The Future of Finesse

Finesse Mitchell, former cast member of Saturday Night Live, will perform his stand-up routine at the Side Splitters Comedy Club in Tampa on Friday and Saturday. Mitchell’s resume includes comedic actor, columnist and author. Mitchell sat down with the Oracle in a recent interview to discuss his career. Mitchell came to USF in 2004 and performed at the now-demolished Student Events Center.

Oracle: What’s life like on tour?Mitchell: Sometimes it gets real hectic, running through airports because I’m always late. But that is the only time I can get really good sleep – on the plane. I’m asleep before we take off and I don’t wake up till we land.

O: Why did you decide to do stand-up?M: I graduated from the University of Miami and I was doing financial services for Primerica and then a Medicare sales rep for Humana and then the next thing I know I am telling jokes at the Miami Improv at Open Mic Night. I had a co-worker who always told me that I should be doing something else – that I was too young to be talking about Medicare and s***. So it kind of encouraged me to do something a little bit more artsy. So I started doing Open Mic Night at the Miami Improv and I kept going up and the next thing I know I’m on ComicView.

O: What is your favorite thing about stand-up?M: My favorite thing is becoming someone else. The fact that you have someone’s undivided attention for over an hour and they don’t realize it’s been an hour.

O: Will you be doing any of your impersonations?M: I will be doing more stand-up. I have a lot more to talk about.

O: Do you have any more projects coming up?M: I’ll be on The Tyra Banks Show tomorrow (May 23). I have a new book out, Your Girlfriends Only Know So Much, so I’ll be on her show tomorrow and she will be giving the book away at the end of her show. I am working on a movie and a cartoon.

O: What movie?M: It’s my movie that I am writing right now and it’s almost done. I’m not (just) walking across the screen, I will on be there for awhile.

Oracle: How do you balance writing a book, being on TV and doing stand-up?Mitchell: I also have a column in Essence magazine, I forgot about that. I wouldn’t have the book without that.

O: So the column gave you inspiration for the book?M: Basically. It just got to the point where I am just like, “why don’t I put everything in the book,” because some of the questions I was getting were kind of weird.

O: Did you find you would get repetitive questions?M: Yeah, I got repetitive questions, but Essence does a really good job. They never really are the same, but it’s just like, “wow, they want to know that?” So something that might seem obvious or something that is a behavior trait that they don’t understand, I break it down in a comical way. It’s been doing really well.

Side Splitters Comedy Club is located at 12938 N. Dale Mabry. Tickets are $18 for preferred seating, $16 for general seating and $2 additional on the day of the show. Shows are Friday at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. and Saturday at 6 p.m., 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. For more information, visit