J Russ started his stand-up comedy career in 2009 after his NFL dreams fell through. Beginning in a smaller market with comedy shows at the University of Pittsburgh was no easy task, but now he has set his sight on bigger heights with the upcoming release of his new movie, Off the Chain.
On Thursday, April 3rd, J Russ hosted a special premiere of his comedy movie at AMC Loews in the Waterfront. The 50-minute film included a stand up set from a previously recorded show at the August Wilson Center, sketches about J Russ’ childhood, and special excerpts from local socialites like Mike Dean and Lee Feets Davis.
“It’s good to see a young African-American male from the area try to expand himself outside of Pittsburgh. A lot of time people get content and comfortable and they fail to realize that there is more to the world than just this city. I think J Russ is actually doing a good job and taking the first steps toward that growth,” said Mike Dean, who attended the live taping at the August Wilson Center.
J Russ, who has opened up for Bruce Bruce, Lil’ Duval, DeRay Davis, Rickey Smiley, and even, Trey Songz, had a sold out show in the Homestead movie theatre. Fans, family, and friends were bursting out of the seams to celebrate the comedian’s recent accomplishment.
One attendee, Abraxis Blackwell, was more than impressed with the movie. “I have been to quite a few J. Russ shows and I would have to say this was by far one of the best. The movie highlights his talents and shows a more intimate side. I absolutely loved how it was up close and personal. J. Russ definitely showed up and showed out,” said Blackwell.
Many steps were taken to create the movie; selecting a venue, promoting, the fully-executed performance, taping, post-production, manufacturing, and now, the release. Even with initial doubt, J Russ said, “The entire process is probably one of the best feelings I have ever had because making a movie is something I always wanted to do.” Produced by ARC Films, the final product is a “joyful” inspiration to J Russ and others, “I want to inspire people to be creative and step out on their talent.
Even with initial doubt, J Russ said, “The entire process is probably one of the best feelings I have ever had because making a movie is something I always wanted to do.” Produced by TeeJay, the final product is a “joyful” inspiration to J Russ and others, “I want to inspire people to be creative and step out on their talent.
Inspired by fellow great comics like Eddie Murphy, Steve Harvey, and Bill Cosby, J Russ’ goal with Off the Chain was to create a local effort for global consumption.
“You don’t have to be a headliner that everybody knows like Kevin Hart or Denzel [Washington]. There are plenty of people here in the city like me that you can go to the theater and support. And it’s just as good as a movie,” said J Russ.
It is clear that a lot of heart and soul went into the production of this movie. Off the Chain definitely has some moments that may cause screaming laughter. J. Russ’ ideas on serial dating, church, and gas pump demeanor are priceless. The movie truly embodies J Russ’ seasoning of maturity and growth since his 2009 inception.
This past weekend, J Russ co-hosted Omicelo and Dream Cream Ice Cream’s Dream On Festival in Market Square, which was Pittsburgh’s first ever ice cream music festival. The weekend-long gathering showcased 25 musical acts and 75 flavors of Dream Cream Ice Cream.
Local acts included live music from Formula 412, The Foreign Exchange, 28 North, Mount Ararat Baptist Church, DJ Nate Da Phat Barber and others. In addition to his hosting gigs, J Russ plans to host special movie premieres in other cities like Washington DC and Cincinnati before its early May release.
To purchase Off the Chain or to get more information about J Russ, please visit www.jrussthecomic.com. The DVDs are $15.