His timing is spot-on as he stirs audiences with his animated performance. James Smith is a Desert Storm veteran turned comedian and hopes to encourage and uplift audiences by sharing laughs.
“Laughter is a good workout. It does so much for the soul, body, and mind,” Smith said.
Originally from Greenville, SC, Smith has been telling jokes his whole life. And sometime about 20 years ago, he decided to try out the life of a comedian developing his brand as Smittyj, the Backyard Comic.
“My dad always called me Smitty, and I just put my first initial behind it. And I’m the Backyard Comic because I’m all about the good times. Growing up, we used to have barbecues in the backyard with the family. Those were the good times.”
Gas prices, work life, and his late father often find their way into his jokes. Smith says his dad was “one of the funniest people [he] knew”, and some of his other influences include Richard Prior, George Carlin, Martin Lawrence and Cedric the Entertainer.
To Smith, “Something that’s funny is something that makes everybody laugh. All ages. A good joke has a nice setup, something that’s way out there, and makes you want to repeat it and tell it your friends. And we are all guilty of probably messing up the punch line because you can’t remember it just right.”
With high energy and a voice loud enough to have audiences at the edge of their seats, Smith is a natural at his craft. Recently, he’s performed at venues including The Punchline Comedy Club in Atlanta, Uptown Comedy Corner in Hapeville, Ga. And by performing at corporate outings in metro Atlanta and many others in S.C., Smith has perfected his set lines.
Recently, he began the process of writing new scripts and perfecting ideas which he’s eager to start incorporating into his act.
When asked where he gets ideas, Smith said, “Life. Everything I experience — the good, the bad and different. I mainly take things people wouldn’t talk about and present it in a way that shows we all go through it. Bringing darkness to light is what I do because we’re all in this race together.”
Serving in the military during Operation Desert Storm, Smith traveled around the world and lived in California for many years before settling in Gwinnett with his wife and their two sons. His oldest son, Jaden, plays on his high school baseball team and is a violinist for the high school orchestra. His youngest son, Bryce, is also in high school and plays the trombone in the high school band. Bryce also has a passion for soccer and participates in soccer leagues at SGAA.
Family always comes first for Smith, who has etched that value in the heart and soul of his comedy. He’s been cooking up a few side hustles such as a clothing line to boost his brand, but for now, being a father and spending time with his family is the number one priority.
“I’m thankful and grateful to have time to grow up with my boys and try to set a good example for them to follow,” Smith said. “Being a performer doesn’t come easily or naturally. It takes courage, confidence, and conviction to perform in a room full of strangers hungry for laughter and make them laugh. My hope is that by seeing the passion and dedication required to realize my own dreams, it will inspire my boys to know that with heart and hard work anything is possible.”
Smith takes pride in the fact that he’s never missed one of his sons’ games, school functions, or performances. To him, that’s really what the Backyard Comic is all about – making time to be with the ones who matter.
As the Backyard Comic, Smith also takes it upon himself to motivate others. On social media, he posts inspirational videos weekly about life, fitness, and wearing a smile throughout the daily grind. Check out his Instagram, @smittyj1971, for upcoming posts.
“I want to be an influential comedian and inspire the world. My desire is to help and give as much as I can. I’m a light, a beacon; not demeaning, but optimistic. Pure sunshine on a cloudy day. My hope is that my energy and performances will resonate with those I entertain and inspire them to pass the energy and light on to their friends, families, and those they meet.”
Smith can be booked for corporate events, birthdays, family reunions, and of course, he’d never turn down an invitation to a good old-fashioned barbecue. His family-friendly comedy is appropriate for audiences of all ages. Email him at Thaseed3@gmail.com or call (770)851-5188 for questions about quotes and booking.