COSIGN COVERS: RICHIE FONTANE
“There’s no do-overs in standup comedy, opposed to Instagram and social media. It’s do or die out there,” he says. “It’s either that shit was funny or it wasn’t.
f every success story is telling you that you have to sacrifice, then why are you going against the grain?” says Richie Fontane, during our interview at the COSIGN Loft. A question he posed in which the concept is quite simple yet many fail to implement let alone acknowledge. As cliché as it sounds, Richie believes that, “Without risk there is no reward,” and as of late Richie Fontane’s sacrifices and bets are all paying off, because he is on one hell of a championship run.
What is comedy? According to Wikipedia, comedy is defined as “a genre of fiction that consists of discourses or works intended to be humorous or amusing by inducing laughter, especially in theatre, film, stand-up comedy, television, radio, books, or any other entertainment medium.” Most comedians just have a natural ability to entertain others and make people laugh, and like the greats, Richie is no different. He recognized his talent early on, but it earned him a lot of whoopings. “I recognized I was funny in 6th grade when I could make the class laugh, I had 58 referrals from one teacher and my mom would constantly whoop me,” he says jokingly, but seriously.
Originally from Los Angeles, California Richie Fontane grew up in a single parent household with his mother and three siblings. Growing up in an environment surrounded by gang culture, Richie’s mother was forced to be tough on him, to prepare him for what the world would offer outside the comfort of their home. He was often disciplined for acting up in school. At 16 though, his life changed for the better when his aunt and uncle bought a home in Dallas, and sent for him to live with them to finish high school.
Post high school, Richie grew his name and following in Dallas by hosting parties with his friends, but soon after he decided to bet on himself and take his talents to the stage, trying standup comedy for the first time. “It took me a minute to hone my craft, I knew I was funny but didn’t actually try it on stage until 2014,” he says. “From what I understand, I killed it, but I was nervous as hell. My first time on stage I forgot everything I wrote, but had to wing it and it worked.” His work ethic and consistency guides his success. “I did a joke five times before it actually worked for me,” he says. After his first show, Richie’s friend and now manager, Aaron Bradley, confirmed that he was meant for comedy and was one of Richie’s first #COSIGNs and early adopters.
“There’s no do-overs in standup comedy, opposed to Instagram and social media. It’s do or die out there,” he says. “It’s either that shit was funny or it wasn’t. With social media I control every point of my joke on the internet. I control the finished product.” One of the first videos that Richie says gained traction and did one million views was a skit about men asking women if they still pay for dates and do stuff for men. Unfortunately, it was that video cused Twitter to ban his account. He responded to a negative comment, allegedly saying he would beat someone up, and Twitter flagged him for a threat of violence.
“When you’re a comedian, everything is comedic,” he says, meaning nothing is off limits, as he believes comedy should be. Comedy is to be relatable, like music, and should be a representation of current events and life as we know it. “My all-time favorite is Dave Chappelle, his attention to detail, ability to put reality inside jokes and be hilarious, he’s best thing I’ve seen on stage,” he says. “Chappelle Show is half reality, he just figured a way to make it funny.” To Richie, that’s what makes a great comedian. “Number one, is you have to actually be funny and then it’s about relativity. You have to make them feel shit. People feel stuff more when it actually has happened to them, like dating, jobs, exes.”
Growing up in LA, Richie was a huge Kobe Bryant fan and until this day, he lives by the Mamba Mentality. “For me, the Mamba Mentality means number one is keep going, no matter what you’re going through, keep going,” he says. “You have to continue to apply pressure and study success, if I want to do what they’re doing, take notes, definitely don’t take their shit, but you can study their success and apply it to your craft.”
When it comes to advice for other comedians, Richie’s motto is simple. “Start with the Internet, but don’t limit yourself to the Internet. Stay ready, so you don’t have to get ready and don’t be afraid of this,” he says. “I was scared after my first show, but if I would’ve never did this I wouldn’t be here today. I do everything on faith. Do it and do not be afraid of it, ‘cause if it doesn’t work, you’d be in the same place anyways. You’ll never know if you don’t try … If something is interfering with your dream, then that has to go.”
If you follow Richie on Instagram, TikTok, or Twitter, he’s a crucial part of your social media entertainment, but soon you’ll be able to see Richie Fontane in long form content, as he is the host of a new show, “The Late Night Show with Richie Fontane.” You heard it here first in COSIGN. Richie and his team have decided to invest in their future and produce a new comedy show with monologues, skits, and music. Just like Kobe, there’s no stopping Richie Fontane and we’re excited to continue watching him put points on the scoreboard, and honored to have him host the 4th annual COSIGN Awards, “Championship Run” edition.