Vincent, who started her career as a healthcare worker and still holds her medical license, was named one of the Just for Laughs New Faces in 2022 and is a regular feature at major comedy clubs in Chicago.
Morning Edition host, Kimberly Schofield, recently spoke with Vincent about her success as a Black woman in comedy and what it’s like being the only comedian in a family of medical professionals.
Kimberly Schofield: Victoria, thank you so much for joining me. Nearly your entire family is in the medical field. How did you start to pursue comedy?
Victoria Vincent: It took a minute, especially because I’m African American and you know, seeing successful people in medicine, or just in life, it seemed like medicine was a such a highly respected job…and watching the respect that my father received as a surgeon…that kind of pushed me towards medicine. But I was like 11 when I asked for Stephen Colbert’s book for my birthday. 30 Rock came out when I was about to start high school so I was obsessed with 30 Rock and I was obsessed with the writing process. I just became obsessed with comedy writers, but it was always a hobby. I went to college pre-med, I graduated with a physiology degree and went on to do that program, and then was working in medicine. And then I was like, “Okay, now that I have a stable job you can take a look into this, like hobby.” I don’t want to say I didn’t think I’d be this good at it, but I’d never thought of it as a career. I always thought of it as a social aspect. And the first time I was on stage, even an open mic, I just fell in love with that feeling and I couldn’t stop doing it. So you know, for four years, I was doing both. This is my first year, doing comedy full-time. I got into this festival that’s a really big deal for comedy and I was like, “Okay, maybe you can do this.” And then I kept getting more and more opportunities to where point I couldn’t deny it.
KS: You mentioned being an African American, when you were thinking about medicine and thinking about your career. What is it like being an African American and a woman in the comedy world?
VV: It’s definitely interesting. I love it. I seriously love doing it. And what I find is that I’ve had such a unique perspective. I think that there is a chokehold we put on people in any form of entertainment, or anything when you’re in the spotlight, where they have to be a certain type of way. So when I became a comedian that was like this weird alternative girl that people expected to be more someone who was White, I think that really shook people for a while. The stuff I’m into is not what society forces onto us as Black people. And I think that that’s what’s made my comedy successful in some aspects. If you know anything about code switching…a lot of people talk about the aspect of being able to relate yourself to all crowds. I grew up in a lot of White spaces. I mean, if you’ve seen my Tik Tok or anything I do online, that’s what my experience is…talking about the experience of being a Black person in White spaces my whole life. And people laugh at those things. And it’s funny, and it’s fine, because that is a social commentary, right? It’s funny because you didn’t expect it. And that’s what my whole thing is. I was always into comics and anime. I was into punk and I was very much an emo kid through and through…still an emo kid. And so I think that gave me an advantage in comedy. To me it did, even though some people are like, “Oh, that must suck because you feel like you’re this outlier,” but I felt like it gave me an advantage because I was talking about things people didn’t expect. And I’m a weird person. I’m weird. I love being weird. And I don’t think they let us be weird. But it’s nice to be able to see Black girls just be weird and not having to have our identity tied to a certain lifestyle.
KS: What would you say to people who might have reservations or fears, but they want to pursue something like comedy? Is there any advice that you would give them?