A few wise men once said: “If they don’t know your dreams, then they can’t shoot ’em down.” Today, many of us acknowledge and chase after our dreams under the watchful eye of an audience. Whether it be tweet, blog or word of mouth, whatever you choose to pursue isn’t safe from the criticisms of peers and strangers alike. Fortunately, Guy Code’s Damien Lemon realized his comedic aspirations just before the start of intrusive social media culture.
As an employee at VIBE Magazine, Lemon hustled his way out of a desk job and onto the stage as he tip-toed into the world of stand up comedy and eventually television. Since then, it’s been a rollercoaster ride for the comedic hustler who lends his witty one-liners and commentary to MTV’s Guy Code and Guy Court. Joined by a bevy of other familiar faces, Lemon’s advice comes at you straight with no chaser; and audiences can’t get enough.
During our exclusive chat, we got the lowdown on life after a 9-5, what all women should know about men and what celebrities are guilty of breaking guy code.
Take us from the days when you were at Vibe. How’d you transition from that to comedy?
I started comedy in ’05 and left Vibe in 2007. I didn’t want everyone to know I was doing it because that was still the age of side hustles and I wanted to be good. I was the Music and Entertainment Sales and Marketing Manager, one of the longest titles in the masthead. It was dope; I got to travel to LA maybe ten times a year. It was a vanity job, but once I got into the comedian thing, I started to lose the passion for doing sales and they peeped and I got let go. It was honestly a good thing because I kept saying “I’m gonna do this shit,” so it gave me the kick in the ass I needed.
When you got fired, how did you survive? How’d you pay your bills?
I had saved up money and I did get a severance so I had a little something and I was doing odd jobs. My family held me down, my lady held me down and I had a good support system . Around 2011, I was starting to gain momentum in comedy and I did an MTV comedy showcase and I rocked it. People from MTV hit me and asked if I had management and I told them I was actively looking for it. They linked me with my management. MTV would bring me in for various things to pitch a show about the worse rap videos ever. The creator of Guy Code came in and my old sales tactics kicked in. He said, “Oh I’m about to put a show on called Guy Code” and I said, “Oh I’d be good on that” in passing. They called me in with the director Andy Stuckey and it went well. They called me back to actually write on the show and then I went from the writer’s room to actually being on the show.
At that time were you aware it could be your breaking moment?
Nah ( laughs). You have so many moments where you’re like, “well this could be the one” and then it’s not. Shit has changed since Guy Code, but I didn’t even have that expectation. People hear “guy code” and hear a certain thing like real “bro-y,” but there are all types of guys on there; the Alpha male to dudes who get vulnerable. We’ve just finished season four coming out next year.
What’s the creative process behind the show?
There is a corkboard loaded with topics and we’ll look at the guys codes to that and then we think of the beats. For example, what is the guy code to when you’re in a interracial relationship; the questions and universal themes that come with that. In the room guys may have a story and if it resonates in the room then it eventually make the show. It’s unscripted, however you see the questions before hand.
What would you say to women who ask why they should watch the show?
It gives you insight on the opposite sex and women really want that. They try to figure out what we’re thinking and for the most part, we don’t speak in riddles; we are pretty straight forward. Women try to look at it for what it is and it just gives you the insight for things you don’t have the courage to think or ask. Honestly, the approach is don’t try to be funny. Just be honest because you’re already funny by default.
Worst Scenario where you wish you had Guy Code advice?
When I was young, my older brother was dating this girl and he had a side chick. I was young and his girl took me to Burger King and she sat me down and was like, “So is he dating anybody else?” It was like First 48 gave me something to eat and I was like, “he’s dating such and such” and I was snitching. I could’ve used some more teaching. It was a teachable moment.
Do you ever break any of your advice now?
Absolutely. It’s easier to give advice than to take advice. You got to break it to speak on it.
What celebrities continuously break Guy Code?
You could say Kanye [West]. He’s his own worst enemy; he breaks Kanye code. He doesn’t let his work speak for itself. He’ll put out a dope piece of work and say some ridiculous shit. Also Simon [Cowell]; he’s wildin’. He took his best friend’s wife. Maybe they’ve got a different guy code overseas.
Photo Credit: Getty Images
Do you watch Girl Code?
I do watch it periodically. It’s a lot of funny women on that show; it gives you insight
The best piece of insight you gained?
I couldn’t even call it; it’s just some funny people on that show. The funniest is when Jamie Lee was talking about masturbation and she said it feels how pizza tastes. You never hear a female talking about that.
What are 5 things women should know about men that would make their lives easier?
Don’t over think a guy’s movements, but if you want to know, just ask. Sometimes women get caught up. Let a man take care of you; it doesn’t make you any less of a woman. Be able to be vulnerable with a guy. Be cool; try to get into each other’s passions as opposed to high maintenance. Bring other women to the bedroom. (Laughs) Nah.
Are you still with the same girl? Would you say you’ve become wiser because of the show?
Yes and the thing about the show is it asks you the questions explicitly. We’ll talk about jealousy and apologies because these are questions that will probably never come up with your boys. It makes you articulate your thought and it helps to practice what you preach.
What next for you in the future and distant?
A lot more stand up. I never stop. There is going be a Guy Code/Girl Code college tour. I have a web series call The D Lemon In The Morning Show which is like a fake radio show. I would love to have a comedy special on HBO, put out an album and write a movie. I just want to be known for being a great comedian, putting good shit out in the world and explore any opportunities that come from that.
Photo Credit: WireImage