If your bag is being fully entertained by a comic that kills it with impersonations and sound effects galore, have we got news for you. Darren Carter is precisely just that and what he's delivering to the table, you're going to want seconds and thirds of. You won't have to wait long either because Carter is bringing his vivacious persona blended with spot-on imitations, topical hilarity, and sheer ability to get the “party started” to the Irvine Improv this Wednesday night. And before you get your tickets to end your hump day off on the perfect note, we talked to him about his borderline obsession with @Midnight tweets, entertaining people of all ages, and how the fruit doesn't fall far from the tree when it comes to his hilarious son.
OC Weekly (Ali Lerman): How old were you when you realized that you could do all of these impressions?
Darren Carter: Oh man, when I was a little kid. Probably when I was in first grade. [Laughs.] I'm laughing because my son is seven and I'm noticing a cycle. I actually noticed it when he first started talking. Even before he could talk he was doing these noises and my wife would be like, stop beatboxing! He imitates me.
So when you did them in school was it kind of like a class clown thing or was it somewhat of a defense mechanism?
I think it was more entertainment you know, on the playground or in the back of the classroom. I remember I had a teacher in 10th grade that told the class, “If everyone does their work, I'll let Darren come up and do comedy.” That was really cool because I'd get to go up and do something for the class.
Wow. It'd be great if more teachers were like that. You know, helping kids back their dreams no matter what they are.
Yeah I know! I think a lot of kids just need direction. If they don't really have anything to focus on, they just end up distracting the other kids.
Speaking of kids, I always thought it'd be sweet to have a comic as a dad. Does your son think you are funny?
Yeah he does and it's really cool because we make him laugh and he makes us laugh. I've heard from other comics that their kids don't think they're funny but luckily mine does. My style is really playful so maybe it's perfect for kids. I don't know. It's like, I don't mind putting on costumes and going crazy. [Laughs.]
Ha! I can't even imagine! Sounds like there's a lot of fun to be had in your house.
There is! I was on a sketch show for a while on BET so I have a lot of costumes I've picked up that are around and that he has access to. The other day he wanted this shirt with “all of the palm trees on it” because he was watching Ace Ventura and he wanted to dress up like Jim Carrey's character while watching it. It's become a common occurrence in our house. [Laughs.] The other morning we were sleeping and my wife heard him singing “ahhh aaahhhh ahhhhhhh.” She said, “Hey Austin, stop singing!” And he goes, “I am not Austin. I am Jesus Christ.” I started playing along so I was like, 'Jesus, come give me a hug!” He came in and he had a wig on, he had his bathrobe on, and he grabbed a book to make it look like a bible. He goes, “I am Jesus Christ Jr.” [Laughs.] It was really funny. He thinks of things out of left field and it's really great for the comedic mind.
Kid's minds seriously rule. They're so fresh and untainted by that “PC” mentality. I love that! I gotta ask you about your nicknames by the way. Can you explain “Party Starter” and “Rooster” for me?
Rooster was a name that growing up in Fresno, which I like to call “the other F word,” people used to call me. I started talking about it on stage and people thought it was funny so I just kept on with those stories. You know, what it was like when I was walking to school and I'd hear, “Órale! What's up red headed rooster?” [Laughs.] The “Party Starter” came from back when I worked in radio. I used to use that name and it kind of stuck. It turned into this thing where you mention a nickname and the audience wants to call you that. Then they're not even remembering your name! It's cool though, it's like having your own jingle. Also, I guess my style is kind of like that anyways because I like to be upbeat and have fun. If I talked about serious issues people would be like, this guy is no party starter!
Agreed! Let me ask you about Twitter before I let you go. I noticed your timeline is full of @Midnight tweets. Would you say that you are somewhat fanatical?
You know what's funny is over the last few weeks I started thinking, this is really fun! I used to tweet like five times a day with family stuff, promoting, and jokes. It does get attention but when you start hitting those trending topics, it's really cool. It's like there is a room with a ton of people in it and they're all tweeting about the same topic. It seems like you get more attention that way. It's stuff that wouldn't even work on stage but it gets all of this attention on-line. I used to worry about who I was gearing to when I tweeted but now I'm like, screw it. I find it all to be a lot fun so I just go with it now!
Check out Darren Carter at the Irvine Improv Wednesday March 11th at 8pm, 31 Fortune Drive Irvine, CA 92618, (949) 854-5455. For tickets go to www.Improv.com. For more info on Darren, go to his website www.DarrenCarter.com and follow him on Twitter @DarrenCarter. You can also (and should) pick up his new album “Stay up Home Stripper” on iTunes.
Ali Lerman knows much about comedy, basketball, and celebrating Wu-Tang Wednesday. She’s been writing for sixteen years and still calls her mom with grammatical questions.