Ethiopian American comedy star Solomon Georgio got his start in the game in Seattle circa 2007, and he honed his craft like a motherfucker.
After he moved to Los Angeles in 2012, his career ascended exponentially. Appearances on Conan and This Is Not Happening, writing gigs for TV shows such as SpongeBob SquarePants and Adam Ruins Everything, and a strong 2017 album on Comedy Central Records called Homonégro Superior prove that a proud gay black immigrant can thrive in the entertainment industry. In your face, Trump supporters.
I spoke with Georgio in advance of his two-night stand at the Highline. He’s as smooth and quick-witted in this context as he is onstage.
A lot of comedians use self-deprecation to get laughs. But you use self-aggrandizement. What made you decide to take this route?
For me, it was actually more difficult to be self-deprecating. I don’t think people like it when I do the “woe is me” stuff, because I don’t think so highly of myself offstage. [My jokes] are more self-affirmations. It’s a fine line between being humorously arrogant and annoyingly egotistical. I can’t say how it works. I’m always surprised it does.
How did Seattle shape your sense of humor?
You can’t pull off dumb jokes so easily in Seattle. I have had to skip the low-hanging-fruit phase in my comedy. It helped me develop my voice. It was like, “You’ve got to give us something that’s unique and not just anything that’s been doled by hundreds of comedians before.”
What has been the net effect of Trump’s reign on your act?
It’s difficult to say, because I do live in a heightened sense of fear. But I’ve not taken that many jabs at him as a whole because giving him too much attention—it’s sort of succumbing to trauma.
Is it hard to make political activism and social justice funny, compared to other typical stand-up topics?
If comedy is the base of your experience and what you’re into, it’s not as difficult, because it’s your passion. I would find it more difficult not to write stuff that focuses on those things, because they play such a huge part in my life.
Will you be performing a lot of material from Homonégro Superior, or mostly new material?
I’m trying to do as much new material as possible. I’m talking about a few more personal experiences, things that happened within the last year or so, relationship-wise, life-wise, and a few critiques regarding the current state of the country. But I can’t promise I won’t fall back on [Homonégro Superior material].
How do you think the Highline’s staunchly white-hetero-male heavy-metal aura will affect your upcoming sets?
You have to understand, Dave, I have been working on spite for the last 20-plus years… I can’t imagine me being affected by it. It just might make me stronger. I might get twice as big in the presence of it.