Red Grant wears many hats in the entertainment industry. He is a comedian, actor, writer, and producer best known for his unrelenting work ethic, spending about 48 weeks a year on the road. This year he’s hosting a worldwide comedy tour with international funnyman Katt Williams on the ‘11:11 RNS World Tour.’
Red started his career in 1996 performing at New York’s Apollo Theater. He’s since gone on to star in such movies as “American Hustle” and “First Sunday” with his contemporaries such as Katt Williams, Ice Cube and Tracy Morgan. Red has performed on “Shaq’s All Star Comedy Jam” and appeared in Comedy Central’s “Reality Bites Back.” He’s written for such shows as Snoop Dog’s “Dog After Dark” and Comedy Central’s “Roast of Flavor Flav.” And he’s been featured in his own hour-long Showtime special “Caught In the act” and Comedy Central Presents’ half-hour special “Red Grant.”
Red is an avid golfer, humanitarian, and takes pride in giving back to his community through his annual charity golf tournament “Golf Beef.” He’s been joined by Hip-Hop icon Snoop Dog, Kings of Comedy member Cedric The Entertainer, and Pro Football and Basketball Famers Gary Payton and Jim Brown – to name a few. This past summer he had celebrities such as Sports Broadcaster Lindsay McCormick, Bryon Russell, Freeway Rick Ross, and others in attendance.
RESPECT Correspondent Landon Buford was recently able to catch up with the comedian to discuss when he discovered his passion for golf and wanting to run for Mayor of DC one day. The full interview with Red can be seen below!
You are currently hosting Katt Williams’ ‘11:11 RNS World Tour.’ Can you tell us how this opportunity presented itself?
The opportunity came because of the relationship Katt and I have as friends. Katt and I have been touring with each other for the past seven years – this year is the 11:11 tour. Every year is a different tour; we can revamp material, and it is a great chance for me to work with my best friend. ‘11:11 RNS World Tour’ has been my favorite tour since ‘American Hustle.’ The group of people who are involved with this tour are a real special group of individuals.
As a comedian yourself, what does the Apollo Theatre in New York City mean to you?
The Apollo Theatre will always have a special place in my heart because I did my first show at the historic venue at the age of 19 right out of college. I had the opportunity to perform at the Def Jam Comedy Club that same weekend. So, those two venues and events were major stepping-stones for me at the time. Steve Harvey was hosting that weekend, and it was just a fabulous experience. Back then I was very raw and brand new, but it allowed me to shake off the nervousness and get through those performances. Also, it helped because the Apollo crowd will not hold back with their emotions – if they do not like your performance they will boo you off the stage. Throughout my career, I have performed there three times, and it has helped shape me into the person I am today.
At some point do you have any desire to open your own comedy club?
Great question! I have the desire to open one, but as you know, it is not easy to open a comedy club because you must be there to make sure everything is running smoothly. I would have to make sure I had the time to focus on it and find the perfect location. I would probably open one in Washington DC because the city has a great fan base for comedy. I am a firm believer that African Americans should be able to own their own business within the community. The timing would have to be right, but I also feel now might be the time to pursue something like this. Find the right location for the venue with a great kitchen to go with it.
You wrote and produced ‘Family Reunion’ in 2000, is there a film that you are currently writing and producing? When can we expect it to be released?
I just finished writing a film called ‘Mr. Break up,’ a comedy, and another called ‘Mountain Top.’ I am also working on my new television show right now. We’re still trying to figure out what the title will be at this time. The show will take place in Washington D.C. where a young man feels he can change the world but always finds himself trying to figure out how to get over hurdles in his life. The content of the show will be centered on the things that are happening in the world from a political standpoint, and I want to shed light on it in a comedic way.
Are you interested in extending internships for young writers to get their foot in the door?
That is a great question because I started a company called ‘Red Creative,’ which focuses on creative writers in general, to help them get their foot in the door. I also started a program in DC called ‘None Shoot Cameras’ that teaches writing, because that was one of my biggest challenges when I got to college. I was asked to write an essay, and I did not know how to write one properly. Now I can teach people how to write scripts, and I use the same tactics with everything I create.
You are an avid golfer and take part in the charity golf tournament ‘Golf Beef.’ Can you tell us when did you decide to take golf seriously?
My father in law told me I was not able to hit a golf ball and I wanted to prove him wrong. I am a very competitive person. If someone tells me I cannot do something I will try my best to prove them wrong, no matter what the challenge may be. I started going to the golf range to practice, and from there I started playing against people that were also very competitive. And then we came up with the concept of ‘Golf Beef.’ My partner Big Percy and I decided to create the ‘Golf Beef’ situation and started a golf tournament honoring people like Jim Brown, Snoop, and Katt Williams. We donate money to different organizations to help kids in the community, and I think more kids should learn the game of golf as ‘it teaches life lessons like ethics.’
You were born in Washington DC. Can you tell us how this prepared you for some of the challenges you faced in Los Angeles at the beginning of your career?
I always call DC little Los Angeles, because they both have some of the same positive and negatives. DC does not have the gang banging that happens in Los Angeles, it is a different type of street mentality. It prepared me to expect anything to happen, and it prepares you to be a star. You must remember that it is a very political city and you learn how politics work at a very early age in Washington D.C., even though you might not even realize you’re learning politics. People, where I am from, are not going to visit the monuments and the White House because there is not much representation for us. I lived in New York working for B.E.T before moving to Los Angeles, and I feel it prepared me for what was to come in Hollywood.
You had the opportunity to work with Ice Cube, Katt Williams, Tracy Morgan in ‘First Sunday.’ Is there any chance of a sequel to the film?
That would be a David E. Talbert and Ice Cube question, but it would be a great sequel because I am always being asked about where my character went.
What are some other things that we can look forward to from you this year?
I just revamped RedGrant.com because I want to be able to interact with my fans more. I have been DJing parties, and there are a couple of events in Vegas coming up here shortly. We have three music videos out on Youtube right now, as I am trying to expand my brand visibility. Also, I have been working with Snoop’s son Broadus Jr. in the studio.
Do you have any business interests outside of the entertainment business that you want to pursue?
Flipping houses is something that I am involved with outside of the entertainment business, as well as my construction company. I enjoy building up affordable housing for people in my community. Other than that, I want to run for Mayor.
Best advice you would give someone in the entertainment industry?
If you are not ready to struggle, do not attempt to pursue a career in this industry. It is not an easy industry to make it in, and if you are not prepared for it, you should pursue something else. It will take a lot of loses and you will miss a lot of family time pursuing a career in this industry. You have to give it all.