If you're not originally from Houston, you don't hear too much about the city's character. How can the rest of the world know about Houston's little (and big) quirks?
Enter Chinedu Ogu.
This past April, Ogu created a short video, I'm From Houston Where... In a less than a minute, he covers all of the best and worst parts of Houston, from driving down 290 to the greatness that is Original Timmy Chan's and taco trucks. This video alone has made a reach of almost 2 million views on Facebook, and he says there is much, much more comedy where that came from.
The man knows his city: "I grew up in southeast Houston, and I spent my summers in the southwest with my dad," he says. "I live in east Houston for two years as a kid. As I got older, I was in northwest Houston for a while, and northeast Houston for a little bit. Around 16 or 17, my dad moved deeper into the southwest—Missouri City—so I spent summers out there."
You can see Ogu share all of his Houston know-how in his now famous Houston videos. "Truth be told, different parts of the city might as well be different cities,” he says. “I find humor in that." Beyond talking about Houston, Ogu has a much wider range of content that he has created over the years, including two full web series, African Dad and Houston: The Series, all on his YouTube channel.
But comedy is Ogu's main staple.
"I actually started stand-up officially at 16. I hosted my high school talent show [in 2004 at Chavez High School]. I would do small gigs in the neighborhood every now and then...it dawned on me when I thought about the auditorium and how it can seat 900 people. I thought, if I can host a talent show, I can do stand-up for all of these people. That's like a Kings of Comedy show."
Halfway through our interview, a stranger recognized Ogu and approached him immediately. "Hey, you're the guy from the Houston videos!" the stranger pointed out with excitement. We waited patiently as the fan exchanged a selfie.
"That's the goal, to be seen and to be a part of everyone's daily routine," Ogu says. "I want people to wake up say, 'Let's look at Chinedu's page' and see a video and get our day started with a laugh...or end it with a laugh...let's take a break at work and laugh, all that."
Ogu's comedic influences include Sinbad, Dave Chappelle and Bernie Mac. His style is much tamer than many mainstream comedians, but his ability to find humor in the mundane and in a family-friendly way sets him apart in the best way possible. His growing popularity around the city culminates with his first show as a headliner at the Improv later this month.
"I really want this to be a formal introduction to my audience, let them know who I am," Ogu says. "I've been here, but recently, I feel that people have begun to see the content—they're really excited about it, and they enjoy it."
My Name is Chinedu, August 13 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets $12. Houston Improv, 7620 Katy Freeway, Space 455. For more information, visit improvhouston.com.