Franklyn Ajaye (born May 13, 1949) is an American stand-up comedian and actor. His nickname is "The Jazz Comedian" for his distinctive jazz inflected style of delivery, great timing, and astute use of silence. His name is sometimes wrongly spelled Franklin Ajaye.
He was born in Brooklyn, New York but raised in Los Angeles by a Sierra Leonean father, whom he is named after, and an American mother (named Quetta), making Ajaye, as he likes to joke, a "true African-American." He has released five comedy albums to date: Franklyn Ajaye, Comedian (1973), I'm a Comedian, Seriously (1974), Don't Smoke Dope, Fry Your Hair (1977), Plaid Pants and Psychopaths (1986), and Vagabond Jazz & the Abstract Truth (2004). The last two were recorded in Sydney and Melbourne, Australia.
Ajaye made his network debut on The Flip Wilson Show in 1973 and made his first appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson a year later. Ajaye emigrated to Melbourne, Australia in 1997, but returns to the United States periodically to do work on television. His last American television appearance was on Paul Provenza's "The Greenroom" on Showtime in 2011. He is known in Australia for his appearances on The Panel and Thank God You're Here, and his popular one man shows "Nothing But The Truth", "Talkin' Vagabond Jazz", and "Vagabond jazz & The Abstract Truth" at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.
He has worked as an actor, appearing in films such as Car Wash, Convoy, Stir Crazy, The 1980 version of The Jazz Singer, Hollywood Shuffle, and The Wrong Guys. He has been seen more recently in the TV show Deadwood. He has been nominated twice for Emmy Awards for Outstanding Writing in a Variety or Music Program for In Living Color (1990) and Politically Incorrect (1997).
On his stand-up television show Stewart Lee's Comedy Vehicle, British comedian Stewart Lee mocked Ajaye's LP I'm a Comedian, Seriously.
Ajaye is the author of Comic Insights: The Art of Standup Comedy, which contains tips for aspiring comedians. In 2011, Ajaye had a small but memorable role, and line in the box office hit Bridesmaids, playing the father of Lillian (played by Maya Rudolph). His comedic influences include Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Robert Klein, Bill Cosby, and Nichols and May.