Correy Bell is one of Chicago’s hottest and funniest comedians on the scene. Named as “the comedian to keep your eye on in 2020” by Midwest Living Magazine, this wife and mother of five has always had the innate ability to deliver the perfect joke. “I got tired of hearing, ‘Girl! You are so funny! You missed your calling!’ So I decided to give it a shot” She says. “At my shows, I love to remind women of how much power we have. I would call myself a motivational speaker – I just use jokes to capture the audience and to get my point across.”
Correy is one of the featured comics on the new Showtime special “Mo’Nique and Friends.” She’s also featured in a few episodes of the funny tv show “Laffmob’s Lafftracks” on Trutv. Correy has the honor to share the stage with Mo’Nique during her 7 month Las Vegas residency and currently tours the country with her. She performed at both the Historic Apollo Theater and the Apollo Comedy Club in NYC within months of each other.
Outside of your profession, Who is Correy Bell?
Outside of my profession, Corey Bell is a wife. She’s a mother. She’s a grandmother. She is a therapist. She is an adventurer. She’s a shopper. And she’s a quiet one, believe it or not. Normally, people wouldn’t take me as an introvert when I’m not performing, but I am, and people look at me funny like, “What are you—” But I talk for a living, and sometimes you just have to be quiet. So I am a juggler of all those titles, but I’m proud of all of them.
When did you discover your gift of humor?
I always laugh at these questions because people always try to use whatever words they can to say, “Well, when were you funny? When did you first start comedy?” I never thought I was funny. I was just who I was. For a long time, it took everyone else telling me, “You are funny,” to the point of my sister saying, “You missed your calling. You are supposed to be on stage!” Even when I started comedy almost ten years ago, I still didn’t think I was funny. I said what other people were thinking but wasn’t outgoing enough to tell them, and the way it came out was just funny. I found out that I had the gift through consistent shows and listening to people laugh. So, there was no one specific time where it was like, “I got it.” I’ve always had it. I just never acknowledged it. Now, I acknowledge it.
When did you realize this was something you were willing to do for the rest of your life?
I cannot see myself doing anything else for the rest of my life because this is what brings me joy. After that, however, I see myself delving into acting; TV talk shows, and radio. But as an actual stand-up comedian, I don’t want to do anything else, and there was a point in my career when I was still working a nine-to-five and trying comedy. At one point, my husband said, “Okay, let’s do this. Quit your job. Take six months. I’ll cover the bills. I’ll take care of the house, and if, in six months, it works, you keep going. But if it doesn’t work in six months, you work.” That was the rule, and I had to respect that, but things just so happened that things took off within those six months. It’s been ups and downs because comedy is inconsistent, but it’s just what I want to do even in the down. It was before the six months that I had the courage even to ask, “Yes, this is what I want to do. What should I do?” And that was the result.
How do your upbringing and childhood impact your shows?
My mother was a fashion designer, so I grew up on the runway. I grew up on the stage, so there was no stage fright or things of that nature. I was fearless way before I was funny.
I grew up in front of a crowd, making it easier to get up there and be fearless because I was one of the smallest people on the runway. So you had all these adults and tall people, and here I come, stretching my stuff right down the runway at six years old.
It reflects in everything I do, what I wear, how I dress, and how I show up because my mother made me believe I was a star. So, when I go to the clubs and show up, I show up dressed accordingly. Every runway and stage walkway is the red carpet, treated as such. Most will say I’m overdressed for the party. But, I say, “I’m right on time. I’m right there.”
What does your creative process look like? How do your ideas and experiences convert to jokes?
My creative process is very unconventional. I am always creating and processing because everything I do on stage comes from everything I do offstage, everything I see, everything I hear, and every crazy experience.
I had a crazy experience today at the airport because I was dragging my feet getting to the airport, and I had to figure out how to get my bags on the plane. I know I was way past the time to check in, so in my mind, and I had already played all the scenarios, the lies I was going to tell like who was having open heart surgery, this was a medical emergency, I’m getting married in the morning or anything that I had to do.
I got to that counter, and it was too many people in line, and I was like, I’m going to get through this TSA with these big ass bags, and I threw them big bags on that CSA belt, just as proud as if I know exactly what I’m doing and nobody is going to say nothing about it. I laughed and chuckled with the TSA agents about it, but I got them damn bags through and made them check them at the gate. I definitely did. So, every experience goes to the stage—every last one of them. I don’t sit down and write. That is my process.
Reflecting on your career, what has been the highlight?
The highlight of my career so far is that I have been on HBO, Showtime, and TruTV, and I toured all over and outside of the country and didn’t have to sleep with anybody to do it. I did it based on my talent. I used my gift, and my gift made room, and then the doors opened to where I would have the opportunity to meet one of the biggest superstars that I’ve ever idolized. Powerhouse comedian and actress Mo’Nique took me in, and she has been showing me the ropes of the entertainment business on the comedy side of entertainment in general. So I have a cheat code, so I’m grateful for that.
Tell us about your comedy album. What can listeners expect from this project? What platforms can you listen to it on?
I’m super excited about this comedy album because it’s a lot different than what is happening now regarding audio and comedy. It is a nostalgic album. It’s old school, retro, Redd Fox, Eddie Murphy, and Richard Pryor. It was a combination of My thoughts and experiences that I had the chance to sift through during the pandemic. So, I talked about pandemic things, but I also talked about a bunch of stuff in general that I would not have even thought of in my normal busy day-to-day life pre-pandemic. So, you guys get to know who my children are. You guys get to know who my husband is. You guys get to know a little bit about me. You’ll find out that my daddy is Batman. You guys get to know a lot in this world of organized chaos, which basically means that it may look crazy to you, but I know exactly where everything is. That’s the meaning behind it.
What advice do you have for aspiring female comedians?
Be fearless first. Be okay with saying no because no is a complete sentence and doesn’t require a ‘because.’ Remember that comedy is not gender specific, so male comics are not superior to women comics and vice versa.
To stay on stage, and that’s in any comic. Staying on stage because you have to be more than funny. You have to be visual, like they must be able to see you. They have to know that you’re out because it’s a lot of funny comics. But you must also remember that there’s a whole world to talk about, and you don’t have to pigeonhole yourself into the obvious. It’s an entire universe, and what’s not in the universe, you can make up and create because comedy is about make-believe. So, if you’re not having fun, don’t do it.
What is your definition of a Pretty Woman Who Hustles?
A pretty woman who hustles. That’s almost an oxymoron. Because hustling isn’t pretty, it isn’t anything like you gearing up, like dressing up for. You aren’t taking your time. Hustling has a sense of urgency. That means I got to get to it, and I got to get to it now for whatever reason.
If I say a ‘pretty woman that hustles,’ then her pretty is on the inside. She knows how to hustle and still stay a lady. She has the gift of gab and knows how to use a charm because she’s a pretty girl, but she gets the job done by any means necessary. Pitbull on the skirt, probably, but it’s going to be a dope skirt and a badass pair of heels.
My secret weapon in my hustle is creating distractions and reeling you in. That’s the way I bring you into my world and take you on the ride.
Organized Chaos album link is here:
Follow Correy on social @correyb and @CorreyBell