Eddie B. '05: Teaching Through Comedy

by Elaine Barnes

Coordinator, Alumni and Donor Communications


eddie brown '05
Distinguished Alumni

“I never claimed to be the voice for teachers, but it seems like that’s what it is ... I know what I had to go through as an educator and my personal experience, and it seems like it’s transparent with teachers across the world.”

“One video turned into 50, and that turned into a tour after one show turned into six, because they had sold out in like ten minutes,” Eddie Brown ’05 explained. That comedy tour, titled “I’m Already Professionally Developed,” was born from the sole need for more space – smaller comedy clubs just weren’t cutting it. Teachers were showing up by the hundreds and comments flooded in from teachers around the world comparing their stories to one another and relating exactly to what Brown poked fun at. And instantly, the phenomenon that is Eddie B. Comedy began. 


“I was always the class clown,” Brown admitted. He confesses that his internationally recognized career in comedy truly began when he was just a child in grade school. “I was a smart kid, but I was always cutting jokes, making fun, dancing … whatever I could do to get a laugh,” he explained. His pursuit of laughter is a trait that endured as he aged, helping Brown persevere through some of life’s toughest moments. Eventually what was simply a dream to pursue comedy as a career was realized as he stepped on stage of a sold out arena of more than 7,000 people in Houston, Texas.


That number pales in comparison to the hundreds of thousands of interactions fans have with each video posted to Brown’s social media. What started as a way for him to personally vent about his everyday struggles as a teacher exploded into a dedicated network of teachers relating to each and every joke and championing teachers’ rights. “I was just trying to find my way after college,” Brown stated, “I had to grind to fund my dreams. So I started teaching, and teaching can be rough. One day, I’ve got to be honest with you, I was just out of comedy ideas. And so I asked God for ideas and maybe a week later, I was in my classroom … and it was like ‘why don’t you make a video about this?’”


Brown listened to that instinctive voice and got to work – immediately. “That moment, I just started writing about school. I cut up a video and edited it – I actually did it all while I was supposed to be teaching. I gave my students busy work to do and kept my headphones in the whole time,” he quipped. A couple days later, the video he produced on a whim had gone viral.


Riding the wave of viral popularity, his tour eventually escalated to Brown being approached by multiple television networks repeatedly. His fan base couldn’t get enough and asked for more. So finally, when ABC brought forth a contract for a sitcom dedicated to teacher comedy, starring Eddie B., he felt compelled to listen to his fans and accept.


But despite having such a successful career, Brown holds to his humble upbringing as his foundation. He also pinpoints his personal growth and ability to withstand such a demanding lifestyle to his time spent as a football player at Texas A&M University-Kingsville, where he faced a life-changing moment. “Actually, I left school to go take care of my mom who got cancer,” Brown explained, “I went home during a holiday break and just never went back, even though my mom told me to go back. I stayed home with her every day and got a little job to take care of her. But my mom wanted me to go back to school. And I remember, she said to me, ‘Anything you gave up to take care of me, God is going to give it back to you.’”


Brown felt called to stay close to home in the Houston area after his mother passed, but her encouragement stayed with him as he enrolled in a local school, trying his best to ignore his itch to get back to playing football. It was her sentiments to him that fueled Brown one day when he decided to reach out to the coaches at Texas A&M-Kingsville. “I called the coaches’ office from a payphone and said ‘Coach, I’m thinking about coming back’ – I didn’t even know how I could get back. And Coach said to me, ‘Come on, Eddie, we’ve been waiting for you.’ And I got off the phone and it was like a scene from Gone with the Wind,” Brown reflected.


When he returned back to Kingsville, Brown insists it felt like he had never left. “I had been gone for at least a season-and-a-half, but when I got there, I saw they hadn’t put anybody in my locker. It still had my shirts, cleats … it was all dirty, nobody washed it,” he joked. That following football season, in 2001, Brown and his team won a hard-fought championship. But what his return to Kingsville really gave him is something Brown considers more valuable in his life than any trophy or championship ring. “Kingsville made me hard. It gave me my bark, too. I’d attribute my resilience to my time at Kingsville. And growing up without a father, by default, coaches were like a father to me. And they didn’t stroke my ego. When it came time to work, it was time to work.” 


The fame and celebrity that he has earned isn’t what Brown focused on. Instead, he views himself as a regular guy, parenting his two children, and simply relaying the truth about what teachers go through on a day-to-day basis. “I never claimed to be the voice for teachers, but it seems like that’s what it is,” he admitted, “I know what I had to go through as an educator and my personal experience, and it seems like it’s transparent with teachers across the world.” Mentioning that he’s been asked to travel and speak to places like Qatar and Bermuda, it’s easy to see how far Brown’s comedy has truly reached and how deep its impact is felt by his fans. “I didn’t even know Bermuda was a real place. I’m from Texas … I thought that was a body of water where ships went to sink!” he jested.


Advocating for teacher’s rights is a responsibility Brown doesn’t take lightly. “I wrote my book ‘I’m Already Professionally Developed: Straight from the Teacher’s Desk,’ because as teachers, they make us go through professional development throughout the year, and it’s really a waste of time because it pulls us away from time we could use in the classroom with the students. That’s just one of the things teachers go through, and people don’t understand the reality of teaching, so I’m going to keep telling my story because I feel like it’s the narrative for so many teachers,” Brown commanded.


When he’s not traveling for his tour, Brown is traveling to schools around the nation to encourage and motivate teachers in their communities – and he does it without asking for a penny in return. He concluded, “I don’t have an agency or a production company – it’s just me and one other person. But when I get around teachers and go to these different schools, it’s because the morale is low.” And that’s why he feels motivated to give back to the teaching community the best way he knows how – through laughter.




  Houston, TX
  Bachelor's Degree in Kinesiology
  Education & Teachers Advocacy