GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — Kenny Giard has moved up the business ladder and never ventured far from 1700 Spring Garden Street in the process.
That’s where The Corner Bar is and Kenny started working there around 2001 as a bartender.
“I remember my first shift. I made $200 or $300, and I was like ‘you can make $200 or $300? I’m not going to my 8 a.m. class!’” he said. It did take him a while to earn his degree after attending both UNC-Greensboro and Guilford Technical Community College.
“Some of the people that I started school with at GTCC by the time I was done, were teaching the classes,” Kenny said.
During his years behind the bar, interacting with thousands of people, Kenny honed his comedic skills and began doing standup comedy.
“We traveled around. It was me and three different guys. We started here in Greensboro. We had some places that would let us pretty much do some things,” he said.
But after a few years, he and his fiancé were looking to get married and have a more settled life. That’s when the opportunity arose to buy the bar he had been working at for the previous decade. Kenny and a couple of partners have owned The Corner Bar ever since.
That was about the time social media began to become ubiquitous. TikTok was a bit of a latecomer to the game, arriving about the time COVID-19 did.
“The bar was shut down for about six months, and I remember my wife was in our living room, and I was…in our bedroom, and I keep hearing her laugh, and ten minutes go by, and I’m like ‘you’re married, and we’re in a pandemic with kids in this house. What’s funny?’ And she’s like ‘TikTok…’I was like ‘what’s a TikTok?’ She showed me, and I think I said…’that seems ridiculous,’ and I think the next day, I downloaded the app,” Kenny said.
In a little more than a year, he’d garnered 120,000 followers on TikTok, and a social media career was born using that humor he once used in his standup routines. He has another 31,000 followers on Facebook.
“My kids think I’m hilarious. I have moments. If my wife laughs at me, I immediately stop what I’m doing just write that down,” Kenny said. “I feel very confident in the fact that I can make my wife laugh is the reason she’s my wife.”
TikTok was a great way to rekindle his comic instincts.
“Most of my friends and people my age at the time weren’t on TikTok, so I was able to start doing…videos and not have the same judgment as I would probably get on Facebook,” Kenny said. “Plus, my mom’s not on TikTok. She’s on Facebook.”
Kenny admits that the platforms are different.
“I always compare Facebook and TikTok. Facebook would be real people. If we’re friends on Facebook, we’re friends or at least know each other…TikTok I always refer to them as fake people,” he said.
But he appreciates the “fake people” on TikTok. And not just because it helps produce a few extra thousand dollars of direct income each month.
“I never set out to make money. I thought it would be good for the bar,” he said.
He’s noticed increased business, and he says many of those people come in to see the guy on TikTok.
See more from Kenny Giard in this Social Media Stars edition of the Buckley Report.