Editor's Note: 10 Questions is a weekend feature on NBC10.com. If you know someone who we should profile, please email us.
Monroe Martin, 28, is a funny man from Philly. He now lives in Brooklyn and is a semi-finalist on "Last Comic Standing" on NBC. The show airs Thursdays at 10 p.m.
When did you know you were going to be a comic?
I was in Philly near Germantown with a friend and saw a trash truck go by. My favorite comedian from BET was on the back of the truck. At that moment, I realized I could have a job and be a comedian. I want to be a comedic reporter like Richard Pryor and David Chappelle. People wanted to know what they had to think about things. I want to be one of those people -- the news and comedy.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Philly in foster care. I lived in 14 different homes in 15 years. I lived in Mt. Airy, South Philly and North Philly. Living in foster care made me a well-rounded person. I saw both sides of the fence growing up. I lived with pastors who were God-fearing. (They have their own little issues). And I got to see people who were struggling and poor and those who didn’t have good morals.
I looked at life like -- Let me basically be a fly on the wall for those 15 years. I can see everybody is the same and what makes you different is what you're going through.
How do you describe your comedy?
My comedy is the truth with the cherry on top. I'm giving you the truth and what you think you know or are afraid to say and I’m putting a goofy spin on it. People are like wow, I didn’t know he would say that. Oh that’s funny. I'm giving people the truth. Here you go... it’s funny. I want a long and great career. If I can release 10 albums, I’ll be good.
What's it like being on "Last Comic Standing?"
It's my first television experience and debut. I loved it. I saw an introduction to the industry. It was a crash course. I was on set for 18 hours. You're meeting different personalities and have to interact with those personalities. I got to perform multiple times. I’m happy about it. It was like a late night talk show set.
Do you keep in touch with your family and Philly?
Me and my two sisters stayed close but lived in different places when we grew up. We kept in contact even though we were apart. I got to see my mom on the weekends. I would see my mom six times out of the month. We have a friendship moreso now. I made a conscious decision to drop out out college. I had one year to go at Community College of Philadelphia studying social work. But, I wanted to pursue comedy full-time. My life experience shapes my work ethic. I have been working hard and it has helped me shape my career.
What advice do you have for young comics?
Most young comics are not looking for advice but short cuts. Listen. If you’ve lived a crappy life, that’s gold. Don’t be afraid to talk about that. Don’t worry about talking about things that chased you where you are today. You also have to read. You don’t know anything. It’s up to you to research.
What do you like about Philly?
I like how everybody is mean. They make you love it. If somebody bumps you, you have to turn around and have a discussion about it. It’s not even a mean thing. It’s like everybody is aggressive. It’s an assertive city. It’s also a super talented city. You have to really prove yourself. I love hanging out at all places. You can be as ratchet as you want and party. And the whole city is in church on Sunday or going to where the culture is. I like the Art Museum.
What kind of music do you like?
As long as music sounds good, I like it. I like all kinds of music except blue grass. I don’t know why, I just don’t like it.
What do you want people to know about you?
Three words to describe me -- charismatic, goofy and too self aware. I'm 6'5'' and 250 pounds. No matter how old I get, comedy keeps me youthful. I think like a man and make mature decisions but I will still pick up a video game and play it. I’m very patient and I feel like I say a lot and show a lot in my comedy. I want people to know I’m a nice person.