From a profile piece in "The Entertainer Magazine":
Leonard Ouzts knew from his young age he wanted to make people laugh. Now he’s living his dream.
As an 18-year-old freshman at Virginia State University, Ouzts landed his first gig at a fraternity talent show, generating uproarious laughter from fellow students and faculty.
“I killed it, and I just knew that’s what I wanted to do for the rest of my life,” he says.
Ouzts’ act originally revolved around many stories from his past, like his multiple service jobs he had at places like IHOP in high school. His routine has since matured as he has. With a more self-awareness, Ouzts can make poignant points on current events, but can fall back on his facial expressions, which rarely fail to get a laugh.
“My act has grown like I’ve grown as a man,” he says. “New experiences and paying bills, it’s just overall growth as a person has changed my material.
“I just talk about whatever I think is the funniest at that time. It could be something that happened in middle school that I’m thinking about, or some sort of current issue that I feel like talking about.”
He grew up idolizing entertainers such as Tony Rock and Cedric the Entertainer and says their influence shows up in cadence or comedic rhythm. It takes care to not copy their jokes or premises, preferring to create his own act, while still honoring the greats before him.
And, like many of his idols, stand-up is not his only outlet for comedy.
Ouzts has appeared in several movies and TV shows in his short acting career, including an appearance on Neflix’s Master of None and a major role in NBC's show Abby’s in 2019.
(Abby's unfortunately only lasted for 10 episodes after high hopes based on being executive produced by Michael Schur, of "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" and "Parks and Recreation" fame, and Josh Malmuth, of "New Girl" and "Superstore" fame... with Pamela Fryman, who directed all but twelve episodes of "How I Met Your Mother" directing the pilot episode and had Neil Flynn as one of its stars, in his first role after playing the dad, Mike Heck, for 9 seasons of "The Middle".)
Moving forward, the young comedian hopes to continue to draw laughs anywhere.
“I always knew TV and movies were what I wanted to do, but until then I didn’t know that stand-up was going to be my avenue to get there, so that’s what I’ve used for exposure,” he says.
“You wake up one day trying to figure out how you’re going to eat, and then one day you’re waking up on a cruise ship filming a movie. There’s no way to put that into perspective.”
At the ripe young age of 22, Leonard Ouzts made his television debut on Gotham Comedy Live. Appearances there and on BET lead to an invitation to be on CONAN. That appearance has now had over 1 MILLION views on YouTube.
He has also appeared on Comedy Central Stand-Up and, just two years ago, The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon
"I love entertaining, but what I found most gratifying is when I was 18 years old and performed a 5 minute set in a club in front of 125 strangers. At the end of the show, a 47 year old gentleman told me he lost his job and his home, but all my jokes somehow made him forget all that. That will stay with me forever."
Leonard Ouzts makes his Funny Stop debut this weekend!