We got to catch up with Mo, the founder of Hell Yea. She talks the future of comedy and thoughts on censorship– she even drops some entrepreneurial gems for new business owners. Get to know Mo in 25 questions.
TZL: What is your story, tell us a little bit about your background ?
Mo: My mom was a hustler so we were always on the move, always on go. Definitely took a village to raise me.
TZL: Can you recall your goals and aspirations as a child? Did you always know you would be an entrepreneur?
Mo: [laughs] I was a goofy child, still am at heart. I don’t think I ever really knew I would be an entrepreneur, but I always knew I wanted to play the background and help others fulfill their dreams.
TZL: You are the founder of Hell Yea , tell us the story of how you came up with the concept?
Mo: About two years ago, I decided to put together a comedy show simply because people–especially Black people– needed a “safe space” to laugh and mentally escape for 2-3 hours. There’s so much going on in the world right now, people will always need a reason to laugh and I wanted to help aid in providing that for them. Eventually, I teamed up with Six Degrees (a creative marketing agency). Together, we put on the Hell Yea Comedy Show–our monthly comedy show, which provides a fresh, high-quality and unique comedic experience for our audiences. Creating a supportive, inclusive platform for our performers with an emphasis on their career development is what we love to provide to the Atlanta community.
TZL: What have been some of the challenges you’ve faced during your time as an entrepreneur, what do you wish you knew when you started, that you now know?
Mo: At times, I get discouraged because I’m still new to the comedic community. I still have a lot to learn. However, I’ve been blessed with a supportive team that wants to see me win more than anything. I would say that the biggest struggle for us would probably be finding the right venue that’s big enough to fit our audience.
TZL: How have you overcome those challenges?
Mo: Doing my research and asking for help from friends with more comedic experience. Also, surrounding myself with teammates that believe in my vision and want to help bring it to life.
TZL: As a producer of comedy shows have you recognized any double standards among female and male comics and how their jokes are received?
Mo: I’d like to insert a quote from one of my favorite up-and-coming comedians: “Booking shows tends to be all men and one woman or all women shows that usually get less promotion. It’s very much a boys club. Even just mingling you have to know how to take a certain amount of shit and give it back or you’re “that girl.” – Lauren Knight (Hell Yea alumni)
TZL: Many comedians feel as time moves, culture is becoming too sensitive, causing many comics to feel they have to sensor themselves. Jokes that once were funny 10-15 years ago are no longer received well today. What are your thoughts on censorship and what does this mean for the future of comedy?
Mo: Censoring comedy lessons the shock value and beauty of the art. Comedy is supposed to be raw, that’s what keeps the audience intrigued. If comedians are continued to be told what they should and should not joke about, their material will become .. boring.
TZL: As a business woman and creator in the age of social media how do you keep from comparing yourself to others and remaining original?
Mo: By realizing social media is cap. None of us have it all the way figured out yet. For inspo, I detox from social media and take my ass outside to be around real people.
TZL: What do you believe is your purpose as an entrepreneur?
Mo: To bring back moments for Atlanta.
TZL: Where do you see Hell Yea 10 years from now?
Mo: Discovering comedians, selling out famous theaters all over the world, and a few televised specials.
TZL: As the founder of Atlanta’s biggest comedy event, we’re sure you’ve heard it all. What’s the joke that never gets old?
Mo: Any Atlanta crackhead jokes.
TZL: What comedians do you hope you can work with in the future?
Mo: Sam Jay, Karlous Miller, Ego Nwodim, Jak Knight, Dave Chappelle
TZL: Greatest comedian of all time?
Mo: Richard Pryor
TZL: Favorite comedy special?
Mo: Katt Williams: Pimp Chronicles
TZL: Favorite comedy special on Netflix?
Mo: Sam Jay’s 3 In The Morning
TZL: What’s a childhood show that was cancelled that you wish would come back?
TZL: You also have an eye for fashion, how would you describe your personal style?
Mo: All things cozy. I hate being uncomfortable.
TZL: What are your go to basics to putting together a look?
Mo: Sneakers x denim x t shirt x name chain.
TZL: Heels or sneakers?
TZL: Bare face or beat?
Mo: Bare face –only because I suck at applying makeup
TZL: Martin Lawerence or Bernie Mac?
Mo: Martin has the bigger catalog, but I personally prefer Bernie’s humor.
Dave Chappelle or Katt Williams?
TZL: What advice would you give to new entrepreneurs of all industries?
Mo: Bet on yourself and move. Any time you take a chance and move on an idea or gift the Universe (God, whatever you wish to call the great unknown) will always show favor and meet you halfway.
TZL: Can you discuss upcoming projects, events or collaborations?
Mo: Right now I’m focused on my event series that’s focused on uplighting and community building. Our anniversary comedy show will take place once the social distancing guidelines are over.
Social media, website, best place to connect with you?
Hell Yea Booking: @Hell.yea.atl
Featured Photos by Nicole Hernandez , @skull.lady
Creative Direction: Myah Jackson, @myahjay
Make-up by: Edi Campis, @edicampis_makeup
Set Lighting by: Deja, @fkabranch