Today we’d like to introduce you to Raye Maddox.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Raye. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
My story in comedy started the same way my story in life did: slowly and quietly until months down the line I erupted out, screaming and with a mess all over me. Speaking of which, I’m a twin! So whatever mess you were thinking was on me, double it, because there was two of us! That’s where my story starts and it hasn’t changed too much outside of that. It’s hard for me to separate my story from my twin brother’s. All through school we were in the same class, with the exception of third grade, of course. We didn’t really do twin stuff, and even now I’m not confident we could finish each other’s sentences, but we were still connected in such an un-explainable way. You see, we were the class clowns and that was really out shtick through all twelve grades, even getting voted Most Funny, or whatever that superlative is. It was a tie! Can you believe that? I can’t. I’m sure one of us actually won that by one vote and the administration didn’t want to make the other feel bad, so they gave it to both of us. And, if we’re being honest, I’m not confident I was the one with the most votes.
Long story short, comedy has always been an essential, almost primordial, element in my life. It’s in my being and it’s something I’ve always shared, almost intimately so, with another person. I’m talking about my brother, of course, but you have to understand comedy is such a communal act none the less. There’s an idea in Christianity that where two or three are gathered, the Lord or Jesus is also there, or something, and comedy is the same thing, y’know? I’m getting largely off-topic, but to me comedy isn’t selfish in nature, it can’t be. If you make it selfish you deprive it of its power and you’re going to end up being un-funny, wondering why no one is laughing at your material! Comedy has to be shared with another person!
So, when I was out of college and getting the feeling that “hey, maybe teaching high school hasn’t been the greatest use of your time for the past year or so, and how can I share my God-given gifts with other people?”, and I began to think about all of this big stuff and, wham bam, I found Dallas Comedy House, and found my purpose in life. The thing that’s been there from the very beginning.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Oh boy, has it not. So, if comedy is communal and selfless, that’s a problem with our human nature! We, even on a biological level, care about ourselves first. When you head into a hobby, or career, that forces you to, by its own nature, think about other people, problems are going to arise! When I first started taking comedy classes at Dallas Comedy House in 2015 I had to quickly get my head up and out of other people’s butts and mouths. In class, or on a stage, or at a bar, I was always worried about everyone else’s success compared to mine. It was always “oh, THAT person just had a really funny scene, but the one I did sucked hot garbage,” or “why am I not being asked to go hang out at bars or perform in weekend shows?” It drove me nuts for the better part of a year! Then it all clicked, y’know? I had to realize that if I was ever going to survive and support this community, I had to stop worrying about me. At the end of the day all I needed to focus on was doing my best, no matter how good someone else was doing, or how bad I was doing. You have to keep going. You have to keep putting yourself out there, your stuff out there, and polish it, and push on. Doing otherwise creates this toxic head space which you’ll leak out into the community, thereby seeping that toxicity it that as well. You’ll ruin it for you and everyone around you. Self-sabotage! The more you worry about you and your products, the worse it’s going to get. Set yourself aside. Oh, also, I guess a tricky hurdle was being diagnosed as being on The Autism Spectrum when I was 21. But like, bleh, who wants to hear about that?
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Dallas Comedy House story. Tell us more about the business.
I work part-time at Dallas Comedy House and am a part-time barista at Mokah Coffee & Tea in Deep Ellum! On a pretty cold, corporate level, I can say I am in charge and maintain the various Internship programs at Dallas Comedy House while assisting the Training Center Director, Maggie Rieth-Austin, with the upkeep there. I love our precious interns. Every two months we have about 25 House interns on board! They keep the doors open and the gears turning, bless them. I love them, I do. They run the box office, and manage the theaters, and are all bad asses. I’m responsible for interviewing them, hiring them, training them, etc., and I need to express emotions more so they never forget how much I cherish them all! But that’s the tip of the iceberg, so strap in.
My other jobs at Dallas Comedy House, listed in numerical order, but not due to any sort of ranking, just relevance:
1. I run tech for countless shows since 2016! Currently, I am the technical director for a sketch show going up in Mid-September called “Self-Aware? I Hardly Know Her”, and I’ve been a technical director on three other main-stage DCH shows. Besides those big shows, I’ve run, and continue to do so, lights and sounds for weekly improv shows!
2. I perform in shows, usually once or twice a week, but sometimes things are crazy, and I’m crazy, and have four to five shows a week!
3. For the past year and a half, I’ve helmed a monthly hour-long variety show called Block Party! This includes curating the show and hosting it! I’m passing the torch off to a new host this month though, so Rest in Peace Raye!
But I love Dallas Comedy House and being on-board with so many projects. It’s truly a place that has room for anyone. Being in charge of the Internship Program over the past year has especially shown me how caring and welcoming we can be. When I was taking classes, I couldn’t afford them, and if it hadn’t been for the Internship Program, I wouldn’t be here at all. It’s weird now being in charge of that, but it’s great to be able to offer people a home here via internships.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I’m sorry. I’m sure this question brings out lovely answers in people, but I don’t believe in luck. That’s such a pessimistic thing to say because I am, in the eyes of some, depriving life of its magic. Luck is what can turn a bad day into a wonderful one within a second. Luck brings us money or laughs or pride. But luck isn’t a thing, to me. I wouldn’t go so far as saying I believe in destiny, but I do think to a degree what happens to us is happening for a reason, y’know? It’s a large concept and it’s very hard for me to put it into words, but what’s happening to you right now, or tomorrow, is happening to you because of you. Whether it’s good or bad, own it! Oftentimes when we ascribe something to luck, we are taking ownership off of it. To me, that’s a tricky mindset and selfish way to view the word.
- Block Party is a free show!
- Buy tickets for Dallas Comedy House shows online, they are cheaper online!
- Address: Dallas Comedy House
3025 Main Street
Dallas, TX 75226
- Website: dallascomedyhouse.com