Darren Knight is an Alabama comedian who shot to internet fame when his character “Southern Momma” went viral two years ago — but you've probably never heard of him.
Those who have likely remember when Knight was one of 10 comics chosen by Variety magazine to perform at “Just For Laughs,” the largest and most prestigious stand-up comedy festival in the world. Things did not go well.
Knight was the only white guy on the bill — and the only one booed off the stage after he admonished his fellow comedians for being too focused on subjects like sexual orientation and racism.
Twitter exploded and he was denounced as a racist and a homophobe. His detractors were uncompromising, declaring that Knight’s opinions had no place in comedy. Before the dust settled, Knight’s New York-based talent agent, ICM Partners, had dropped him.
For most up-and-coming comics, this would be the end of the line. But not for Knight.
His videos and stage act have translated into millions in revenue, taking Knight from a single-wide trailer in the woods to a sprawling antebellum-era plantation — and to the front lines of the comedy culture wars.
This segment originally aired September 4, 2018 on VICE News Tonight on HBO.