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Portland Black Comedy Festival's Courtenay Collins, Tyrone Collins talk with Inessa / Audio

By INESSA // Living the Intentional Life

Find more of Inessa's interviews at The Inessa Blog.

She’s a Portland girl, Courtenay Collins. Her partner in life and work, Tyrone Collins, is from Asheville, North Carolina. He traveled a lot before finally finding a home in the Northwest.  Many rich stories. On both sides. Let’s dig in.

 I first got to know Tyrone and Courtenay when they joined Portland Radio Project with their Soulfull Saturdays show.  We had gathered for one of those year-end holiday parties, getting to know the rest of our team. The moment Teri Briggs and I began talking with them about their lives and what they do and how they do it, we knew we had to get it on the record.

Tyrone is a stand-up comedian. Courtenay comes from the nonprofit world and slid right into making it happen in their own personal world, bringing people in as they went. That persuasive charm goes a long way!

As Tyrone tells it, he is from the South, so with that comes his sense of being “old-fashioned” which lives in the heart and bones. And bearing responsibility in all its definitions is a big part of the territory. No wonder then, that this schemer and dreamer threw in with the spirited but both feet very much on the ground Courtenay, to cultivate not just his own comedic skills, but open the door to others! It’s very much how their dream of opening up the rich diversity in the Black Community, both in private lives and in the performing world, led to the NW Black Comedy Festival, now in its second year.

During our conversation over a recent weekend, Teri and heard so many great stories! How Courtenay became a first generation Portlander. (Her mother moved here from Harlem!!!). How Tyrone came to comedy. (Yeah, “class clown” figures into it.) What does “Hyjinx” have to do with it?  The importance of loving oneself ahead of dealing with the outside world. What constitutes “comedy and Black comedy and women in comedy”,  in Portland. The challenges of not being put in a box, as Courtenay explains it. How “intentionality” plays into their lives. We went through so many fine stories and lots of laughter. Along with a few surprising confessions. Don’t miss a jokey finale courtesy of Tyrone at the end of our sit-down.

So many amazing links to share with you, as you could hear mentioned in the convo. Find the better part of them, below.

Courtenay Collins

Tyrone Collins

The Real Hyjinx

Dirty Angel Entertainment

Billy Webb Elks Lodge

Portland Radio Project

Soulful Saturdays

Teri Briggs



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