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'I don’t pander, but I adapt to my environment': Comedian shares perspective on being Black in Utah

Posted at 6:09 PM, Feb 25, 2022

SALT LAKE CITY — Finding the “funny” when talking about race is something that many professional comedians do through stand-up.

That includes veteran entertainers like Arvin Mitchell, a St. Louis Native who has called Utah home for the last three years.

Mitchell moved to the Salt Lake City area from Los Angeles after he was hired as a cast member and writer for family-friendly comedy show "Studio C," which is produced by BYUtv.

“I came, and I adapted,” Mitchell explained.

According to U.S. Census Data, Black or African American people make up less than 2 percent of the total population in Utah.

In an interview with FOX 13 News, Mitchell said he recognizes the lack of diversity, but that doesn’t change how he does his job.

“Whatever is on my mind and my heart, I just want to articulate it to make it funny. I don’t do a different show for a Black audience than a white audience,” Mitchell said.

However, race is a topic that Mitchell incorporates into some of his comedic acts.

“I don’t consciously incorporate it necessarily, it’s just things that are kind of like an elephant in the room for me,” he explained.

While positive feedback is more of the norm for Mitchell, he said he isn’t immune to racist remarks in Utah among the other places he has lived in and visited over the years.

“Some of the racist things that have been said to me, it just doesn’t affect me because I didn’t choose to be born this way. If I could, I still would’ve chosen this," he said.

FOX 13 News wrapped up the interview by asking Mitchell his thoughts on discussing race through stand-up comedy.

He says it’s good, but not the best platform when having that type of dialogue because comedy is entertainment-based.

He also reminds us that what he believes is not necessarily reflective of what other black community members think.