Comedian Tommy Davidson doesn't discriminate. He'll find something funny in everyone and everything, from black people to white people to Obama and even dinosaurs. This comedy vet has been doing stand-up since the 80's and is widely known for his impersonations, made famous on In Living Color in the '90s. You can also catch him in chuckle-worthy flicks like Booty Call, Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls and Juwanna Mann.
Who were some of your comedy heroes growing up?
Richard Pryor number one. Bill Cosby. Eddie Murphy.
How did you get into Comedy?
A friend of mine asked me to try it one night. And he asked me to do it… there was a situation where he could get me on stage. So I did it that night and have been doing it ever since. That was in ’86.
What would you be doing if it weren’t for stand-up?
I would probably be a chef somewhere in a nice restaurant. I was trying to get into culinary school and was trying to get into restaurants as a teenager. I had a whole career in cooking.
How is comedy today different from comedy in the 80’s and 90’s?
There’s not a lot of places that you can go on television that have comedy play. In the '90s, they just had more opportunities for TV, comedy specials and stuff. Now it's mostly clubs and that’s it. It’s real limited on cable, what you can do. I think that’s the biggest difference. They just don’t have as many comedy specials as they used to.
You’ve performed all over the world, what stands out in your mind? Hmmm.. probably Afghanistan. That’s the first time I’ve been to a place with an actual war... it just felt good that I could make people laugh that were under so much pressure... and get such a warm feeling. That was actually Thanksgiving last year.
So you’re an Obama fan, what did you think of his recent State of the Union address?
I didn’t have a chance to watch it because I was running around promoting my show, but I did catch a rebroadcast of it. I like what he’s doing.
What do you do outside of making people laugh? I like to do the regular stuff. I love the movies, you know, going to the mall. I’m like really, really normal. I love documentaries, I love to read. I love concerts and stuff. I go fishing on my yacht.
What advice do you have for wanna-be comedians?
I would say don’t take no for answer. Be on stage seven nights a week. Period.
I’d say LA.
Anything else you'd like to add?
Yeah, Miami is one of my favorite places. You will see why when I do my performance.
Said performance took place at Ricochet Bar & Lounge in Midtown on the 30th. (The venue features a comedian on the last Monday of every month.) Most of the people seated at the triangular bar and in their plush lounge seats didn't notice when Tommy casually walked in through the front door. I was one of the few that got to greet him before he went on the corner stage. It's definitely an intimate spot, "more like a poetry lounge" in his words.
Opener Forrest Shaw first took the stage claiming you always "need a buffer" before the main act. He was amusing, finding humor in the national debt, and being broke, and the government, and being broke, and drugs, and being broke. I'm not sure, but I think the dude wants more money. (Too bad comics don't get tips like Strippers. Maybe they should start doing laugh dances... LOL)
Davidson kept the crowd laughing continuously through the evening. It's like watching someone with tourette's and ADD who just chugged a Red Bull as he transitions lightning-fast between sound effects, voices, facial expressions, and even some beatboxing. If you're towards the front, don't be surprised if you get singled out and become part of the show.
The best impression of the night was Obama, with Davidson claiming he "Stutters better than most politicians can speak." Oh, and remember how he said we'll see why Miami is one of his favorite places to perform? I'm pretty sure it's because we provide a big Latin crowd that can fully appreciate all of his bi-lingual bit on Spanish Soap Operas, Singers and TV Announcers. The show concluded with him fulfilling the crowd's request for his famous Sammy Davis Jr. impersonation (with a twist though, as he called it "Dr. Jekyll and Sammy Davis Jr. Hyde.)
Definitely check out one of his upcoming shows if you can:
FEB 02-04: Captain Brian's in Marco Island, FL
FEB 09-12: Stress Factory in New Brunswick, NJ
FEB 16-19: The Comedy Factory in Baltimore, MD
(Full Schedule Here)