Friday, April 24, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Dual life: Teacher by day, comic on weekends, summer break

By
From page B1 | June 13, 2014 |

Derrick Leonard

Derrick Leonard (Courtesy photo by Paul Bishop)

FAIRFIELD — Interesting is probably one of the last words Derrick Leonard would use to describe himself.

“I’m just a normal person who does comedy occasionally,” said the Vallejo resident. After a pause, Leonard said he thought putting normal and comedy in the same sentence might be an oxymoron.

Humor comes from a point of pain for many comics. Leonard wants to make his audiences forget their pain.

During the day, Leonard teaches English and Spanish to seventh- through 12th-graders. Weekends and summers are often spent on the comedy circuit.

He strives to keep the two separate. However, one of his students did a Google search for Derrick Leonard and came up with the comedy side of his life.

“It spread like wildfire (around the school),” he said. “All the kids went on (the Internet) and saw it. They thought it was pretty interesting.”

The teaching credential came after about seven years in the stand-up comedy ranks. When Leonard didn’t find fame and fortune sharing humor, he contemplated a career in writing.

His mother’s stories of her work as a teacher enticed him into education. Comedy came calling again a few years ago, and Leonard found a way to make both of them work.

Pursuing comedy full-time is consuming, he said. He’s learned to take advantage of summer vacation and books his own shows. It also means he doesn’t have to stay out late and get up early the next morning to teach.

Leonard recently began teaching a comedy class through the Greater Vallejo Recreation District.

“You can teach people comedy,” he said. “You’d be surprised how you can sit down with someone and crank out new material. They have an idea, we run with it and forge into it a bit.”

A commencement address he gave at his former high school didn’t go well, in his mind, and sent him running to Toastmasters, an organization dedicated to improving communication and leadership development. The second commencement address at the same high school, after the benefit of Toastmasters, went much better, he said.

“Stand-up comedy doesn’t necessarily transfer to public speaking skills,” Leonard said. “I wanted to be a better speaker.”

He now serves as president of his Toastmasters club. Being a part of the group also offers him the chance to try out some new jokes at the weekly meetings, and help other members who have trouble adding humor to their speeches, he said.

Leonard grew up watching comics on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.” He gets his biggest chuckles listening to Brian Regan and Jerry Seinfeld.

He prefers comedy with a dose of sarcasm – clean sarcasm, he said.

Leonard takes his routine to churches and doesn’t change the content for other venues.

“Most audiences appreciate clean (comedy),” he said.

He draws inspiration from everyday life, particularly situations that don’t go as planned. His theory is that if there’s something amiss in the situation, there’s a way to make light of it.

Locals may recognize him from substitute teaching in local junior high and high schools. He stepped away from full-time teaching a couple of years ago, for one year.

“It convinced me I wanted to stay in teaching,” he said. “I like the interaction with the kids. There’s a level of fulfillment there I don’t get from comedy. I have to know I’m contributing to people’s lives for more than one night of entertainment.”

Reach Amy Maginnis-Honey at 427-6957 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/amaginnisdr.

Derrick Leonard, Mike Pace, Larry “Bubbles” Brown

  • 8 p.m. June 20
  • Empress Theatre, 330 Virginia St. Vallejo
  • 552-2400, www.empresstheatre.org
Amy Maginnis-Honey

Amy Maginnis-Honey

Amy Maginnis-Honey joined the staff of the Daily Republic in 1980. She’ll tell you she was only 3 at the time. Over the past three decades she’s done a variety of jobs in the newsroom. Today, she covers arts and entertainment and writes for the Living and news pages.
LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

 
House of Floyd gears up for Vacaville show

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
Spring band festival gets new life in Fairfield

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1, 4 Comments

 
Students showcase artistic talents at annual show

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Groups offer ‘The Raising of America’ sneak peek

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: B2

 
Muslim women in post 9/11 world topic of play

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B2

Durst will perform at Children’s Network benefit

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B2

 
 
 
 
Dixon May Fair offers sneak peek

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

 
Fairfield police log: April 22, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: April 22, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
.

US / World

Few vets getting care through $10 billion VA program

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 3 Comments | Gallery

 
Pentagon eyes possible use of cyberwarfare in the future

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

San Diego man arrested in terror case

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Google CEO compensation tops $100M

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Judge denies parole to former Manson Family member

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
Evidence building of fracking-caused earthquakes

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

Wife of slain mayor accused of manslaughter

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Cesar Chavez gets full military honors

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Petraeus sentenced to 2 years’ probation for military leak

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6 | Gallery

 
American, Italian hostages killed in US drone strike

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

New DNA codes for mammoths: Step toward bringing them back?

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
 
Gay marriage a difficult issue for GOP White House hopefuls

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Loretta Lynch wins confirmation as attorney general

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Armenians mark 100-year anniversary of massacres

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Thousands evacuated following Chilean eruption

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
European leaders rally to solve migrant ship issue

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

.

Living

Community Calendar: April 24, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in history: Friday, April 24, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

My late husband’s brother still has drum set meant for my son

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

 
Horoscopes: April 24, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

Week in preview April 24-30, 2015

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
American Indian actors quit Adam Sandler movie over names

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Basses discuss being black opera singers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

Entertainment Calendar: April 24, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: B4

 
Facing the second album challenge with Alabama Shakes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6 | Gallery

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
.

Sports

Vanden girls soccer rally late for 3-3 tie with American Canyon

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Warriors erase 20-point hole, beat Pelicans 123-119 in OT

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Maxwell hits winning single in 10th, Giants sweep Dodgers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
 
Prep track: Indians boys roll to win in four-way meet

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B7

Tyrone Wallace to stay at Cal for senior season

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
BALCO & Biogenesis may be over, but steroids cloud remains

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Toyota to provide 1st hydrogen-fueled pace car

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
6 Hall of Famers to announce picks at NFL draft

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

A’s take hard-luck 2-0 loss despite allowing 1 hit to Angels

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Home run king Barry Bonds’ legacy might always be tarnished

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Sleek new plans released for Los Angeles-area NFL stadium

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Aaron Hernandez moved to new prison after murder conviction

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Manfred: Rose will be allowed to be part of All-Star Game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
New track announcer taking the mike at Churchill Downs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

WNBA’s Griner, fiancee Glory Johnson arrested after fight

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
 
This date in sports history for April 24

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

Boo Weekley, Brendon de Jonge share Zurich Classic lead

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
Champ Lydia Ko takes first-round lead in Swinging Skirts

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

Michael Crabtree joins Raiders with something to prove

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
.

Business

 
5 things to know about GM’s revamped Chevy Malibu

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2 | Gallery

Ford unveils new Taurus influenced by China

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

 
Nasdaq closes at record high

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

China fines Mercedes after price-fixing probe

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
Agriculture officials look to curtail emissions from farming

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Toyota tops in 1Q global vehicle sales

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
Unemployment numbers point to improved job security

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Home sales off to slow start

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
.

Obituaries

Kim Nguyen

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Gladys Speaks

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

Vernell Stewart

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9