Regal Radio’s man in NYC, Scoop B, dispatches the latest that we should know in sports and pop culture from the East Coast and beyond
Brandon Robinson, WARR contributor
Tommy Davidson is a legend in the comedy game, one who’s steadily working on new ways to entertain.
A notable regular on the groundbreaking variety show In Living Color, Davidson also has starred in films like Bamboozled, Booty Call, Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, and Strictly Business. It was stand-up comedy that first got the energetic performer into the game and it remains the way he best engages his audience. Currently on tour, Davidson is headlining at the legendary Carolines on Broadway in New York City, starting Thursday and ending Saturday.
“I always have a good time in New York, I use that gig every year to measure my material,” said Davidson recently from his home in Los Angeles.
A native of Washington, D.C., by way of Montgomery County, Maryland, Davidson is an East Coast representer, he got his start doing standup in local comedy clubs in Philadelphia and Baltimore. But the diversity in New York is something that he appreciates.
“Everyone is in one place,” he said.
“Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, Chinese, Japanese, East Indian, Arabs, Africans, black folks, white folks, Jews, Italians, you’re gonna get hip-hop, everyday Americans, you’re gonna get tourists — it don’t get no better than that.”
Davidson has also performed in Chicago twice this year, most recently in September. He says he likes the multicultural crowds there as well, he doesn’t even mind returning during the winter, like he plans to this coming February.
“The worst time to go, but I don’t care, I’ll always come to the Chi,” said Davidson, who returns to the Midwest prior to next year with a series of November shows in Peoria, Ill and Indianapolis.
Davidson is having a successful 2013. In February his special Chocolate Sundaes premiered on Showtime. An hour of stand-up comedy and sketch performances, the show was based off a comedy showcase of the same name that he hosts at the Laugh Factory in LA.
“It’s Def Jam meets In Living Color with a little bit of Carol Burnett in there,” said Davidson.
Also on Davidson’s busy docket is revising his role as the voice of Cream Corn on the Adult Swim cartoon Black Dynamite, an adaptation of the acclaimed blaxploitation spoof from 2009 that Davidson also starred in. The show’s second year was recently renewed with Cartoon Network and is scheduled to premiere in 2014.
Arguably getting the most buzz around Davidson as of late has been the news of his purchasing the movie rights to the Harper Collins-published book Deconstructing Sammy: Music, Money and Madness, which was written by Matt Birkbeck and released in 2008. The “Sammy” in the book title is the late entertainment icon Sammy Davis Jr.
“Sammy Davis Jr. is dear to my heart,” Davidson says.
Fans of the comic can date Davidson’s dead-on Davis Jr. impression as far back as his days on In Living Color, but he now is letting people into how much of an inspiration “The Candyman” was to him, starting with film developers.
This is indeed a passion project for Davidson, who expresses determination to get it done down the line.
“It’s the most challenging role in my career and no one has given it to me, so it’s time for me to do it myself,” said Davidson.
Beyond the Sammy mimicry, Davidson boasts an impressive list of famous names in his impression arsenal: Tupac Shakur, Spike Lee, Sugar Ray Leonard, Al Green, Rick James, MC Hammer, Sylvester Stallone and Stevie Wonder to name a few. Also, audiences at Davidson’s latest shows can expect an appearance from a certain commander-in-chief.
“I’ll be doing some President Obama,” said Davidson in the leader of the free world’s voice. “I’ve kinda got him down.”
Particularly proud of his Obama impersonation, Davidson even gives you a taste of it when you get the voice mail message on his cell phone: should you get the chance to hit that phone up you could be met with the voice of a familiar authoritative figure saying, “This is President Barack Obama. I can’t come to the phone right now, please leave a message at the tone!”
It may throw one off to hear the President’s voice when expecting to hear that of a comedian, but just like Tommy Davidson likes to keep moving he also likes to keep the public on their toes. When asked about what’s to come in 2014, says Davidson:
“Expect the unexpected, like always.”
To find out when Tommy Davidson is touring in your area visit: http://tommydavidson.net
Extra: classic In Living Color with Tommy Davidson, Jamie Foxx and 2Pac
Brandon Robinson is a contributor to Regal Radio. He’s a digital journalist who covers sports and pop culture. You can find his work in VIBE, SLAM, TD DAILY, Ebony, CBS Interactive and Da Laughing Barrel.com. He is also a lecturer at NJIT in Newark, NJ. You can follow him on Twitter @Scoop B and see more of his work here.