This month’s professional spotlight features Filmon Yohannes. Filmon is a professional comedian with an international fan base, well-known for his “Gergish” skits and hilarious stand-up performances. Read this month’s spotlight to learn more about Filmon and his path to becoming a professional comedian.
Could you briefly describe a typical day on the job for you.
Well, I try to stay calm and go over my set in my head but believe it or not I get very nervous before each and every show. Not in a sense of me being scared, but just having butterflies. This leads up all the way until I touch the microphone. The second I hear a laugh from my joke, it’s over you can’t take me off that stage!
How did you come to decide that this was the right career path for you?
My father always told me laughter is a cure to many problems and issues. I know I’ve always been the class clown growing up, but just seeing the reaction I get out of people. The tears of joy coming down the eyes of everybody in the crowd. Plus the traveling I get to experience. I’ve seen so much through this career of being a professional comedian. Places nobody in my family/friends can experience, I like to think I experience it for them!
What was your approach to following a non-traditional career path?
As non-traditional as this may sound, my father is a comedian. He has films he has directed and acted in. At least 2-3 movies worth. It’s funny now that I think about it because as a kid I remember my dad making skits. He would have roles for friends/family to play much similar to the “Gergish” skits you see now.
But back to the question. It comes down to me believing in something that I love to do. I know it’s not the Doctor, Lawyer or Engineer path most Habesha parents would like their kids to have which is completely fine and a GREAT accomplishment, but being a comedian is still an art and dream of mine. I love doing it. I know plenty of people with jobs that pay more than mine (for now) but can they say they truly love their job?
Is there a philosophy that drives your career?
This goes back to me saying laughter is a cure. I’ll prove it with a story. Couple years back I got a message through Facebook. The message had a photo attached. This photo was a lady and her kids on a hospital bed. One of her kids had a laptop out and I couldn’t see what they were watching but I noticed a smile from the woman. The message read as:
“Hey Filmon! Hope all is well. You don’t know me but I wanted to share this moment with you. My mother has been battling with cancer for months now. Not too many happy moments for us lately. I would like you to know that my little brother brought his laptop to the hospital to show my mother a few of your Gergish skits. This photo shows us all laughing. As a family, that’s something we haven’t done in a while. So I’d like to thank you for helping us with that and to please continue blessing us all with your god giving talent because you never know what kind of impact you will have on someone.”
Whoa! I know right?!?! This is what drives me and my career!
What do you consider to be your greatest professional accomplishment?
I would have to say the two back2back sold out shows in Toronto and the Frankfurt, Germany shows. Almost 700 people between the two cities. Crazy knowing you have a worldwide audience.
What’s one piece of advice you would give someone looking to transition into your line of work?
To follow your heart and to get rid of all the bulls**t that would hold you back. That means cutting off the negative friends or any type of distraction you may have of being able to accomplish your work, goals and dreams.
Outside of all of your hard work and efforts toward building your brand, what do you do for fun? Hobbies?
I love sports! I’m from Denver, CO and I love to organize football games or 5 on 5 pick up basketball games. Love hanging with family and friends.