I heard about Owen Benjamin via reviews for the Impractical Jokers UK tour. Every single review that mentioned him said how much they enjoyed him and how funny he was. As a lifelong fan of comedy, my interest was piqued and I followed him on Twitter immediately.
One thing that's cool about Twitter is the interaction - and not all people with a massive following will interact because it must be overwhelming to keep up with all the tweets. Not an issue with this guy. He thrives on conversation, and this was where it became clear that not only is he face-achingly funny, but he's smart. Super smart. And not afraid to share his opinions. Over recent weeks, he has discussed the terror attacks in Manchester and London, talked about Sharia Law, about the Kathy Griffin controversy, about religion in general, and most recently, J.K Rowling's 14-tweet long rant about the use of the word "whore".
Criticism of people who are extremely well-loved, or voicing potentially unpopular opinions is something many shy away from, but actually, it's a really good thing to open up conversations about subjects that are quite often avoided. Do I always agree with him? Oh, hell no. But hearing out others is about listening, learning, considering other angles, and I love that. (Unfortunately, I have a major affliction when it comes to joining in these conversations online because I cannot fit my point into 140 characters. I can hit that 'like' button like a demon though :p) Opening up a dialogue - even if it's uncomfortable - is okay, and more than that, it's important.
Taking it back to the less serious stuff - the comedy - if you want to check out Owen Benjamin in action, you can see some of his stand up on YouTube, check out his podcast (link is at the top of the page), or take a glimpse at his Instagram - and, honestly, this was the moment I knew I was in the presence of a genius.
My buddy just texted me this. I'm not kidding when I say #penisart will set you free. This world has gotten so serious and divided sometimes you just have to let go and start drawing dicks on everything. Make the dicks beautiful and expressive. Give it subtext, over think the dick, then share it. Some won't like it, but the negative reaction is much less troubling than the reaction to someone with different political beliefs. Take a deep breath, look at the sky, smile, then draw a dick. #penisart
Do yourselves a favour, friends. Check him out. If you're lucky, you'll catch him on Periscope - where he will make you laugh in between playing piano, taking requests, and answering questions.
You can see Owen Benjamin live both in the US and the UK, so if you like what you see, check out the dates here.