By Ariel Worthy
The Birmingham Times
Deno Posey always knew he was funny, he just had to convince other people.
Posey, 52, is executive vice president, head of deposit operations at Regions by day; and a comedian by night.
“It’s fun because I get to be this conservative banker during the day and at night I get to have a whole new alter ego in terms of being a comedian,” Posey said.
Over the 12 years that he has been a comedian, Posey said he has had the opportunity to work with many of his idols, including two of the Kings of Comedy: Steve Harvey, Cedric the Entertainer, and has had the opportunity to meet the third King of Comedy, D.L. Hughley.
“I hate I never got to meet Bernie [Mac],” said Posey, of the popular comedian who died in 2008 and was another member of the Kings of Comedy.
Posey has also worked with Chris Tucker, Rob Schneider, opened for (blues legend) Bobby Blue Bland and (local R&B artist) Ruben Studdard.
One of his fondest memories is on the road with comedian Sinbad.
“I’m driving one night and Sinbad is following me because we’re going somewhere to get chicken wings, and the whole time I’m thinking, ‘I got Sinbad following me to get chicken wings, how cool is this?’”
Posey’s describes his comedy as life-relative. A lot of his material comes from his family – his wife Sophia, three sons, Eddie, Tyler, Denorrise II and daughter Macy – and his grandchildren.
“It’s always clean,” he said. “Eighty percent of what’s funny is the truth. We all have things that we do, and we think we’re the only ones doing it. When I point out that I do it too it becomes funny.”
Posey realized he could hold an audience about 10 years ago when doing a local competition.
“There’s a comedy network [in Birmingham] and these people already knew each other, and I was considered the new guy and I had the banker image,” Posey said. “They thought I was going to do terrible. I ended up doing well and they were like, ‘now we’ve got competition.’ At that point I knew I was okay.”
Since then Posey has performed for countless audiences including nonprofits like the United Negro College Fund Gala and United Way. His biggest performance was opening for Steve Harvey, where he was faced with a great opportunity.
“After I did my time on stage I come off, and [Harvey’s] right there. He said ‘Man, that was great, what do you do for a living?’ I said, ‘Well, I’m a senior vice president at Regions,’ and he said ‘I’d take you on the road, but you already have a good job.’”
At his age he would not want to be on the road for so long, anyway, Posey said.
“I would like to, but I don’t want to go from hotel to hotel night after night,” he said. “I really enjoy doing the civic center events, charity events and the StarDome right here. I get to travel every now and then, and it’s kind of like a paid vacation.”
Another thing he enjoys about doing comedy is being able to use his talent for events at work. Regions held IdeaBank, which is the bank’s version of a Ted Talks, which is devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks, usually 18 minutes or less.
Posey, who has been with Regions for 34 years, started at an entry-level position processing cancelled checks.
After attending Talladega College, Posey returned home to attend Jeff State.
“I would catch the bus to Mountain Brook to wash dishes and I would always see this guy that lived in my neighborhood [Bush Hills] who was about my age, he would come take his break out of the main office building of Regions downtown while I waited on the bus, and I was like, ‘he’s my age, if he can get a job at that bank, I can get a job at that bank.’ So the next day I was off, I went and applied for the bank and got the job.’”
When he is not working or doing comedy, Posey enjoys running. He has done marathons around the city such as the Mercedes Marathon, Red Nose Run and Vulcan Run.
“I like them because they usually support some type of local charity,” Posey said.
Now on the weekends he can be seen at the Perfect Note Jazz Lounge in Hoover, as the Flow Master. “As a flow master I’m the host of the show. [The Perfect Note] brings in national jazz artists; my job is to open the show and introduce everyone.”
On Aug. 4, Posey will be at the StarDome in Hoover, as part of the Best of Birmingham Comedy Show.