• Comedy Gives Back

BIPOC Grant Recipient Testimonial



Below is a letter we received from a recipient of the Comedy Gives Back BIPOC Stand Up Comedian grant. We love hearing stories like this! Read on for how Comedy Gives Back is directly helping comedians:


To: Comedy Gives Back

Greetings, my name is Wayne Payne and I am stand-up comic based in New York City. In this testimonial letter, I would like to share my story on the impact of the emergency relief funds awarded to me by the “Comedy Gives Back Covid -19 BIPOC,” and what that means for the comedy community.


On April 9th 2020, I was scheduled to perform in the “Kenan Thompsons Ultimate Comedy Experience,” grand finale at Caroline’s on Broadway in New York City. It was a showcase competition with comics from across the United States, competing for a meet and greet with the Saturday Night Live Cast from the NBC television network. There was also a possibly of auditioning to become a cast member on the show. This was an opportunity I envisioned and worked for in comedy. I spent money on open mics and on improv classes nurturing and honing my craft to be prepared for an opportunity like this. When the shutdown of comedy club venues happened. I slipped into a minor depression. I felt everything I worked for was in vain. The money and hours I spent on developing my comedy for this opportunity was for nothing and the momentum I generated caught up with me from behind and knocked me down.


The only thing that wasn’t in vain, was the relationships and the connections I was able to build in the comedy community. I got the information about the Comedy Gives Back relief funds from comics affected by the shutdown of venues and all entertainment productions by several friends in the comedy community. When I applied for the relief funds, I felt a sense of hope, because there wasn’t anything catered to help comics. We were not considered essential workers. Comedy Gives Back showed and represented to the comedy community during these uncertain times that we are “essential.”


When I received the email stating that I will be receiving the relief funds from Comedy Gives Back BIPOC I was relieved and felt appreciated. The money and long hours spent working on my craft wasn’t for nothing. The impact result was a restoration of confidence within myself and a message to the comedy community that, each and every one of us are all “essential.”

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