Kioniafool‘s little sister talked him into starting TikTok. “I just tried it and — shoot, you see from the first one that I did — because I was like, then I understood what it was… but from the get-go, I liked it… this has so many things to offer and I get this just shows so many of my different little talents. I got the whole outfits, the props and everything”
The 31-year-old comedian’s first TikTok went viral, reaching more than 68,000 people. It features his prison inmate character dancing outdoors to celebrate being a trustee. A trustee is often in jail for a nonviolent crime and is close to their release date, so they are given small jobs around the jail to occupy them instead of keeping them in their cell the whole day.
@kioniafoolWhen you a trustee ##mopchallenge ##mopdance ##mop ##foryou ##fyp ##themopchallenge ##dancing @overtime Ig @kioniafool♬ original sound – overtime
When it went viral, Kioni was shocked. “I couldn’t even believe it. I thought something messed up with my phone.”
Despite his smooth moves, Kioni has no formal training in dance. “I just try to make it work. I try to study a little bit and knock it out.” he said. He attributes his fearlessness to his zodiac sign. His birthday is August 22, which he says makes him a Leo, a sign known by astrology believers as being enthusiastic, passionate and generous.
The son of a veteran, Kioni was going to go into the military. Instead he became a jack of all trades. He’s cut hair, driven buses at an airport, but his heart belongs to comedy. A basketball player in high school, he would get in trouble for being talkative or being a class clown. So he set his sights on comedy. His first stand-up performance was in Charlotte, North Carolina.
His parents don’t have TikTok but they hear about Kioni’s videos from other family members who call him. On Kioni’s 30th birthday in August, his parents came to his latest stand-up performance in Gastonia, North Carolina. His stand-up routine focuses on his every day life. “I guess my facial expressions really sell a lot of things.”
Many of Kioni’s videos include Mexican pointy boots. Kioni describes himself as “country” and decided that the boots would fit in perfectly with his style of go big or go home.
His style led him to source costumes from unconventional placed to fit the different characters he plays: he found his dress at Goodwill, he also has a set of grandma apparel, who he says was a big influence in his life. He even occasionally sources costumes from Party City, a popular party supply store. “I have random ideas, they just run through my mind. And if I see something and I know it can go with something, and I can make something happen, I’m going to get it.”
His favorite TV show is a cooking show called Beat Bobby Flay. He’s afraid of snakes and driving over tall bridges, like the one in Charleston, South Carolina.