Photo by Heather Middleton
By Jason A. Smith
Four budding entertainers are hoping to tickle the funny bones of area residents, by putting a humorous spin on everyday life.
The men are collectively known as the "1Hood Kuntry Family," according to their leader, Timothy Gonzalez.
"I think everybody loves to laugh," said Gonzalez, 28, of McDonough. "For me, it's the best thing in the world."
Gonzalez works in property management at Preston Creek Apartments in McDonough. Originally from Texas, he has also lived in California, Colorado, Illinois and Kansas. He is quick to point out that his nomadic youth is one of the factors that contributed to his comedic pursuits.
"My mom just liked to move a lot," he said. "But, I'm grateful for it now, because it helped me to have never met a stranger."
Gonzalez began doing comedy performances last year at Southside Steve's, at 715 Industrial Blvd., in McDonough, where he has performed for six months. When the venture was still in its infancy, a friend suggested that Gonzalez write his daily observations in a notebook, and incorporate them into his comedy routines.
"I didn't tell anybody I was doing this," he said. "I got up [to perform], and told it how I saw it. It was therapeutic. With comedy, you can talk about anything, and people laugh."
Gonzalez added that one of his biggest thrills as a comedian came last year in New York City, when he enjoyed a chance meeting in Central Park with famed comedians, Jerry Seinfeld and George Wallace.
David "Smitty" Smith, of McDonough -- a member of the comedy group -- met Gonzalez at Preston Creek Apartments, where Smith handles maintenance. Like Gonzalez, Smith said he likes to "take things from life situations, and broadcast them" for his audiences.
"I hope they get entertained, and I hope to let people know we all go through the same things," said Smith, 47. "Black or white, they enjoy it, because I can do different things that pertain to them."
Smith, who was born in New York and grew up in Tampa, Fla., said his eclectic background and diverse group of friends, has helped to increase his versatility as a comedian.
"I'm like a chameleon," he said. "I can adapt to any situation at any time."
Damien Metts attended Henry County High School with Gonzalez, and now writes comedy routines and skits for Gonzalez's performances. Metts said he has been making people laugh since the days of his childhood.
"Even in high school, I got voted Most Witty," said Metts, 30, of McDonough. I never saw myself like that, but other people do."
Metts added that one reason he savors participating in the comedy troupe, is because he enjoys "cheering people up."
"I just like ... getting their minds off the negativity they have throughout the day," said Metts.
Metts works for Johnson Properties, a property-preservation company which is owned by another member of the 1Hood Kuntry Family, Joey Johnson. Johnson said he met Gonzalez when they were 7 years old, and has been a fan of comedy for much of his life.
"You run into so many people during the day," said Johnson, 28, of Jackson. "People say the craziest things. You can just observe what they're doing, add to it, or take away from it, and make your comedy even funnier."
Johnson hopes the efforts of the 1Hood Kuntry Family, will help to fill what he sees as an entertainment void in Henry County.
"There's never been any really good, free entertainment, south of Atlanta," he said. "The economy is so bad right now, and if we can get their minds off it for a little while, and make them laugh, they can have some joy that day, and just relax."
In addition to Southside Steve's, the comedy group appears every other Tuesday, at Itza Taco, at 1483 Ga. Highway 20 in McDonough. For more information, call Southside Steve's, at (678) 814-4126, or Itza Taco, at (678) 583-5550.