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‘I Think Me Probably Cursing [Guy] Tory Out One Night’: Kym Whitley and DeRay Davis Reflect on Phat Tuesdays and How it Shaped Hollywood for Black Comedians

For comedians in Hollywood, Phat Tuesdays was the premier, must-see event of the week, where Kym Whitley and DeRay Davis performed at the Comedy Store on Sunset Strip in the late 1990s.

Founded by comedian and actor Guy Torry, the weekly all-Black showcase ushered in Black excellence and a roster of talented individuals. Whitley and Davis appear in Torry’s new docu-series, “Phat Tuesdays: The Era of Hip Hop Comedy,” on Prime Video.

DeRay Davis, Kym Whiteley. (Photos: @deraydavis/Instagram, @kymwhitley/Instagram.)

Both Kym Whitley and DeRay Davis have lengthy résumés in comedy, as well as acting. But for Whitley, as a woman in a male-dominated industry, it was challenging to maintain her place at the front. She recalls dozens of hilarious memories at the weekly showcase. However, some she “can’t” discuss.

“We can’t but when you see the documentary, you’ll understand there’s a lot of things that happen off the stage,” said the “Twenties” actress, reminiscing on the Phat Tuesdays era.

I think me probably cursing Tory out one night,” Whitley said. “You know, just comics fussing because I couldn’t get onstage because somebody walked in that was bigger than me.”

After being in entertainment for nearly 30 years, Whitley says she’s learned from working in this male-dominated industry.

“Oh my god, this is going to be horrible. But the biggest lesson I’ve learned is become friends with the host. Become friends with the person whose room it is, instead of arguing with them about my stage time.”

“And be successful enough, go somewhere else, prepare your jokes, so it’s undeniable, they have to let you up,” explaining how she broke through. “You know, if you’re a funny woman, they will let you go onstage. Don’t come up there with no raggedy jokes, because it is a male-dominated situation.”

She added, “So be nice and don’t be a b—h.”

On the other hand, Davis described Phat Tuesdays as “recess” on the “playground.” He recalls watching comedian Mike Epps onstage or brawls in the “hallway” or “backroom.”

“It was a place where I felt like most of my favorite times were the childish times we shared. Were grown-ups with grown bills in L.A. with grown dreams, and they’re getting shattered every day, and I think that was our recess,” the 39-year-old “Snowfall” actor explained.

“I think the moments … I had my most fun was not the nights that went absolutely great with the sets, but the fact that, like Kym said, Kym’s at the front. While this is happening, Kym’s probably at the front going, ‘You don’t know who I’m going to be,’” Davis said.

He added, “It was our playground. So you can’t really pinpoint a moment when you’re not in it at that time. It’s one of those stories like, ‘Yeah, you had to be there.'”


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