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Lavish Life Magazine:    At the start of your career you made a move from your hometown in Columbia to ATL. As we see now, ATL has become the staple in entertainment industry, but give us a little insight on what it was like for you during that transition.


J. A. Brown:  The truth is when I moved to Atlanta, I didn't move for comedy. I moved because I was going to go to a designing school. What a lot of people don't know about me is I'm a tailor. I was a tailor for like 20 years before I got into comedy. Tailoring was my staple. Tailoring allowed me to eat. I made more money than a lot of people who graduated from college and had college degrees as a tailor because I was a really good tailor, especially for alterations. I was good at alterations for tailoring and that really kept me alive in Atlanta. I went to school to finish my tailoring degree. I had already gone to a tailoring school and I was going to move to Atlanta to go to a designing school but, when I got to the school, this is really weird, the school would not let me start because my grant was short. I had a full grant but it was short $316 and they said, "If you don't have the money, you can't start." I said, "Well, if you let me start school, I can get the rest of the money." That just didn't make sense. The grant had paid up for the whole year.  My fear was going back home a failure, you know. People would ask, "You left to go to school, what happened?"


Lavish Life Magazine: What was your next move? 


J. A. Brown:   I really didn't know what was going to do, but I knew I was not going back to Columbia.  So I figured I'll stay in Atlanta, find me a job. I would get on the bus, and I was living at the YMCA at the time. I'd get on the bus and ask the bus driver, "Does this bus go to a mall?" Because, I needed to get back to where I was.   I'd get on the bus, ride around to different malls, ask were they looking for a tailor and then I'd come back.  I ended up finding a place in Atlanta that was a store that was owned by a black family. It was called Ernie & Sons. I remember it like it was yesterday. I'd go in there. There's a guy standing by the door. I said, "Are you guys looking for a tailor? Do you need a tailor?" He said, "No, we don't need anybody." So, I turned around and walked. I'd already walked the whole mall, and just as I'm leaving, one of the owners whose name is Skip Holden, he runs behind me and say, "Man you said you to do tailoring?" I said, "Yeah." And he says, "Man, we been looking for a tailor."  He didn't really think I could sew.  He gave me a bunch of old stuff to work on.  


Lavish Life Magazine: That was an opportunity to prove yourself?


J. A Brown: He gave me a bunch of old stuff to work on and I knocked it out. I did it and they hired me. I got this job and I worked for them and it was cool. It allowed me to have a job. I was making good money, living in the Y. I could save my money. I ended up getting me a place. I remember going to this Mr. which was one of the most elaborate night clubs I had seen in my life.  I mean, it was lights, Disco music, disco balls and tables. The minute you stepped in there you knew you were in a different world. I learned they had a Gong Show there. So I signed up for the Gong Show, I go on stage and I don't get gonged. And the reason I don't get Gonged is because I am not out there long enough for them to Gong me.   I did maybe two jokes. I got a good response. Then, I got my ass off that stage, man. Anyway, the club owner came up to me and said "Man, would you be interested in hosting my Gong Show?" I said, "Man you got a host." He said don't worry about him he's not staying. And they gave me a job as the host. And that job hosted every week was my introduction to comedy. I allowed me a place where I could work. I could do new stuff. As a writer, I could do song parodies, I could come out in costumes, and I could do stand-up. They never knew what I was going to do.  Mr. gave me that job and it opened the door to The Punchline, which was in Atlanta and other clubs across the country. I never knew comedy clubs existed. Those 5 years made me the writer I am today. 


Lavish Life Magazine: That kicked off your transition into the 80s and 90s. You jumped to Hollywood and took a gig writing with Arsenal Hall. How was that?


J. A. Brown:  That was nuts. No. Everything that had ever happened to me in show business was nuts. It was a gift from God. God was just blessing me at the time. So I moved back to L.A. There was a friend of mine who had an apartment he said I'm leaving because I'm writing for Carrot Top. I don't know how much you knew about Carrot Top. Carrot Top is a huge Vegas prop comedian.  My friend says to I'm going back to North Carolina but you can stay in this apartment until I leave.   I got the Arsenio Hall job because of a writer that he had Paul Clay. Paul asked me to come over for lunch. It was only two writers at that time, Paul Clay and Barry I can't think of Barry's last name. So, they're writing jokes and I'm sitting there waiting to go to lunch. And they'd bring up a subject and being a comedian. There's a subject in the room. Oh that's funny. Can we use it? Next subject. Ah that's funny can we use it? Yeah put it in. So Paul Clay suggests "Man you could do this." Now what a lot of people don't know about me is I cannot type, and my spelling is horrible.  Beyond belief but I just have this theory you never let what you can't do, stop you from what it is you want to do.   And I knew this story as a for instance. You ever know someone who says "Hey man you going to that Beyoncé concert?" Person will say no I don't have the money. Now, the person that had the attitude that they were going to get into that concert will say I don't know how I'm going to go but I'm going to see Beyoncé. I don't have the money. I don't even have a job. I don't know how... That's what drive is man. And the next thing you know you probably bought a ticket. You will see his ass on stage standing on the side. And you're like "How did he?” Drive. Drive beats anything.

So I had the drive when he said you can write these jokes for Arsenio. I was like, I don't know if I can do that. So I hired a lady to write for me.   I would get up at four o'clock in the morning and I'd get the USA Today. I'd look through there for stories and they had a Life section, Sports section, Entertainment, and Politics. I'd go right to the Entertainment section and I'd look for stuff to write.   I'd write jokes, I called her, and she would type the jokes. This way before the internet. She'd type them out. I'd drive over and pick them up get them to Paul so he could give them to Arsenio. I did this for two weeks and on the second week he said Arsenio is going to use one of your jokes tonight.  The joke was about LaToya Jackson doing a motorcycle spread in Playboy - butt naked. She said she did it to further her career. So the joke I wrote for Arsenio was "Ya'll heard about LaToya Jackson doing a spread on a motorcycle to further her career. I'm not really making fun of LaToya. I like to make my career go as far as I can but I'm not going to get butt naked on a Harley just to push a joke." That was the joke and it got a great response. The next day I get a call from Arsenio people. Yeah Sam wants to meet you. Boom. I go in he says you're hired. Just like that.   Once I left Arsenio I went on to write for Tom Joyner, Sinbad, and Robert Townsend, George Wallace, Ice T, Steve Harvey, Kim Coles and some others. 


{Sidebar: Okay, man. I'm in chemo so I had to get my IV adjusted. What's up? I'm back.}


Lavish Life Magazine:  Oh okay. Are you all right? Is everything okay?


J. A. Brown:  Yeah. I'm good. I'm just getting my treatment today. His attitude makes me getting treatment cool. So, you’re having an inside sound effect of what it is to be getting Chemo. 


Lavish Life Magazine: Would you like to share some insight with the public on your diagnosis?


J. A. Brown: Well I have leukemia and I was scheduled to take six months of Chemo treatment. I'm in my fifth month.  On my regimen, you take a week of Chemo and then one day of cleansing once a week. So say out of the month you take five days. Then one day a week you take saline solution to clean you out. And so I'm in my fifth month of Chemo. I have another month to go after this week. But after this week I will be getting once a week. So, I'm doing well.


Lavish Life Magazine: We just want to say at Lavish Life Magazine, our prayers are definitely with you and your family. Wishing you a speedy recovery. 


J. A. Brown: Thank you. All prayers are accepted.


Lavish Life Magazine: Talk to us about the J spot.


Jay A. Brown: Yeah I'm going to open it back up. I needed to take a pause. I needed to change the staff in there. And that's what I did. I had to re-vamp. Sometimes as a business you need to do that. You need to get the bullshit out.


Lavish Life Magazine:  Any new projects? 


J. A. Brown: Yeah. I'm working on a Gospel CD. And I didn't just get started doing Gospel because I got Leukemia. I've always gone to church. And I believe in God. And people are surprised, "oh he's just doing a gospel CD because he's sick". It's not true. Not true at all. I sing Gospel songs. I love going to church. I go to Hope of Encouragement. I've also gone to Wes Angles, for years, down in Los Angeles, California. When, I was a little boy my mama took me to Reverend Bowman a Baptist Church in Columbia. So, I have a church upbringing. I was made to go to church. You’re going to church. So, I had my one church suit. I have several now.  Also, I do a syndicated radio show that's in about 17 markets, I'm reopening the J Spot Comedy Club, and I have a hot sauce. You can go to to purchase my hot sauce. And my hot sauce with be in four airports very soon. At the Atlanta airport, Birmingham airport, Mobile airport and New Orleans. It’s under the name of Jay Anthony Brown it’s kind of pricey but its good. 


Lavish Life Magazine: How to be a Playa is underrated. You can agree right? Tell us about working on that film, please. 


J. A. Brown: It was... I had a script but those two guys. The two fat guys went insulting me. And I came up with the line "What happened to the sun. “And they just left it in. It was great. It was a two day job and two or three day shoot. And most of the people on that show I already knew. I knew Bill Bellamy, Pierre, I didn't know the little guy who came from Lean on Me. I didn't know him. I got to see Max Jillian. I'm a big fan of The Mac. It was good. It was fun. Life changing. You know it’s amazing how little parts in the movie become a big deal. 


Lavish Life Magazine: How did you get your start in radio? 


J. A. Brown: I just have this theory and I hope you right some of these down. If there's something you want to get in to, free will get you in the door. Meaning, if you are willing to do it for free, you can get your foot in the door. If you want to be a barber, and you say I'll come in here and sweep up hair if you teach me how to cut hair. You want to be a baker, I'll come in here and empty trash if you teach me how to bake biscuits. It'll get you in the door. That's how I got into radio.  Ricco Reed was doing radio in L.A. and I was performing around the city.  I said to him let me come on your show; I'll come in for free every day. I just want to be on the radio. He agreed and he put me on the radio. He is a guy who is credited with me doing the Murders a Hitch. He suggested that I do it. I got that job the same way. It’s the same way I got the job with Tom Joyner. It’s the same way I got to be on Steve Harvey before he was syndicated.  I've known Steve for 30 years. People think I just met him but Steve and I started out when we both had nothing. We're both blessed. When he had his radio show that was only heard in L.A. I would get off of the Tom Joyner no pay, no money and I'd go hang out with my buddy Steve.   Radio just made me better. I was already doing comedy for free. Why not do radio for free? And it made me better. It made me such a better comedian, man. It made my timing impeccable. I'm willing to say there is nobody quicker on the radio today than me. Nobody. They might be smarter. They might have more listeners, they might have a bigger audience but they're not quicker than me. Put me on the mic, I can stand toe to toe with anybody, anywhere, any country. 


Lavish Life Magazine: You won an NAACP award that is a crowning achievement.


J. A. Brown: The NAACP Image award came about when they had the L.A. riots. Ricco Reed was on the air at the time. It’s weird because KDLX is a radio station owned by Stevie Wonder and still is. You could literally look out the window and watch the riot. It was amazing and we were doing everything we could to tell the people to not come over here. They didn't come over there. And they had white workers at the time. They weren't going to destroy the radio station but across the street there was businesses. You could see the rioters tear up the businesses.  Ricco Reed was on the air at the time and it was just a dope vibe, all the guys who were on with him. They were other Jocks. I mean people who did it for free. Brandon Bowing was another comedian. And so we all just said were all going to go down there and just hang out. Just go there and be on the radio. Number one we were trying to give out information. Number two telling the people to stay away or stay in their homes don't come down here and do this. If you're thinking about rioting don't do it.  We were talking about what was going on in the street, for that broadcast I won the NAACP Image award. And the second NAACP Image award I won was for the Tom Joyner show. And I also won a Peabody Award for that broadcast as well.


Lavish Life Magazine: In closing, we would like to leave with a bit of motivation for someone who is diagnoses and facing the journey through chemotherapy:


J. A. Brown: I think one of the things that is important is to surround with people. I'm totally surprised by the reaction that I get from people and the support I get when I'm talking about it on the radio. People who I've never meet and they just say man stay up were praying for you. I'll post pictures from time to time and I'll get 15,000 hits. People just telling me to hang in there. People saying I heard you talking about it and I'm going through the same thing.Trust me there are some days when I want to give up. I'm not going to lie. I don't want to take anymore pills, I don't want to take anymore injections, I just want to give up but I keep going. I'd be lying if I said I never wanted to give up. Yeah. But my give up days are not as frequent as the ones when I say I’m going to do this shit. I keep praying to God and thanking the man upstairs. And I'm going to beat this. And I'm beating it. 


Lavish Life Magazine: We really appreciate you Mr. Brown and we appreciate your time as well and we are also Glad to announce that your treatment's are over and you are Cancer free so a BIG Congrats on that Mr.Brown



Mr. TailorMade

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