FCC, the first and only all-black sketch comedy troupe in Dallas, is here to give audiences an irreverent dose of sketch comedy you won’t see on censored late-night TV.
FCC (the meaning is a mystery to anyone outside the group — the troupe has never gone on record with any consistent answer) started in 2016 with four founding members, Julia Cotton, Jerrell Curry, Paulos Feerow and Jade Smith. They wrote and starred in their first sketch revue, The Wrong Party. Their first outing ran multiple performances through Dallas Comedy House and was also a featured show at the 2017 Dallas Comedy Festival.
The Wrong Party takes aim at hot-button issues, such as racial stereotypes, objectification of women and police brutality, with a biting, satirical approach. Like the best satire, FCC exposes hateful societal norms while tempering them with a confident comedic voice. The cast members want you to laugh, but they also want you leaving the theater with a new perspective.
The four original cast members met not yet knowing they wanted to be a sketch comedy troupe but that they had a desire to do something different than what Dallas comedy had to offer. Cotton was originally sought out to direct the troupe, but the undeniable chemistry within the four led her to share the stage as a performer. The first few meetings were important to establish a rapport because up to that point, the group had never worked together on a project.
Smith remembers when FCC materialized into a solid sketch troupe.
"It’s weird to think, but I feel like we all had this like weird inkling around the same time," she says. "We didn’t know what it was going to be, but we were like, ‘You know what? Now is the time we all need to work together.’ Because we all have different comedy backgrounds, but we always knew each other.”
The different performance backgrounds have benefited the troupe’s writing process because they approach writing each sketch for their shows as a group.
“This is my favorite writing process where we literally sit down, and even if it’s my idea, it’s not all the way my writing,” Feerow says. “Maybe you create the premise as the individual, but the writing of the show literally goes to three or four other people. It’s a very collaborative effort.”
The chemistry of FCC was tested after the success of The Wrong Party, when Curry left the group to move to Los Angeles. But the group brought in Nick Fields and De De Theriot as cast members, and everyone went back to work on FCC's second show, A Party Already in Progress.
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FCC goes deeper than just creating a series of sketches for its shows. It also relays, within a theme, members' feelings about being black comedians in today’s social climate.
“It’s that feeling of being the odd man out, or the weird person, or like, 'I don’t know what to do in this situation,'” Feerow says. “When we sat together, it became this thing where it’s like, ‘Yeah, I always wanted to say it this way.’”
While FCC performs from a minority perspective, members acknowledge the feelings they have are not restricted to any race or gender.
“It’s the feeling that we feel as minorities in the comedy realm," Smith says. "Do I even belong here? But also a lot of people have felt like that."