Genivive Clinton: Driven to Success

September 24, 2023

Photo Credit

Troy Conrad


Valerie Lopez


Valerie Lopez


After as many guests as we’ve had, it’s hard­er and hard­er to land firsts”, but life is noth­ing, but full of sur­pris­es. Geni­vive Clin­ton is a for­mer truck dri­ver and this is def­i­nite­ly our first con­ver­sa­tion with a truck­er turned come­di­an (with some, for­give us, speed bumps along the way for good mea­sure). Clin­ton was born and raised pri­mar­i­ly in Detroit, although she did spend some time in San Anto­nio attend­ing preschool at Col­by Glass Ele­men­tary School. It’s endear­ing that Clin­ton still remem­bers the mas­cot, the Lil Huskies, and she remem­bers naps, lots of naps. For as lit­tle time as she spent out­side of her home state of Michi­gan, these are still impres­sive mem­o­ries to hang on to.

Clin­ton did­n’t per­form in school, at least not beyond litur­gi­cal dance, which is a form of move­ment which serves as an expres­sion of wor­ship, typ­i­cal­ly occur­ring with­in the plat­form of a church, or wor­ship ser­vice. It is very clear that church and God are impor­tant to who Clin­ton is. 

Not many moments in the con­ver­sa­tion pass before a ref­er­ence to scrip­ture or the role of reli­gion is brought up by Clin­ton. My per­son­al favorite is the notion sug­gest­ed by her aun­ty” of you went from prais­ing the Lord to doing pussy jokes” and ques­tion­ing whether she’s on the right path pre­cise­ly because of her reli­gious back­ground and the inner judge­ment she impos­es upon her­self. One could sug­gest that becom­ing devout believ­ers and fol­low­ers is plau­si­ble with either com­e­dy or religion. 

The ser­mons are decid­ed­ly dif­fer­ent, though. 

Back to danc­ing, Clin­ton isn’t for­mal­ly trained, but she’s always loved danc­ing. She per­formed in tal­ent shows and in church. But, Clin­ton isn’t one to be pinned down and once she was legal­ly allowed in clubs, she embraced the ratch­et side of her dance skills. One of her aun­ties even encour­aged Clin­ton say­ing You’re in church all the time, don’t act like you don’t like to shake it and move it.” And shake it she did. In a sign of true com­mit­ment and under­stand­ing of the art form, Clin­ton quick­ly dis­pensed with the high heels and uncom­fort­able club fash­ion for the sake of sneak­ers and car­go shorts to be entire­ly com­fort­able while danc­ing. As a sneak­ers-only” per­son myself, I endorse Clin­ton’s phi­los­o­phy entire­ly and it should be not­ed, she was reward­ed for being com­fort­able with her­self because the club and the DJ invit­ed her to dance on stage and in oth­er rooms not pre­vi­ous­ly open to her.

You went from praising the Lord to doing pussy jokes.
Genivive Clinton's Aunty

After her move to Michi­gan State Uni­ver­si­ty, she was dis­ap­point­ed not only at how pre­dom­i­nant­ly white her cam­pus was but at the lack of danc­ing at par­ties. She’d also been liv­ing with­out the influ­ence of drink or drugs. It was­n’t until a fate­ful St. Patrick­’s Day par­ty that she broke her streak. She and her good friend decid­ed to pre-game before head­ing to a par­ty, where she let loose with her dance moves. For her efforts, she earned new atten­tion and lev­els of IDGAF. In class, she stud­ied psy­chol­o­gy, but real­ized soon upon grad­u­a­tion that grad­u­ate school (and its price tag and paper­work) were not her cup of tea. 

Clin­ton con­sid­ers her­self a schol­ar, how­ev­er. So much so that I still think one day that com­e­dy is gonna pop for me where I have cush­ion mon­ey where I’m like, you can either do a side hus­tle of some kind or fur­ther your edu­ca­tion … and I still have some edu­ca­tion dreams.” But for now, the MSU grad­u­ate quick­ly real­ized she did­n’t like desk jobs and paper­work, so she went through a tran­si­tion peri­od, or in her direct fash­ion of speak­ing a lazy peri­od”. She tried a num­ber of dif­fer­ent jobs — social work, child­care, clean­ing com­pa­nies, and none, in their own ways, ever con­nect­ed with Clin­ton as things she could do long term. Add to that the recur­ring theme of dis­like of com­put­er work and paper­work, noth­ing was going to stick. Until the dis­ci­pline of earn­ing a truck dri­ver’s CDL resonated.

When you spend end­less hours on the road, you can lis­ten to the radio pip­ing through the dif­fer­ent cities of the coun­try, you can talk to oth­er dri­vers via quaint­ly vin­tage CB radios, or in Clin­ton’s case, lis­ten to hours upon hours of com­e­dy spe­cials. After almost four years of dri­ving, Clin­ton felt ready to get start­ed with her next voca­tion. She began per­form­ing more reg­u­lar­ly and also met Markus Olind, a fel­low Detroit com­ic who was suc­cess­ful­ly nav­i­gat­ing the Detroit and Los Ange­les com­e­dy scenes before the pan­dem­ic struck. In 2020, the pair made their way to Dal­las. Think­ing Texas had estab­lished itself as open for (com­e­dy) busi­ness”, it made it clear Texas would be their next home. 

I'm just happy to be a part of this. I don't want to be braggadocious but It's like man, I'm just blessed
Genivive Clinton

After hear­ing that the Kill Tony show had recent­ly relo­cat­ed from Los Ange­les to Austin, the pair came to Austin and in what Clin­ton describes as man­i­fes­ta­tion, her name was called (if your name is called, you get one minute to per­form in front of host Tony Hinch­cliffe, pro­duc­er Red­ban, and a spe­cial guest). She made an instant impres­sion on Hinch­cliffe, Red­ban, and spe­cial guest Shane Gillis. 

For Clin­ton, the word man­i­fest is an impor­tant part of her vocab­u­lary and as she tells it: I just had a moment where I like close my eyes and I was like, What if you got called?” The gold­en tick­et, as it were, is to suc­cess­ful­ly com­plete a minute, the fol­low up inter­view, and then receive an invi­ta­tion to Red­ban’s Secret Show. Hav­ing earned her gold­en tick­et and the flood of oth­er standup show invi­ta­tions, it was­n’t long before Clin­ton and Olind packed their bags and set­tled in Austin. In her words, I had to (move to Austin).“

Clin­ton is def­i­nite­ly part of the new wave of the Austin com­e­dy scene. It’s evi­dent as she sports her The Com­e­dy Moth­er­ship shirt proud­ly (she wore it dur­ing our inter­view, too) as one of the door peo­ple of the appren­tice-style com­e­dy club where you have to audi­tion with a three minute standup set to be con­sid­ered. Those earn­ing door per­son priv­i­leges get first crack at open mics and open spots at the club. 

Clin­ton does­n’t rest on being a vet­er­an, but walks in both worlds of old and new Austin com­e­dy groups. While she toured with Tony Hinch­cliffe as one of his open­ers, she also head­lined The Velvee­ta Room ear­li­er this year. She does­n’t seem inter­est­ed in a divid­ed Austin com­e­dy scene, for Clin­ton, I’m just hap­py to be a part of this. I don’t want to be brag­gado­cious but It’s like man, I’m just blessed.”

What’s ahead for Clin­ton? Despite being mind­ful of the role of man­i­fest­ing her future, she’s very much in the moment it seems. Enjoy­ing her role at The Com­e­dy Moth­er­ship, her book­ings to per­form all over Austin, her part­ner Markus, danc­ing (ratch­et and oth­er­wise), and appar­ent­ly UFOs. For that one, you’ll have to give the episode a lis­ten. It was a nice curve­ball in the con­ver­sa­tion, demon­strat­ing that Clin­ton is always full of surprises.

Fol­low Genivive

Geni­vive can be seen and heard:

  • Per­form­ing reg­u­lar­ly at The Com­e­dy Mothership
  • Arti­san Dis­tillery — Sun­day 923 7pm and 9:30pm, San Anto­nio, TX
  • The Creek and the Cave — Thurs­day 928 8pm
  • Cap City Com­e­dy Club — Fri­day 929 7:30pm
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Genivive Clinton