Preacher Lawson: How a Life Changing Audition Shifted His Comedic Career

Photo: Trae Patton/NBC

In the 12th season of one of the country’s most popular, and competitive forms of TV entertainment, “America’s Got Talent,” millions were introduced to aspiring comedian, Preacher Lawson.

Lawson, who had moved to 20 different cities before the age of 10, but claimed Orlando, FL as his hometown, then stood on AGT’s audition stage at 23, where he would become a finalist, and receive the opportunity that opened the door to his greatest aspirations.

But the dreams of being the next big hit in the field of comedy, wasn’t always his intentions, because at first, believe it or not, he didn’t think he was funny at all. “The reason I didn’t want to be a comedian is because I thought I wasn’t funny enough. I learned that no one’s funny when they first start. I would say I was going to be a fireman, I was thinking about joining the military. Those were my main goals. I didn’t really consider entertainment. And I did it because I was like, “You know I really want to be on a sitcom,” and that’s when I tried it out. I tried it out on stage and found out what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. It was that first feeling.”

Photo: Trae Patton/NBC

The feeling Lawson received, was from his ultimate inspiration, Will Smith, and seeing him in the classic TV sitcom, “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” Other shows like “Martin,” and the “Jamie Foxx Show,” also encouraged Lawson to pursue his chances with acting, and enhanced his reasoning for wanting to bring similar entertainment, to others.

Smith, is just one of the entertainers Lawson idolizes and gives props to influencing his passion for comedy. He said he would love to work alongside Kevin Hart and Bill Burr in film, and Eddie Murphy, who he said is his favorite comedic actor.

“I tried it [comedy] out on stage and found out what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. It was that first feeling.”

Lawson’s started to take his career path more serious at the age of 17, while getting in as much stand-up time as possible, he was also working multiple jobs to maintain his lifestyle. This would consists of relocating to many different places from Atlanta, to Florida, Memphis and settling in L.A., where everything eventually started to take off. “The thing about stand-up, is that you have to do it all the time. You can’t just do it once a week, once every month, you have to do it every single night. If you’re getting on stage four times a week, that’s horrible, that’s really bad. It really interfered with my relationships, as far as dating, it interfere with work. It becomes your life. I feel like that was an obstacle. I grew as a man, the same time I grew as a comedian.”

In between the time of auditions and shows, Lawson maintains a consistent Youtube channel entitled, “Cooking With a Comedian,” a how-to series on some of the comedian’s favorite foods. The channel has reached over 100,000 subscribers, and brings in an average of 2 million viewers.

Photo: Justin Lubin/NBC

Also currently on his North American comedy tour, “Big Sounds and Loud Faces,” Lawson has had the ability to take in performing for many people, and adding on shows because others were sold out from high demand, which occured in his New York set. But he said it’s also teaching him about the business, self-control and being financially stable. “It’s the most amount of money I ever had. I’m doing fine financially, but money doesn’t make you happy. I know they say that, and people who are broke, because I was that guy, it helps. It helps out a lot. But it really doesn’t. You learn that everything is a business. Everybody works with you because it’s good business for them. You can’t figure out who you are as a comedian, until you’re on the road, because I never used to get this much amount of time. So I’m definitely figuring out who I am as a person, and as a comedian on stage because I thought I knew who I was.”

“I grew as a man, the same time I grew as a comedian.”

Lawson’s advice for anyone interested in auditioning for “America’s Got Talent,” or shows of the caliber, is to ultimately be you are and keep a consistent character, because that’s who you’ll have to continue to be, in the end. Do it right now, so that you’re not upset that you didn’t do it then. I think procrastination is the devil, it’s a lot of times when time is going to pass, so use it doing what you love. I did stand-up because I love it, not because I was like, “Man I can’t wait to make all this money.” “ We all get one life, so go live that life.”

As he builds his resume of accomplishments, he has many to be thankful for. Lawson has won the 2015 Funniest Comedian In Florida and the 2016 Seattle International Comedy, while along the way, meeting a few of his idols and opening up for other comedic geniuses, of all calibers.

Photo: Trae Patton/NBC

“Do it right now, so that you’re not upset that you didn’t do it then.”

Check out Preacher Lawson’s “Big Sounds and Loud Faces,” dates here and when he’ll be heading to your city!

In the meantime, head over to Lawson’s Youtube channel for travel blogs and cooking guides, on “Cooking With a Comedian.”

And keep up to date with all things Preacher Lawson on these social media platforms:

@PreacherLawson on Twitter

@preacherlawson on Instagram

Diamond Jones

Jr. Editor Lifestlye/Entertainment Department

Diamond Jones, 21, is a St.Louis native, born on the west side of Detroit. She is currently a junior, studying Journalism, with a minor in Criminology and Criminal Justice. Her writing reaches to audiences everywhere, directing it toward the empowerement and excellence of black people and their accomplishments. She has written for The Daily Egyptian, LoveThisTrackTV, Georgia State’s The Signal and the National Association of Black Journalists, which she is a dedicated member of. She hopes to continue to inspire those through her words and make those who feel underrepresented, see their light.