Rickey Smiley is often described as a "clean" comedian, but it's not something he consciously strives for. "What’s in you is gonna come out of you," he says. "My comedy is pretty clean. I will say a word or two every now and then. It all depends on where I am and where I’m performing. If I’m in a smoked-filled club, late at night, I might do a dirty joke … to get it out of my system." Smiley generally looks to family members to inspire his material.
Illustrating the gags with impersonations of his kin, he might also drop into a character or two. “Sometimes I might do an old lady,” he says. “I might do a redneck character called Rusty.” Yet no one in his family takes offense at his musings. "No, because I don’t name names,” he says. “Nobody gets mad, they find it funny."
Still, he sometimes has trouble picking the right situations to make jokes about. “I get funny stuff happening to me all the time, but a lot of funny stuff that happens around you, you can’t bring to the stage because it’s one of those situations where you had to be there.” Smiley performs 8:30 p.m. Friday at Procter & Gamble Hall at the Arnoff Center. $45-$75.
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