  How did you end up getting into comedy from the military?
That wasn’t my destiny.  They say the military is a great place to start so that’s where I started.  It was a blessing and you get to see the world and meet new people from ethnic backgrounds and environments.  Afterward, it was time to move on.

This is the 2nd time I’ve heard that because I spoke with Donnell Rawlings last week (Donnell also said he was in the military)…….
Lol, yea.  That ashy bastard.  He’s a LIAR, man!  Lol, the next time you talk to him, tell him “Quake said you’re a LIAR!”  He’ll know what I’m talking about.  That’s one of my best friends.  He’s a good dude.  He’s from D.C. too.

Voice-acting is an interesting profession to me and I’ve interviewed a voice-actress (Courtenay Taylor) for video games recently.  How do you approach voice-acting over being in front of a camera?  Do you improv? 
I mean, it’s just different.  You just have to focus on your voice vs. actually acting.  I prefer that because you can just sit in the booth and make the words come to life.  Improving depends on the discretion of the director.

In reference to comedy, you have been active for a long time, the world is constantly changing and the big conversation right now is about everyone being overly sensitive.  
I don’t really ever succumb to the pressures of society.  I stick with the job description.  I feel if you get offended by a comedian, it’s more of a reflection of you than the comedian.  There is no such thing as a joke that will not offend anyone.  It’s all said in humor and if it’s not said in a malicious way, you need to go along with the joke.  It really states that you have a problem with yourself when you allow a clown to insult you or hurt your self-esteem.  That is just my personal opinion.  I don’t succumb to the pressures nor do I believe in apologizing.

A lot of times, even average Joes end up having the same issues when they say things that are meant to be funny as well and overall, anybody can get it.  People are being fired everyday….
Yes, but they don’t have the same job description.  Your pastor shouldn’t say certain things.  Words have consequences.  I don’t expect my surgeon to be cracking jokes or saying inappropriate things while he/she is operating on me.  You have me on a gurney.  That’s not appropriate, but if I’m saying this in the context of a comedy club or somewhere where it’s about my occupation, content matters.  That’s the bottom line.  I think you have a small amount of people who are going to be offended by anything and you can’t allow the few to dictate to the masses.

People are being fired for things they do in their daily lives for things they are saying when they are off the clock.  That stuff is going all the way back to the gig and sometimes I understand it but sometimes it’s harmless and people are using that as a weapon where anything you say that they don’t like, they are looking up who you work for and they are trying to get you fired.  Just wanted to clarify that. 
I feel you on that but people have to know which company they represent when they are an employee of that company.  It’s economics.  If the consumers are no longer going to participate with your employer based on what you said on or off the job based on that responsibility, then they are doing their due diligence, you know?  So, you as an employee have to make sure it doesn’t damage how you make your living.

You can’t be a building manager and be sitting with another building manager talking about, “Black people shouldn’t be in these buildings”.  Of course I don’t want to stay in the building where the manager I just saw at his building didn’t want black people to be there.  If I own the building and I get rent from residents that live in that building, of course I’m going to fire the manager of my building who is on social media saying derogatory things about people who are or could potentially be my consumers.  I mean, some of it is common sense.

So basically, you’re not as free to say what you’d like to say unless you own your own company.
I think if they owned a company, they wouldn’t act that way.  It’s easy to play with other people’s money and be derogatory with somebody else’s s**t but if they had to deal with the financial consequences and it was their bottom line, their attitudes would be completely different.

With that being said, you had mentioned not believing in apologizing.  A lot of comedians have come to the aid of Kevin Hart in regard to his situation with the Oscars and his old tweets.  What is your take on it?
I think it’s hypocrisy.  There is no community and there should be no community that you can’t make a joke about.  The gay community asks everyone to evolve.  They’re looking for change and they want to educate.  He (Kevin Hart) educated himself from where he was to where he is now.  If you say you want people to change and see the equality in all of us and he does that, you’re still going to hold him accountable for something that he said 10 or 11 years ago?  Do you want us to evolve or do you want revenge?  He said he’s sorry, he isn’t what he was before and when he said it, it was in the context of his profession.  So, the issue to me is hypocrisy at the highest level.

What’s interesting about your statement is that I’ve never heard it broken down this way before.  The word “revenge” in itself is crazy.  How do you deal with backlash or hecklers if you have any when you are performing? 
I don’t deal with hecklers because I don’t travel with a working monkey.  You’re the fool to spend your money and sit here only to feel you’re a part of the show.  I don’t have a partner.  I’m an independent contractor.  I don’t deal with hecklers that much because hecklers don’t mess with Quake.  My tickets are high enough that want me to do the work because you want to get your monies worth.

In reference to stand-up, my generation grew up watching a lot of it but I don’t think the kids of today get comedy the same way.  Maybe you can speak to that since you’re at these shows.  What do you think about these new comics?
Vine, Instagram, etc. is just another platform for the new comics that don’t have a platform like we had like Def Comedy Jam and BET’s Comic View.  I have nothing against any way that you do it as long as you stay to the job description that comes with being a comedian.  You have to hit the stage, you have to get instant gratification or instant failure.  That will determine if a joke is there.  The only unfortunate thing about being a social media comedian is that there is nobody to tell you if your joke doesn’t work.  Those who stick to the job description will be good and those who don’t will eventually understand that they have to do more than that because that stage is not kind.

Lastly, what’s on the schedule for 2019?
We’re doing TV and the tour, of course.  I also have my own radio show on Kevin Hart’s “Laugh Out Loud Radio” channel.  It’s called, Quake’s House and it’s on SiriusXM (channel 96) Monday-Friday from 1-3pm PST/4-6pm EST. 

Follow Earthquake on social media @TheRealEarthquake.

Photo of Earthquake submitted by Sisoyev PR.

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