Published on March 26th, 2020 | by Percy Crawford0
Comedian Spike Davis Ready to Get Back to Making People Laugh Amidst Coronavirus Pandemic
The Carnival Glory Cruise Ship just got that much funnier, thanks to Spike Davis!
A good laugh is hard to come by these days. The Coronavirus outbreak has brought forward uncertainty in every aspect of life. It’s almost as if the world is at a standstill because of this virus. Comedian Spike Davis, who is a staple on the Carnival Glory Cruise Ship has been occupying his time with family. He’s also been writing new material. Material that he cannot wait to let his audiences across the world hear. Davis is simply applying the, “When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade” philosophy. Believe it or not this epidemic is material. When it’s all said and done, the world will need laughs just as much as most civilians currently feel they need an abundance of toilet paper. Spike will be ready to light up a stage as soon as things are back to normal. Those times can’t come quick enough.
I had the opportunity to speak to, Spike about several topics including, The Coronavirus pandemic, doing comedy on a cruise ship and much more!
How are you doing?
Spike Davis: Everything is good, man. It’s a blessing to be home with the family because I could be out at sea somewhere trying to figure out how to get home and wondering what’s going on with the family. So, I look at the positive. At least we’re all here and everybody is healthy.
My family loved you on the Carnival Glory Cruise. How did you land that gig?
Spike Davis: My manager. He was there and asked me about doing it. He asked me if I wanted to do cruise ships and try it out. So, I said, “You know what, I’ll try it out. What the heck.” But I ended up trying it out and I fell in love with it. This is like a paid vacation every week. You can’t beat this. You get to see the world while working for a great company, man. They pay you well to do what you do, so it was a no-brainer.
I’m always amazed when I see a comedian have the ability to write a PG set as well as a mature set. Did you diversity as a comic help you land this as well?
Spike Davis: Oh yeah! Without a doubt. I always tell the younger comics when they ask for different tips and secrets. My main thing is, number one, write clean because you can always dirty it up later. It’s hard to go from dirty to clean as opposed to the other way around, so just write clean, man. That will actually pull out the wit and the clever part of the joke that you’re looking for. The meat of the joke is in the cleanliness of the joke. And then you can put whatever adjectives on top of that later on if you want. And number two, get as much stage time as you can get. Always get stage time. Don’t turn it down. Don’t worry about the money early on. You need stage time. That’s your money early on because you gotta work on your craft.
I come from the fight game and I always equate a comedian walking out on stage to a fighter coming to the ring. Do you still get nervous?
Spike Davis: You still get those butterflies. I did a show and not trying to name drop, but I did a show back in the day where I opened up for Patti LaBelle. I talked to her and she was saying, “Baby, I still get nervous. The day you stop getting nervous is the day you need to get out of entertainment, because you use those butterflies as energy to prepare you forward to do what you do.” It just blew me away that someone on her level, packing out theaters and stadiums and people to come see you. You would think that she would be very relaxed because they’re there to see you. You always want to put your best foot forward. You never want to give an okay show, so I get it.
You always come to the stage to a classic old school song. Is that your way of vibin with the crowd and feeling them out to a degree?
Spike Davis: Yeah! Without a doubt. Music will take you some place. I always try to get them the vibe of what I’m feeling. I want them to feel what I’m feeling. I like that old school flavor. That true music as far as I’m concerned. Nothing against the new guys at all, but that’s just classic music from real artists.
Comedians draw material from current events. This Coronavirus is literally the only current event happening at the moment. Are you getting material from this thing because at some point we will all have to laugh again?
Spike Davis: Oh, without a doubt. I’m getting a wealth of material. Because everybody is basically in the same head space right now. You’re pulled out of your element, you’re not working, and everybody is home with their wives and their children. You’re experiencing them on a whole nother level for a longer time frame than you normally do. So, I’m using all this. I was writing earlier, man. Writing on just the simple things, getting up and trying to figure out what we’re going to eat for breakfast, and then coming back to see what’s for lunch, then… it’s almost 8:00, what we gonna do for dinner? It’s just the whole routine of just your day. That’s a wealth of material. I can’t wait to get on stage and talk about all this stuff.
You are the person responsible for making people laugh during these tough times and definitely afterwards when things go back to normal. I’m sure that’s a responsibility you’re looking forward to as well.
Spike Davis: Without a doubt. I don’t take it lightly, man. I know it’s going to sound corny and cliché, but I take it serious. I really do. I dress up on stage and people are like, “Why do you dress up, man?” Because to me, this is show business. I come to the stage in form. I’m coming to bring a relief to some people that are dealing with some things, a celebration for some people celebrating some things. Whatever you on I’m on with you. We are on this journey together and I do, I take that serious, man. I’ve had people come up to me after the show and tell me, “Man, I wasn’t going to come out tonight, but my friends made me come on out. I lost my mom. She was dealing with cancer and she passed.” I had a guy, I was actually at the grocery store, he shook my hand. He was like, “Bruh, I appreciate you, man. You don’t understand, I just got out of prison, and you came and did a show in the prison where I was locked up at. I needed that. People don’t understand that we’re still people in there.” I was like, “Wow!”
I’m sure you didn’t even understand your outreach until you get approached like that.
Spike Davis: You’re not really thinking about it. You go in and do what you do, you’re having a good time and people laugh. You left with them laughing and you come off with a natural high. But to have somebody years later tell you that… wow!
I love the fact that, as a comic, you deal with personal problems and your day isn’t always going well, but when you hit that stage, that switch must go off. Once it’s go-time, everything must disappear.
Spike Davis: Oh yeah! You have to flip that switch, man. It’s part of your job. It’s part of your makeup as a comedian. You get up there and you just go do what you do. I had lost my mom a couple of years ago; man, and I was out on the shore at the time. I had to go ahead and do my show that night. I went ahead and did both shows that night and I gave it my all because I knew that’s what she wanted me to do. That’s where she wanted me to be. You click that switch.
That’s right. You are a huge sports fan. What has it been like for Spike Davis without sports?
Spike Davis: Man… I done cleaned this house up 14-times (laughing). This is the cleanest house in the country right now. I been wiping down every doorknob and every light switch, changed out the light bulbs and wiped them down. I’m making up stuff to do now. This is ridiculous. Me and my wife, man, we talk all day everyday anyways. Even when I’m out on the ships. That’s who I talk to. That’s my girl right there. That’s not just the wifey, that’s my best friend.
Does it feel like you’re on a cruise ship opposed to a club or stage show? Or is a stage a stage at this point?
Spike Davis: It is. But I can say this, the weird dynamic is, normally when you do a show on land, you come back the next night and it’s a whole different crowd. You can do the same show if you want to. On a cruise ship, your audience, you live with those people for a week. So, you see them at dinner and different activities and off the ship at the port. So, you kind of build a special bond with them. Like, “Man, what we gonna talk about tonight?” It’s kind of a cool deal. I’ve made friends over the years with people who I would never think that I would meet and become friends with. Just based on being on the ship.
How much did the days on Comic View and shows like that prepare you for what you are doing now?
Spike Davis: Oh, those days were everything. Those days were everything. That’s where you built your chops up. Driving 7-hours to go do a show for $100, and hope you get your $100 at the end of the show. You got on stage and you wrote your joke that day and try it out that night and hope that it works. All of those days, man, were just steppingstones to this point right here. People don’t understand, 30-years in the game, how many hours of jokes and material that you have. You needed all of that, man. Every bit of that you needed. You get those jitters when you initially get up there, but it’s like boxing, man. You get that first punch in there. Not the one you give, but the one you take… oh, you ready now. This is a fight. Let’s go! All of the road work and going to the gym that you do in boxing, that’s what Comic View was.
Are you hearing any timetable to being back on ships doing your thing?
Spike Davis: We’re all in the dark, man. They had initially told us early April. April 9th, they were starting to get some ships back into the ocean, but I don’t think nobody knew the magnitude of what we’re dealing with. It’s still evolving because they are just getting the testing out to everybody. They don’t know what the actual number is. Everyone hasn’t been testing on a great scale. So, we’re just playing it by ear.
Who would you say is your biggest comic influence?
Spike Davis: Eddie Murphy like everybody else. Eddie Murphy made comedy from being straight standup to being a Rockstar in a situation. He’s the one that gave everybody that push to say, “You know what, this is viable, man. You can be a superstar; you can make a living of this. You could do this thing.” No matter what level you do it on. It was Eddie, man. When I first started out, I used to do some Eddie Murphy impersonations. I would do his jokes verbatim. I would wear red leather suits when I got into talent shows and stuff. That would be my greatest influence. But some of the people after that who I loved to watch, I’m friends with, Jamie Foxx. But I just love his style on stage. The way he commands the crowd. His versatility, as far as being able to sing and cut characters and take you into another world. Steve Harvey is another guy. I really like Steve. When you’re able to go out and watch these guys and see them work and go city to city to city with them, you get a real appreciation of what it is to be a true comic on that level. You grab all of that stuff from them and add it to your persona. Your material doesn’t change and all of that, but you get that vibe that you need to be you.
Spike, it’s been an honor, my man and I hope you guys get back rolling on those ships again, so you can do what you do best and that’s turn times like this into laughable moments.
Spike Davis: Brother, I appreciate it.