Comedian Kenice Mobley Pivots From Psychology To Stand-Up With Debut Album ‘Follow Up Question’

Comedian Kenice Mobley. Image by Mindy Tucker.

If you’re anything like us and just want to check-out for the holidays, we have the perfect suggestion to keep you entertained and keep you laughing. NYC-based comedian Kenice Mobley released her debut comedy album ‘Follow Up Question’ on December 9 and we have been playing on repeat this month!

On ‘Follow Up Question’ Kenice covers topics ranging from her hunky Tony Danza-esque therapist, and her relationship with her mom, to a questionable one night stand that spawns a business idea. Kenice’s material is balanced by a genuinely inquisitive style that engages the audience and draws in listeners to her outrageous stories and congenial wit.

Perhaps for Kenice, this same inquisitiveness led her to major in psychology and history in college, with plans to continue to a Ph.D. in psychology and on to a life of research and practice. These plans were derailed nearly a decade ago when, according to Kenice:

“I started (doing stand-up) after going to a show with a guy I was dating at the time. Or at least, he said it was a show. It was actually an open mic. I didn’t enjoy his comedy at all, and we had to break up shortly after, but I realized, if he can do this, I can do this too. Then I started listening to stand up albums compulsively and started writing.”

Kenice argues that comedy allows her to take the same curiosity in human behavior that drew her toward psychology and use it in her standup. The comedian recently made her late night debut on ‘The Tonight Show’ with Jimmy Fallon. In 2021, she was listed as one of Vulture’s Comedians You Should and WiIll Know. In 2022, she performed at the Netflix is A Joke Festival.

We spoke with Kenice about ‘Follow Up Question’, drawing on personal life experience for her comedy material, and the process of writing her debut album.

We just binge-listened to your new album ‘Follow-Up Question’ and cannot wait for it to be released into the world! How are you feeling in the lead-up?

I’m feeling a bit nervous. It has gone from an abstract thing to a concrete life event in a very short period of time, but I’m excited for people to hear it.

How did you initially get into comedy, and did you always envision this career path for yourself? 

My path to comedy was a winding one. I went to film school because I thought that was the way to tell stories, and then I moved out to LA and felt lost. I went to a comedy show of a guy I was seeing at the time, and it was horrible. It was more like an open mic than a show, and even though I didn’t like his set, it was eye opening to see jokes being worked on. I thought the people on TV were naturally polished, but learning that this was a thing you could be bad at, then improve, changed everything. I moved back to Boston and started comedy, and have been doing it for almost a decade.

Your set includes a lot of personal stories and anecdotes that made us LOL! How personal does comedy have to be to be considered funny? 

I think it’s different for everyone. I think in the 80s, you could talk about airplane food or bed sheets, things that showed your perspective, but didn’t necessarily indicate who you were as a person. I think we’re in a wave that’s a bit more personal. Short answer is, I would love it if I could find an angle that I liked on very benign things that could apply to anyone, but I think my life and the people are very funny, so I tend to write about that.

Were there any stand-up albums you listened to for inspiration when putting together this album and set? 

After finding out that standup was a thing you could be bad at, and that you could improve it over time, I started listening to comedy albums compulsively. The album I listened to the most was No Can Defend by Gary Gulman. The way he mines a topic is inspirational, and I love to let that push me to really delve into a topic and look at it from a few angles.

How long does it take to put a comedy album and set together? And how long have you been working on ‘Follow-Up Question? 

I’m always developing new jokes, trying to improve older bits, or letting things fall out of the act. This album is a culmination of jokes that I think fit together well. I performed this set around the country, making adjustments as I went. Because it’s my first album, I think it took a while to develop the material that would ultimately be included, but I hope that, with experience, the next one can be developed more quickly.

Who are your comedic heroes right now? 

My comedy heroes are Gary Gulman, Nikki Glaser, Hannibal Burress, and Mitch Hedberg

Based on your experience, would you say the comedy industry is changing for the better? Is it more inclusive or does it still have a long way to go? 

It’s certainly more inclusive than when I started paying attention to comedy. But it still has a long way to go. 

An important question – has your mom listened to the album yet? Can you share her reaction? 

My mom has seen me perform comedy around the country and in Europe. She’s very supportive of me, and I hope I’m not embarrassing her too much. 

You studied psychology in college. Would you say you use this at all in your comedy performances? 

I studied psychology and history in underground because I am fascinated by human behavior. I’m interested in what kinds of assumptions we’re all making, and how those ideas change over time.

You can purchase ‘Follow Up Question’ by clicking HERE, and follow Kenice Mobley on Twitter and Instagram.

Comedian Kenice Mobley. Image by Mindy Tucker.