Picayune native to be featured on Comedy Central show
Published 7:00 am Saturday, August 26, 2017
Picayune Memorial High School graduate and Army veteran Ben Compton will be one of four Mississippi comics featured on Kevin Hart’s show “Hart of the City,” which airs on Comedy Central this fall.
Compton took to the stage in 2014 by joining Hub City Comedy in Hattiesburg after friends and family encouraged him to pursue his comedic talents.
“I’ve always been the type of person to joke around,” he said. Throughout his career on the baseball field at PMHS, and later in the Army during deployment in Afghanistan, Compton said he’s always been able to provide laughter to those around him.
But now through the support of other Mississippi comics, he auditioned for the comedy show this May in Jackson, which will reach audiences across the nation.
“There’s a huge comedy game in Mississippi,” Compton said.
Compton said it was an amazing experience to stand alongside better-known comics like Marvin Hunter, Rita Brent and Merc B. Williams, who will also appear on the show.
“To be able to be up there with them…it was such an honor,” he said, calling them some of his comedic role models.
But meeting Kevin Hart was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, Compton said.
“It was kind of like when you’re a kid, and things you always wanted, you finally get to see,” he said. “Kevin’s a great guy, he’s the same person that you see on TV and in movies… He’s a genuinely funny person who loves life.”
The Mississippi comedy community is growing, but it’s still very close-knit, Compton said, since many local comedians perform in the same circuit.
Compton said his comedy pulls from his everyday observations of family life in south Mississippi.
“I grew up in the South and am in an interracial marriage and have biracial children,” he said. “A lot of my set focused on some of the stuff with my oldest daughter, and things I’m running into like boys and dating.”
Like most comedians, Compton said his goal is simply to pay the bills through his comedy alone, though he and his wife do own a small business in Hattiesburg.
Once the episode airs this fall, likely sometime between October and December, Compton said he plans to take his jokes on the road as a full-time comic.
Yet he also hopes the show will not only bring him fame, but also heighten the reputation of all Mississippi comedians.
“My biggest hope is that it sheds that light on Mississippi; we have that talent and people are noticing us outside of Mississippi,” Compton said.