Tragedy inspires Bronx Comedian

Comedian Brian Doney who took his life on April 1
Schneps Media Jason Cohen

An incident that may have caused pain and sent many down a dark path pushed a Bronx resident into comedy.

Brian Doney, 25, of Kingsbridge, tragically lost his mother to a drug overdose in 2007. Instead of turning to drugs or depression, her death fueled him to make people laugh.

“That was the beginning of me trying to get into comedy,” Doney said.

Doney was born in the Bronx and moved to Columbus, Ohio at 10-years-old. He explained his mom Barbara went from being crazy to a drinker and drug addict and eventually crack killed her.

At 14 he began writing sketch comedy bits and a few years later did his first live routine in his high school talent show. He wasn’t nervous and realized he was a funny guy.

It took about a decade for him to incorporate his mom’s passing into his comedy, but Doney noted he helped him become a better comedian.

“I feel like I have power over it rather than it having power over me” he said.

Another key factor was the discovery of his dad Thomas’s Jerry Seinfeld C-d. He was instantly hooked to Seinfeld’s observational humor and began to model himself after the legend.

He told the Bronx Times he began to figure out why things are funny. After the talent show he performed in a restaurant on New Years and then more open mics and gigs throughout Columbus.

“What really led to it is that deep down there’s always something we want to talk about,” he noted. “As long as I know what I’m talking about I’m not nervous.”

Doney broke his comedy chops in Ohio and about a year or so ago returned to the Bronx. He works in production full time and is trying to bring comedy to the borough.

He is becoming known for his jokes and was scheduled to have a show at Yonkers Comedy club on March 29 and a spoken word show at the House of Mark West in Mott Haven on April 22. He also recently did an open mic at the Bronx Brewery and plans on creating more events for performance artists in the Bronx.

Additionally, he has recorded two comedy albums, “My Mom’s Dead” and “Wrong” and has a few more in the works. Some of his biggest influences include Patton Oswald and Redd Foxx.

“I like to describe my comedy now as bitter optimism,” he said.

Doney explained that the comedy scene is more prevalent in Brooklyn and Manhattan, he hopes to change that.

He does open mics every week and his goal long term is to be a comic full time and go on tour.

“I love finding new jokes and being able to figure out how to get people to laugh,” Doney said.







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