Sergeant Nathaniel Martin Stroman was a “terrible soldier”. He will tell you himself. From half-heartedly participating in mock combat to constantly questioning authority, the former Air Force member, better known as Earthquake, regularly rolls jokes about his time in the service. in his stand-up routines. But after more than three decades in the game, the comedy veteran says it’s “About Got Damm Time” for his salvation.
In his new Netflix special, Legendary, Quake — as true fans call him — delivers blunt reflections on being a single father of three, dark humor about mortality, and surprisingly deep commentary on health within the black community. Delivered with an unmistakable DC “Souf-eas” accent, Quake’s comedy style feels like you’re cracking jokes with your uncle at a family barbecue in Rock Creek Park. It’s that down-to-earth authenticity and effortless connection with his audience that reverberates the most in this special.
“My fans already know who I am,” Quake said city paper. “You’re dealing with something subjective…I tell comedians all the time, ‘[There’s] always going to be someone who thinks you’re not funny. They won’t like any of your jokes. You just hope all those people don’t show up that night.
In Legendary, Earthquake recounts going to the doctor’s office for a prostate exam, reenacts how he allegedly handled the Jan. 6 insurrection as a Capitol police officer, and complains about friends and family who mocked him for getting the COVID-19 vaccine. As he glides across the stage telling the crowd how his doctor ‘seductively’ took off his medical gloves after the test or why he wants a wife who is as devoted to him as a Trump supporter, he delivers his signature retort , “These Ain’t Jokes!”
Quake clarifies: the jokes are fiction. “I make real life events funny.” This includes calling friends who blame chronic coughs on “allergies” or investing more time in their appearance rather than checking their blood pressure. quake jokes in Legendary“You have brothers here who have been wearing a mask for 18 months, I haven’t seen a dentist in 18 years.”
The legend of Earthquake began in 1963 in Condon Terrace, in the Washington Highlands neighborhood in the southeast of the country. It was there that a young Stroman tried to find his voice among his four equally funny siblings.
“When [you’re] in a big family, when you talk you have to make your words count or you will never be able to speak again so you have to cut to the chase,” he says. “When a mother has five children, she doesn’t have time for you to go around the [mulberry] Bush.”
As a “big, bad Ballou” high school student, Quake got a glimpse of the spotlight by hanging out at venues like the Maverick Room and the Howard Theater with members of the then-burgeoning go-go band. rare essence.
“Little Benny, David, Football, CC– all of them were my classmates and they were like the Jackson 5 so I hung out with them and went to all the go-gos and stayed until 4 or 5 in the morning,” he says.
Years later, he still incorporates the signature sound of DC and musicians with local ties into his live act. The well named Wales the song “Legendary” sets the tone for Quake’s special, in which he approaches the microphone while rapping softly along with the DC hip-hop artist’s lyrics, “You keep praying on your break, I hope that you have a slingshot/Shot for all the shots coming their beak.
“DC has the toughest people in the world, you hear me?” he says city paper. “DC [loves] their animators, but they are the last to pay them the flowers.
He made sure not only to bring the warmth Legendary but also put for his city. “I want to go home and see how it is,” the comedian, who now lives in Los Angeles, told the roaring crowd at the Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club, where the special was taped. The audience was filled with his friends and family. “And damn, I feel good,” he concludes.
But when he got the call to do the show from Netflix’s president himself, in winter 2020, Quake thought he was being played. Ted Sarandos told Earthquake that fellow DC comedian Dave Chappelle wanted his number to formally request to produce his special. Five minutes later, the phone rang. Legendary is one of four Netflix stand-up specials produced by Chappelle.
The two comedians first met in the ’90s when Earthquake owned several comedy clubs in Atlanta, one of which booked a young Chappelle. The rest, as they say, is history.
Quake ended up in Atlanta after being discharged from the Air Force for refusing to fight in the Gulf War after 11 years of service. He chose the Georgian capital after watching a CNN story that said Atlanta was the best city for black people to thrive. Quake honed his acting skills in clubs across the South, but it wasn’t until he was rejected by what he considered the “first black comedy club,” Comedy Act Theater, that he sought out a new path to success. A little advice from his mother helped Quake have the last laugh.
“She said, ‘Well, start your own comedy club,’ and that’s what I did,” he says. “I found investors, got $750,000, built the club in Buckhead, Atlanta. It became the most popular comedy club in Atlanta. Closed the other club that refused me to go on stage , shut them down.Quake accomplished this feat within six months of living in Atlanta.
Although he owned the club for 10 years, the itch of what he calls “the make it bag” (a successful stand-up career that becomes a self-titled TV show that turns into a film career at success, etc.) has been strengthened. He has performed on national platforms, including Def Comedy JamBET Comic Viewand HBO One night stand, but that glimmer of mainstream success has always eluded him disconcertingly. Eventually, like many greats before him, Quake thought he was going to shake up the LA comedy scene.
In the early 2000s, between two stand-up appearances, he had roles in the sitcom Everybody Hates Chris and in movies like Clerk II and The Longshots, but it still wasn’t a household name. The stand-up strategy in television and cinema has worked for Martin Lawrence, Steve Harvey, Kevin Hart, and countless other comics. Why not Earthquake? Was it too niche? Too “Souf-eas”? Whatever the reason, he doesn’t dwell on it. Her mother’s philosophy that “you can’t get mad at someone for not doing something you can’t do yourself” won’t allow her to face her path with regret.
Now, 30 years later, the kid from Condon Terrace who couldn’t break into the mainstream has established himself among the stars, and he’s just getting started. These days he has recurring roles as the owner of a hair salon That on CBS’ The neighborhood, Reservation on the TV show Bounce Johnson, and Mr.Leroy on the HBO Max series Buying Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty.
His publicist, Ava Medinaconfirms that due to the success of LegendaryQuake will be taking a 20-city comedy tour starting this summer in Chicago with another DC comedian Donnel Rawlings. He will return to the DMV on September 10 when his tour stops at Columbia.
“Oh, I’m hot in here!” He’s joking. “I’m burning fat fish here. People are sliding into my DMs talking about “Hey big head”. I am cute! I am beautiful!”
In addition to acting and touring, the “comedian’s comedian,” as his peers call him, also hosts “Quake’s House,” a comedy show on Hart Laugh Out Loud Radio’s Sirius XM station. Each week, Quake discusses the hot topics of the day with fellow comedians, such as Cedric the animator and mike eps.
Still, no matter how high Quake’s profile rises, making his hometown fans burst into laughter will always be a priority. “If you can make them laugh, you can make anyone in the country laugh.”