Andre’ Westbrook is a slight, unassuming kid who’s been quietly commanding audiences at comedy open mics for about a year and some change. Not at the game long at all, Dre’ already has grand visions for his comedic journey and is currently on the move in his hometown city of Buffalo, New York.
After finishing his program at North Carolina Central University in Durham and kicking around Greensboro, NC, for a bit, Westbrook repatriated to Buffalo last summer when his grandmother fell ill. He arrived back home in July 2014 and decided to keep going with comedy here, hitting the open mic circuit and meeting folks in town.
While in Greensboro Westbrook dabbled in stand-up, but it wasn’t until meeting Jiwan Kapp at a comedy competition in October 2013 that he decided he could make a real go of it. After that initial meeting, Kapp invited Westbrook to hit him up sometime, do some shows with him. A few months later they reconvened, and, with that meeting, officially brought G.o.o.f. Camp to life.
G.o.o.f. Camp, a production company of sorts, stands for “Giving Others Opportunities First.” The pair keeps this philosophy in mind when booking their semi-monthly shows, inviting newer talent from the region to join them. This in turn grows the G.o.o.f. family by that much more every time a show is produced. “Every show we do we try and make better and bring people up with us,” Westbrook said.
Westbrook is currently ramping up to throw the group’s first Buffalo show at the Groove Lounge on Broadway this Saturday night.
Although now living in different cities, the two comedians, along with friend and fellow G.o.o.f.er Ryan Davis, hope to spread the message of the G.o.o.f. far and wide as they make their respective moves through the world. Kapp hopes to get to Atlanta soon, Davis to Los Angeles. West is eyeing the Big Apple. Their production work together remains at the forefront of their minds, however.
Westbrook explained that Kapp wants to eventually turn the G.o.o.f. name into a non-profit that sponsors after-school programs for disenfranchised youth. “We want to help them reach their dreams, whatever it is, and make sure they enjoy themselves. When you take the fun out of it, that’s when the devil creeps in,” Westbrook said of these noble future plans for G.o.o.f.
Westbrook and Kapp make a good pair. While Westbrook is content to quietly hover on the outskirts of a group, Kapp is the social butterfly. When it’s time to talk business, however, Westbrook goes into full pro mode and Kapp sits it out. A good yin and yang for these two new comedy pals and their burgeoning production company.
Kapp will be rejoining Westbrook in Buffalo this Saturday along with a few other comedy buddies from the Greensboro/Raleigh area.
“When you see somebody that’s working at something just as hard as you, or harder, you want to get in good with them, because nothing but good is going to come from that. Either they’re going to inspire you or you’re going to inspire them. I try to feed off of them…They’ll see what I’m doing, it’s going to open their eyes up,” Westbrook said of his old friends coming to do comedy in Buffalo with him for the first time.
“I want [the show] to be a big community event,” Westbrook said. “The way that the city’s going, the crazy stuff going on, especially in the African-American community, I think we need stuff like this, to help ease tension…I think it’ll do a lot of justice.”
Westbrook envisions an integrated audience hanging out on the East Side all laughing together.
“I want this to be the first of many… I just want everybody to come out, have fun, and be ready to laugh. That’s it,” Westbrook said.
G.o.o.f. Camp at the Groove Lounge on February 21st, 1210 Broadway, doors at 7 p.m., show at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 presale, $15 at the door. Featuring Buffalo comedians Dre’ West and Liam Patrick, and North Carolina comedians Ryan Davis, Jiwan Kapp, and Austin Cook, along with headliner, Ray Money.
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