If you are a member of a black fraternity or sorority and have access to Instagram, there is a very good chance that you know of the special brand of comedy made by a small but very popular and successful group of black greek comedians.
Nick Banks, a comedian who goes by the IG handle @Mr_Bankshot is one of these comedians specializing in comedy targeted toward members of Black fraternities and sororities and currently has a growing audience of over 250,000 follows who can attest to the fact that he can get people to laugh.
We at WatchTheYard.com got ahold of the 27-year-old Alpha for an exclusive interview and talked with him about his beloved fraternity, what he was like as a neo, and how he built and audience of over a quarter million fans in less than three years.
Check it out below:
Name: Nick Banks
Age: 27 (August 7th)
Where did you go to undergrad what did you graduate with?
I went to Ohio University (The Bobcats) and graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Communication Studies.
When did you cross/what chapter?
I crossed Spring ’11 Phi Chapter (4 Rock Club)
Why did you decide to pick Alpha Phi Alpha as an undergrad? What drew you to them?
I decided to join Alpha Phi Alpha because I saw them working on campus. They were doing fundraisers, educational events, community service, etc. And I would go to the gym or somewhere random on campus and would run into a complete stranger, have a cool conversation with them, and come to find out they were an Alpha. And of course after doing some research, it seemed to be the best fit for me.
How would you describe yourself as a neo?
As a neo? I would say I was thirsty for about 2 weeks after I crossed and then I was like ok, let me not wear my line jacket again today. Plus I was older than all my LB’s and damn near all the bruhs that were in the chapter so I wasn’t as thirsty as some Neo’s. I was pretty solid mentally and physically because I had just finished Army bootcamp a few months earlier.
How would your line brothers describe you as a neo?
A clown! I was always coming up with funny things right on the spot. They would say I was a leader. I was always coming up with events and planning them out and letting them know what it is I needed from them. I really took Alpha and ran with it to continue to make our presence strong on campus. Not saying I was instrumental in everything, but they would say I took the initiative to get things done.
How has Alpha helped you since crossing?
Since crossing, the biggest way Alpha has helped me is by allowing me to showcase my talents. A lot of the events I get booked for are Step Show/Stroll-Off events and if I wasn’t an Alpha, it would be very difficult to get booked for those types of events. Being able to host something like the stroll-off at Atlanta Greek Picnic in front of 10,000-15,000 people, wouldn’t have been possible without Alpha.
What brought you to comedy?
I really enjoy it. I’ve always been that person that people love being around, the family always wants me at the get togethers because I’m going to be the one to crack jokes and get the jokes going. I didn’t know comedy was going to be what I was doing at this point in my life or at all for that matter. Once I saw I was getting positive feedback from my social media platforms and from people close to me, I just decided to keep going to see where it would take me to. First it was about getting as many followers as I could, but it’s completely different now. That’s still important because you want people to see your work but it’s way more to it. I just knew I was capable of being funny and creative and I had a passion for it. I even did a comedy parody for my 2nd grade talent show.
You currently have over a quarter million followers on Instagram, how long did it take to develop your following?
I uploaded my first video in September of 2013. So it will be 3 years this year. I think my Pastor Flavor page I’ve had for about a year now and he has about 65,000 followers.
Do you have any tips on growing your fanbase on social media for others who want to get into comedy?
Be funny, be consistent, and stay relevant. Like I said, I’ve been doing this for almost 3 years now. Everybody wants that overnight fame, but that usually doesn’t last because people don’t know what to do when everyone is looking.
How do you think greekdom has changed since your crossed?
It’s just changed in general but that’s with times. Old heads can’t stroll with Neo’s anymore because the Neo’s took the original strolls and remixed them by adding the dab, nae nae, whip. You ask someone from the 80’s that same question they’ll say anybody that crossed after them is paper and this, that, and the third but things change. In about 20-30 years probably won’t even be a process, it’ll be like a Black Student Union meeting where you walk in, and your apart of the org lol. As long as you working and making your org look good, you good with me.
What lines do you not cross when making jokes about greeks?
I won’t disrespect anyone on a personal level but other than that I don’t have “lines” lol.
How much paraphernalia is too much paraphernalia in your opinion?
Man look! All you need is one item to let it be known that you are apart of whatever org you are apart of. You don’t need the Delta bucket hat, with the Delta necklace, and the Delta line shirt, with some Delta overalls and a pair of some elephant boots. One piece of nalia is enough.
What is the most played out thing in greekdom in your opinion?
Most played out thing to me is fighting over letters. That’s lame.
What is your best piece of advice to the spring 16 neos?
My best piece of advice would be to just continue the traditions. Don’t change the traditions because that’s what makes us so unique and special. Those traditions teach the underlying message of what being in NPHC is all about. We aren’t better than anyone because of our letters but we do have a bigger role in society. Don’t recruit your friends just because they are your friends, that’s when the drama comes into play. Look to add quality to your organization. My last piece of advice would be to make sure you look into booking Mr. Bankshot to host your annual step show. Lol!