Article and Photography By: Kendra Lyons
The first thing you’ll notice about Ambrose Jones is his bright smile. And then you’ll notice his laugh, and how he can’t. stop. laughing. Jones loves laughing so much in fact, that he’s made a career of it. Ambrose Jones III embarked on his career as a comedian while he was working at UPS as a delivery man. After being intrigued by a “big sign in the sky” promoting Comedy Tennessee that he used to pass on his way home from work every day, Jones made his way to the comedy club and tried out their open mic night. From there, he was hooked.
Jones is convinced that laughter is not only fun, but it’s powerful. With his new motto, “Laughter is the Best Medicine,” Jones is ready to represent Memphis in the entertainment industry, and transform his passion for making people happy and minimizing the impact of “miserable people,” in the world, into a successful career:
How did you end up going into comedy?
I don’t know if you’re familiar with this place called “Comedy Tennessee.” When I was working at UPS I used to pass their big sign in the sky every day. I just used to be like, “I wonder what goes on in there?” So one weekend me and my roommate just stopped and asked the manager, you know, “what's going on in here?” He just said, “we have headliners on the weekends and open mic on Wednesdays” and I was like, “oh, okay.” He said we got to go up there and try 5 minutes of material. I went there on Wednesday and put my name on the list. I used an alias, I didn’t use my real name. I think I put “Broski.” So the guy called my name, he was like, “the next comedian we have coming up to the stage...we've got Broski!” And I didn’t get up. And he was like “Broski going once, Broski going twice, OK, no Broski!” I couldn’t get up. So I sat there and watched the rest of the show. The following Wednesday, I went back, and this time I put my real name on there. It made it more real to me. So he called my name. He was like “Ambrose up to the stage!” I went up there, cracked my first joke, made a few people laugh, and that was it after that.
So, were you just hooked from that point on?
I was hooked. Every Wednesday from there I was on stage.
What makes you so passionate about comedy?
I think it’s always been just the love to see people have a good time or just laugh. I don’t like miserable people. We’re only here temporarily, so why not enjoy it while you're here? That’s always been me as a person and when I found comedy it really just opened it up for me right there, like, this is what I’m supposed to be doing, this is me.
How did you manage to do what you love and make money? How have you transformed your passion into a career?
Just keep doing it. If you continue to do what you love, money will come. I got fired from UPS as a result of me doing comedy. On Wednesdays if I was out there delivering a package and I had to be on stage at 8:15, I would bring the packages back to the building and return them like, I gotta be on stage! And this was when I wasn’t getting paid at all, it was just something I felt like I had to do.
How do you gage a successful night vs. a non-successful night?
Some nights I just do it for practice if it’s an open mic, so everything is a successful night for me, because you learn from the nights you do badly on stage.
Have you had any embarrassing moments on stage?
No boo’s, but I’ve had people talking while I’m on stage, but that’s worse than a boo. They’re not paying attention to you, you know you’re on stage cracking your jokes and they’re discussing what they’re going to wear tomorrow. A lot of those nights...a lot of those nights.
Would you say that the nights you feel like you really made everybody laugh makes recovering from those not so great nights easy?
Yeah. If I can make a majority of them laugh, I’m good.
Do you have any comedians that you look up to?
Richard Pryor. That was my favorite because he told about his life, what was going on with him and he just made it funny. That’s kind of my comedy I just talk about my life and make it funny. It’s therapy.
That’s how I get it off my chest. I don’t let it eat me up, I just get on stage and I talk about it.
Do you come up with all of your own material?
Right now, it’s all me. And talking to my dad occasionally, he says a lot of funny stuff. actually, the funnier people are the ones who aren’t on stage. My dad is actually hilarious but he don’t know it. He said something to me one time- over Thanksgiving break he was asking for me to give him money to go get him something from the liquor store, and I was like "Dad, you just got your check why didn’t you save money if you knew Thanksgiving was coming?" And he was like, "Oh, boy, nobody cares about Thanksgiving but a Turkey!" And I was like well. OK...that’s about right.
Would you say most of your material comes from everyday interactions?
Yep! “What Bothers Ambrose?” That’s my Comedy.
What is your goal? When are you going to be like, OK I really made it?
Once I reach a stadium that holds like 10,000 people and everyone is there to see me, I’m the headliner. I’ll be like OK, this is it now.
What is the greatest challenge of this career path?
Well, you work for yourself, so, if you don’t book yourself on any gigs, then you won’t make any money, so, the hardest work is doing your work off stage, not on stage. You have to get yourself booked because if you don’t then you don’t get paid. You have to hustle off stage and on stage as well.
Can you expand on the meaning behind your motto?
I have a motto now that “Laughter is the Best Medicine.” I’m a certified Pharmacy technician, so our job was to administer medication and I’m not too fond of medication. I found that if you just laugh, you can cure a lot of your problems. I’m here to provide laughter so you don’t have to take 20 pills a day.
Are you glad that you got your degree?
I’m glad I did...it’s something to fall back on, but I’m not looking to fall back on it. Comedy is my plan.
Would you have any advice for if a young adult wants to pursue a similar dream? Something that you wish someone would have told you?
Get to know yourself. Find out that one thing that you love to do, and do it. That’s right. Don’t care about what nobody else has to say. Just do it, do it, do it (laughs) and do it some more. You’re gonna be great at it.
Learn more about Ambrose Jones and how to see him live at his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/AmbroseJones3rd?fref=ts&ref=br_tf