True comedy doesn’t exist in your comfort zone. It resides in places that are often too taboo to speak of or too sensitive to touch. You have to be imaginative, immutable, and possess a flawless pair of shiny brass ones that give you the strength to make people laugh about subjects that most won’t even talk about. Real comedy is for the fearless. 23-year-old John “Spoken Reasons” Baker has such a disposition. Being off-the-cuff and genuine has placed this young in age entertainer on the brink of greatness for 2013 and gotten him wedged in a the middle of a Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy sandwich in Paul Feig’s new cop comedy The Heat. However, his ascent wasn’t via elevator. He climbed the ranks by amassing close to 200 million views on YouTube with his satirical assertions on everyday life situations (and some not so everyday life situations), as well as, his spoken word poetry week-after-week mastering his timing and delivery. His respect was earned not given. So now the future comedic giant with the work ethic of an Egyptian putting the finishing touches on the pyramids, who wears his heart on his sleeve has found himself one step away from being the next great actor, comedian, poet, speaker, thinker, everything. Listen up world. Spoken Reasons has something to say.
What was it like when you first got the phone call saying you got the part in the movie?
SR: It wasn’t surprising. It was more of a next level challenge. I signed with my agent [UTA] on a Wednesday in May and about two or three days later I went to New York and then to Orlando and they told me I had a casting call for Sandra Bullock in The Heat and they told me to put myself on tape. I told them no I didn’t want to put myself on tape so I paid $1500 for two tickets and flew overnight to LA. I went to a friend of mine named Page Kennedy (Blue Mountain State) and he showed me how to strengthen myself [for the audition] and the next day I went in and killed it. So it was more of a challenging feeling than an exciting one.
If you had to choose out of acting, stand-up comedy, your YouTube videos or poetry, what brings you the biggest sense of satisfaction from your audience?
SR: That’s a hard one. I really can’t pick and say which one gives me my biggest satisfaction because when you say videos, spoken word, or comedy they all go hand-in-hand. I always use them together. Say for instance I am doing my YouTube videos – I may also being doing spoken word or if I am doing stand-up comedy…when I’m on stage I’m not just doing comedy. I am also doing spoken word and playing piano. So all of them together bring me a sense of satisfaction because I am able to incorporate my different talents into one. I can’t see myself doing one without the other because I feel like it would take away from who I am.
Normally everyone will ask what’s some of the best advice you were ever given, but what was the worst?
SR: Hmmm. I want to say that the worst advice that I have ever received was “stop doing videos, you’re wasting time.” That was the worst, but I wouldn’t say that was advice [laughing]. Or maybe it was advice, it just was advice from someone who didn’t believe in me. Now I pretty much surround myself with a good, solid circle. But if I had to say who has given me some good advice it would be Roy [Wood, Jr.]. He gave me a lot of advice as far as staying levelheaded and to stay true to my own road in this industry.
One thing for 2013 to knock off your bucket list
SR: I want to get a starring role in a movie. I have a medium role in The Heat so my goal for 2013 is to land a starring role in a movie with an A-List actor. On my bucket list in life I want to be a starring role with Will Smith.
Biggest blessing in the past year
SR: It’s pretty much crazy. I have had 13 jobs since I was 13 years old and I always have a goal every single year. My goal in 2011 was to quit my 9-to-5 and in 2012 I wanted to be able to support not only myself but my family and my team members financially by becoming my own boss and land a movie role. I didn’t know how I was going to be in a movie. I didn’t know I was going to sign with an agent. It just kind of happened out of nowhere. But the biggest blessing has been spreading the message because that’s all in my name Spoken Reasons. So I got everything that I wanted this past year. My whole goal in the first place was to create a large audience that would accept me and allow me to say whatever I wanted to say, when I want to say it and how I want to say it. Getting people to listen to you instead of avoiding you is the greatest blessing you can ever have.