In it’s 3rd year, Demetrius “Juice” Deason, CEO of Layups2Standup and NBA MVP Russell Westbrook bring an evening of infamous comedy and premier entertainment to Oklahoma with the 3rd Annual “Why Not??” Comedy Show benefiting Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma’s Kids Backpack Program. Slated to be the biggest installment of the comedy series, this year’s headliner is none other than the incomparable celebrity comedian Gary Owen and Oklahoma Thunder’s very own Russell Westbrook will be the official host for the evening. The show takes place this Friday, October 26th at the iconic Tower Theatre in Oklahoma City.
Layups2Standup is an innovative brand that channels the love of basketball and comedy to create community events and was founded by Westbrook’s childhood friend and comedian “Juice” Deason. We had the opportunity to briefly catch up with Juice to talk his early beginnings, working with Westbrook, and what he wants people to take away from the “Why Not?” Comedy show. Check out our Q&A below.
How did you get your nickname Juice?
In High School someone compared me to Beetle Juice – not the cartoon, the unattractive one. That nickname ended up sticking with me, but as I got older I dropped the “beetle” and left “Juice”.
As a comedian how do you turn adversity into laughter?
I try and find the funny in any situation – even mine adversaries – and bring it to my audience.
With social media stars/comedians being discovered everyday what do you feel separates you or makes you unique from other comedians?
I’m more than a comedian. I’m building a brand, while creating a platform for other comedians through my events.
As a former collegiate basketball player have you learned anything playing ball at a high level that helps you as a comedian?
Playing basketball taught me discipline, work ethic, and leadership skills. These are all things that help me daily in developing my brand and companies.
What’s a better feeling to you, scoring 20 and have an impeccable basketball game or hearing hundreds of people laughing at your jokes? Any why does one outweigh the other?
Having hundreds of people laugh at my jokes for sure! It takes time to craft a jokes, and when the audience laughs at them, it’s an adrenaline rush. Plus, being able to bring laughter to people is healing for their souls.
Your partner in the Why Not comedy series is Russel Westbrook. Does having a #COSIGN from an NBA MVP like Westbrook add pressure or do you feel that it only boosts your endeavors?
It actually helps by giving my brand credibility, and his overall support of what I’m doing has helped tremendously. Having a friend like Russ that believes in me and in what I’m doing has been priceless.
Westbook has called you “The hardest working comedian in the industry.” Being that he’s an extremely hard worker himself was this instilled in you guys in LA growing up or did ya’ll learn the hustle from each other?
I would say it was instilled in us when we were young. Growing up in the inner city you either went the wrong way or in our situation we used basketball as an outlet. Our coaches played a big part in molding us as well.
Who are a few comedians you #COSIGN and look up to and what have you learned from watching them?
A few comedians I #Cosign would be Bernie Mack and Kat Williams. They are legendary and had their own lane of comedy. The other two would be Nick Cannon and Kevin Hart- more so on the business side for them. Not only are the comedians, they have built their own brand, companies, and capitalized off being a comedian.
Last but not least, what do you want people to take home with them after leaving one of your comedy shows or productions?
I want them to first and foremost to enjoy the show. Have a memorable experience of laughter, understanding who I am, and ultimately a connection. I want my audience to dream BIG like I do, and go after those dreams no matter what.