by Samantha Sanders
Creative Content Producer, Writer, Personality of The Rickey Smiley Morning Show, and Comedian Karl “Special K” Douglas has had his share of adversity but ironically those adversities and life lessons have provided him to reach a hidden talent.
Special K, born in Philadelphia but raised in Decatur, Georgia, was always funny growing up but when he began a profession that caused him to shed it all it unexpectedly helped him discover his natural talent of making people laugh.
“I used to be a stripper. It was actually during that time that I would get out on stage and perform that I learned I was funny”, he says. “I learned that I was funny because towards the end of my career, if you want to call it that, I started having a host hour and I would host the shows for our group because I had the most personality out of all the guys and once I got that mic in my hand and I started hosting shows for these women (you had to be quick and witty and be entertaining) that’s when I discovered I had that little gift.”
Ironically Special K used to be the “heckler” at comedy shows and although typically other comedians inspire comedians, he says he never looked at comics and wanted to do comedy, but he knew he couldn’t do anything regular or have a career that was structured.
“I look up to Chris Rock for making it ok to be smart and black and do comedy. I appreciate his ability to be able to cross over without selling out”, says Special K. “I can take him with me to my barbershop in Decatur and he’ll fit right in and he can go to the White House the next day and he’ll fit right. At his heart and his core he’s still that dude from New York.” He says Chris Rock’s “Bring the Pain” was when he made the decision to say I don’t want to just do comedy, I really want to be a comedian.
While George Carlin is his favorite comedian of all time, Kevin Hart is another comic Special K looks up to.
“I really admire Kevin Hart but for different reasons. I admire Kevin because I know him personally and he’s a good guy. He’s a nice dude and in this business you meet a lot of comedians that are a**holes. I admire his business savvy. He makes good moves business wise.”
He says that his comedic style has evolved over time but is based on his personality. “It’s angry, it’s frustrated at times, it’s raw, honest sometimes too honest. When I look at myself on stage it’s free, it’s unscripted, it’s unstructured, it’s unrehearsed. I don’t write material. I don’t write jokes. I don’t know how to write a joke. I don’t look at what I do as telling jokes. I tell stories. I relate stories that happened to my life.”
Special K got his start in comedy at the 14th Street Playhouse when he was trying to get into radio at WGST in 1997 and although he had never been on stage before as a professional comedian, he used his life to provide laughter to the audience.
“I faked it and I just went up there and I told funny stories. To them I was Dave Chappelle.”
After that performance he began traveling with Sommore and was her opening act for 3 years, but while pursuing his comedic career, his hustling got him caught up and he was sent to federal prison for 18 months.
Following his prison sentence, he met Rickey Smiley and began doing shows with him in Birmingham, Alabama. “His manager booked me to do a show with him in Birmingham. He was the comic that was always trying to give advice. We bonded as friends”, he said. After going through different radio situations, he and Rickey ran into each other again through a mutual manager and he began touring with Rickey. At the time Special K was doing a call in character on V-103 and the Michael Baisden Show and once Rickey heard it he wanted him to call into his show in Dallas and do the character.
“It was a hit and he told me to come to Dallas to hang out on the show for a few days so I went, hung out on the morning show for a week, and then I went to Dallas for the next week and he said you should just do stuff for the show and at the time the show was only on in Dallas and it was Rickey, Headkrack, Rock T, Gary, and two other girls and that’s when I came up with “News You Can’t Use” and “Top 5”, says Special K. “Rickey began doing Bernice Jenkins on a regular basis and our producer Hollywood and I started writing the Church Announcements to do a couple times a week. From that everything took off. We was producing prank calls, Paternity Test Tuesdays was created around that time and we did some great things on that radio and that’s when the syndication came about and the rest is history and now its 7 years later and we’re doing an actual show.”
Special K’s longing for never being in an structured environment has awarded him a career in radio and comedy and has caused him to find a gift to make people laugh. He has one piece of advice for those trying to get into comedy:
“Don’t force it. If it ain’t in you, don’t force it because this ain’t for everybody. This ain’t for most people. This ain’t for a lot of people that’s doing it, but comedy is not something you can do. Comedy is like preaching. It’s like a calling. If you’re looking at the money part it’s not for you. It’s gotta be a passion.”
He went on to say, “Comedy in my life is like that toxic chick that I’m banging that I need to stop but I cant. She don’t do me right, she cheat, she lie, she plays with my emotions, she teases me, but when we do get together she makes my eyes roll in the back of my head and makes sparks fly out of my ears, but she ain’t no good. She ain’t loyal. Comedy will chew you up and spit you out.”
Check out Special K every morning from 6am-10am on The Rickey Smiley Morning Show!
Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @SpecialK913 and visit The Rickey Smiley Morning Show to get all the News You Can’t Use and Special K’s Top 5!
Follow me on Instagram @samanthasanders08