Comedian Freddy Stebbins Loves Miami, Has One-Man Show to Prove It
The scene opens backstage at a red-curtain theater in Miami. Cast and crew scurry about prepping for the big show. A bubbly starlet babbles to a nervous Pakistani academic. A Cuban exile laments about Havana to a swagged-out YOLO bro. A European art snob throws shade at a closeted Southern preacher while an elderly Jewish man wanders into the wrong dressing room and blames it on the occupant; a mystical fortune teller busy feathering her hair, boa, and whimsy. A sweaty production assistant bursts into the room to wrangle these diverse divas--
That's what I see when I picture the mind of Freddy Stebbins.
Stebbins is Miami's most creative stand-up comedian. He splashes onto shows like a comedic cannonball. You may have seen him perform and not even known it. He is a character comic, a rare specialization that means what you'd guess. Sometimes he weaves the characters into his set, but often he performs in full costume - clothing, hair, makeup, props - in an era where most stand-up comics can't be bothered for a monthly hoodie wash.
Stebbins has been one of Miami's most influential comics for over a decade, hosting weekly open mics and headlining shows. His lightning wit and imagination were honed at The Groundlings improv school. Stebbins' characters are so lucid, they do crowdwork better than most comics. Now, he finally packaged his act into the one-man show it was meant to become. Saturday, May 3rd, he brings us Miami... Don't Feed the Natives!
"The word native is misused in Florida," Stebbins said as we ate salmon toasts in a Wynwood cafe. "Almost no one in Miami over the age of 50 can say they were born here. Real natives are the people that have lived and grown-up here and are part of the unique oddity of strange and interesting people."
"Growing up in Miami, I realized that what I thought was normal was not normal everywhere else," he said. "When I was a kid, we didn't get snow days. When I was 11, we were off for three days because of riots. I grew up in this weird diaspora called 'Miami in the 1980s' that was hispanic, but also black, but also very white, and there's racism and tension and comedy. Violence on TV and hot weather and hurricanes. You start to think that's normal - until you go somewhere else, and it's boring!"
Stebbins surprises himself with a laugh and gets animated.
"Go somewhere else, and everyone looks the same, speaks english, is very friendly. We would call those people Americans. Oh my god. I was in Atlanta. There were so many Americans!"