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Loan Others Courage (with KevOnStage)
About the Episode
Fear can easily stop you when you’re trying to do big things in the world. But when you refuse to let it get in your way and keep moving, you can create opportunities for yourself to succeed and then invite others to come alongside you.
This conversation with KevOnStage AKA Kevin Fredericks was a vulnerable and hilarious conversation that needed to be shared on the podcast. Originally recorded as part of the Professional Troublemaker book tour in March 2021, this convo has us getting real about each of our journeys, how we have each created opportunities for ourselves and some of the growing pains that follow.
I give you permission not to like me.
People be like, “I’m disappointed in you.”
I disappoint myself every day, baby.
About the Guest
Kevin Fredericks p/k/a KevOnStage is an actor, stand-up comedian and content creator who loves making people laugh more than anything.
KevOnStage honed his comedic skills while growing up as a military kid. Who knew that the humor and quick wit he used to keep up with his naturally funny family and to quickly make friends as they relocated from city to city would one day turn into a successful career? Over time, with a comedy style deeply rooted in faith, family and over-all reliability, KevOnStage has made a name for himself as a content creator on social media. His hilarious content across all platforms has resulted in hundreds of thousands of followers, millions of views, and has allowed him to flourish in the world of entertainment by writing, directing and producing for tv and film, helping him grow a booming digital media company.
Kevin can be found on all social media outlets as KevOnStage. And, for more information about his podcasts, merchandise, master class, show dates, booking, and all things KevOnStage, go to www.kevonstage.com
Creating a life that is authentic, bold and purposeful takes audacity. It takes disruption. That is what it means to be a Professional Troublemaker. Professional Troublemaker is a book, a podcast and a life habit.
I’m your host, Luvvie Ajayi Jones, bestseller of books, aficionado of authenticity, and sorceress of side-eyes here to bring you conversations with world movers and change agents who have gotten where they are through their tenacity, truth-telling, and commitment to making good trouble. From time to time, I will even do deep dives on topics that are on my spirit.
My hope is that this show compels you to do BIG THINGS in a world where we have so much to fear. Let us loan you courage. Listen in!
Before we jump into today’s episode, know that this podcast is named after my second book and 2nd New York Times bestseller Professional Troublemaker: The Fear-Fighter Manual. Which btw, is now out in paperback! Not only does the paperback version have a sleek new cover and travels well, it has an exclusive BONUS CHAPTER called “The Guide to Truth-Telling”. This chapter takes you step-by-step through the most common fears of speaking your truth AND how to overcome it with boldness. How do you speak up in the meeting when the tough idea comes up? How do you confront a loved one who hurt you? What are the things to consider when silence is the easiest, not the best answer? I talk about ALL of that in the Truth-telling guide.
How would our lives would be different if we were given permission to be disruptors for the greater good? How high can we soar if we knew FEAR is natural and we’re actually supposed to do the things that scare us? How audacious would we be if impostor syndrome wasn’t holding on to our ankles? I wrote this book to loan people courage. In PROFESSIONAL TROUBLEMAKER, I talk about how my life has transformed because I’ve ran towards what felt bigger than me, doing the things that feel scary as shit.
Professional Troublemaker: The Fear-Fighter Manual is game-changing, and I know it. So, if you value this show, if you value the guests and their stories, the lessons and the wisdom.If you’ve ever listened to something I said and wrote it down, YOU WILL LOVE Professional Troublemaker: The Fear-Fighter Manual. Courage is a habit. You can choose courage each and every day, and this book is the verbal hype team to let you know YOU GOT THIS.
So, get a copy of Professional Troublemaker wherever books are sold, or go to ProfessionalTroublemakerBook.com. You can get the hardcover, paperback with the new exclusive chapter or audiobook (which I narrated, AND has the new chapter included). That’s PROFESSIONALTROUBLEMAKERBOOK.com. I’m so excited for you to read it.
Today’s episode is a conversation with someone who is not only hilarious and thoughtful, he is someone who creates spaces and environments where other talented people can come together and make their gifts shine. I’m sharing a great conversation I had with KevOnStage AKA Kevin Fredericks. Kev is a comedian, CEO and content creator who brings joy to millions with his work on these internets. Kev has me cackling every single day with his posts. He is actually in the driver’s seat for this conversation, as we originally recorded this in March 2021 as part of my virtual book tour for the release of Professional Troublemaker.
I wanted to run it back because it was so good that when we ended, people asked us to get on IG Live to continue, and we did for a whole other hour. That afterparty is viewable on YouTube, so check the show notes to see that..
In this conversation, Kev and I are get really real about how fear has almost stopped both of our journeys. We talk about how to create opportunities for yourself instead of waiting for other people to create them for you, and even some growing pains.
The whole virtual tour was such a vibe back in March but this conversation really stood out. We got vulnerable, we laughed. This episode felt like church in the most hilarious ways. Kev had us rolling and all kinds of gems were dropped.
Kevin: Hello, friends. Welcome LuvvNation, welcome Stage crew. I am just ecstatic to moderate my good friend, Luvvie Ajayi Jones and her new book, Professional Troublemaker. If you all don’t know, Luvvie and I have been friends probably since 2013 or 14. 14, or 15, actually. If you’re a way back KevOnStage fan, and you remember Cartoon Scandal, Luvvie picked up, I believe the first episode of Cartoon Scandal and wrote about it in her blog and then she posted on her Facebook and it literally took up from there.
I’ve been following her ever since, we’ve been homies ever since, and it is my pleasure to chat with her. Luvvie, how are you today? Congratulations on your book. How are you feeling?
Luvvie: Man, listen, the book has lit up everything. I’m over here like, “Who wrote this… It’s a lie. It’s a lie, in the best way possible.”
Kevin: Absolutely, and congratulations. Luvvie was recently married. She is just recently the best. I just been so happy and proud of you, but let’s talk about why we’re here, Professional Troublemaker. First of all, your first book, loved it, loved it. You are a God given talented writer. Your book is as funny as you are. Your voice in the book helps me laugh and you’re New York Times best seller, I remember you. They thought you wasn’t going to sell them like you did, Luvvie.
Luvvie: They know.
Kevin: Luvvie is selling them books. Hey, that mama got her off of her mortgage. Luvvie done retired, mama. We wouldn’t give her another book. My question actually first, Luvvie has allowed me to make my own questions. My first question is, Jordan Peele talked about after Get Out, he was like, “Dang, I’m afraid to do the next thing because I don’t want people to feel like I didn’t do this thing.” Did you have any of that fear switching from that book, which you promoted amazingly and saying, “Okay, it’s now time to do my next thing.”?
Luvvie: Yeah. There’s a reason why it took four years between books. I was like, “How do I make sure I don’t write a second book that sucks?” I was like, “Book one was good. How can I make sure book two doesn’t suck?” I took my time in figuring out what book two was going to be about. I didn’t want to rush it just for the sake of getting another book out. I was like, “I will write this book when I know what I want to say.” And when I knew what I wanted to say, I started the journey for book two, but I think this book is even better than book one.
Kevin: What are you talking, Luvvie, why you think it’s better?
Luvvie: I do think it’s better. I think it’s the better book. I think it shows my growth as an artist, as a writer, as a creator. It is the book that I needed even more than I needed I’m Judging You. If we go four years after writing our first book, book two should be better. There are some people who come back and you’d be like, “What was you doing all this time? You were not even doing what you were supposed to be doing? How do you suck [inaudible]?” I didn’t want that. I didn’t want people to think book one was a fluke.
I was like, “Let me make sure I only write a book when I got something book worthy to say.” And that’s what I did.
Kevin: What was the thing that hit you? Was it a moment? Was it a collection of feelings? What was the thing that made you say, “This is what I want to write about? I’m now inspired.”?
Luvvie: I actually got the idea for this book when I was on the way to Paris for a speaking engagement in 2018. I was walking on the plane and a line dropped in my head where I was like, I come from a long line of professional troublemakers. My grandmother was the one who I looked to and I was like, “Snap.” Let me tell you, before then my book agent, Kristyn Keene Benton from ICM, she was talking to me. She’s, “Okay. What are you going to write for your second book?” And I was like, “I don’t know.” And she said, “There’s something about your TED talk that you should focus on.”
Kristyn is a real one, she’s amazing, and she sent me a set of dominoes with a note that says, “Here is hoping you be the domino for yourself too. Looking forward to whatever the second book will be.” I took the dominoes that she sent me. I actually put them by my computer, so I would see them every day. It was what reminded me, what’s book two? What’s book two? When that line dropped in my head, I was like, “She’s right. I need to actually talk about what I talked about in my TED talk on a deeper level because people love the TED talk.”
I still get messages every single day about that TED talk about how it changed somebody’s life or it made them do something different. I was like, “That’s what I need to focus on.” I got the clean idea on the way to Paris. That whole trip was epic because I got engaged on that trip.
Luvvie: I came back. I was like, “I have got my book idea. I’m engaged and whatnot.” That was lit.
Luvvie: And here it is.
Kevin: Tell the people who don’t know or haven’t had a chance to read the book yet, what is a professional troublemaker? I know you said you came down from a long line of those. I know your grandma was one. What was it about her that you saw that you wanted to write about and that’s been passed down to you?
Luvvie: We all know black woman who you can’t tell nothing. You know her. Who will cuss you out one hand and then be like, “Have you eaten?” We do. [inaudible], and my grandmother was definitely that. She had the full spirit of unshakeable. Just so loving and so kind and she walked in a room and all of the attention turned to her just because, that energy that she carried with her, the confidence she walked with and professional troublemakers are people who do that, but they also do tell us.
They’re the people who were saying what you’re thinking, but you dare not to say for whatever reason. They’re the ones who sit in the meeting and tell you, “That idea is not that good about that campaign you want to do.” Right? They’re the ones who tell your uncle who makes that terrible joke at dinner like, ” [inaudible], let’s not.”
Luvvie: And I just think professional troublemakers are needed. We be out here. We make the world better, and I think troublemakers look all types of different ways. The reason why I chose the seven people who I chose to be in conversation with me, including you, are, I wanted to pick people who were making trouble in whatever space that they’re in. People who saw something that they wanted to create or something that they need or want, figured out that it doesn’t exist in some type of way, and then created it. And you, Kev, you’re definitely a trouble maker in that way.
You have KevOnStage studios now.
Kevin: We here.
Kevin: We here. I came here for you. I stepped back. I got to do, Luvvie right. She ain’t home office for me, she’s studios.
Luvvie: Kev, first of all, just so you all know, me and Kev had been coming up for the last 20 minutes while we even got on this thing. Kev came on talking about something, I couldn’t just be in my house. I said, “Kev, I’m in my house, but you got KevOnStage Studios now, so you have to show up right.”
Kevin: Yeah, no. Listen, man, you know it’s funny about that and I’ll take a little bit of time on me because you brought me up, Luvvie, I didn’t bring myself up.
Kevin: I don’t even think I did it on purpose. People are like, “What made you do it?” I’m like, “When they was keeping, I was hating from outside the club. I couldn’t get in-
Luvvie: You was hating from outside the club. Talk more about that, Kev.
Kevin: Well, it was like, “I want to be in this industry. I want to be in Hollywood. I want to make TV shows. I want to do this.” And I was either auditioning and not getting it, but that really wasn’t that bad for me. What was really hurting me was this happened last summer, Luvvie, I met with somebody, I was pitching them a show about a black church. Right?
Luvvie: Mm-hmm (Affirmative).
Kevin: A young pastor comes to a black church and he’s got an old black church and he’s got to turn it around and make it new. And a white man…
Luvvie: White man, okay.
Kevin: A white man told me, “I don’t think black people will get that.” I said, “How are you going to tell me what black people will get? Maybe they will. Maybe they won’t. Yo don’t know. I Know you don’t know. You can’t tell me what we’re going to get.” At that moment I was like, “I’m done. I’m done pitching to people. How bad I just make it and then let the people who I’m making it for decide?” Because what he was really saying is, “Can I…” This is the other thing they got me, Luvvie, “I don’t know if it’s going to go in middle America.” Just say white-
Luvvie: I don’t care about nobody in middle America. Who cares?
Kevin: Just say white, and first of all, there’s black people in middle America. St. Louis, middle America blacks was up in there, Chicago, middle America, black people up in there, just say white. Okay? I was like, “You know what, I’m good off of that. I’m going to make the stuff that I want to see for the people that want to see it and I’m going to hire the people who I want to have in it, who are largely being overlooked by this.” I’ve had much more enjoyment in that. Thank you for choosing me.
Before we even got on, you said something that was great. You said you need to fi… We was talking about zone of genius. Right?
Kevin: And I want to talk about that with you as well, because big leap energy, we all have that, but talk to me about firing yourself. I thought that that really struck me when you said it just a little bit before we started.
Luvvie: Yeah, because me and Kev were talking about just the thing that you don’t have to do. Around us in this space, I think we’re so we’re constantly thinking we got to know everything, all the time and I’m just like, “Know what, I am really at a point where I am enjoying saying, “I don’t know. I want somebody else to do that because they’re better at it than me.”” Because we don’t have to do everything. There’s a chapter in this book called Fire Yourself that I wrote that really was also written for me because I have a hard time firing myself.
I am a type A perfectionist, control freak, who be like, “Who is…” I know a lot of good things. I’m really good at a lot of things so then I assume that I can handle everything and I end up being stressed out because I tried to do my job and everybody else’s job. So, in this process and as I’m building my company, I am starting to see that I am better when I stick to my zone of genius. For those of you who have not heard the book or read the book, The Big Leap, it’s a big piece in there.
But the whole idea is you have a zone of genius, something that you are amazing at that you’re better at than most people. When you do that thing, the rewards that you get are amazing. I wrote that chapter before I read the zone of genius piece, but you know-
Luvvie: Yes. I hadn’t read zone of genius before. I don’t really read books while I’m writing my own book.
Kevin: Got it. You don’t want that person’s voice to get in your voice.
Luvvie: Yeah, but firing myself was something that I saw was essential because I started feeling burned out. Again, we met six, seven years ago. You all see me and Kev now and you see all these other people who are in our space and you see us bigging each other up. It’s not because we just met.
Luvvie: Before we were stars, before the glow up, before people got fancy in studios and mics and whatnot, we were putting in work. We were trying to figure out everything and do everything just to sustain our art and we did the thing, nobody was paying us for. You know about Cartoon Scandal; nobody was paying you for Cartoon Scandal. You was doing that on the strength.
Kevin: I was doing that on the strength of, I freaking love that show and I stayed up… People still got mad at me that I didn’t make more seasons because I got a regular job, but I was like, “I had to stay up till like three o’clock in the morning making that.”
Kevin: I remember they’d be so mad that your recaps weren’t up when they woke up like, “Fam I got to write it.” And I get it. I loved it, but I was literally writing notes during the show, rewatching it, typing out the dialogue, animating, which wasn’t really animating, singing. You know what I’m saying? Editing, all that myself, but that’s because it was my zone of genius. Now I’m sitting in the studio, I had to have my boy Tony hook this up because now this… I’m pretty technologically savvy, but I ain’t all this savvy.
I said, “Man, can you all help your boy out, and let me just sit in front of the camera and let somebody do the camera stuff? You work your zone of genius. I’ll work mine.” That’s a big part of why I’ve had more success over the last year. It’s been letting go, not taking on more.
Luvvie: Yes. Like for me, Scandal recaps, my Scandal recaps were 3,500 words. The show would go off, I would use my live tweets as my outline and then I’d go write for three hours and write a recap that was so exact that if you missed the episode and you read my recap, you didn’t miss anything to the point where I ended up finding out that Shonda and the cast of Scandal would be on set, filming Scandal reading my recaps.
Luvvie: Yeah. They-
Kevin: [Crosstalk]. Wow.
Luvvie: [inaudible] like, “We are reading your recap on the last episode.”
Luvvie: Yeah, because I was in my zone of genius. When I write… There’s also a zone of competence.
Kevin: Yeah. Talk a little about it, Luvvie. Tell them about it so the people can know.
Luvvie: Let them know. Zone of competence is something that you do that you do okay. It’s okay. It’s all right. We often spend a lot of time in our zone of competence and we think that’s the work, I found, especially in these last two years that I have been operating mostly my zone of competence, not my zone of genius.
Luvvie: What that means is, when I write, the returns that my company gets, that I get from me writing, [inaudible]. Go. But when I get stuck in the operations of it all, when I’m sitting here on eight meetings a day, talking to the accountants, talking to this other person, trying to do this thing, when I am not writing my company loses because my time is valuable in my words, that’s where I soar. I am firing myself in everything that is not writing. I’m like, “I am the ideas person. I come up with marketing.
I’m the visionary of the company, I should not be in the weeds of it.” One of the things that’s tied to us not firing ourselves is we’re afraid of somebody dropping the ball on our behalf.
Kevin: Luvvie A. Jones, okay. Can we talk, Luvvie? Can we talk?
Luvvie: Kevin, we can talk.
Kevin: Can we just talk? Can we just… Okay. Today, I’m hanging out with my wife during the day. I got an assistant and I got production crew here. Okay?
Kevin: We’ve got all these systems in place and I’m working on not micromanaging. I’m working on. I’d be a terrible micromanager and I’m talking about yesterday. I check in with my assistant about 12:00. I say, “Hey, can you make sure there’s somebody here for production, for Luvvie’s thing because I don’t know how to work this camera stuff yet. I don’t want to be caught.” It was calendared, it was scheduled. Micromanager Kev says, “Hey, who’s going to be there for me? Who’s going to be there?” But I said, “Letting people do their job, Kev. Let people work.”
I ain’t hear nothing from nobody. Around five o’clock, I said, “Hey, who’s going to be there.” My business partner calls me, “We forgot. Assistant forgot.” Now micromanager Kev is like, “This is why you check everybody every day. We make sure… This is why we’re wrong in this.” But the truth of the matter is we all dropped the ball. Even if I had been doing it all myself, I still would drop the ball. It’s better to work those systems because now I have… Regular Kev, I don’t have this background.
I don’t have this quality sound. Kevin who lets people do what they do gives me this, but I’ve got to allow people to say… Because the truth is even when I was doing everything, even I was making mistakes so I got to give people the same grace that I gave myself when they make mistakes, because we all are growing together, and that’s why we grow and win. I’m so happy. I’m going to tell you, and I don’t want to over-talk you, Luvvie.
Luvvie: No, you’re good.
Kevin: People are like, “Kev, how do you do it all? You work like crazy. How do you sleep?” Honestly, guys, believe it or not, I sleep well and long. I don’t believe in that no sleep, no grind. I’ll be in the bed at 9:00 PM, 10:00 PM. I’m good in sleep. Get up around six and start my workout, start my day, and throughout the day I take breaks because after I read the big leap, I read this book about energy. I cannot think of the name. I’m sorry. I’ll get it to you guys later, but it was about managing your energy, not necessarily your time.
Your writing is my content creation. Stand up, marketing ideas, but I don’t need to edit them. I got a hilarious Busta Rhymes video that we just shot. I’m the idea, Amani got the suit. Tony built the green screen. Somebody else did the light, somebody else did the sound, somebody else edited it. All I do is come in and get covered in foil, write the song, sing and post.
Luvvie: Get covered in foil. I’m telling you.
Kevin: [inaudible] the foil, Luvvie. Somebody else picked up the foil.
Luvvie: That’s how it’s supposed to be.
Luvvie: We make a lot of time being like, “I got to pick up the foil.” Let me tell you something right now. I went and told my team… My team at this point will fire me. They’d fire me. Look, chapter 12 of the book is called Fire Yourself, but my team fires me. They will have [inaudible] that I never even realized exist. And they will come to me with the thing and I’m like, “Thank you because I am probably the bottleneck. I will be unproductive on you all behalf and you all don’t need that. You all don’t need me in your way.” And I think a lot of it is ego too, right?
Kevin: Yeah. What’s for sure.
Luvvie: Is ego. It’s like, you think, “Well, I built it. I got to be the one to do this thing. They going to drop my baby.” It is an act of trust and faith to step back and say, “You know what? Even if the ball is dropped, it’s not catastrophic.”
Luvvie: Even if the mistake is made, it’s not going to blow up the ship. Every mistake is not going to blow up what you built, your name, all of that. It’s a constant thing that I’m working on, telling myself, talking that back about and being like, “My fear of losing control. It’s all tied together. I am a control freak in all ways.”
Kevin: Wow. Luvvie, this is why we get along so well, I am you, you are me.
Luvvie: We get each other.
Kevin: I got to touch it. Can I just touch it and make sure it works? Can I put my hand… I just got to, “Let me click. Let me hold the keyboard. Can I trust you? But let me have it on my side just in case this don’t work. I know you’ve been doing it right-
Luvvie: That’s me.
Kevin: But just let me hold it. But the truth is that’s how you grow, and I want to shout my wife out, because she’s the professional troublemaker-
Luvvie: Melissa, [inaudible].
Kevin: …in my ride. She’s in the chat. She is the queen of fire me. Listen, she said I’m the worst negotiator in the history of the world because I’m an artist and I just want to do stuff. I don’t really care about the money and she’d be like, “Negotiate another deal, I’m going to take your life away. Negotiate the deal.”
Luvvie: Do it again.
Kevin: Do it again. I’m going to pop your mouth if you… Now, they don’t even allow me I’m on the phone with something that needs to be negotiated. They say, and I quote, “Kevin, all you can say is I’ll get my team to give you a number. Don’t you ever out of your mouth even suggest something because every time you do, you mess it up.”
Luvvie: Same. I am not allowed; I can’t even be on calls on anything at all that have to do with money. Don’t you hire me because I will over promise myself so quick. I’ll be like, “Yeah, I can do that. Absolutely. I would love to do that.” And they’re like, “Ma’am, is this even worth your time? Is this worth your time?” My speaker’s agent emailed me last week and said, “Luvvie, do you trust me to decline things that don’t make sense without running it by you?” And I said, “What?”
Luvvie: I was like, “Woo.”
Kevin: Go Luvvie. Go Luvvie. Go. Because my boy said this and I’m just so excited to talk. My gosh. He says your level of growth isn’t by how many people on your team can say yes for you, it’s by how many can say no, because if somebody else on your team can say no for you, then you can grow.
Luvvie: Damn, drag me. Damn, drag me.
Kevin: Luvvie, he came in my house. He had me under the covers. He was like, “I’m going to talk to you.” I said, “[inaudible].” Listen, but guess what though, my brother who’s my business manager and my personal manager. He is an outstanding negotiator and when he took over for my bookings, I was getting $500 to do stand-up comedy. I’m talking about KevOnStage with a lot of numbers. He said, “Kev, you’re never going to get to $5,000 a show if you don’t start saying no to 500.
While we’re working on raising that rate, you’re going to have to lose and take some notes. Otherwise, it’s always going to be 500.”
Luvvie: Keep in mind that 500, if they turned down 10 500 and you accept one, 5,000.
Kevin: Then you made your money and you only had to work once.
Luvvie: That’s it. Here’s the thing. All money ain’t good money and all money ain’t your money. Okay? All money is not good money and all money’s not your money. You have to know. That scarcity mindset that makes you say yes, yes, yes, to everything because you don’t want to miss out anything is actually what’s holding you back. That fear. Come on. Come on. Do a shout. Come on.
Kevin: Let go of scarcity mindset. You will [inaudible] Luvvie, go on, talk good evangelist.
Luvvie: Come on. I’m trying to tell them. Look, all money is not good money because there are some money that you will get that will make you regret your life. You’d be like, “Why did I…” Let me tell you something, Kev, recently it happened with me. I said yes to a campaign that already was lower than my feet, but I said, “Okay.” They were like, “We need you, Luvvie.” And I was like, “Okay, it’s Black History Month.” I said, “I’m going to do it.”
I decided to do it, and let me tell you something, it’s always the people who don’t want to pay your fee, who want to scope creep and ask for too much. Already you ain’t paying me my worth, then you have the nerve to want to ask me for extra shit and make my life difficult. Then I go, “You know what? It’s a lesson, once again.” Every single time that I betray myself in that way, I regret it.
Kevin: Are you a prophet? Because you are right in my life right now. You are literally… I’m sorry, people. I notice for you all. I see your comments and whatnot, but this is for me and Luvvie. This is for me and Luvvie [inaudible].
Luvvie: This is for us.
Kevin: Luvvie, I’m talking about, scarcity mindset for me will look like something that was the most money I ever made two years ago is the base now, and now I don’t want to let that go and now you’re talking about all kinds of stuff and I’m like, “Bro, I don’t even do this for that no more. But because I was a poor little black boy, my whole life, I don’t want to let nothing go.” Now I’m on set pissed off all day.
Kevin: Listen, Andy Mineo said something that really convicted me. He said, “Never go to something you accepted with an attitude. Do your best and then when it’s done reevaluate your priorities and don’t let it happen again.”
Luvvie: That’s it. I literally… I’m telling, tell you again. Some of these boundaries I talked about it. Now, it’s like when we end up crossing our own boundaries, our own money boundaries, it did not go well often. Each time you’re like, “That was my bad. You know what, that was my bad.” And to your point, the fact that… See this is also what happens with success. You keep seeing yourself as who you were five, 10 years ago.
Kevin: Yes, ma’am.
Luvvie: Without realizing that levels have changed, the name has changed, the platform has changed. While you’re still like, “I’m just Kev.” You’re seeing Kev on stage and we want to be of service with our gifts. We’re like, “Yes, we want everybody to be able to have access to our gifts.” It is with this servant leadership in mind that we say yes, and then we realize that we might want to serve, but people want to take advantage of us.
Kevin: Enough. Really, Luvvie. Do you mean to harm me? Literally. I knew it was just going to be talking, but you are inside of my life right now.
Luvvie: I know it, but that’s because we’ve all come up together and we’re all in the same spots. We’re all feeling the same thing and it’s the same problem. And when people will be like, “The level up, the glow up happens, our problems don’t stop. The champagne problems change. The problems will change. ”
Kevin: I’m really feeling guilty because you literally can’t help everybody and there are so many… Then you got to deal with people not liking you and people coming for you just because you have a platform. When I was small, little KevOnStage on Periscope, I never got dragged because it was just me and my people, but now all of a sudden you got this platform, you got to be responsible. I’m like, “Hell.” And because I’ve been growing one by one, it don’t really feel like a million followers to me or two million or whatever.
It still felt like the same two or 300 people on Periscope, but now people are getting pissed. I’m like, “Hold on. I don’t have [inaudible].
Luvvie: Let me tell you exactly what happened. You used to be David, but you became Goliath.
Luvvie: Let me tell you what happened, we used to be David. We used to be David when we were the underdogs, when we were doing Cartoon Scandal and Scandal behind our house. We were David when nobody was paying us because we were just doing this thing for the love. We were David. When we had 3000 followers on Twitter and we was cracking jokes and when nobody looking at us and expecting us to do nothing. And then we leveled up and we became Goliath, but we still saw ourselves as David. We still saw each other as David.
Then what happens is, Goliath is to be vanquished and conquered.
Kevin: Every time.
Luvvie: Goliath is the target, right?
Luvvie: When you become Goliath, now you become the target. The people who used to cheer you on who you’ve now passed in the career ladder are seeing you as competition, they see you as a problem. Yes, we are a Goliath now, but we still see each other as David, because we’re humble. We didn’t deserve, we just want to give the world our gifts, but we didn’t realize that we stopped being David.
Kevin: Whew. Okay. Listen, me and Luvvie could do this all night. Literally. I could do this for three hours, but I know you all pay job money and part of the experience is we going to get to some of you all questions. I’m going to do that, Luvvie, because I know we got to keep time. I’ve got to keep time.
Luvvie: People said. Look, people in the comments like, “Shout.”
Kevin: Listen, I did not expect for this to hit me in such a way. I would personally request you mind your business, Luvvie and leave me out of your prophetic word. I feel like the Lord was like, “Kev, this is going to be for you, though. How about that? How about you think it’s for the people and to help promote Luvvie’s book. I’m going to use the prophetess right now for you personally.” So, in an attempt to get the pressure off me, because I’m sweating under here. I feel like, Luvvie here won’t mind hers. I’m going to get to some of you all question.
Okay. I’m going to read the first one because you all have upvoted these. I’m going to read this verbatim, Luvvie, forgive me my LASIK ain’t came in good yet. The question says, “I feel like this is such an important topic…” I’m sorry. Let me read slower, because I’m so excited. “I feel like this is such an important topic for women of color in particular, those of us in professional settings often have to temper ourselves being twice, three or four times and always be cognizant of how we’re seeing.
Was there one incident that was the straw that broke the camel’s back for you, where you embraced your inner troublemaker?” That’s from Daphne.
Luvvie: No. There was not one thing, but I think I’ve always been the woman who did not internalize the fact that she was told she wasn’t enough in the ways that the world might. For black women, especially, we’re told constantly to change something about us, that there’s something broken about us. That we’re too aggressive, that we’re too soft. We talk too much. We do this thing too much. And I’ve been this strong since I was little. I’ve been this person since I was a young girl.
Even if I got in trouble, I would always say that something was not true. I would be like, “That’s not fair.” And I’d be like, “I’ll take the punishment.” But here’s the thing is I think, because I’ve been so sure of who I am, I think the truest versions of who we are is us at seven before the abuses it out of us and salt it out of us, traumatizes it out of us. The problem is I never stopped being this person, so I didn’t have to re-find her when it was time. I think that’s what we have to do is who were we before the world told us that we were not good enough?
Go back to that person and do not let the world convince you otherwise. You’ll constantly get the message. The message is not going to stop that you’re not enough. The messaging doesn’t stop that you got to be somebody completely different, but what you have to do is insist on not taking it on because it’s not your business.
Kevin: I low-key held back tears. Okay. I have asked you politely to stop, but you won’t, you just pick a different part of my life to pick apart. It’s fine, Luvvie. It’s fine. At this point, just do whatever you want to do. I want to make one quick note, Melissa and I are dealing with this as parents for our kids. TD Jakes talked about this when he was a kid, he was always asking questions and talking and his family’s like, “Boy, hush.” You know how black parents would do and that’s what he became. I got a young son at home, that boy is a professional troublemaker-
Luvvie: Yes, come on, Jo Jo.
Kevin: But at the same time, he’s almost a [dawg] and professional podcaster. We are trying to nurture him and not tear him down. Same thing with my oldest son and you just confirmed that, so please leave me alone. Okay. Next question comes from Angela, “Luvvie and Kev, what were your biggest roadblocks and how did you overcome them and what are your roadblocks now?
Luvvie: Kev, you answer that first.
Kevin: Okay. I’m going to tell you; this is a roadblock that developed recently that I had to accept. It’s human nature to desire to be liked. I was almost paralyzed with fear for a good couple of months in 2020, because for the first time in my career, I was not liked openly. I had never been dragged on Twitter. I’ve been trying to avoid it, and for the first time, something that I did with good intentions was taken as bad intentions. Something that I wasn’t aware of, people were well aware of.
I woke up to a firestorm of tweets and articles and I said, “No, this is…” And my control factor, I tried to control it, sat my butt down in therapy.
Kevin: Luvvie, let me tell you what, wouldn’t have made it without therapy in personal life-
Luvvie: Never would have made it. You and me.
Kevin: Never would have made it. Personal life, professional life and married life, all blessed through therapy. My therapist said, “You think you can control how people see you? Once you realize that no matter what you do, you can’t control it. You can’t control whether people like you or not, and at the end of the day, that’s not even your fault or your problem.”
Luvvie: Or your business.
Kevin: Present yourself as the truest version of yourself and let those who like, like.” My roadblock was a letting go of Christians, not approving of how I live my life, the jokes that I tell and non-Christians approving of my other choices. Once I realized and let it go, that people won’t like me, people who used to like me will no longer, and they’re going to be vocal about it. People will bait me into stuff because my name is big, and you’re just going to have to deal with it because the alternative is to work back at Boeing, which I’m not finna do.
Then I was like, “Now I can be myself. I give you permission not to like me.” People be like, “I’m disappointed in you.” I disappoint myself every day baby.
Luvvie: Every day, B.
Kevin: Get in line. [inaudible], Luvvie. Did I stop by 7-Eleven right before this? Yes, I did. Did I [inaudible]? No, I did not. Did I see donuts in a thing that’s probably 12 hours old? Yes. Did I eat them? Uh-huh (Affirmative). You ain’t special because you disappointed in me. I disappointed myself, my wife, my kids. Baby, I don’t even know you. I don’t even know you, baby. I don’t know you.
Luvvie: [inaudible]. Kev, chapter seven of this book is called Fail Loudly where I talk about the time I trended on Twitter because people decided to drag me about some shit.
Kevin: Yeah. You wrote about that, Luvvie?
Kevin: You wrote about it, Luvvie?
Luvvie: I had to do it. Had to do it. Let me tell you, seeing my name trend on Twitter, you want to talk about therapy? I went to my therapist’s office and my therapist said, “You are exhibiting symptoms of PTSD.”
Luvvie: Yes, because somebody literally tried to destroy my career. Not just somebody, multiple people tried to destroy my career. Created a whole email address, dedicated to trying to affect my money, and somebody literally posted on Facebook, “I want to destroy her career.”
Luvvie: It was that deep.
Kevin: I didn’t realize it was that. I knew it was bad but I didn’t realize it was that bad.
Luvvie: [inaudible]. When I tell you there are publications that wrote pieces about me that I’m like, “I would never give you an interview ever again in your life. I can be doing your publication’s persona non grata about me. All right? Keep our name out of your mouth, fam. We’re not speaking. We’re not talking. And the person who went and lit the fire, I’m like, “Fam, I sold more books than you, but it’s okay.”
Kevin: Talk your talk, Luvvie.
Kevin: Talk it.
Luvvie: But, honestly, what it taught me, and again, you all see me and I say, it’s not my business. It still makes it hard when you have arrows, thousands of arrows pointing at you, it knocked me, Kevin, knocked me off my square for a year.
Kevin: A year.
Luvvie: Man. It took a toll on me in a big way, and I put all that energy into this book and I was like, “Don’t worry. The best revenge is to come back and do this better.”
Luvvie: But to your point, one of the things that you just said where you were like, “I’m going to disappoint.” I tell people, “Whatever pedestal you have me on, take me off it. I don’t belong on any pedestal that you might place me on, because you will set me up for failure if you think I will never disappoint you. You are-
Kevin: I tell my [inaudible] all the time, don’t-
Luvvie: [Crosstalk]. Do not put me on any pedestals. I am a regular person whose gift made room for her and who was able to build a career that she ain’t planned because God’s favor.
Luvvie: I am not the person who is flawless. That person doesn’t exist, but especially, I’m not. I’m petty. I am cantankerous sometimes. I look like I have it all together. I don’t have the time. Okay?
Kevin: Right. Me neither, Luvvie. I wore these pants; this is my third day in a row. I just can’t stop. I just set them next to the bed and pick them back up. I’m sorry, you all. [inaudible].
Luvvie: That’s what I’m saying. Bro, let me you, I would never be the person who’s like, “I am going to be perfect.” What I am is somebody who’s learning out loud. What I am is somebody who is a forever student. I will make mistakes. I will say something you do not like and disagree with one day. It might be soon. I need you to expect me to make mistakes, because if you do not expect me to make mistakes, you are setting me up to fail for when I do because then what people love to do again with Goliath, if you want to knock them off their square, people like to humble us real quick.
Because all of a sudden we big, all of a sudden we’re a target, they want to bait us. They want to be like, “Come at her crazy.” Because you going to catch me one day and I’m going to let you have it. But if I let you have it, then it becomes, “Luvvie is the bully.” When you came at me first, fam, because you forgot that the TED talk Luvvie, is still from Chicago. Still not doing it, still got a sharp tongue and might let you have it. I will cut you down for size. If you catch me on a wrong day, you might catch that version of Luvvie.
Not the chill one that’s like, “Give them grace, give them grace. Okay girl. You know that’s not your business.” One day I will make it my business and it’s not going to be nice. On that day, just remember I said this. Just on that day, when somebody comes at me crazy, and I let them have it, remember this Luvvie that’s like, “I told you to look out for it.” That’s it.
Kevin: Right? I love that so much. That actually gives me some, not sympathy, but assurance. Right?
Kevin: Because our job takes place in the public and we are criticized often in comments, on every platform, all the platforms often. I don’t search my name. I just, you…
Luvvie: God, no. We can’t search our names at all.
Kevin: I can’t do it.
Kevin: The further I get away from my Patreon, the less of a home game it is. Now, my Patreon, that’s my safe space and even there sometimes people trip.
Luvvie: Okay. Did not say your face.
Kevin: Yeah. We got to have those, but out there in the world, Twitter, what? It’s pandemonium, it’s a no man’s land out there.
Luvvie: It is madness. It is pure dumpster fire. We don’t want it.
Kevin: And I take solace that, like me, it hits you for real because it hit me for real. I was off balance for a minute, I was just like… And I couldn’t get it. It was like, I just couldn’t get it for a while. My wife will tell you, my therapist will tell you. I was like, “Snap. Man. I’m getting hit left and right.”
Kevin: But it helped me find myself and I don’t think I could be who I am now and who I’m going to be, if it hadn’t happened. I feel like I needed it.
Luvvie: You needed the moment.
Kevin: I needed it. I needed a reality check that you’ve gone beyond the safety zone, you’re out there. You wanted this. There’s a negative drawback of this and you can’t control it, baby. What do you want to do, you want to stay here forever? Because-
Kevin: Go ahead, Luvvie.
Luvvie: I missed it when that whole thing happened with you because typically when I see my people in that fire, I will reach out and be like, “Yo, I see, I feel you but you know what is trash also that happens during moments like that. It’s people who you think are your people will also then join the fray.
Luvvie: And you go, “A word.”
Luvvie: Thank you for this learning experience. Now I can crush your name out. All your stars from Game of Thrones, I have my own list. I got my own list because people have short memory. All of a sudden, when they see you in the Twitter five, they want to add their own names and then three months later, all of a sudden they’re like, “Oh my God.” You’re like, “Hold on. Were you not part of the peanut gallery?” I have a long memory. My petty is strong and long. Strong and long.
Kevin: I quote this line from Thanos all the time because it always happens. People always end up having to come back. Thanos sat there when Avengers was walking up to him and he said, “You could not live with your own failure, and where did that lead you? Back to me?” And [inaudible] back to me. I remember you, fancy seeing you here again. Well…”
Kevin: “Look what we have here.” I want to shout out Avant, when I was going through, Avant hit me and was like, “Kev, this girl, don’t even engage. She tried to get me. Trust me. You’re not going to win, just hush. I got you. You’re going to be good.” And I said, “Man, thank you.” I had a couple other friends who hit me on the side and be like, “You good? You’re going to take this hit, but I got you, but th-
Luvvie: You’re going to take that hit.
Kevin: You’re going to take this… But more important than that, I had my wife who if I lose it all, I got her, I got these kids who don’t care. My wife, if I worked at target, she’d be like, “Well, sure. You closing or you opening?”
Luvvie: Come on.
Kevin: [Crosstalk]. That is so important to have some people in your life who are there regardless of your success or failure and not tied to anything like that, because the bigger you get, the more people you feel like are just around for what they can get out of you or the benefit of the relationship and those people who are not, are so much more important. Okay. Let me get another question in because I want to make sure these people get their questions.
Luvvie: Who’s my person, who usually everybody’s texting him, “Is she good?” Okay? Okay?
Kevin: Okay. I feel like its Alana Sanders or Elena. Forgive me if I mispronounced it, she says, “Can you please give your definition of troublemaker and please explain the difference between a troublemaker and a person who makes trouble i.e. starts trouble or drama, AKA, a poopster. I’m concerned. People don’t know the difference. Insert side eye here.”
Luvvie: Yes. A professional troublemaker, the reason why we are professionals is we have a cause, we’re not doing it just because we want to be contrarian and want to be trolled. We ain’t going troll you just because we want to be devil’s advocate. Like Satan never asked to be… He didn’t ask for a doula. Who asked you to be devil’s advocate? Troublemakers are literally people who are like, “I think this needs to be said.” And it’s not going to come from a hateful place, it’s from a place of necessity.
If this is how I want to make sure you have your stuff together. That’s the difference that is the simple difference. You got a cause.
Kevin: I love that. Fighting for the cause. Okay. My LASIK ain’t good, I can’t see this name, but they say, “Hey, Luvvie, does fear and anxiety coincide. Does the fear fighter manual address both?”
Luvvie: Yeah. Fear is anxiety. Fear is anxiety on steroids and the book does talk about it, because the reason why I even wrote this book is because we don’t stop being afraid. Even me. I don’t stop being afraid. It’s not that all of a sudden, it’s like I wake up and I’m like, “Fearless day.” Even though I’m wearing a t-shirt that says fearless. I’m going to have a merch tour very soon, we are going to that. But it’s not that I’m fearless, it’s that I just don’t let my fear make me do less.
I just be like, “All right, I know I’m afraid. I’m going to do that thing anyway.” And I think a lot of times we’re thinking about the worst case scenario of what could happen if we do that thing. Don’t opt out of the best case scenario, because you’re afraid of the worst case scenario that might not come.
Kevin: Say it again, Luvvie, because I don’t think they heard it clear. Maybe Crack would say, “One more time, Luvvie.”
Luvvie: Do not opt out of the best case scenario because you are afraid of the worst case scenario that might never come. You created a whole dragon in your head and that dragon don’t even exist. Slay the dragon yourself. Ask for that raise and the worst they can do is tell you no. That no is not going to kill you. The no will not leave you worse off, but the yes can have you be better. That’s why you have to do that thing that’s scary. You just got to be like, “Well, what if they say yes? What if they say, yes?”
Kevin: Listen, if you don’t ask… It’s already no now. It’s already no. If you ask it and it’s no, then it’s still what it just was. You can only really improve because it’s already no.
Luvvie: That’s it.
Kevin: Listen, [inaudible]. I-
Kevin: …do this. Two years ago we shot everything in my home and I remember clearly, we had shot a whole production day and this person that I didn’t know well, instead of leaving after their shoot, they’re sitting in our living room on the couch with their feet up. It was a white.
Kevin: My wife didn’t like it. “We’re going to have to get an office because I know what you’re trying to do. My living space got to be my living space. The kids trying to go to bed.” We went from my wife’s office, which was our first recording studio. For six, seven years, all I did is record on my iPhone in my house. We went to a small racism office where we got kicked out. Then six weeks before the pandemic, our first official office podcast studio, and then the same year, Luvvie, the same year, a soundstage.
This whole time most people are like, “I couldn’t do it. What if it don’t work?” And I’m like, “What if it do, though?” Because it’s only because of these circumstances that this was available at this price. It’s only because of the pandemic that I could do, Keep Your Distance. I would have never thought of that. It’s only because of that, and these circumstances are not finite. Eventually the pandemic will subside. Eventually we’ll go back to the world as we know it in some way. Either you capitalize or you don’t and you miss it.
Luvvie: And here’s the thing, to your point around that, my TED talk is actually really what convicted me to write this book because I said no to it twice because I was afraid.
Kevin: Did you?
Luvvie: Yeah, Kev. I was afraid that I wasn’t ready, that I was going to bum because they asked me to do it March… No, May, 2017 is when they first came with the ask for the event that was in November and I was like, “Yo, I ain’t going to time because TED don’t play about this stuff. They make you rehearse a thousand times and you got a coach, all this stuff. And I’m afraid that I ain’t got time for that, so I’m just going to let that be.” They came back three months later. I said, no again because I was like, “The day of TED, I’m actually booked and busy.”
Because I was emceeing and keynote in a conference in New York, TED was in New Orleans at the came back the third time, three weeks before TED. Three weeks before TED, I was like, “I’m going to go kick it with my friends at TED for one day that I can be there, cheer them on as they’re doing their talks.” When I emailed them for a day pass, they was like, “If you can come, we want you to speak.” And I said-
Kevin: Hey, man, I didn’t ask you all that. I said can I come wa… I don’t want-
Luvvie: [Crosstalk]. I literally was about to send another email that was like, “No, I can’t make that. That’s crazy.” I wrote the paragraph up and everything. It was like, “I ain’t going to be able to make that.”
Kevin: Hold on, Luvvie, how did you not say, “Matter of fact, I looked at the wrong date my bad.”?
Luvvie: My bad. I literally was about to send this email to be like, “No, I’m good. Never mind.” I called my girl Eunique who we both know.
Kevin: Eunique Jones Gibson, woohoo.
Luvvie: Jones Gibson.
Kevin: She’s professional troublemaker of the year in my book, 2020/ 2021.
Luvvie: That’s the homie right there and I said, “Ted is asking me to do this talk in three weeks, which is crazy. I’m going to have to write a whole new talk and memorize it and do all these things and I don’t think I’m ready for that because everybody else has had a coach for the last four months on their talk. They’ve rehearsed, all that stuff. It was a Sunday night and I’m standing by my kitchen counter and Eunique literally was like, “Everybody ain’t you though.” She was like, “Everybody-”
Kevin: She right about it.
Luvvie: She was like, “You’ve been on stages, that’s been your coaching. You have the credentials. I need you to get off my phone and go kill this talk.” And she hung up on me before I could even respond to her.
Kevin: Did she really?
Luvvie: She straight was like, “Get off my phone, go write this talk, delete that email, stop playing these games.” And pressed end and then send me a WhatsApp message that’s like, “You’re going to do this talk.” And I said, “You’re right. All right. [inaudible].”
Kevin: We need those people in our corner. Boy, I’m telling you.
Luvvie: I was like… What unique did in that moment was loaned me courage that I didn’t have for myself.
Kevin: Loaned me courage?
Luvvie: She loaned me courage that I did not have for myself and that’s why I wrote this book because I wanted this book to be what loans other people courage for those moments when they’re like, “I don’t know if I’m ready for that.” Or, “Should I do that thing?” Or “Should I have that conversation?” I want my book and I want who I am to loan people courage and power in the moments when they’re just about to say no to a yes opportunity that God had for you.
Because imagine if I had not done that talk that now has 5.6 million views that has gotten me so much money because I’ve gotten so many speaking engagements from it, that has made so much impact on people. Imagine if I was allowed to say no, because I was afraid of bumming. Imagine how this thing that transformed everything would not have happened. How many times in our lives have we said no to yes things because we are afraid of whatever, rejection, failure, success, disappointment?
Whatever that thing is, and it really had me being like, “I need you to talk about that. I need you to get people to understand that you got to start being intentional about the fact that you’re going to be afraid, but you’re going to have to do it scared, anyway.” That’s why I wrote it.
Kevin: Listen, that is so powerful, so powerful. The words escaped me because it hit me so much. When I was a young comic, I was not afraid of bumming I wasn’t KevOnStage. I was Kevin Fredericks at the time. Nobody knew me, I was fearless. I have been armed. I’m talking about to the hot Ls. With Keep Your Distance, I was stuck, little known secret. The best part about touring is I get to work this set out for a month or two, get it and then I memorize. Basically, it’s like giving your same TED talk over and over and over and over-
Luvvie: [Crosstalk]. Yeah.
Kevin: …it’s on autopilot. I can tweak it and all that, but for the most part, the base is there. Pandemic comes, I got the Stage crew whom I love, they’re pulling up to every Keep Your Distance and the audience who’s there is the same audience. All of a sudden I can’t do these same jokes every week and I also can’t do my same tour jokes because when I eventually go back on tour, I got to use those jokes. You know what I had to do for the first time in my life?
With the name KevOnStage, I got to go back to fearless Kevin Fredericks and guess what happened, Luvvie, I bummed. A Thanksgiving show by the grace of God; it was the one show we didn’t tape live. By the grace, but I took a hot pile of L to the face. I’m talking about, took it. Nobody laughing, friends in the audience looking at me like, “I can’t fake it. It ain’t hitting it.” And guess what, Luvvie, nothing happened.
Luvvie: Nothing happened.
Kevin: The next comedian came up, did their job. I came back six, seven times throughout the night, worked the jokes up and by the end, people have forgotten the bum, and guess what it told me, I could still fail.
Kevin: As long as you fail valiantly and since that moment I’ve created all types of new material, all kinds of stuff. When I go back out on the road, eventually I am more confident because the worst thing happened. You watch Ozark?
Luvvie: I love Ozark.
Kevin: Okay. Spoiler alert. When Jason Bateman’s character, when the cartel person caught him, who was in that cave and then he lived, he came. He was like, “That’s it?” The worst thing I thought could ever happen happened and I survived? It was like I was re-imagined. It was a new awakening. The worst, as I imagined it wasn’t really actually that bad.
Luvvie: It wasn’t that bad, it is the dragon.
Kevin: It’s the dragon.
Luvvie: The dragon was never there and the freedom to fail is also something we need to give ourselves. The reason why I named that chapter Fail Loudly. You have to ignore. Just wait for the fail. It’s not a matter of if you will fail. It’s a matter of when. When you understand that on the other side of it, it’s like victory, because you will be better because you failed. That’s why I had to include that chapter, particularly because I’m like, I need you all to see when I was in the middle of a storm that I actually didn’t see the way out of…
I actually was like, “Is this thing going to actually end everything I’ve worked for?” But the thing is, people didn’t get you there, they’re not going to take you off it. Your purpose is bigger than what everybody is going to say on Twitter and what somebody who don’t like you at your job says about you. That moment that you failed. But all the things that you’ve already done before then will also prop you up. Your name, this is why your name is important.
Kev, you failing and bumming that set didn’t have people saying you’re not funny because they’ve seen you be funny for 20 years. Your name will stand up even in the moment and honestly, that’s the one thing that I realized when I failed too. I’m not even sure if I put it in the book, but it’s that when you are not looking, the people who will support you will support you quietly and loudly. Sowed into. During the sowing season, all of them will be there to remember. She was there, she’s not that person they were talking about. Kev?
Kev ain’t that person. I’ve seen Kev. The trieds and trues will stay with you, it’s the fake ones that leave, that would be like, “I was waiting for this moment.” Even if you fail, you know them. They were just waiting.
Kevin: Listen, you watch it, baby. Enjoy the show. It’s okay, because at the end of the day, even if… Look, I love sports. LeBron James, who’s my favorite player of all time. He could go out tonight and go one for seven million.
Kevin: And it doesn’t change the stuff he’s already done.
Kevin: And it’s not going to change the stuff he’s going to do.
Kevin: And I needed to sit with that, like my wife told me, she said, “Even if you suck, you are funny. You can have a bad night, but that doesn’t change that you’re still funny.”
Kevin: All this crap was happening at the same time. I was like, “Jesus, I’m one person. Okay? What do you think of me? Because I know you said you’re not going to give me more than I could bear. Obviously you think too highly of me. Knock down a couple of notches, let’s reassess who I am because you’re giving me too much.” But once the worst happened and I survived, then it was okay, and knowing all this stuff that was fearful, it happened. The dragging happened, the articles happened, the people left, everything changed.
That was the worst happened. Like, my boy, Derek Luke said, Antwan Fisher. I’m still standing. I’m still strong.”
Luvvie: And you’re stronger probably because you bummed, your jokes probably was hitting good after that. because you’re like, “Here’s the mistake I made. Here’s why it wasn’t that hitting. Here’s where I’m going to tweak about the next joke.” Then you come back even better. It’s like the fail had to happen for Kev 2.0 to happen because Kev 1.0 was not leveling up enough.
Kevin: Let’s stop. Stop. Timeout. How did you know that? How did you know that’s exactly what I did? I seriously was like, “Assess, assess, assess. Here’s where I messed up. Here’s…” Literally in low key, my wife had been saying this, I was doing too much. I wasn’t preparing for my jokes. I was a little afraid and I didn’t attack it. I just was like, “Is this funny? Do you guys maybe like?” No and I have had nothing even close since then. How did you know, Luvvie?
Luvvie: Because that happened to me, because our lives are parallel. The gift of friendships like yours is that we get to watch and see everybody coming up at the same time. We’re all really going through different things, actually the same things in our different silos and honestly, it’s interesting to watch. It’s interesting to see just the growth that we all have had in all these shit. Listen, I’m always like, people see us now and I’m just like, they might assume anything of us. I call myself an 18-year overnight success for that reason.
Luvvie: The people who just found me last week or two months ago. I’m like, “You all don’t really realize the three hours, every Thursday night that I was putting into work.” And I wasn’t getting paid for that.
Luvvie: Nothing. I wasn’t getting paid for that.
Kevin: I want to talk about YouTube videos because I had songs in there. I was just doing it because I really loved it.
Luvvie: It’s madness, but I think for me, the gift of the growth and seeing the platforms, we both have our own different platforms. Now, I have LuvvNation my app for those of you all who don’t know, I do have an app where it’s a safe space in a dumpster fire world. We’re going to figure out how to start charging for it soon. Kev has KevOnStage Studios, his app, where you can watch all this creative stuff created by black and brown people. Anytime you want.
Kevin: It’s just-
Luvvie: [Crosstalk]. Actually give them details about the app real quick.
Kevin: Okay. How much time do you have, Luvvie, because I see at least two more good questions, but I don’t want to push-
Luvvie: [Crosstalk]. Everybody says they want us to keep going. I’m good for it to keep thinking.
Speaker 1: I think we have time for one last question.
Speaker 1: I know. I’m sorry. Time flies.
Kevin: I request for more time. Who is making these decisions that we have to stop? Who are the people in charge?
Luvvie: Who are the people in charge?
Kevin: [inaudible]. Okay. The people in our ear are telling us one last question, but I’ll take two. Here is the answer to your question.
Luvvie: What’s troublemaker? Okay.
Kevin: Professional troublemaker, because the people got to hear the word of God.
Luvvie: The people want more.
Kevin: KevOnStage Studios App is a place for, my home girl called it digital black joy. Right? I think all the stories matter. I think black people, we complain and I think it’s a valid complaint. So many of our stories are traumatic and they are always told and rightfully told. Judas and the Black Messiah, Fred Hampton story needs to be told, but that is a heavy film to watch.
Luvvie: Yes. Oh my God.
Kevin: Me and Melissa were like, “I can’t go to bed. I’m enraged. I can’t go to sleep.” All we want to do is give you that option, after you’ve had to watch that. When you say, “Man, I just need a laugh real quick.” That’s us. KevOnStage Studios. It’s a place for underrepresented and underserved black people, people of color, marginalized communities to have a space to create content for those same people who want to watch it. Those other stories that are fun, coming of age stories, just fun, just silly stuff sometimes.
Obviously, we’ll get into some dry stuff and all that, but when you want to laugh, come over here to KevOnStage Studios. Imagine shooting and I say, “You want other people laughing all in the videos?” That’s the [inaudible]. That’s the goal, and I’m being very intentional because of this pandemic, another thing I learned about was what black men can be. The term I learned was trends… What is it? God dang it. I’m nervous. Intersectionality, and how black men can benefit from it often at the expense of black women, without realizing it.
And I had to ask myself, what can I do to change the balance of that? What part can I play? First thing I did hired my home girl Angel to be a co-host on my podcast. I know a hundred black men that could have replaced her. I don’t know that many black women. What I needed to do was be intentional about replacing a man with a woman. Best thing ever, this woman is funnier than me, quicker than me. She can hold her own way, she had her own audience.
She was a dawg on Godson because I was doing a podcast by myself dying, Luvvie, and she came and breathe new life into the whole thing. I called her and I said, “How can I amplify your voice?” That’s what I asked her, because I learned that when I was learning about intersectionality, from my cousin, who’s 10 years younger than me, 18 years. She taught me about it. She sent me a research paper by black woman from Chicago, maybe, I don’t want to be wrong, but that’s what I did.
First show we ever produced on the app, the first show that we produced it’s for a black woman, Kesha E., it’s called Blackheart off Layaway. Kesha is a black girl from Detroit who missed out on all the black movies, literally all of them. Don’t know how to braid, play dominoes, fly [inaudible]. And I said, “Guess what? Every black person has something that all black people should know how to do that they don’t.” At least there’s one or two movies that we haven’t seen. We don’t say it loudly, but there’s one or two.
That’s the first show we created because I wanted to be intentional about creating you as the star of something and using my platform to lift other people up, because for me, it’s not just making KevOnStage, this big name, it’s for, hey, let me lend my name to you. Let me lend my platform to you and let you have the artistic choice that you want. She had that show. I didn’t go tell her what to say and how to say it. I said, “Girl, this show we develop it together. Do your thing.” And I’m so excited about that stuff.
You can go to KevOnStage Studios on any app platform. Get that. You can get it by the year or by the month. For my one question, since we only have one, I’m trying to decide which one I want to do.
Luvvie: Somebody said the King Kong rule and Double Dutch. It’s okay. I can’t either.
Kevin: We did both of those episodes. We literally, black women learning to braid to the head and learn how to double dutch. Literally both of those. Okay. I think this is the one we’ll end with if we must end. Okay. Luvvie, what-”
Luvvie: Hold on a second. People was like, “You all want to do IG Live?
Kevin: I don’t mind, Luvvie? I don’t mind.
Luvvie: When we get off this, we can get on IG Live, Kev.
Kevin: Are you sure, Vromans? Are you sure you want to let the people go somewhere else? It’s up to you all, because these are the paying people. I love to let the paying people know, but never mind, Luvvie, it don’t make me [inaudible].
Luvvie: Look. I’m down, but anyway, you can ask the question.
Kevin: I’m just asking the question.
Kevin: We’re literally professional troublemaking right now.
Luvvie: We are. Right now.
Kevin: What new things have you learned about yourself during the process of writing this book?
Luvvie: That’s good.
Kevin: That’s a good one.
Luvvie: Dang. What new thing have I learned about myself? Woo. Man. I feel like the book in itself is a new thing that I learned about myself. But I would say that my need for control is a form of anxiety.
Kevin: I said yourself, Luvvie, not me.
Luvvie: That I actually do have-
Kevin: Say more. Say more about that.
Luvvie: Yes. The need for control is a form of anxiety because anxiety comes up when you are not sure how something will pan out. So that you take it on and say, “If I am responsible for it, it will pan out as good as it could possibly pan out.”
Luvvie: And I was like, “Snap. I think I have anxiety.” Because everything. I’m always working through scenarios in my head about how could it go wrong? How can I mitigate that risk? It is something that I realized as I was writing this book and as I was putting these words on paper, I was like, “Okay. This is the way that I try to make sense of my world. This is the way that I try to have things go as well as possible.” And it is something that I’m trying to figure out how to work around. It takes us back to where we started with firing ourselves.
Personally and professionally. I definitely have and will ask a thousand questions. I need to see it on paper and then I’d go, “Okay, that’s the plan. Now I feel better.” That’s part of what makes me a good writer is that I process everything in black and white, I got to see it on paper and that gives me comfort. That lets me move forward with the idea that there’s a plan in mind.
Kevin: Man. You’ve been all in my business all night, man.
Luvvie: All night.
Kevin: Literally you’ve been in my business all night, but you know what, I’m grateful for it. That concludes our-
Luvvie: I will say this though. One more thing that I’m going to say that I need you people to do for me, if you loved this conversation because I am committed to hit New York Times best-selling list not just because I want the bragging rights, those are also nice but because if I end up on the New York Times bestselling list again, two-time best seller, it puts me on a new class. What that does it now opens up the doors for more black and brown people to be able to be taken seriously in publishing.
Luvvie: In the category that I’m in that Professional Troublemaker is in, it’s considered the how to advise miscellaneous column. It’s one of the toughest categories to be in for the Times list. There are very few black people in that list, actually right now, if you looked on that list, none of us are on that list right now. None of us. Zero. There’s zero black people on that how to list right now, and if there is, they made like a cookbook. I don’t even think that exists. I need your help to get this book on the Times list.
By you all coming here, you already bought a copy. By you all having the ticket, you already bought a copy. Buy another copy of the hard cover today for a friend, for a family member, for a sister who needs to get this bitch.
Kevin: Luvvie, I’m going to interrupt you. I feel like a pastor at a revival.
Luvvie: Come on.
Kevin: I’ve been so moved by this conversation and what you poured into me. Listen, we already bought a hundred million lists.
Luvvie: You did? Thank you.
Kevin: You know what, Luvvie, put us down for another a hundred.
Luvvie: Come on.
Kevin: Put us down for a… I’ve seen Luvvie [inaudible] and I want to give it away to Melissa’s book club or Patreon or Luvvie, however you want to give it away to people who want to who ain’t got the means, women, whatever. I want to sow into good ground with my pastor. I want to sow into good ground when you see and you don’t spoke enough into me on the night, I got to talk with my wife about it, but I’m pretty sure she will allow me. She in here somewhere, we going to throw another hundred into the building fund, into the prophetess Jones.
Luvvie: Come on.
Kevin: Because I feel like God used you tonight for me and for the people listening, we’re going to do another hundred. Get my pocket book, get my checkbook. I’m man of my word, we’re going to give them away however you see fit, Luvvie, on behalf of the Stage crew and our support. Stage Crew International Church. On behalf of our community of black people, we want you to get to that list. I don’t know how many copies got to be sold to make it but I’m putting another hundred on it right now. We believe in God that we’re going to get that best seller in the name of Jesus.
Luvvie: Come on, pastor.
Luvvie: Come on. You all was talking about where can you put in the collection plate? That’s how you put into collection plate. Even if it’s one copy. Even if it’s two extra copies. Buy a copy on today.
Kevin: On today.
Luvvie: Tell somebody to buy a copy of this book. I need this book to fly. I need this book to soar, because it goes beyond me. This book will open gates. This book is a trailblazer. I am blazing the trail. You know why there is no blurb on the cover of this book because there was no black woman who was in this category who could blurb this book. The back has Issa, but Issa’s not even in this category. She’s a non-fiction hardback. I want to be the person who cannot blow up somebody else’s book because my book-
Kevin: [Crosstalk]. I love it.
Kevin: Amen. We believe in God, Luvvie.
Luvvie: Amen. And leave a review on Amazon, on all these places, all of it matters, and Kev, you just blessed my spirit.
Kevin: I had to, Luvvie. You’ve been a great friend of mine, you supported me before you even knew me and it ain’t nothing. Just as my first pastor at our [inaudible] Bishop elder Carr said, “It’s just nice to be nice.”
Luvvie: Come on.
Kevin: And it just means so much to me to be able to have the means to support my friends, who I know are doing such an important thing. I know your heart’s in the right place, right? It’s not about Luvvie getting rich. Luvvie ain’t chasing no dollar, Luvvie going to be all right. I want you to be able to loan courage to a hundred more people because if a hundred more people are courageous, imagine what they can do.
Luvvie: My mission is a long courage to a million people with this book. I want this book to change a million lives. That is the audacious goal that I am putting out, so that hundred you just got me even closer. Thank you.
Luvvie: Come on.
Kevin: All right, we got to close. We got to close, you all.
Speaker 1: I feel so bad because I don’t want this to end. This was such a fun and insightful conversation. Thank you, Luvvie. Thank you, Kev. If you guys can make a virtual applause in the chat use the clap emoji.
Kevin: [inaudible] emojis in the comments, you all. We want see your support in the comments section for our evangelist, Jones.
Luvvie: Okay. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thanks, Natalie. They said they want to-
Speaker 1: Again.
Luvvie: They said they want to IG Live after party.
Kevin: Listen, Luvvie, I would go live on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.
Luvvie: Let’s do it.
Kevin: We can do it right out. I’m going to text you right after. I’m going to send you over the link.
Speaker 1: Yeah, if you guys follow them, make sure to check that out.
Kevin: We’re going to do it right after this.
Speaker 1: Again, we do have the replay available after this broadcast ends. So, if you came in late or have a friend who purchased a ticket, but wasn’t able to attend tonight, don’t worry. Just use the same stream link and password and they’ll be able to access it. Also, if you would like to purchase an audio book or an extra hard cover copy from Vromans, just click on the Support Vromans link below the viewer screen. It’ll take you to our website where you can do that. I think that about covers it. Thank you everyone again and stay safe, everyone.
Kevin: [inaudible]. God bless.
Luvvie: [inaudible] on IG Live, fam.
Kevin: All right.
Luvvie: We going to be on.
Speaker 1: Great.
We had a goodt time! And we really do have an additional hour of our shenanigans that you can go watch on the Kev’s YouTube channel. It’s in the show notes. Definitely worth your time, and we’ve got the whole thing linked in the show notes for this episode.
If you don’t follow Kevin on social, please fix that immediately. He’s @KevOnStage on all the platforms. And he stays dropping hilarity. From the mundane, to the thoughtful, to the really deep. But what you really want to do is download KevOnStage Studios in the App Store. KevOnStage Studios is Kev’s unlimited streaming app where you can stream original content and support more Black comedians, more Black writers creators directly. I love that it is high production quality and unapologetically Black. It’s for us and by us and THE PERFECT way to celebrate Black History Month, so get into it.