RUCMAG Who is Billy Diangelo?
BILLY Well my real name is Bill Oben. But since high school, my friends came up with the name Diangelo. We watched a movie called “The Last Don” one of the bad guys on the movie was named Billy Diangelo. The next day everyone in the halls is calling me Billy Diangelo! Saying the name fits me. So it stuck. Even my momma calls me Billy Diangelo!
On stage: Billy Diangelo is the hilarious,charismatic, relatable, innovative, personable, and energet. You can’t take your eyes off me because my style and stage presence is intriguing.
Off stage: I’m the ice breaker when going out with friends or family, I bring live and positive energy in dull situations.
Best personality trait I’ve gained over the years is that I’m a ladies man. Not to be confused with a player. Ladies man open doors for the lady, always takes the check, buys you flowers, good morning texts just to name a few of the things I do. The player is the selfish guy who breaks hearts and treats women like objects instead of delicate flowers and beautiful queens that they are. Remember, it’s like chess, without queen the king is gone.
I’m natively from Cameroon West Africa but raised in Southside Chicago. Raised by a single parent who struggled to make ends meet for me and my brother. Seeing her grind and struggle in a foreign country to her, taught me how to work hard for what you want & that nothing is handed. Professional wise I’m a pharmacist for Cook County hospital by day & have been working as a stand up comedian for over a year at night & weekends. It’s been a challenging grind but I feel it’s been paying off gradually.
RUCMAG What gave you the confidence to step out and start showcasing yourself?
BILLY I’ve always been told I was funny & I had a creative comical twist in topics & conversations. But I never thought I was confident enough to step on stage doing stand up. Last year I went to LA to go visit my friend who is a singer to celebrate getting signed for the company he’s with now. During the celebration festivities we linked up with his management team. The whole evening I’m just being myself around them, making them laugh & telling them stories. During that time I was telling one of them about an action movie, named “Oldboy“, I watched days before coming to LA I was able to tell them in detail the whole movie within 3 mins. The next day we met up with one of his managers. He pulled me to the side to talk to me & let me know that he went to watch the movie, & everything i said was in the movie exactly how I said it. He let me know that what I have is a gift. How funny I was, The way I can grasp people’s attention. His exact words were “you are a brand and u don’t even know it yet”. We had a 2 hr conversation after which he told me I need to be in the entertainment business & this is what I should do to break in: start getting on stage doing stand up comedy, take acting classes & eventually move to LA & he’ll link me up with the right people so my career can take off. After that convo, I came back to Chicago, started writing material, got on stage, took acting classes and here I am!
RUCMAG Name your top three favorite comedians?
BILLY In no particular order:
-Chris rock (for his political views, very unapologetic, and is also one of the first I’ve seen believe it or not.
-Tony Roberts (he’s just plain goofy! His high energy level is also admirable)
-Kevin Hart (hard work ethic, storyteller, knows how to turn his weaknesses into strengths through his jokes and his positive vibe he gives off even watching him on stage (Trust me there are many more comedians)
RUCMAG What marketing techniques have been more successful for you?
BILLY I use Backstage to see what gigs suit my profile. Other ways is to go to open mics. A bit old school but I’ve had people see me do free 5 mins and book me for good paying 20-30 min sets. Fastest way I grew my social media so far was doing skits and online videos. It’s difficult to due to everyone schedule having to be open at the same time, from the actors to the video and editors. I also create my own shows where I rent out a venue, promote & sell tickets myself for the show. I tend not to wait for people to give me opportunities. I make them for myself. I started a movement called the BDC experience (Billy Diangelo Comedy) with that, I sell BDC T-shirts, BDC hoodies, & in certain areas in Chicago I got BDC bullet proof vests! I also have my own website that I post my upcoming shows, skits & events I’ll be at if people want to meet me. It’s www.TheBillyDiangelo.com
RUCMAG What were some rookie mistakes you made starting out? BILLY Drinking before my sets was a big one. When I drink, I perceive time slowly so my timing becomes off, my punchlines aren’t as strong, delivery is off etc. Now If i have to drink, I just do it after my set.
Another was Not reading or actually studying the craft. In comedy, reading books are just as an important tool as watching your favorite comedians stand up specials. Any job or career you have, you must study it in detail. What makes people laugh? How do I come up with relatable topics for my audience? How do I come back from a dry joke? Etc. These you get from studying the craft.
Another mistake was not paying attention to your audience. Being a stand up comedian your whole career is based on seeking approval of the audience. When you tell a joke, the audience’s laughter is the approval of the joke. You have to give the audience what they want. You have to study them the first few mins you walk in. I’m not going to tell provocative jokes in a church gig or an older crowd. And I probably won’t tell political jokes at a college crowd with 18 yr olds. It takes time to learn this aspect of comedy.
RUCMAG In the midst of everything that’s going on we can all use a laugh, what do you have to say about the tragedies happening around the world? (Natural disasters or racism against minority) BILLY Well concerning natural disasters, my prayers go out to the millions of people who were stuck on those islands and areas in miami & houston. These are dreadful events that I feel no one should experience. I’ve definitely addressed these issues in my shows and encouraged everyone to donate anything they can to these areas. I myself have given money and clothes to organizations & friends who are on ground st these places.
RUCMAG What is your idea of success?
BILLY In my opinion, I don’t consider myself successful until I’ve been put on a certain platform where I can help others achieve their goals in life. Whether it be a financial goal, academic goal or even using some of my personal relationships and connections. In most people’s minds, they associate money, cars, and women with success. But are those life long? Would they be around long after you? You helping people attain their dreams will be something hopefully they’ll never forget. And they would pay it forward.
RUCMAG What goals do you have in place for 2018?
BILLY My goals are definitely get into more colleges. This will help boost my social media following. Where you have college students,you have Instagram and Facebook users. I have a live video taped comedy show called “Trapped In my Head” by Mojo Brookzz featuring me Billy Diangelo. We are going to shoot it, then shop around with the video with Netflix, YouTube, Hulu etc and see who’ll pick it up. Also get more roles in films, large or small roles. Doesn’t matter. I do realize I have to start somewhere. This is why I’ve been taking acting classes to perfect my craft. Another goal is to be prepared to move to LA. I consider Chicago to be a bootcamp for comedians just like NYC. Crowds here are tough, but so far I feel like I do pretty well in most comedy clubs I go to out here. Once I feel like I can swim well in this small pond (Chicago) I’ll move to the larger pond (Los Angeles) & takeover there. In LA this is where I’m going to build more connections, increase my comedy skills, and hopefully take off in the entertainment business.
RUCMAG Are you still working a 9-5 or have you transitioned completely to being a comedian and actor?
BILLY I’m still working a 9-5 every week day. I have to say that I’m blessed to be working the hours that I work, because it allows me to be able to pursue my comedy career. But since day one, I always told myself I can’t do this for the next 30+ years. So I’m happy to say I’m slowly transitioning out, & into comedy & acting full time.
RUCMAG What’s a typical day with you consist of?
BILLY A typical day for me starts off with prayer. After that, some days I take 10 mins of silence in my house and try to write material or fix already written material I have. This is when my brain is optimal. After that I’d go workout for about an hour while sometimes reading self motivational books on my kindle from authors such as Malcom Gladwell, Don Miguel Ruiz & Robert Greene. Other times I’d listen & watch my comedy set from the night before & see how I can polish some of my jokes. I leave the gym, blend some fruits and vegetables then head to work for 8 hrs. After this I’m either off to an open mic or I’m filming another skit.
RUCMAG You’d think being a comedian and actor would create a swarm of women coming your way, how has being a comedian and actor affect your dating life?
BILLY There are some ups and downs. You do meet women going to certain venues. But after talking for a few days or weeks, it begins to fade mainly because of you and not them. You’re more busy, you’re out late at nights, always tired even when you are with them. Sometimes they don’t really understand the grind unless they are in it. At the end of the day, building a relationship with someone is a job within itself. Takes time and energy to begin to get to know someone. Presently, I am talking to someone & she’s supportive of what I do and understanding. I just hope she stays around for long, especially when things really take off, because she’s definitely a good one.
RUCMAG Describe your first stand up and how you felt?
BILLY My first stand up was at Riddles comedy club in Alsip il. I was nervous. Luckily I had a couple friends who came to support me. I remember feeling butterflies and hands sweaty and shaky. I kept going over my lines in my head making sure I didn’t forget them on stage, I must’ve went to the bathroom like 12 times because I was so nervous. But as soon as that mic was in my hand, it all went away. People in the crowd were actually laughing. l felt more comfortable and in control. At the time I was told I did good. But when I watch the footage & video now, I know I’ve evolved a lot since then.
RUCMAG We believe in charging our readers to “Claim it own it and become it” What does that mean to you Billy?
Billy Claim it means you realize it’s your talent, Own it meaning you need to get others to realize its your talent and no one else’s. Become it means that when we actually become your brand. When people hear my name the first thing that comes that comes to mind is “comedian, funny guy, actor, and gentleman.”
Follow Billy Diangelo at www.thebillydiangelo.com
Related post click here see Billy Diangelo Interview