[photo: Jeff Campagna]
A staple of NYC nightlife for decades now, this fiercely funny comedian will have none of your filters, thank you very much. Also an actress, singer / songwriter, children’s book author and animal rights activist, this performer has shared the stage with the likes of Bianca Del Rio, and she tells it like it is to Thotyssey today in anticipation of her upcoming show at Club Cumming.
Thotyssey: Hello Robbyne, thanks so much for talking to us today! So, how was your New Years, and what was your take on Mariah’s performance: redemption?
Robbyne Kaamil: Honey, I didn’t watch that shit. I was getting my groove on at Club
Cumming. But I heard it was better than last year.
So, having Trump for a President is terrible for the country, but as a standup comedian it must be great for comedy. Or do you try to steer away from straight up politics in your material?
I talk about politics and any and everything that needs to be addressed. I am not a bitch who steers away from controversy or the truth.
You spent a lot of 2017 touring / performing with Ike Avelli and Tym Moss. Is it just a kiki wherever you go when you’re with them?
It was so much fun working with those two. Those bitches will make you laugh your wig off.
So, you’re a Bronx native. How did growing up in that neighborhood inform your style of performing?
It was rough. My neighbors where pimps, hos, junkies, alcoholics, drug dealers and other outstanding citizens who were out on parole. You don’t survive in the Bronx without a tough hide. Now it is being gentrified, but back in the day that it was more dangerous
than Iraq. Most of my friends got fucked up with drugs. I saw my first dead body when I was 9 years-old. Our neighbor stabbed her boyfriend to death. He fell in front of our door and we had to stay in the house all day. It took the medical examiner forever to come
My style is rough and edgy. I have seen some crazy shit.
When did you start performing? And was it always comedy, acting and music all at once, or did things happen in stages?
I always loved performing. I started singing and acting. But I have always had the ability to make people laugh, so I eventually moved into comedy.
Who are some comedians or other performers who have inspired your own art?
Richard Pryor, Chris Rock, Dick Gregory and Katt Williams. They all have used the platform of the stage to address some serious social and political issues. I think all artist in all genres have the responsibility to do the same. A song can spark a revolution. I don’t need to hear a song about your balls sweating on the dance floor. The people need to hear something that will set a fire in their souls to give them the inspiration to fight for equality, justice and deal with all the other shit going on now. Joan Baez, Nina Simone, Harry Belafonte, Bob Dylan. We need some new warrior motherfuckers like that right now.
How did you first become involved with the personalities of gay nightlife?
In addition to all the other shit that I do, I am also a relationship / advice diva. I’ve been
featured on many radio shows, and my advice has been seen in magazines such as
Essence. My publicist reached out to Daniel Nardicio to have me come on his radio show – Dlist Radio on East Village Radio, to offer some advice to his listeners. I came on and Daniel asked me to come back every month. The rest is history, as they say. He became such a great friend, inspiration and supporter. Most so-called friends are those fair-weather bitches. They are around when things are going well, but scatter like fucking roaches when you really need them. But Daniel is a devoted friend. He is there for you when your shit is fucked up and raggedy to help you get back on your game, and he is there with you to celebrate your successes. His loyalty never wavers.
I love watching all the clips on YouTube you’ve filmed with Daniel and Bianca Del Rio over the years, I guess largely for his cable access Sh*t Show. What are some of your favorite memories from that period?
Honey, there is not enough room here for all of that. Every minute was fun. We did some funny shit.
Two of those clips include a parody segment Fire Island SVU, and also a pilot trailer of sorts for a reality show that never came to be called The Great Gay American Road Trip where you, Bianca, Sweetie and an army of queens and gogo boys took a bus trip and performed impromptu shows all over conservative America. Both of these would’ve made for great episodic television, don’t you think?
Daniel created the concepts for both. He is so creative. I think Great Gay American Road Trip was ahead of its time. I would have loved to see it on air as well as Fire Island SVU. There is so much shit on television now that I can’t bear to watch it. But I have come to realize that many producers, directors of programming, A & R reps at record companies, managers, publicists and agents are all frustrated performers who never made it. They are always trying to sabotage some good shit because they feel threatened. Insecurity is a bitch.
You’ve made some appearances of your own in movies and TV. Would doing something like that on a more regular basis be a ultimate goal of yours, or do you prefer to do it the way you’re doing it now, when you’re your own boss?
I would love to work more in films and on television. I will always be my own boss whether I’m under contract or not. I am not working on anybody’s plantation, whether it be in Mississippi or Hollywood.
You’re also a devoted animal rights activist, notably for the cause of Lolita the whale who is housed at the Miami Seaquarium in conditions that many experts believe to be inhumane. You even wrote the theme song for the movement! Are you still advocating for Lolita?
I am still advocating for Lolita. I wrote the song, “Free Lolita: Let the Girl Go” as a rally cry for the activists who where marching and fighting to get her freed. Unfortunately, she is still held captive.
You’ve written some very adorable-looking children’s books that seem to emphasize how kids can help one another and be kind. What motivated you to pursue this venture?
I have come to realize that the only way for our planet and humanity to survive is if we start educating our children. You can’t tell these old-ass bitches anything. They don’t listen. It is too late. You must reach them when they 2 or 3 years old. As soon as they are out of diapers, you must start teaching.
Let’s talk about comedy that’s in the news for a sec… Dave Chapelle on his new Netflix comedy special supposedly defends Louis C.K. for his role in the #MeToo scandal, and to an extent he even defends Kevin Spacey. Should Chapelle just be
staying out of it, or should a comic always speak his / her mind, even when that
opinion really goes against the popular social mood?
I believe the stage is one of the last places where you can exercise your First Amendment right of freedom of speech. I don’t agree with Dave’s stance on this issue, but I defend his right to say it. I also don’t believe that we should always go along with the popular social mood. If we always did that, I would have to get up in the morning at 5:00 am to pick cotton. I am a free woman because people went against the popular mood in the
And of course there’s Kathy Griffin, who claims to still be largely blacklisted in the U.S. as a result of TrumpHeadGate. Do you think she’s make a comeback in 2018?
America loves a comeback. I am sure that bitch will resurface. When she does come back, I hope she dyes her hair another color. That shit worked for Lucille Ball, but not
Okay, now let’s get back to your own comedy! You’re doing a one-woman show at Club Cumming on Jan. 14th called Raw & Real: Life from One Woman’s Perspective. Sounds provocative!
I talk about politics, relationships and current events. I like to make people laugh and
think. I don’t get too heavy, and always end on a high note. The past don’t have to be your future, and I believe we have the power to change whatever is wrong in our lives and in the world.
Club Cumming seems like a perfect match for what you do. Might we be seeing more of you there in the future?
Of course, honey.
What else is going on or coming up for you?
I don’t talk about my shit until it’s finished. Jealous bitches be trying to put the evil eye
on your shit. I let everybody know about my shit when I’m selling tickets.
Okay, last question… it was just revealed in an excerpt from a tell-all book about Trump that the reason he eats McDonalds all the time is because he thinks there’s a really good chance that any other food might be poisoned by his enemies. What are your thoughts on that?
When you have fucked over as many people as he has, you tend to be a bit paranoid. But it is a smart move on his part. He does have quite a few enemies. But now that the cat is out of the bag, he may have to start going to Wendy’s.
Check Thotyssey’s calendar for Robbyne Kaamil’s upcoming gigs, and follow her on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.