There is one thing most adults have in common, regardless of race, orientation or social class. If you’re over the age of 21, it is very likely that you have some type of bill to pay. Be it a phone, power, heat, water, cable or streaming service, grown folks have some type of ongoing type of tab going. Staten Island comedian, Rodney Brice– better known by his stage name, Timeline Brice– has turned the notion of fulfilling this responsibility into a mantra, “Pay Ya Bill.” When he uses it, he means taking care of business, no matter what it is, regardless if it’s an actual bill or not.
Born in 1991, Brice wasn’t always a successful comedian with over 13,000 followers on Instagram. The Park Hill comic was working as a representative at Rent-A-Center in 2018. His experience there sparked his “Pay Ya Bill” slogan, and he decided to give comedy a shot, spreading light throughout his borough and leveling up in the process. Brice may have made it look easy, but his rise has taken sincere dedication and perseverance. Keeping your social media following satisfied with your content means consistency, constant brainstorming and hard work.
We caught up with Brice and chopped it up about his come-up, career, inspirations and more. Check out what he had to say below.
Don Diva: So, what was life like for you coming up on Staten Island?
Timeline Brice: It was weird. I was born in Harlem, so, going to Staten Island was like, what is that? So when I actually got there and I noticed it was the same, I was like this is really part of New York, this ain’t for play. The same struggles, the hood stuff, but there were always things to do. They always had outreach programs and things like that for people to go to, but it was also the regular hood antics and those types of things going on.
DD: You said it was at Park Hill you learned to become a man. Can you expand on that, please?
TB: Coming from Harlem and then moving to another hood, you have to learn certain things. You have to learn about your environment. At 13, moving in and not having my father around because he stayed in Harlem, I had to learn all the ins and outs and go outside and figure things out on my own. I had the blueprint. So, just getting into certain things and learning that was the wrong thing or learning how to do it right. My first real relationship and first real girl and those types of things, I learned all of that once I moved to Park Hill. When I was in Harlem, I was kind of coddled. I was spoiled because both of my parents were there. So once I moved to Park Hill, I was on my own. My mother was working and I was the only child at the time, so I had to do it on my own. The neighborhood accepted me, brought me in with open arms and they taught me a lot. I found out a lot of things growing up in Park Hill.
DD: You said in 2008, you were working at Rent-A-Center and you discovered a void in Staten Island. What was the void you discovered?
TB: There was no type of positivity coming out of Staten Island. Everything was just negative. It was always negative. It’s always something to do with killings and things like that. It was never positive. There were a couple of other comedians doing their thing, but it just never got out. They were not seen, they didn’t get the recognition. So I was like, you know what? I’m not a killer, so that’s not my thing, that’s not my forte. So, I thought I’m going to do comedy and I’ll try to bring some light in a positive way.
DD: Who are some of your influences when it comes to comedy?
TB: It’s going to sound weird but I’m going local. It’s a guy named The Boomer. He’s from Staten Island, and he’s a big influence on a lot of things that I do. There’re other people like Thotti Gotti, DJ Smoove. And there’s a lady called Lovasia. And there is one more person known as Jah. Jah was actually the person who recorded the first video that I did and I posted on Instagram.
DD: How did they influence you?
TB: Being funny or being the funniest with your family is different from being funny outside and actually putting some time and effort into it. So they were the ones that were motivating me, saying you could really do it. You can’t say you failed if you haven’t even tried it yet. It was Jah who advised that I record and post my first skit.
DD: Do you just do videos or do you do stand-up too?
TB: I do stand-up. I do hosting. I do everything. I’m all over.
DD: What was your first stand-up like?
TB: It was a cool experience. It was for about five minutes, nothing crazy. I did okay for my first rodeo. There was nobody there. So that was like a plus. No expectations. It was just to make them laugh. So it went fairly well.
DD: How did you come up with ‘Pay Ya Bill?” What inspired that?
TB: Working at Rent-A-Center, you have to pay a monthly fee for whatever item you got. So people pay their bills late and it would get down to ‘just pay your bill, man’. So, I decided to put it to anything in life. Anything you do, you’re paying a bill or something. Some do it every month while some do it every day. So it’s recurrent. It’s a bill. It’s something you do all the time. You get up, you brush your teeth, you do it every day. That’s a bill. You get charged every day to do that. So I just applied it to my everyday life.
DD: What’s next for Timeline Brice? What are your aspirations with comedy? Where do you hope to take it?
TB: Honestly, I want to take it to movies. I want to be in films. I would love to be in a play. I see myself doing more than just the standup or just the skits on YouTube and Instagram. I can really see myself in a film. I have acting skills that I’m working on. That’s the end goal. I want to be in a movie. I want a billboard on 42nd.
DD: A lot of comics complain about “cancel culture.” What are your views on that? Do you think people have a point or do you think people just aren’t funny when they complain about it?
TB: I feel like sometimes it’s just not your time. Sometimes it just might not be your bowl round. If you really want to do it, you’ll keep on doing it. You keep on going at it and sooner or later, if it’s your time, it’s going to happen. That’s what I think. People get real discouraged off one thing and I’m like, bro, you have to work at it. It did happen for a reason. That might not be the ones we do.
DD: You mentioned you’ve been in music videos and things like that. Have you been in any popular ones that people would know?
TB: Yes. I recently did a video with a guy named Scrooge featuring JD Kids, “Always Us.” That one was a big one and it’s on BET Jams right now. That was probably released about a month ago.
DD: What would you say has been the highlight of your career?
TB: [Knowing] the Wu-Tang clan. Just being around them and them actually knowing who I am. I’m like, okay, I’m doing it right. People look at stars and they think they’re just not human. They’re like, ‘Bro, I’m on Instagram. I do watch you. I see what you’re doing.’ That was something big for me. Another thing that happened was when I did the video with Scrooge and my son was watching on TV and he just was like, ‘Oh, that’s my daddy!” That was a big thing for me for my son to see me on TV.
DD: Is there anything that people can look forward to from you in the future?
TB: Yes, definitely. There’ll be some short films coming out. I’m putting together a little short film right now with my little team. I’m definitely going to get more skits. You’re going to see me at a lot of events. I’m going to start getting outside. Covid-19 is somehow controlled, so we’re going to be able to go outside. You’re definitely going to see me outside in your local bodegas and all that. You stay tuned.
DD: As someone who’s seen some success, what advice would you have for somebody trying to make it? It doesn’t have to be necessarily comedy, but people trying to make it anywhere
TB: Just keep on doing whatever you’re doing. I don’t care where you’re from, your environment, what your background is, what’s in your bank account. If you continue to stay consistent with something, there’s always going to be a result. And I’m not saying you’re going to be the richest man, or you’re going to be the most famous, but there’s going to be some type of result at the end of the day. Don’t never give up, just keep on going.