2015-04-15 / Features


Blake Rice

Blake Winston Rice, 25, is a stand-up comedian, actor, and writer who lives in Astoria. He grew up in Moorestown, New Jersey where he attended Rowan University and graduated with a BA in Film and TV. He started his comedy career doing sketch comedy in college, which led to his first time doing stand-up (opening for the big acts that would visit the school). He moved to Astoria a little less than a year ago, and began doing open-mic nights soon after. He is headlining at the Metropolitan Room on April 25, his biggest show so far. Find out more on his Facebook and Twitter pages, www.facebook.com/blakewrice and www.twitter.com/blakewrice.

QG: Why did you decide to move to Astoria?

BR: I decided to move to Astoria for three reasons: the beautiful women, the rich culture, the beautiful women, and of course for the opportunity to crush cold ones at the Beer Garden with my best buddy, Ricky.

Stand-up comedian, actor, and writer Blake Winston Rice. Stand-up comedian, actor, and writer Blake Winston Rice. QG: What are your favorite restaurants in Astoria and Queens?

BR: My favorite restaurant in Astoria, and all of Queens, has got to be the Sparrow Tavern for a dinner out; then to get just a sandwich or a quick snack it’s Othello Deli on 24th Avenue and 27th Street. They both have fantastic service/food, and are always open late – and unfortunately for my wallet – are right around the corner from my apartment.

QG: Who are your favorite stand-up comedians?

BR: Has got to be either Dave Chappelle or Bo Burnham. I’m a huge fan of sketch comedy, and Chappelle definitely paved the way for sketch, as well as racial humor. Bo Burnham’s work is different than what most stand-up comedians do. I respect his musical talent and unique delivery. (end cliché response)

QG: Is there a particular venue you hope to perform in?

BR: Giants Stadium. That or the Moon. But for sure Giants Stadium. Eagles stink.

QG: Who are your favorite comedic actors?

BR: My absolute favorite comedic actor of all time is Daniel Day Lewis. His work in the hit summer rom-com Last of the Mohicans, is a total riot. I can’t watch that chick-flick without bursting out laughing and spitting my iced latté all over my step-dad’s VCR. Shoutout to my fake step-dad.

QG: What is it about open mics that you enjoy the most?

BR: To be honest, I don’t go to many open mics. Not because I think I’m too good for them, but because it’s taxing to go to an open mic. They’re not the easiest things in the world. Most open mics only give you five minutes of time, without much of an audience, and you even have to pay for the time at some venues. What’s good about open mics are that they keep you sharp as a comic; you have the ability to try out new material in front of a live crowd that has no idea who you are and will give you some honest feedback. I have enormous respect for comedians who continually hit open mics throughout the week.

QG: Do you think there is something characteristic of a stand-up? For instance, does it take a special type of person to perform stand-up comedy?

BR: They say comedy is tragedy plus timing. I don’t know who “they” are, but hang with me for a second. Does it take a certain type of person to perform stand-up? Sort of. I think it takes someone with the insight to find the truth behind some tragedy or circumstance of their own, discover the comedy in it – then transform that into a packaged product for the audience.

What’s been helping me grow as a comedian is learning how to find a solid premise for a joke and then decide if it’s worth putting in the time to turn that into a potential bit. I also could be terribly incorrect here. I’m terrified most of the time. Maybe it just takes a crazy person to perform stand-up.

QG: You are also an actor and writer. Do you have any particular favorite comedy television series or movies?

BR: My favorite comedic shows right now are Broad City, Silicon Valley, Togetherness, and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. However, I’m a sucker for the big budget, hour-long, action-drama (draction) series on television right now. Even though I studied film in college, and should probably be rooting for the cinematography in Downton Abbey, the character dynamic of Mad Men, or wondering if it’s Adam’s last season on Girls – at this moment, the top programs for me are Black Sails, Vikings, Walking Dead, Penny Dreadful, and, of course, Game of Thrones. If there ain’t pirates, axes, zombies, werewolves, and a ton of naked boobies, I’m not interested.

Thanks for putting up with me guys. See you around Astoria – which is better than anywhere in Bushwick. Just ask all my friends that live in Queens and not in Brooklyn.

This column was originated in July 2013 by Nicollette Barsamian.

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