What happens when your face goes viral?
PHOTOGRAPHY / Paris Steward |Tall Tower Studios @mr_ceo.official
INTERVIEW BY Angel Neal | Editor In Chief @angel_stylistbehavior
Antonio "Tony Talks"Baldwin is one unique comedic influencer who has taken the internet by storm and has no plans on slowing down. He reminds us to live, love and laugh but don't forget to boldly walk into any room we enter, because he sure does. Because of his massive audience, Baldwin has had a vast myriad of partnerships with international brands such as Google, Crest, Airbnb, Universal Pictures, Snapchat, Citibank, Verizon Media, KFC, Scope, Comedy Central, LogoTV, iHeart Radio, Sprite and more! However, in spite of his massive success, "Tony Talks" remains dedicated to his passion: making people laugh.
In this exclusive interview with Disrupshion Magazine, Tony talks inspiration, motivation and inspiring life through fun and laughter.
What prompted your interests and subsequently your foray into comedic relief?
Comedy, is medicine, I feel like laughing is medicine. Having a good laugh is the cure to a lot of things mentally and physically if you laugh hard enough. When dealing with personal experiences, certain episodes of anxiety, depression, all that stuff, I’ve found that laughing and just finding things funny helps you get out that funk. You’re very present when you’re laughing, and that’s why I sought to create a career out of it.
Do you actually remember the first comedian or comedic show that resonated with you?
Yeah. So Family Guy, Mad TV, Robot Chicken, I would say certain actors, Deborah Wilson, Jim Carrey and Martin Lawrence. These creatives, just sparked everything within me, so much curiosity of the power of laughter.
How has your background, upbringing and education had an impact on your artistic career? Because I know, just being a black person in general, I think we’re naturally funny. What was it like for you?
Well, I was more so which may suprise everyone, but the shy child growing up. I was just very shy. My mom swore I would grow up and become emo because I was just that quiet. But I was soaking it up. I was soaking in everything around me. I was, you know, just like every other shy child that was waiting for my moment. And when that moment happened, I just couldn’t shut up. So you know, I would say growing up in a house full of women, I have three sisters and as the only boy I wanted to be heard and seen. My dad traveled a lot for work. So I’m surrounded by all these women, and as you know women are Catty, women are back and forth. There’s so many stories within that alone that, you know, kind of just driven me to where I am today.
So some social media content creators like to say that we should just judge jokes and comedians on whether they are funny. But comedians clearly bring their own experiences to comedy, and are often using their own stories to get certain kinds of laughs What do you think about this?
I felt like relatable comedy is the best. And when it comes to me, I create things that are relatable, but I create, and I add an exaggeration to it. So I like the relatability. I love for the viewer to explore a reaction of why is this happening? I like a mix of both, I can be naturally funny but I can also naturally be relatable. But then the other part is like, what am I even watching, but I like it, so I’m gonna keep watching.
Do you feel that people are very sensitive these days?
Yeah, I do feel like comedy now is very borderline, but I feel like it is rightfully so. Because, you know, back then, I mean, I loved it. But still, I’ve noticed that comedy more so now is or what it was, is, you know, you you’re funny when you’re degrading someone or you’re funny when you’re, you know, making someone feel bad about themselves. Definitely, in our culture, that’s what we do. You know, we love to just jawn on people and all that stuff, which is fine, but at the same time, you know, people are very sensitive now, rightfully so. So, I choose to find a way to be funny, that isn’t degrading but still relatable.
Your editing is unique in the structure of your videos. Did it take time to like find your groove?
I remember, at a point in time, in the beginning, I wasn’t as organized, I will say. I met this guy who kind of told me I needed to work on my comedic timing. And then that’s when I was like, Okay, and I took it, and I ran with it, and I was like, Okay, let me figure out what I can do within a minute. So I want when viewers first hit play on my video, to see something that is like, Okay, what am I looking at? So while you are you trying to figure out why my wig is so tall? Or like, what I got going on? I already said a joke in the first three seconds. In in the midst of everything going on in my video, you realize he’s actually kind of funny. So let me keep watching. So that’s where my video structure comes into play. Our attention spans nowadays are so quick. So I figured give you something to look at that’s funny, and then let you hear something that’s fun, and you’ll keep coming back for a good laugh.
Do you have a favorite character or person you like to portray in your videos?
I don’t have a favorite at all. I just don’t want to get tied into any of it. So you know, my favorite character is me. So whenever I’m playing me, then I’m good.
Can you describe your biggest challenge so far, and how have you overcome it?
Yes, my biggest challenge, I would say is comparison. When you’re an influencer you know your friends are your coworkers. It’s just like any other field, you end up just comparing yourself to the people around you. I wouldn’t say I have overcame the challenge of comparison, its a process. I’m still overcoming it and what helps is I limit what I show myself. So I limit what I see on social media, I literally have two accounts I utilize. One of them is solely just motivational things. And then when I want to get into the mess, because I am human, then I, you know, go on the other page and look at a few things. But other than that, I separate intentionally whats put in front of me and try to cater to positive things that will help me be the best version of myself.
In an industry with so much competition? How do you stay uplifted, motivated, and even inspired to push through and maintain your happiness, while also cultivating these necessary relationships?
So I would say, kind of like what I was saying before, I would try to, filter what I see, that keeps the happiness going, you know, it keeps the authentic newness. I want to make sure I’m looking at the right things. And as for the relationships, let me tell you, in the beginning of all this, I would make pretty much anybody I met my best friend, you know, I would, I’m a social person. So I’m an introverted introvert. So I love to speak to people, I love to have fun and all that good stuff. But then I had to learn the difference between, like I said earlier, coworkers and friendships and within this industry, to keep the balance of those relationships. That’s what I had to do. I had to realize, okay, they’re not gonna really talk to you after today. So you need to make sure you do what you got to do present yourself, all that good stuff. And if they talk to you, it’s mainly for opportunities. So you need to make sure that you keep them at a distance and stuff like that. So understanding that is what helped me maintain these relationships. I like to talk so I can easily get into a room and connect with anybody. I stay uplifited by just knowing whats for me is for me.
You’ve been able to land some great partnerships and collaborations, how has that journey been so far?
It’s been awesome. I would just say, through me being authentically myself, and like, just kind of just doing what I want to do, and not paying attention to all this craziness, it has, brought these brands and these partnerships and these people to me, and it makes me stand out. It’s been awesome. But there’s ups and downs of every journey. And I can definitely say, you know, with this journey, it has been complicated, but it’s been the most rewarding. So you know, I’m grateful for every bit of it.
For many to get to where they want to be, they have to be comfortable in the now of who they are. For you is self love, a practice, a destination or something else in its entirety?
It’s always a practice for me and I feel its a practice for every one! If anybody ever tells you or anybody reading this that they’ve just always been confident that is just not true. They are not human, and they’re not from earth, if they just came out, just loving themselves. And I just feel like every single day, it’s a practice. Everyday when I walk outside, when I create a video, when I do this interview it’s a practice, and I’m grateful for you know, daily for being able to work towards something. I’m completely grateful for it. You ain’t human if you ain’t working towards something.
So where do you draw your inspiration from for your content, creation?
It comes from life experiences. I tell everybody that because it truly does. It comes from me having just normal conversations, me talking to you and the inconveniences that you’re having, could trigger an idea for a video. What I’m saying is just live and learn and the ideas will come. I always tell people who go through like creative ruts or anything like that. It just means you’re not experiencing life enough. And you know, you have to take breaks, go on a vacation. If you can’t do that, go outside, speak to somebody. And you know, it’ll just start flowing to you. So life experiences is what drives every video. I’ve either experienced everything, or I’ve spoken to someone who’s experienced it and I’ve exaggerated it in my video. So that’s usually how that with their permission of course, but that’s how that all works.
What is your monthly wig budget? You switch it up often.
People think I’m out here spending 1000’s or whatever dollars, and I’m not literally. I go to the beauty supply store, it’s a guy that works there he knows me by name now, and he just helps me out. And I will say, about $150 a month. But honestly I could wear a mop on my head, and I will find a way to make it look nice. So you know, it’s not about the perfection of anything is literally just about what stands out to me. And you know, that’s it. I would be crazy to be walking around with a $600 wig on my head for a video, unless its sponsored and i didn’t pay for it. I’m very cheap. And it’s actually more funny when it’s the basic wigs that are more relatable, people love that aspect of the content.
You’ve been granted the ability to send a message to your 16- year-old self. What do you say?
A question like this honestly always makes me cry, just because I’m always with my younger self. Like, that’s my motivation to keep doing anything that I do. And my 16 year old self, I was going through some things like a lot of things. But I would say to myself that everything I’m going through it will all be worth something in the future and there’s a reason for everything. There’s a reason for the tears. It’s a reason for the awkwardness, the uncomfortableness, the anxiety, because all of those things, although at that time, I used to pray it away and all that craziness, all of those things created something special that I’m living in today. And I wouldn’t change one of those sad dramatic depressive moments.
Tony talks thoughts on influence on using his influence.
I hate the word influencer because I don’t want to be the guy who is in charge of making anyone do anything. But I would like to just share the message to other people just to authentically be themselves and figure out what that means for them.
Tony Talks thoughts on prayer.
I’m big on prayer. If you want a happy life, I feel a prayer is the way to go. And you don’t have to pray like anybody else. You don’t have to sit there and you know, say all these big words and all that stuff. Praying is very casual in my book, you know speaking to God like he’s your friend or whoever you speak to when you’re comfortable. I feel you always need something higher than yourself to look up to. So prayer is a must for me.
Tony Talks on learning to listen to my intuition.
Okay, so everyday I’m learning to listen to my intuition, trying to understand it better. I’m far from perfect. I mean, in a perfect world, that’s exactly what you need to do trust your gut. But you know, your mind steps in and is like, hold on, let’s think this through and all that good stuff. But all the best experiences in my life has come from trusting myself. So I’m all for it.
Tony Talks on success, like what does success look like in your eyes? Because it’s different for different people.
Success for me is being able to sit in a chair and sit there and just be joyful and not feel like you have to do anything else. To feel like theres nothing you’re missing out on just sitting down and you’re like, I’m real happy right here. That’s, that’s what success is to me, peace.
Tony Talks on something we all know but bears repeating.
Everyone knows what they have to do to achieve any goal. If you want to lose weight, you know how to do it. If you want to gain weight, you know how to do it. If you want to be a singer, you know what you have to do. We know whats expected of us but for some reason we sometimes need a mental push to just start. I’m still learning the things that I already know if that makes any sense.
Tony Talks on words to live by, what keeps you going in the morning or whatever?
What keeps me going is I belong in any room, I step in, and so do you. If you don’t feel like you belong in there, then it’s either you switch to another room or you make that room yours. So you know, that’s, my thing. And I’m still learning it like, there are rooms that I walk into, and I’d be like, Hold on now, but you just have to know you belong in every room that you that you step foot in and also understand that doesn’t put you above anybody. It just helps to understand your worth, you know what I’m saying. I’m always thinking, I was invited and even if I wasn’t, God didn’t put me in for no reason.
To stay up to date with all things Tony Talks check him out on all social media platforms @iamtonytalks .