Interview: Kerry Coddett
Race and Interracial Dating
Brooklyn native Kerry Coddett has been busy. She’s performing stand-up, appearing on television shows, writing articles, and starring in her own sketch web series, The Coddett Project. BanterGirl was thrilled to sit down her and discuss her inspirations, activism, and plans for 2017.
You are a true Brooklyn comedian (born and raised). How has the scene changed over the years?
Over the past few years, I've watched Brooklyn really establish itself as a comedy hotspot. Comedy aside, though, the most striking change is people's perception of what it means to be from Brooklyn. Growing up, "Brooklyn" was a vibrant and soulful place that people both feared and respected, a place where regardless of ethnicity and culture, we were all fluent in "fuck outta here" and "fuhgeddaboutit,” a place where you had to be strong willed and have thick skin in order to survive. Now, I hear people say things like, "Riding a CitiBike and eating nutella is just, like, the most Brooklyn thing ever," and it really fries my rice. You can't redefine our culture. Stop acting like Brooklyn arrived the moment kale got here.
Last fall, the Interrobang said of you that, "You just know she is going to be a star in some capacity.” What are two things that you would truly love to accomplish in your career?
Ah! Just two things? As long as I'm writing, producing, and performing, I'm happy, but I've always wanted to star in my own TV show, a scripted series or a talk show, and to be in a one woman show on Broadway. Releasing a rap album is a close third.
Are there any icons that have inspired you?
I'm certainly inspired by black women like Whoopi Goldberg and Queen Latifah, who have transcended so many boundaries. They've both done things no one thought they could, and they've never stayed in "their lanes." Whether it's on film, TV, or on wax, both women have achieved unmatched success in several arenas. Not to be cliché, though, but it is the everyday icons in my life that continue to push and drive me. My grandmother is my hero. My mother is my daily inspiration. My sister is my role model. These are the icons that I owe my career, and my life, to.
You are no stranger to being on TV. You’ve appeared on MTV’s Joking Off, Comedy Knockout, The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, and more. What was your favorite appearance to do? What are some shows that you would love to be on next?
I refuse to choose! Shows like Joking Off and CKO allow me to work my joke writing and performance skills, while shows like Nightly allowed me to sharpen my perspective and engage in spirited, unpredictable dialogue with others. As a stand-up comedian, all of those muscles need to be strengthened and flexed in order for me to thrive. There are so many great shows on TV and on digital platforms that the list of where I'd love to work is endless. I'm really looking forward to this pilot season and all of the opportunities that may lie ahead.
You're a brilliant activist and have started the group Operation Mobilize. Is there anything being organized in 2017 that New York should know about?
Operation Mobilize aims to find actionable and tangible ways in which everyday people can become engaged in their community. That being said, one of our guiding principles is to "mobilize at a moment's notice." While we are currently planning our expansion of Kwanzaa Crawl for 2017, at any given moment, there may be a resolution that needs to be passed, or a local community that needs our attention, so we try to stay diligent and find ways to respond to those needs as they occur.
If you were forced to leave your home in haste, never to return, and only had enough time to grab three things, what would they be?
My laptop, my sister, and my social security card, in case Trump tries to ship me back to someplace I never came from.
If you could go back to your childhood and give yourself one piece of advice to take with you into your adult life, what would it be?
Don't be afraid to admit when you're wrong. Real maturity means accepting accountability. Also, don’t swallow!
What does 2017 look like for you?
2017 looks like hard work and determination. I'll be writing and producing more, performing stand-up in clubs and colleges across the country, delving into characters and storytelling, podcasting, and potentially doing a radio show! The sky really is the limit, so 2017 will look even better than 2016.