Veteran comedian Darren Carter continues to delight audiences with his comedic performances across a variety of entertainment mediums in Burbank and beyond.
While he grew up in his hometown of Fresno, California, Carter attracted attention for his unique hair color and cheerful demeanor. This led to the development of his personality traits that became pivotal to his comedy routines.
“Having bright red hair, I really stood out as a child where I grew up,” Carter said. “People were either drawn to comment on my hair or me as a person, and it kind of shaped my personality. But I guess I’m always an optimistic type of person, and I would always look at the bright side of life, and make kids laugh and people laugh.”
People began suggesting a career in comedy to a young Carter, and he first got a taste of performing in front of crowds through participating in speech and acting classes during his studies. He went on to attend Fresno Community College, where he enrolled in classes geared towards show business, including a course on making a living as a professional entertainer. A classmate who was a fellow comedian next connected Carter to a local comedy promoter, and he quickly began performing professionally and getting paid for his work.
“It was really nice to be able to get laughs, work on your craft and then get paid,” Carter said. “That’s when I thought, well, I think I can really do this.”
Following these early gigs, Carter moved from Fresno to the Bay Area to find more performance opportunities. He eventually relocated to Southern California, where he promptly booked a national commercial and a film role, and became a regular performer at the Laugh Factory and The Comedy Store. Throughout his career, Carter has further gained notable acting credits for roles in movies such as the John Travolta film “Be Cool,” and appearances on television shows like “The Jamie Foxx Show” and “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” to name a few.
Known as “Darren Carter the Party Starter,” Carter brings laughs to audiences at various comedy venues throughout Southern California, including Flappers Comedy Club. Carter was given a tour of the Flappers venue prior to its opening by owners Barbara Holliday and Dave Reinitz, and has entertained visitors to the club since its earliest days of operation. Here, he says, the Flappers staff provides a welcoming atmosphere and meaningful support to their comedians.
“I’ve been there since day one, and they’ve always been so supportive,” Carter said of Flappers Comedy Club. “It really does have a very cozy home feeling when you’re there between the stages and the staff. I want to say specifically, the manager, William Nickerson, he’s been there since day one, [and] he’s just great. He treats everybody with respect. He’s a therapist when comics want to talk about life on the road or career ups and downs. He’ll listen to you and he’s golden. He is a great addition to Burbank and the comedy club.”
The style of performance Carter carries out on stage consistently ignites a spirited, engaged response from audience members. He mixes up his act to include observational jokes and personal accounts through which listeners can both find humor and experience an authentic resonance with Carter.
“Well, it feels great, it really does,” Carter said of positive audience reception. “If it’s a joke, it’s great when it works, [or] if it’s an idea…something you just want to know that’s relatable, something that’s real. I would put that in the category of…here’s something that I’ve done. And then other people are like, ‘Yeah, me too.’ Or I might say something that really happened in real life, and that gets a laugh.”
In addition to his live comedy performances, Carter hosts his own show, called the Pocket Party Podcast. The program is currently in its fourth year of production and has nearly 200 episodes that feature guests like comedians Mike Black, Josh Robert Thompson, and John DiResta. All episodes of the podcast focus on keeping audiences entertained while incorporating uplifting, inspirational content.
“I love it,” Carter said of creating content as a podcast host. “There are a couple of things I usually ask on the podcast, [like] do you have any words of wisdom, something you could tell, maybe our younger listeners, something that helps you in life? It can be anything from something simple, like a little life hack, or it can be something a lot deeper. It just really depends on who I’m talking to or what they’re thinking about in that moment, and what they’re going through…We keep it positive, and it’s really wonderful.”
The late comedian and friend of Carter’s, Brody Stevens, was a guest on the podcast in February of 2019. Stevens tragically took his own life just days after his appearance on the show, leaving Carter looking for a way to honor his legacy in the midst of his mourning. He then began communicating with a podcast listener of his, Tommy Godlove, a comedian who is a fan of Stevens. Together they collaborated to set up a walk in remembrance of Stevens at Griffith Park in 2019. The walk took place on May 22, the day that would have been Stevens’ 39th birthday.
“I was like, what if no one shows up?” Carter recalled of planning the walk. “And I’ll never forget when [Godlove] said this. He goes, ‘Well, there will be at least three people there: me, you and Brody in spirit.’”
A group of about 25 people participated in the 2019 walk, during which attendees discussed the lasting positive impact Stevens has had on their lives. Although COVID-19 prevented a walk from taking place in 2020, earlier this year a similar event was held in Stevens’ hometown of Reseda. Carter used his podcast to inform listeners of the gathering, which saw double the turnout of the 2019 walk. Following this remembrance, Aug. 18 was declared “Brody Stevens Day” in the City of Los Angeles.
“It was really cool,” Carter said of seeing the “Brody Stevens Day” declaration. “It was great that [Stevens] wanted to do my podcast and he reached out to me that weekend, and then we did it, and that was a springboard of something positive that did come out of [it]. So I was able to, with the podcast, translate my same vision of what I like to do on stage to when I’m not on stage, and I can reach many people through podcasting.”
Carter posts Youtube videos of his comedy and podcast content, and sometimes collaborates with his son, Austin A. Carter, on videos. Austin is a musician and a talented entertainer in his own right, as he has a Youtube channel with his performances covering songs and playing original music. He also wrote the theme music for the Pocket Party Podcast, which has since been covered by a number of music artists of various genres.
Carter and his wife moved to Burbank in 1997, and they have resided in the city ever since. Here, he has given back through performing at fundraisers for local high school sports programs, which has offered Carter a strong sense of community. He says he and his family members have chosen to remain in Burbank due to the laid back, yet lively environment the city offers.
“I love Burbank,” Carter said. “I love the things that there are to do…It does have that small town feeling. [It’s] right next to all the action of everything, and then during the day, there are plenty of restaurants and plenty of parks. I love it.”
Watch Carter’s videos on YouTube: Darren Carter
Watch video on Austin A. Carter’s Youtube Channel: AustheBassBoss