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Actor, rapper, entrepreneur, Soup Spoon bartender, family man, funnyman; he has many hats, but don’t call Melik Brown a comedian. Storyteller is more apt.
“I really appreciate when someone can spin a good yarn, and I can’t remember a good joke to save my life,” Brown said. “But fish tales are cool because life is the funniest, so I kind of expand on that.”
After a two-year hiatus, the 2017 Top of the Town “Best Comedian” award recipient is ready to hit the stage once again with his own brand of “fish tales.” The one-night show, called “Alright People,” is at the Robin Theatre on Thursday.
“I hadn’t performed publicly in a stage setting in a couple of years. For me it was weird and quirky and funny, ‘Why am I still being voted Best Comedian? There’s a lot of people that are local that are really hitting the scene hard and doing shows,” Brown said. “I had fun. I said, ‘Let’s pretend it’s serious and take a look at it for what it’s worth. That’s kind of the joke within itself.’” But just because he hasn’t been on stage in a while doesn’t mean that Brown isn’t without his history. The storyteller has had a penchant for funniness since he was in second grade. He’s performed extensively on the local comedy scene, including at the defunct Connxtions Comedy Club. Brown has had forays into corporate gigs and touring in Canada. He also used to host a local comedy TV show where he’d put comics on air.
He’s had his share of mishaps too, like being booed off stage three times. Brown recalled a time early on in his career where he had an “out of body experience.”
“Whether you believe in it or not, it happened. I don’t necessarily believe in it,” Brown said with a laugh. “I was telling a joke, and I forgot the punch line. I felt myself looking at myself and yelling at myself, ‘You’d better get to the end of the joke, this is going to be embarrassing!’ Right when I was losing my words, I felt myself getting sucked back in, and then I remember finishing the sentence and hearing people laugh.”
“It was terrifying,” Brown said. “That’s what comedy is — when it goes well it’s the best thing ever; when it’s not it’s the worst thing ever.”
Still, for Brown, it seems that comedy goes well more often than not. Brown credits his patience as a comic — he observed comedians for two years before making his first appearance on stage — and his parents with molding his comedic style that has allowed him to bounce back from missteps and made him so locally successful.
“My father is the greatest storyteller you will never hear, and it’s not just because he’s my Dad. I always brought people to see my Dad in hopes he would tell a story,” Brown said. “My mother, she had an observational way about her, so I guess I’m the product of that.”
At the show, attendees can, of course, expect stories, but they’ll cover a wide range of topics and emotions. Although it’s a comedy show at its center, “Alright People” will broach even difficult topics at times.
Brown compares the setup to a latenight chat with a good friend.
“You know those long conversations with a friend you’ve had for years? Like, ‘Oh my God, I’ve got to be up in the morning. Why are we up at 12, 1 o’clock in the morning?” Brown said. “Your gut hurts from crying and laughing and melancholy — that I believe is one of the best stories and movies.”
“Alright People with Metro Melik”
Thursday, Sept. 14 7 p.m.; Doors open at 6:30 $10 The Robin Theatre 1105 S. Washington Ave., Lansing Therobintheatre.com