Frank James is an actor and stand up comedian who addresses me as his “one and only fan”. So not true. I met him when I was on set in an episode of the webseries “B-City” by Jolie East-Miji. He portrayed Principal Gary. Let’s find out more about Frank James.
I sent Frank a list of questions and he responded on March 22, 2017.
Alan: How did you get started in acting?
Frank: I got started in acting back in the early 1990’s when I appeared as a background extra in the movie “Forrest Gump” with Tom Hanks. I remember that the shoot was long and it was one of the coldest days in Washington. We shot entirely outside that day in the scene at the Washington Monument and Reflecting Pool where Forrest sees his old girlfriend Jennie waking thru the Reflecting Pool. In the scene, Forrest (Tom Hanks) runs thru the crowd to see Jennie and he stops right next to me. My face is clearly in the scene…for all of 3 seconds, but I knew then that I wanted to be a part of this industry.
A: What is your preferred character/role?
F: My preferred role is Lead Detective. I love busting the perps (with gun drawn) and being one of the good guys. I love scenes where I am interrogating suspects, getting physically tough, or making the arrest. My second favorite role would be the comic sidekick! Because as you know, I love doing stand-up comedy!
A: In what television shows, movies, and new media have you have appeared?
F: I have been featured or an extra in the following TV and Movie projects: [author’s note: in addition to “B-City” as stated in the introduction]
- TV One’s “Thou Shalt Not” – as the Lead Detective
- REELZ TV “Copy Cat Killers” – Victim of DC Sniper
- HBO’s “VEEP“ (Season 5) – as a DC Executive
- BET “Criminals At Work” – as a church parishioner
- Investigation Discovery Television “Evil Twins” – as the arresting police officer
- “House of Cards“ (Season 4) – as a DNC Executive
- TV One’s “For My Man” – as the arresting Police Detective
- Commercial for Jiffy Lube Live – as a Supervisor
- HBO’s “VEEP” (Season 4) – as a Marine Corp Violinist at Whitehouse dinner
- “House of Cards“ (Season 3) – as a Diplomat from Chad
- Investigation Discovery Television “Deadly Affairs” hosted by Susan Lucci – as the Lead Detective
- The Movie “Sally Pacholok” starring Annet Mahendru – as a Resident of an upscale retirement home
- HBO’s “VEEP” (Season 3, Episode 10) – as a Washington DC Reporter at Whitehouse briefing
- “House of Cards” (Season 1, Episode 3) – as a Member of church congregation
- “House of Cards” (Season 1, Episode 7) – as an AA member
- Nationwide Nissan Commercial – as a Car Buyer
A: If you were to have a job “behind the camera”, what would it be?
F: My dream job behind the camera would be Director of course. That would be awesome to work and direct some of the Big Stars in the industry.
A: You are also a standup comedian. How did that start?
F: I started as a stand-up comedian on a dare. It was my birthday and I was out celebrating with friends at an open mic comedy club. One of my friends dared me to get up and tell a joke. I was slight intoxicated at the time (honestly, I was pretty twisted) so I got up and had so much fun I decided to keep on doing it…the rest is history as they say.
A: Have you collaborated with anyone in comedy? (if so who?)
F: I have not collaborated with anyone, but I did get the opportunity to host for a solid year (every weekend) at the premier comedy club back in the 1990’s called “The Comedy Café” on K Street in Washington, DC – owner Dan Harris. I worked with some of the most famous comedians like Dave Chappelle, Chris Rock, Bill Hicks, Lewis Black, Richard Jeni, Gilbert Gottfried, Jeff Foxworthy, etc.
A: Tell us some of the comedy venues at which you have performed.
F: I have hosted and/or performed numerous comedy shows at the following venues:
- DC Improv, Washington, DC
- Broadway Comedy Club, New York City, NY
- Comic Strip Live, New York City, NY
- Martinis Lounge, White Plains, MD
- The Punchline, Philadelphia, PA
- Dangerfield’s, New York City, NY
- RFD Backroom, Washington, DC
- Bier Baron, Washington, DC
- The Park Tap Room, Manassas, VA
- The Alley Cat Bar, Alexandria, VA
- Solly’s, Washington, DC
A: Describe your current project.
F: My current project(s):
- TV commercial for a national hospital system to be filmed next week;
- Just completed an episode of “Copy Cat Killers”. This episode is a reenactment of The DC Sniper. I play the role of a victim who is shot in the head while waiting at a bus station. It will air in 4 weeks. The makeup and special effects are awesome!
- Just completed an episode of TV One’s “Thou Shalt Not”. I play the role of Lead Detective – to air in about 5 weeks.
- Doing some stand-up comedy this Sunday at Bier Baron in DC.
- Doing some stand-up next month at Comic Strip Live in NYC
- Filming a movie entitled “The Life of a Gospel Singer”. We start filming next week.
- The movie called “Indie Mix” where I have a very fun role has been picked up by the Maryland International Film Festival and will air in 2 weeks at the Festival.
A: What have you done to keep your name out there?
F: To keep my name out there is that you flood social media about all the neat and fun projects that you are working on and always try to respond to EVERY like and comment to grow your fan base. Above all, always constantly grinding by taking on as many and diverse projects your schedule can handle! BTW, I never sleep.
A: What is the most memorable thing that has happened to you in your acting or standup career?
F: The most memorable thing in my career was the very early period of my stand-up career when I met very famous comedians and they would give me their autograph and almost every time that [sic] would write that [sic] about how funny I was and that they encouraged me to “come out to NYC and LA” to pursue comedy. I was truly on my “A” game back then.
A: What’s next for Frank James?
F: What is next for me? Never stop grinding. Never stop writing. Never stop chasing your dream. Keep them laughing!
Here’s a guy who is plying his craft on two tracks. On social media he often says “I love this stuff!” I’m glad he does!!
Social Media: Facebook: Frank James Twitter: @frankj568
Originally published March 24, 2017. Updated August 19, 2020 to adjust category assignments.