The door opened and in walked a man wearing a face of determination. Rugged and ready, like a gunfighter he stood urging me to make the first move, daring me to try to make the first joke, to get the first laugh. As soon as I opened my mouth to speak, it was already too late. He struck like lightning and it was all over but the laughing. It was all I could do to catch my breath.
When Cheesestixx came, he came to play.
Raised in Flint as Kristian Nunn, Cheesestixx burst onto the comedy scene in the city and around the country in 2019. The homegrown talent has built and honed his act on stages in places such as Flint, Nashville, Phoenix, Detroit and in iconic comedy clubs such as the Funny Bone in Perrysburg, OH. His online morning news show “Hood Morning” reaches thousands of viewers from around the nation and as far away as Africa and Europe. And with all of this, he knows it’s only the beginning of what his future holds. “I want to continue to grow and establish the ‘Hood Morning’ media network,” he says, “and to continue to grow and expand my act. I have plans.”
Nunn grew up in Flint and attended Carman-Ainsworth high school where he quickly earned a reputation as the goofy kid – the class clown. Doing comedy wasn’t something he ever considered until the school took a chance on him. “In 2010, they let me host the ‘Carman-Ainsworth Talent Show’,” Nunn remembers. “It was amazing. I even had the adults laughing. That was when it really started.” The seed was planted but it would take a few years before Nunn would consider letting it grow.
“I like to poke fun at the normal things that happen in life that people may find hard to talk about. There are moments when we feel uncomfortable; but when you look at it from a different viewpoint, some of those moments can be really funny, too.”
After high school graduation, Nunn attended Mott Community College like the rest of his peers but eventually realized that what he wanted to do was perform. “At first, I wanted to do music,” he explains. “I played drums in church growing up and wanted to pursue that.” He gave it a shot for a while but nothing seemed to come of it. As his music career began to ebb, Nunn instead began to cultivate and nurture the comedy seed planted in high school and in 2019, he performed his first standup act on stage during a show at the Michigan Event Center. He was a hit and Cheesestixx the comedian was born. Ever a student of the genre, he researched and took in comedy from the old school masters such as Eddie Murphy, Martin Lawrence, Bernie Mac, etc. as well as new guard comedians such as Deon Cole, Karlous Miller and Joe Torry. He studied local Flint comedians and learned as much as he could. Today, Cheesestixx is an encyclopedia of comedy acts and their nuances. “I’m always studying and watching what others do,” he says. “I study delivery, timing, all of it and I learn constantly about more than comedy. I learn about culture and the world. The more knowledge you have, the more stuff you have to talk about.” From there, Nunn traveled and booked shows wherever he could.
“Let’s get together, laugh and love each other for who we are.”
His material is mostly personal and comes from both the hard parts and best parts of life. “I like to poke fun at the normal things that happen in life that people may find hard to talk about,” he explains, “both the happy moments and the sad moments. There are moments when we feel uncomfortable; but when you look at it from a different viewpoint, some of those moments can be really funny, too.”
Like all performers, Nunn had good days and bad but each lump he took was a learning experience. “I remember my worst show was in Nashville,” he recalls. “I just couldn’t connect with the audience. Sometimes, the best thing you can do is find a way offstage. I just wanted to get out of there.” Nunn, though, has plans to go back for a little redemption. “Oh, yeah. I want to go back there for sure,” he laughs.
Between performances, Nunn, with help from family and friends, started his “Hood Morning” news show a year ago that was posted on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and other social media platforms. It was done for fun and Nunn was surprised when, after the first show, it was viewed by thousands. “I was surprised for sure!” he recalls. “‘Hood Morning’ is an urban news show and we released it daily in 30- or 60-minute episodes. It was raw and uncut and when it blew up, we just kept going.” The show caught the eye of Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer who reached out to Nunn. “She’s cool. We did a skit and I worked on her recent campaign.” Currently, “Hood Morning” is on hiatus as it gets retooled for the future. “It got to be too much,” explains Nunn. “We were working on it and releasing it every day. The grind is too much. We are going bigger and better with it and have plans to release it weekly in the coming future. We are currently looking for studio space.”
And “space” – for comedy anyway – is hard to come by in Flint. It’s a thing that Nunn would someday like to rectify. “Opening up a comedy club in Flint is definitely a goal of mine,” he says. “The comedy scene in Flint is strong but quiet. Much too quiet. We need more venues. I would definitely like to work with the city on more development. Comedians have proven that they will come to Flint; they just need the opportunity.” In the far distant future, Nunn would also someday like to open a youth center in the city to offer STEM and performance arts curriculum to kids in Flint schools. “I want to create a place where kids can build their gifts,” he says.
For now, Cheesestixx will continue to lay a foundation built on laughter and fun wherever and whenever he has the opportunity to do so. Each chuckle is a step toward a future of comedy for himself, his brand, and Flint. He’s always smiling and ready to help others do the same, no matter what. “Man, one thing I’ve learned is to just be you. Be the best you that you can be,” he smiles. “Be you and be part of the show. Let’s get together, laugh and love each other for who we are.”