Verge Influencers: Chanelle Graham aka NellySoFunny

Comedy has always been the best way to relax, get away from the troubles of the outside world and just laugh for a while. With the internet and rise of social media, comedy has become more accessible and a lot quicker to digest. We can go to our favourite comedians Instagram page for 30 seconds of joy whilst being on a cramped train. Speaking of our favourite comedians, one of them happens to be Chanelle Graham, also known as NellySoFunny. She’s been ruling the cyber world with her amazing characters and skits and has received love from some of the best. Fresh from the BET red carpet, we wanted to know exactly what makes her funny bone tick.

How did you get in to comedy? 

I’ve always just been a goofy person. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been cracking jokes. I’ve just always had a knack for finding the funny in, just about, every situation. So, I guess to answer your question, I was born in to comedy.

What made you want to pursue it as a career? 

I was prompted by my some of my cousins. They literally sat me down and told me how talented I was and that I should start posting funny videos on social media.  Once I began getting a great response from my viewers, I realized I could do this professionally.

What is the coolest thing that has happened to you so far? 

So many cool things have happened!  I suppose the coolest moment was sitting front row at the BET Awards next to Jamie Foxx.  Another top moment for me was being recognized by VH1, Essence, and Blavity as one of the top female social comedians.  Though it’s important to make sure you’re creating for expression and the love of your art, instead of the recognition; it’s always a nice feeling to be applauded for the work you’ve put in.

How important has Instagram been to you for building your fan base?

Instagram has been such a huge tool. It definitely has helped me build my fan base by being a direct link to my audience. In the past, comedians had to actually go out and perform and go to the comedy clubs to be seen and establish a fan base. Instagram has bridged the gap between comedians and their target audience. I can literally do all of that from the comfort of your own home.  Instagram is so important to social media personalities/ comedians like me.

How do you find new material inspiration? 

Most of my material comes from real life events. The people around me such as my friends and family are major inspiration for my skits. I pick out the funny things they say and do on a daily basis and make them into skits. They yell at me all the time for using their stories in my work.  My aunt always jokes about suing me for projecting her life. I love to make videos as real and relatable as possible. The best way to do that is to use real life occurrences.

Chanelle’s very popular character “Donna Tingeh”

 

Tell us a funny story that has happened to you 

I find just about everything to be funny so choosing one story is so hard. I guess I could tell you about the time I didn’t make it home before the streetlights came on. I was too busy jumping double-dutch. I’d waited in line for so long for my turn. I lost all track of time. It was finally my turn to jump.  As I was jumping all joyfully and carefree,  I looked up and saw my mom standing there with a huge wooden stick. This stick was as big as the one Moses used to part the Red Sea.  All of my friends witness this. They all gave me that look like “oooh, you  bout to get iiiit”. I was so embarrassed and terrified. Once we got home she put the stick down and went in her room. For some odd reason, I thought I was out of the woods. It’s almost as if she waited until I was bare-booty naked.  I remember her entering the room unannounced and took me down, like the Black Panther. From that day forward, I was home an hour before the streetlights came on, just to be sure.

What are your main goals within comedy?

My main goal within comedy is to basically be a pioneer for Caribbean comedy. I want to bridge the gap between the Caribbean and Hollywood.  I feel that it would be dope to see more Caribbean presence in mainstream media. I want to create content (shows and movies) that will inspire other Caribbean people to be proud of their roots. 

We also know that you model, which do you enjoy more? 

I actually enjoy both about the same. I’m a Gemini so there are two of us in here. One of us loves acting and the other loves modeling. lol

What are your thoughts on stand up? 

I’ve always been terrified of stand-up. I don’t know why, there’s just something about the thought of it that makes me uncomfortable. So I never planned on doing it, ever.  However, I just happened to be at the LA School of Comedy and was forced by the instructor to get up and perform in front of a group of about 10 people.  I was like “no, I’m not doing this, I don’t have anything prepared.” She didn’t care. She introduced me to the rest of the class. At this point, I had no choice but to do it. Once I got up there though, I realized it wasn’t that bad. It actually didn’t feel any different than what I’ve done my entire life. The thought of it still terrifies me but I am considering doing it again. I’m working on pushing past my fears and getting back up there soon.

What advice do you have for students wanting to get into comedy? 

The advice I’d give anyone who wants to pursue comedy is that a true comedian finds joy and satisfaction in making people laugh. Your intent should be to spread good vibes and to make this world a fun place to live in. “Laughter is the best medicine” so you’re basically signing up to be a pharmacist.

Check out Chanelle on Instagram @NellySofunny