Duncan Jay: The Godfather of Brevard Comedy
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Duncan Jay: The Godfather of Brevard Comedy

From dirty bingo to clean jokes about the Space Coast Area Transit bus system, comedian Duncan Jay has been making people along the Space Coast laugh since 2008. Dubbed the godfather of Brevard comedy, he also has nurtured many local comedians, helping the local comic scene grow.

Jay’s skills run from stand-up comic to DJ work, and even accidental wedding planner. He’s available for events, has quarterly shows at Rooney’s restaurant in Palm Bay, and hosts dirty bingo at the The Shack Riverfront Restaurant, also in Palm Bay. Those wanting to hear Jay’s humorous insight on their own time can check out his podcast, Intellectually Immature.

Jay and nine other comedians are celebrating his birthday with a show May 4 at Rooney’s. He’s also appearing at Savvy Vinyl Records in Melbourne on April 28.

A theater geek while at Merritt Island High School in the ‘90s, he went into the Army after graduation, then decided to use his G.I. bill for acting school.

Although accepted into Juilliard, he chose the New York Academy of Art for its 2-year program. 

“I was 23 and I wanted to work,” he said, and didn’t want to go the route of Robin Williams, who was booted from Juilliard for violating school policy by acting professionally while a student.

Jay found acting gigs in the Big Apple immediately after graduation. 

“I didn’t even have to wait tables for the first six months,” he said.

Then the 2001 Screen Actors Guild strike slowed everything down. Unable to act, he took a job with a party service handling celebrity occasions. He had some interesting experiences, like working chaperone duty at Eddie Murphy’s family party. However, it did not scratch his creative itch. He joined an improv group, had an amazing time, and in January 2003, launched his comedy career. Now, he jokes, his career is officially old enough to drink and smoke.

New York’s high rent drove him to return to Brevard, where he felt culture shock.

“There was no Viera — that was the field where we picked mushrooms after the rain. (And) there was nothing for a comic except Groucho’s. You had to drive to Orlando. A lot of us were making that drive, but they didn’t know it was possible to start shows here. So I took the reins and got things started.”

Jay helped start the comedy movement at the former Open Mike’s and in three months, saw audiences of over 100 people.

“Even during Hurricane Irma, when the islands were evacuated, we had 35 people!” he said.

After COVID, Open Mike’s became Apocalypse Coffee Roasters. It no longer hosts entertainment, but other venues are bringing in comedy. Jay is working with Tyed’s Teahouse in Cocoa to revive a regular show there.

He also taught comedy, and many of his students are now well known themselves. 

His fellow comedians had dubbed him the “Godfather of Brevard Comedy.”

“I was 300 pounds then, wore leather jackets and fedoras. I looked like a mob boss,” he joked.

The slimmer Jay of today, though, is still full of plenty of talent and jokes to share.

Find Duncan Jay

duncanjay.com
Facebook group: /groups/DuncanJay/
Facebook page: /theduncanjay
Instagram: @theduncanjay
Podcast:
iheart.com/podcast/269-intellectually-immature-w-114071428/ 

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