Solomon Georgio on Standup, Comedic Heroes, and the Beauty of LA
Today is an exciting day for comedian Solomon Georgio. Not only does his Comedy Central Stand-Up Presents episode premiere tonight at 12:30, but his debut album, Homonegro Superior, just dropped on Comedy Central Records. Since leaving Seattle for LA a little over five years ago, Solomon has steadily earned his spot performing on shows like Conan and This Is Not Happening as well as writing for series like Spongebob Squarepants and Adam Ruins Everything. I sat down with Solomon the day before his half hour recording to talk about the comedic voices that influenced him, his undying love for LA, and not being the dumbest person in the room.
How do you feel about shooting the half hour?
I don’t think I’m aware that it’s fully happening. It’s one of those things I’ve always wanted and I’m so happy that I got it, but I’m not 100% sure it’s happening to me. It’s the same thing that happened after my Conan set. I know I did it, I know the work it took to get there, and I can go watch it anytime I want. But I’m 100% sure it isn’t me that did that. Performing on television, you’re so in the moment that it almost stays in that moment. It almost becomes a fantasy when you walk away from it.
I remember watching your Conan set a couple years ago and thinking, “Wow he’s dropping some heavy truth on America.” For lack of a better term, it seemed risky.
It was just me doing the material I had been doing for the last couple years and making sure that I stick to what I want to say. It’s way more comfortable for me to be in that zone than it is for me to not be. I didn’t consider it to be the biggest risk. I just felt like, “I love this. It’s my favorite thing to do.”
I was hesitant to use the word “risk.” I was thinking just from a pure subject matter perspective. From covering international politics to breaking down beloved fairy tales, you did it with actual history and hard facts.
I appreciate that. I try to be as knowledgeable as possible. My worst fear is being the dumbest person in the room. I always feel like I’m on the verge of that like, “Oooh, say something smart.”
You started comedy in Seattle?
I did, in ’07.
Were you raised there?
I moved to Seattle in ’94-’95, so I was a teen, but I lived there for 16 years before moving. I definitely had an attitude when I showed up, but I became a better person there.
How long were you doing comedy in Seattle before you moved to LA?
Five years into comedy I moved to LA. I’ve been in LA now five years.
What made you decide to leave Seattle for LA?
There wasn’t really an issue with Seattle. There were just more opportunities in LA. I love Seattle as a city. It’s perfect in so many ways. But I did StandUp for Diversity for NBC and made it to the finals and I was like, “Okay, I clearly need to be closer to where my career can grow.” It was a sad goodbye because I really do love Seattle.
Do you still go back a lot?
I go back less often than I used to because now I’m in love with LA. I never thought that could be possible because it’s a very mean city. But now it’s like, “Oh, we’re tight? Cool.”
When did things start clicking for you in LA?
Monetarily, success was more recent, but getting on the good shows didn’t take too long. It was a fairly quick turnover. I just hung out and people were fantastic and very supportive. Plus, there were a bunch of other Northwest comedians moving up the ranks ahead of me. It was such a supportive community up there where they would bring other comics along with them. Ron Funches especially was a fantastic person in regards to referencing me and getting me on the shows I hadn’t done yet. In the beginning I was probably doing a couple shows of month. By the end of my first year I was regularly doing shows.
When you were a younger comic, still trying to figure out your voice and style, who did you look up to?
I’ve watched a lot of Margaret Cho and Maria Bamford. They had a way of speaking and exposing their own vulnerabilities that made the most sense to me. There’s just the way they present themselves unabashedly. My preference is someone who’s like, “This is who I am. Take it or leave it.” I got kind of obsessed with that. Louis C.K. has the element that I enjoy as well, but I tend to gravitate towards female comedy voices because they have that essence of, “This is who I am. I went through the wringer to make this point and you can’t take it away from me.”
Is there anything you want to do career-wise other than standup?
To be honest, I’ve never figured out my life. I’m always constantly surprised by everything that’s happened. I have certain set goals. I want to have my own show. I want to act more. One thing I definitely don’t want to do is when performers get in that space where they’re caught in something they don’t want to be a part of. I love writing for TV, I love acting, and I love standup, but the only thing I want to commit the rest of my life to is standup. Everything else that comes will be like, “Oh, this is fun. Now I want to do this, and now I want to do that.” Those other things are more dependent on how I feel in the moment and how much time I want to commit to it and how it will affect my comedy.
But those things are necessary because, as you well know, being just a standup is an impossible way to make a living.
It is impossible. I know that. But I know I can do other things that will continue to allow standup to be a thing I can do.
Are there any things that you have turned down for standup?
It’s not as much turning things down as it’s whether or not I put forth the effort to get the job, especially if it requires relocation. I love LA. I’m set here. When opportunities in New York come my way, I love that city, but I do not want to live there.
Why do you love LA so much?
It looks so ugly from far away, but when you get into it there are so many things you can constantly discover about it. It’s one of those things where once you enjoy its beauty you can’t stop looking at it. It’s unlike any other city. Most other cities you can compare to another city. LA, it’s impossible to find another city like it. It’s been the best thing for my comedic voice. It’s a city that will give you a really great time, but you have to work your ass off for it.