Me perfoming last year at Laughter in the Park

Me perfoming last year at Laughter in the Park

I’ll be performing again in Central Park on July 3 with Laughter in the Park. It was super fun last year and the booker, Suzette, gets really great comics to come out. When she confirmed my date this week, she e-mailed me this photo from my performance last year. It literally made my day. He is rolling on the floor (ground) laughing his ass off. Literally.

This is why I do what I do.

Performances are held in Central Park, Washington Square Park and Brooklyn Bridge Park. Check out the full summer schedule here!

Roots Rock Run: My first 5k

My very first bib number!

My very first bib number!

This past Saturday I ran my very first 5k—the Roots Rock Run in Philadelphia. I did it with my sistren from GirlTrek, an amazing black-women’s wellness organization I joined a few months ago. My goals were 1) to run more than half of the race and 2) not to come in last. I succeeded at both! Who knew 171st place could feel so good? I ran at an 11-minute/mile pace and finished in 34:57, which I think is pretty good for a newbie. And I really enjoyed myself; I think I get why people enjoy racing. I wasn’t exhausted afterwards because I’ve been walking and jogging five times a week for the past couple months. I was super proud of me!

Oooh and also, because it was hosted by The Roots, I got to run with behind, meet, and selfie with Black Thought—my forever crush and one of the greatest emcees in the game. I’d always imagined I’d be slightly less sweaty during our first meeting, but reality rarely lives up to expectations.

Me with Black Thought. #Swoon

Me with Black Thought. #Swoon

1950: When America Was Great



Last night, while my cousin and I were watching “Roots” with my aunt, she explained to us how sharecropping was nothing more than slavery lite. She, my dad and their 12 other sisters and brothers were raised on a plantation in Omaha, Georgia, where my grandfather worked as a sharecropper. They farmed cotton and peanuts, and she told us how every season, after the crop was sold and it came time for my grandparents to “settle up” with the landlord for all the provisions they used throughout the year, they’d always be in debt. Always owe money for the work they did, because he owned the plantation store, set the prices and kept the books.

Then she showed us this bill of sale from 1950, where their landlord took every single thing they owned, in order to settle their debt. They had no crops, no cows, no mules and no hogs, which left them completely dependent upon him the following year. And when the next crop didn’t bring in enough to cover all those new expenses (because, somehow, it never did), he tacked on that debt to the next season, and the next…

This was 1950. Slavery had been outlawed nearly 100 years earlier, but my grandparents were no less tethered to that plantation than their great-grandparents..

So when folks ask, “Why can’t black people just…?”

This is why. It’s why we’re distrustful, why the achievement gap, why the wealth divide, why I wish a ************ would come at me with that, “Slavery ended 150 years ago; why don’t you just get over it?” Winning in life when you had a 330-year head start, is no achievement. But winning in spite of this is a huge source of pride for me. Ten of my grandparents’ fourteen children graduated college. They went on to own homes, raise healthy families, have great careers, run their own businesses. Imagine what they, and countless others, could have achieved if they playing field had been equal from the start—if it had ever been equal.

Black dolls and black girls


As described by its founder, Dr. Yaba Blay, Pretty.Period. is “A visual tribute to brown skin. A visional testimony of Black beauty. A vision board for healing.” It’s a place for brown women to come and, not just be appreciated, but celebrated. Where we are not “pretty for a black girl” or ‘pretty for a dark-skinned girl.” We’re pretty. Period.

I saw the above post last week on the organization’s Facebook page, and it absolutely broke my heart. We’ve all seen the doll test videos on YouTube; we know how early, and profoundly and profoundly early, little brown girls are affected by the lies the world would have them believe about themselves. We know that the way to combat this is to tell them and show them and then keep telling and showing them how beautiful they are—that women all over the world go to extreme lengths to achieve their brand of beauty. That they are lovable and deserve to be loved.

Black girls need to play with and care for dolls that reflect who they are. Period.

Growing up, my mother insisted that all my dolls be black. I had black Kimberly dolls, a black Cabbage Patch Kid, a black Baby-Alive-type doll that scared the crap out of me, but my Mom still made me play with, anyway. She even had two black Raggedy Ann dolls made for me because “if you want a raggedy doll, she’s gonna be black.” Which…well, you just read that, so you know. Her intention was clear, though.

I know the "Waggedy" looks white, but she is just light-skinned.

Don’t side-eye Little Raggedy. She’s just light-skinned.

My friend Dana is the most creative person I know. A graphic designer/photographer/should-have-her-own-show chef/(former) beauty and food blogger and now–knitter, her ability to just pick up new skills and be great at them has always blown my mind. Her current blog is about all the things she knits. She makes sweaters and baby blankets and clothes for her dog; she’s knit me awesome hats and cowl scarfs. But the other day I happened upon something on her Instagram feed that melted my heart. She’d knitted a little brown doll for our friend Yuvay’s daughter, Maddie. She even made a sweater for Maddie to match the sweater the doll had on. How sweet is this? Check out her post here.



Making a brown doll for a brown girl gave me so much joy! — DWJ

And it looks like little Maddie loved it as well! I think it’s my favorite of all the things she’s made in the 20 years I’ve known her; it’s definitely the most important. And having just seen the Pretty.Period. post, I had to share it. I have the dopest friends. Am I too old for a doll like Maddie’s, D? You don’t have to make me the matching sweater…


Source: 1 | 2


Why, Lordt? And other questions I have for this white woman…

So, this happened.

Last Saturday, on my way up to The Berkshires for a show, I made a pit stop at Philiipsburg Manor–an historic site located in Sleepy Hollow, NY. In the 1800’s, it was a complex operated by a family of Dutch merchants who owned 23 enslaved Africans. Similar to Colonial Williamsburg, they offer tours where you can learn the little-known story of enslavement in the colonial north. I visited on this particular day because it was Pinkster–(a Dutch-turned-African-American holiday celebrated mainly in the Hudson Valley), and having just heard about it for the first time that morning, I wanted to learn more.

Here are a few photos from my tour of the manor. Scroll thru them right quick, so we can get back to the lady in this video.

Y’all finished? Or are you done? Either way, let’s get back to the issue at hand: how did this white woman end up with this responsibility? Was Keisha on break and she thought, “I did take an African Dance class that one Saturday, and I saw the wedding scene in that Arsenio Hall movie about Africans like 2 times…I’ll fill in for you, Keisha!” I don’t have the words for what this is or how incongruous it felt or how the black woman dancer who was dancing before her was looking at her while she was dancing or for how the drummers were smirking at me while I was giving this white lady the big eyes… This is why the caged bird stopped singing; she had no more songs.

I love a good museum adventure, and learning about Pinkster was dope–especially because it was one of the very few times the enslaved were given time off. But this ish right here is why there should be a 15-20 minute limit for black people at historical sites having to do with slavery.

“But I didn’t even see the upstairs, yet. I’m gon’ get my full 14 dollars worth.”
“Ma’am, I think it’s best you head on out now, for your own peace of mind.”

Because at minute 21, some chit like this happens.

I’m back


Today, I went to L’Oreal USA Headquarters so my girlfriend, Cataanda, could give me the first real haircut I’ve had since most of them fell out about a year and a half ago. I wore braids for most of that time, in order to allow it grow without the stress of daily styling. And today, I reaped the fruits of my (lack of) labor; I L-O-V-E the cut!

Cataanda is an equally amazing hairstylist, make-up artist and human being, with whom I’ve worked for about seven or eight years. She beat my face for Last Comic Standing, all my headshots and she did my hair and makeup for the last season of Exhale. I linked to her website because it’s the right thing to do, but I really don’t want to share her with y’all. Matter of fact, if I ever need an appointment and I find out one of y’all booked her, we’re fighting we fightin’. She’s the only person I trust with my hair, now. When she wasn’t available one week last summer, I made an appointment with the stylist I went to all through high school… Not only did he get scissor-happy, but he cut a chunk out of the right side of my hair–the hair I was trying so desperately to grow back. And then he and his co-worker tried to convince me that it looked good–as if my giant eyeballs couldn’t see the mirror a foot in front of me. I swear it was like that episode of “Martin” where Gina forgets to put the neutralizer in Myra’s hair, and they try to convince her she looks beautiful bald.

"You gave Myra a perm with no neutralizer???"

“You gave Myra a perm with no neutralizer???”

But, I digress.

Me and Cataanda

Me and Cataanda

Cataanda is ALL the superlatives. And she totally gave me a 5th Avenue haircut at the homegirl rate. I feel like I’m back! It may not be feminist or India Arie-ist or whatever, but I always feel good about me when my hair is pretty.

And I feel good about me today.

Big Sky


I just got back from a road trip that took me out to Montana and Wyoming for some college shows. Look at this photo! They don’t call Montana “Big Sky Country” for nothing!


It was my first time in Wyoming; I memorialized it with this photo. I’ve worked in 45 states now; all I’ve got left are Hawaii, New Mexico, the Dakotas and Utah. I’ve had several layovers in SLC airport, but layovers don’t count. I was in Montana last fall for a show with my favorite, Wendy Leibman, but were were in and out in the dark of night so I didn’t get to see how beautiful it was out there. I flew into Billings on Wednesday and then made the 2-hour drive to Sheridan Wyoming for my show that evening. On my way, I passed a highway sign for Little Bighorn Battlefield. I had about 6 hours until my show, so hell yeah for Custer’s Last Stand.

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I got there about 30 minutes before they stopped  letting people into the park so I didn’t even have to pay the $20 drive-through fee. There was a museum, several monuments, and an audio tour you could hear on your cell phone. I went through as much as I could before the rangers started pulling people out of the park. Such a cool bit of history. I love an adventure!

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I put almost 800 miles on my rental car in the two days I was out there; Alamo Rent-A-Car was like “ummmm, never again.” It’d have been even more than that if the weather at Yellowstone hadn’t been so crummy. I probably added an extra 3 hours to my drive time by pulling over to take so many photos. But it was worth it. And it was easy driving. Those wide open highways are a joy to drive on, and with a speed limit of 80mph, my lead foot was in heaven. I often feel like I drive for a living and comedy is what I get to do when I get off. But I really do love seeing America. I have so many stories from almost every state. I would love to have a Hawaii story, next.

If you’re there, God, it’s me, EJ…



I’m back in the DC Metro area (McLean, VA to be exact) to do a corporate event tomorrow afternoon. And as I was headed towards my hotel, I realized I was driving right past the old Best Western Westpark Hotel building, which used to house Wiseacres Comedy Club. I don’t know how long it’s been empty; I haven’t been out this way in at least 6-7 years. But when I first started out in comedy, I was there every single Wednesday nite. Man. The open mics in that dark, dingy room are where I met some of my very favorite people. I learned how to write and workshop a joke there, learned how to be a good citizen of the comedy community. I was grateful for my 5 minutes on stage in that room, even when I went up 20th. And I never wanted to go home after those shows. Dinner and drinks after the mic? Absolutely. Work tomorrow? Who cares? That little dungeon will hold a place in my heart forever.

So much debauchery

So much debauchery went down in here

Rob, Randy, Ryan, Jett, Diesel, Herbie, Dawan, Tim, Chris, Jimmy… I miss those days.

Those were great days.