From gospel artist to stand-up comedian

Jakeel McClary

From gospel artist to stand-up comedian
June 08
20:35 2023

For as long as he can remember, Jakeel McClary says people have been telling him that he is funny and that he should get into comedy. Two years ago McClary decided to do just that and in that short period of time, McClary has already shared the stage with some of the biggest names in the industry, appeared in movies, and reached millions of people with his comedy skits on social media. 

And according to McClary he’s just getting started. 

Although he didn’t start doing comedy until 2021, McClary is very familiar with the stage; he’s a gospel singer. “I’ve been singing since I was young and it’s something that really stuck with me.” While traveling the country singing, McClary started meeting people outside his family and friends who said he should give comedy a try. 

“When I’m at the gospel concerts, you know, just joking around … everybody tells me how funny I am. Now I’m hearing it from people in other cities and states. So I just said, let me give it a try and since I did that, God has been a blessing,” McClary said. “It was hard at first, but I’ve done some big things for someone who’s only been in the game two years.”

McClary said his comedy skits on social media have always done well, but it took him about three months to get comfortable doing stand-up. “It was hard at first. Those first three months I was really thinking about going back to singing full-time,” said McClary while discussing his start in comedy. 

“But I just kept practicing, kept making videos and staying consistent and that’s when I started seeing everything come together and I started getting recognized by notable comedians and I started falling in love with it more.” 

Now that he’s become acclimated to doing stand-up, McClary said he loves it. “It’s just something about being on that stage and seeing all those people smiling and laughing,” he said. 

McClary said he gets a lot of his material for his jokes from his own life experiences.

“I get a lot of stuff from past experiences and I just sit around the house and I’ll just come up with content,” he said. “And I’m versatile because I can sing so I like to come up with stuff where I can incorporate some singing.” 

When he started doing comedy two years ago, McClary said he never expected to be where he is today. But with the support of his mother, Lashaunda McClary, and William Martin and Elton Pope with Carpe Diem Management LLC, McClary is quickly becoming a household name on the comedy scene. Several of McClary videos on social media have reached over three million views. 

Well-known comedians like Michael Colyar, DeRay Davis, Tim Shropshire, Kerwin Claiborne, Bubba Dub, Desi Banks, Jordan Jackson and others have all praised McClary for his work and shared his videos on social media. Several have even invited McClary to join them on tour. 

McClary also mentioned that he recently recorded one of his stand-up performances that will soon be headed to streaming services. 

“Some of my favorite comedians that I watch online I’m actually doing shows with them,” McClary said. “Having comedians like DeRay Davis, Kerwin Claiborne, Desi Banks, Michael Colyar, reach out and say they see my work, and offer to work with me … experiences like that just let me know if I stay consistent, all the doors are going to open up.”

Although he’s seen a lot of early success, McClary is always working on new material and trying to perfect his craft. He said one of his future goals is to open a comedy club here in Winston-Salem. McClary is originally from South Carolina, but he moved to Winston-Salem about 10 years ago. 

When asked about his future plans, McClary said, “Just keep doing more shows, keep doing more videos…and try to be a blessing to this community,” McClary said. “I just want to be a blessing to others while still building my brand. The goal is to come back and establish something here in Winston.” 

For more information on Jakeel McClary including upcoming shows, skits, and booking information, be sure to follow him on Facebook (JaKeel McClary) and on Instagram (@jakeelmcclary). 

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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