When the ninth season of “Last Comic Standing” ended in September, Clayton English was declared the winner – marking the second season in a row a comedian from Atlanta claimed the top prize. English follows 2014’s winner Rod Man.
“The crowds are tough (in Atlanta). People have so many options. We don’t have a lot of comedy clubs, but we have a lot of places you can get on stage like sports bars where you’re competing with people shooting pool or watching the games,” says English, who performs with fellow Season 9 finalists at Knight Theater Wednesday.
“Three or four dudes may say, ‘Oh good job.’ You’re thinking: ‘You weren’t paying attention,’ ” adds English. But he’s met several folks who remember him from places like Scores since competing on NBC’s reality series. “It gets you prepared. The mainstream rooms are tough. The urban rooms are tough. Even the alternative rooms are tough.”
For a less experienced comic, hitting the road immediately following a reality TV series win might be daunting. Yet unlike “American Idol,” competitors on “Last Comic Standing” have often appeared on television shows and have long resumes as stand-up comedians.
English was known for roles on Tyler Perry’s “House of Payne,” where he played Peanut, and as Terrence in the film “The Preacher’s Kid.” He also appeared on BET’s “Hell Date” and Bill Bellamy’s “Who’s Got Jokes.”
“Wanda (Sykes) and Page (Hurwitz), who are executive producers, said, ‘Just go out there and be your best, have fun, don’t worry about not having a good set. We won’t air it,’ ” says English. “On ‘American Idol’ they want that somebody who sings terrible.”
With the end of the show, English says the competition is over. The comedians aren’t trying to out-do each other on tour.
“I think we’ve passed that. I think we all have a chance to build our fan base,” he says.
English’s ultimate go is “to be on everything.”
“I want to be like Samuel L. Jackson. I want to do more acting. My schedule next year is crazy. I’ve never been booked that far in advance,” says English, who also won a development deal with NBC.
“I think they’ll be mashing me up with people who are compatible with my vision,” he adds. “I’m not the best at scriptwriting. I have the ideas, the overview, the treatment. Hopefully they’ll help me flesh out the dialogue. I’ve got ideas that have been in my head for a long time.”
When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Where: Knight Theater, 430 S. Tryon St.
Details: 704-372-1000; www.blumenthalarts.org.