Roy Wood Jr. says he has an enormous duty because the featured entertainer on the White House Correspondents’ dinner
Comedian Roy Wood Jr. has come a great distance from his childhood in Birmingham, Alabama, to changing into a distinguished determine on the planet of comedy. Now, he is having a breakout second. This Saturday, he’ll stand earlier than President Biden and different politicians because the entertainer on the White House Correspondents’ dinner — a testomony to his expertise and influence.
“It’s an honor to talk and crack jokes on prime of that, you recognize, subsequent to the president,” he advised CBS News. “But I feel it is a fair larger duty to have the ability to discuss on to the folks within the room which might be pushing towards lots of the issues that hold America from transferring ahead. Because I feel the job of comic is to be the voice of the common particular person.”
Wood was born in New York City, however he calls Birmingham, Alabama, residence. He grew up in a neighborhood affected by the struggles of the Eighties, together with gang violence and the crack epidemic.
Wood saved on the suitable path with the assistance of his mom, Joyce, who labored as a faculty administrator, and his father, Roy Wood Sr., a famend journalist and the founding father of the primary nationwide radio community owned by Black Americans. Wood credit his father for educating him the significance of authenticity and storytelling.
Wood’s life took a tragic flip when his father handed away throughout his senior 12 months of highschool. With his father’s premature demise, Wood confronted the problem of ending faculty and serving to help his household.
“He was, for essentially the most half, a big a part of the earnings in the home,” mentioned Wood. “So, I bought a job. I began working at Baskin-Robbins. I used to be working at Subway. … I used to be working 30-35 hours every week.”
Wood pursued a journalism diploma at Florida A&M University, then was suspended for a 12 months over stealing. Woods mentioned that second was precisely what he wanted, and he acknowledges that the college could have believed in him greater than he did himself.
“Black youngsters are advised from an early age that they’re disposable,” he mentioned. “And I feel it will be important … to be in a spot the place there’s folks round you who remind you that your life is not disposable as a result of lots of these folks have been most likely nearly disposed themselves.”
The setback led him to find his true ardour for comedy. During his suspension, he began performing stand-up, discovering solace and an outlet for his feelings throughout that difficult interval.
Wood’s dedication to comedy paid off. He honed his expertise and in 2006, he made his nationwide tv debut on “The Late Show with David Letterman,” which opened doorways to additional alternatives. He additionally gained recognition as a finalist on NBC’s “Last Comic Standing” in 2008 and secured stand-up gigs on Comedy Central.
Now, 25 years into his profession, Wood is in his prime. He’s a father to 6-year-old Henry and a correspondent on “The Daily Show,” which he guest-hosted earlier this month after Trevor Noah’s sign-off in December. He’s at the moment vying for the host place.
“If I’m supplied a chance to have a direct line to Americans each night time, 4 nights every week, you’ll be able to’t say no to that supply,” he mentioned.
Wood believes his father could be happy with his accomplishments.
“I feel my father could be proud, however I feel he’d be even prouder if I’m going up there and be sure that I’m speaking about one thing actual. Because when you’ve the microphone, you higher have one thing to say. You could not get it once more,” mentioned Wood.