Saturday Night Live
Standup comic Finesse Mitchell is widely remembered for his original character of “Starkeisha,” a stereotypically ghetto woman with a bad attitude, on NBC’s long running comedy staple “Saturday Night Live.” He joined the show as a featured player in 2003 and was picked as a full-fledged cast member in 2005 before eventually leaving the iconic show in 2006.
Afterward, Mitchell headlined comedy concert films such as the 2006 “Finesse Mitchell: Snap Famous - Live” and snagged roles in films such as “Who's Your Caddy” (2007; starring Big Boi), "The Comebacks" (2007; with David Koechner, Carl Weathers, and Matthew Lawrence), and "Mad Money" (2008; alongside Diane Keaton, Queen Latifah, and Katie Holmes). He also appeared on NBC’s “Late Friday,” “Showtime at the Apollo,” “Comedy Central Presents,” and CBS' "The Late Show with Craig Kilborn." He also made regular appearances on BET’s “Comic View” and was frequently seen on "Weekend Update." He currently performs at college campuses across the country and in America’s hottest comedy clubs, including the Miami Improv, The Punchline, Chris Tucker’s Comedy Café in Atlanta, Los Angeles’ Hollywood Improv, The Comedy Store, and The Laugh Factory.
Mitchell, who had a relationship/dating advice column geared toward women in Essence Magazine, recently released his first book, "Your Girlfriends Only Know So Much: A Brother's Take on Dating and Mating for Sistas."
University of Miami
Childhood and Family:
On June 12, 1972, Finesse Mitchell was born in Atlanta, Georgia. He enjoyed athletics while studying at Douglass High School (Georgia), particularly football. After graduation, he received a position with the University of Miami, in Florida, where he played for two years with other Hurricane Alumni like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Warren Sapp. A distinguished member of the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity, Mitchell also discovered an interest in and a talent for comedy.
Mitchell now lives in Los Angeles and New York.
A high school and university football star, Finesse Mitchell also developed an interest in comedy. After working on his craft, the aspiring comedian began performing standup routines and took first prize in a comedy contest in 1995.
Mitchell first appeared on television in B.E.T.’s “Comic View” in 1999, where he instantly became a favorite among the show’s loyal followers. Two years later, he was spotted by scouts and made appearances on NBC's “Late Friday.” In 2003, he landed every comic’s dream job when he was selected by producer Lorne Michaels to join NBC’s "Saturday Night Live" (SNL) as a featured player. At the beginning of the 2005 season, he was picked as a full-fledged cast member.
“It’s like an entertainment school. You have all these talented people from all over the country. Some people are focused on doing characters and some people are focused on the politics of it, trying to get your skits on. At the time, I didn’t really know the politics of it. The veterans know that the funniest sketch may not make it on the show. Unless you have something that’s just drop-dead hilarious that can’t be denied, there are a bunch of different things you have to take into consideration, who helped you write it, how long was it, what was the subject matter, all that type of stuff. The best thing about that show is that when you hit a home run, you’re walking on cloud nine. Everybody’s just all up under you. But then two days later it starts all over and you have to come up with another home run. It’s tough because then you can disappear from the show for the next three episodes because you can’t come up with another home run.” Finesse Mitchell (on doing "Saturday Night Live" week after week).
During his "Saturday Night Live" stint, Mitchell was best remembered for his character of Starkeisha, a stereotypically ghetto woman with a bad attitude, and his spoofing perspective on "Weekend Update.” He also performed impressions of basketball star Kobe Bryant and the former football star O.J. Simpson, and did a memorable vocal and visual impression of Outkast’s album Andre 3000. When asked about his favorite guest host to work with, Mitchell admitted, “By far, everybody got a kick out of Justin Timberlake and Ashton Kutcher. They both have good comedic timing and anything you want them to do as far as acting they can do it. My personal favorite guests were Paul Giamatti and Janet Jackson. Janet just because she’s Janet. She had one of the best shows during my three year career. She started off as Condoleeza Rice and then we did ‘Good Times’ and I was J.J. She hosted and she was the musical guest. That was great to see somebody who can do everything. Some people out there are just talented. Justin Timberlake is like that.”
While on "Saturday Night Live," Mitchell also performed on Comedy Central’s standup show “Premium Blend,” in 2004. He was then seen on "60 Minutes," "My Coolest Years," "MTVU Woodie Awards 2005," "Late Night with Conan O'Brien," and "Comics Unleashed."
Mitchell eventually left "Saturday Night Live" in 2006 due to budget cuts. Afterward, he began receiving film roles, beginning with "Who's Your Caddy" (2007), a golf comedy directed by Don Michael Paul and starring Antwan "Big Boi" Patton, Lil Wayne, Andy Milonakis, Faizon Love, Terry Crews, Tony Cox, and Jeffrey Jones. He followed it up with that same year's film "The Comebacks" (2007), a parody of clichés and plots of the sports film genre starring David Koechner, Carl Weathers, and Matthew Lawrence.
In 2008, moviegoers could catch him alongside Diane Keaton, Queen Latifah, and Katie Holmes in the comedy film "Mad Money," which was directed by Callie Khouri. He also appeared on television’s "1st Amendment Stand Up," "BET's Top 25 Countdown," and "The Chelsea Handler Show."
Mitchell has started his own company, Comedy Novas, which produces standup comedy acts. He continued to perform at college campuses and in comedy clubs across the nation and has a relationship/dating advice column geared towards women in Essence Magazine. When asked how he gained the expertise to write a dating advice column, Mitchell explained, “[Essence] came to me at the start and I was like 'Oh sure, I’ll tell women some stuff they need to know.' They found it very entertaining and they asked me to do it again. It got such a great response they offered me my own column in the magazine. Before I knew it, I was their 'Relationship Expert.' But I’m no different from anybody else.”
He recently took his dating wisdom and turned it into a book, "Your Girlfriends Only Know So Much: A Brother’s Take On Dating And Mating For Sistas." About topics covered in his book, Mitchell revealed, “Everything. The first chapter just talks about women doing what they want by knowing who they are. Then it goes into more real stuff like knowing what type of man you want and knowing where to find that man and knowing how not to drive that man away using sex or the lack of sex. Sex is like my favorite chapter in the book. Then it goes into personality things. Sometimes when we realize we like somebody, there are things that we don’t even realize we’re doing. You start to tell them where they can go and when they can come home when in the beginning, you never really cared that much. You just wanted the person to like you. The last chapter is just talking about men who have proposed and why they’ve proposed and when they knew they were going to propose.”