Rafe Williams, The Comedy Hero You Deserve

By  Dan Buffa; Special Contributor

July 7, 2016

 

Stand-up comedian: a job title many associate with "cool and easy" and "a lot of fun". What it really means is a person who has to fight for every laugh and minute on stage. Local comic Rafe Williams knows this hustle well and has a chance to break out this week.

Wednesday night, Rafe was voted the funniest person in St. Louis at the Helium Comedy Club in Richmond Heights. The move could open up a ton of doors for the vintage Rafe.

It has come with a lot of hard work that involves work for the KMOV show STL Up Late among other adventures.

I had the opportunity to shoot some questions at Rafe about the upcoming Presidential Race and how if it is fuel for a comedian and how STL Up Late came together. What followed was true comic glory inside 500 words. 

You are thrown into a car with Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton. You got one joke to tell and both of them need to laugh at it. What do you go with?

Me- Knock, Knock.

Them- Who’s There?

Me - The slowly drowning middle class and impoverished.

Them- The slowly drowning middle class and impoverished who?

Me- Exactly. (*pushes them both from moving vehicle*)

How much does a ridiculously doomed election help out a comedian like yourself?

As a comedian it is fantastic. It is endless fodder for parody and turning a mirror on society which is my job, but also infuriating to watch your society circle the drain. 

George Carlin said, “Scratch any cynic and you’ll find a disappointed idealist”...he was right.

First joke you ever told on a stage was and how was it received?

Something about masturbating with self-tanning lotion on accident. I think the punch line was about having to carry around a bag of Doritos for a week until my hand wasn’t orange and my junk looking like a Cheetos Puff.

It got the reaction it deserved.

Full disclosure. Are you Jon Snow's father? 

Informer
You no say Daddy Me Snow me-a gon' blame
I lick he bum bum down
'tective man they say, say Daddy Me Snow me stab someone down the lane
I lick he bum bum down

Valentines Day. Bullshit "make relationships right again" day or a good time?

Created by the Hallmark Industrial Complex as a means to prop up the iron triangle of greeting card warlords between Christmas and Easter, Line the pockets of Big Chocolate by exploiting the Ivory Coast, and to advance the pharmaceutical agenda by creating a reminder for those who are alone that both causes and cures  “seasonal affectation disorder”.

What made you want to tell jokes and connect? 

I came from a tough, poor, and abusive home.  I realized at a young age that I could “entertain” my mother and two younger brothers when my Father wasn’t home and momentarily provide an escape from a much darker reality.  There was a magical power in that.  Real good medicine for the heart and soul.  I’ve never wanted to do anything else since.

"I realized at a young age that I could “entertain” my mother and two younger brothers when my Father wasn’t home and momentarily provide an escape from a much darker reality."

"I realized at a young age that I could “entertain” my mother and two younger brothers when my Father wasn’t home and momentarily provide an escape from a much darker reality."

When you get on the stage at Helium, what do you drink before hand? Whiskey or beer?

Neither.

Went Cold Turkey on booze 5 years ago. Mastered it.   

But I am known to be seen with a non-alcoholic beer with olives in it to take the skunk out of a beer that is pulled out of the cooler covered in dust and cobwebs like the arc of the Covenant.

When the beer is real it is called a Texas Martini, when it’s fake beer I call it a Polish Martini. (Throwback to Grandpas senselessly prejudice joke-telling)

Tell me about STL Up Late. What's going on over there this year?

We are wrapping up our first season on KMOV without being cancelled or fined by the FCC. (Moral Victory) A lot of really talented, hard-working, comedic-minded folks doing great work.  

I feel real lucky to be a part of it and get to do things I like.  They allow me to collaborate but also leave room for me to pilot my own point of view.  

This freedom to take risks has helped me grow exponentially as a performer and a human.

Left to right- Andrew Frank, Libbie Higgins, Rafe Williams  

Left to right- Andrew Frank, Libbie Higgins, Rafe Williams  

 

Donald Trump is elected President and you will either:

A: Keep doing what you do

B: Hire Jack Bauer to "take care" of him.

C: Move to Italy.

D: Embrace the Trump.

E: Ask me when it happens. 

 

F. Quit my job and Sell merch at all his speaking events. 

Trumpto-Bismol Antacid to put out the Bern.  

Trump-Nutz to hang off the back of your Hemi 4x4 so everyone knows “You didn’t vote for no Lady President”

And a T-Shirt with a wall built in around the chest so no love for immigrants can escape your heart. (Made in Mexico, of course.)

How did you get to know We Are Live hosts Chris Denman and Travis Terrell? 

Met them both on Farmers Only.com, we were all mistakenly enrolled. 

Chris thought it was Farmington Only (His home town), 

Travis thought it was Pharma Only and was soliciting for low-grade foreign Cialis, 

and I was looking for an Ant Farm.

Turns out we all dig Bob Seger, Sturgill Simpson, and Motown so we started hangin' out.

You run into an aspiring young comic and can tell them one thing about the business. What is it?

One of these 4 Things:

You are going to fail, just remember you are failing forward.  

Bill Hicks said, “Learn to be yourself on stage and you will always have the law of supply and demand covered.” Listen to him.

Care as much about your relationships as you do your material, they are equally important.

How you handle criticism and compliments says a lot about you, learn to accept both

 

Williams is a legit energy source and someone that can instantly entertain when you get into his space. We co-hosted a radio show in May. Sometimes a three hour radio segment needs a push of randomness to make it unique and Rafe never failed to keep me on my toes and bringing the heat.

The folks at The Helium Comedy Club made the right choice Wednesday night. Rafe is a funny guy and deserves the recognition.

It's easy for me to relate to Rafe because of the scrappy nature of our passions.

Check out Rafe's Facebook page for short films that will make you laugh and where you can find him. Some of the stuff is mature in nature, so you've warned. Click here.