He’s Got Jokes and Jokes and Jokes and Jokes

So many comedians get tagged with the “hardest-working” trope; but if it ever applied to anyone, then you have to include Bill Bellamy in there. The dude has been pinballing around the comedy and entertainment world for some 20 years now – just recalling his early days at MTV; his multitude of appearances on Def Comedy Jam and Showtime at the Apollo; and his hit TV and film work, from How to Be a Player to Fastlane, would offer a short list. And despite his enormous successes and contributions to the cultural lexicon (he coined the term “booty call”), Bellamy still approaches his craft with the enthusiasm of a neophyte just clawing to break into the business.

New Times got Bellamy on the horn from the set of October Road, a new show he’s shooting for ABC where he plays an eccentric New York agent working for a backwoods writer. He’s a mile a minute – his voice peaking with a combination of comedic timing and passion as he discusses his return to Last Comic Standing to host its sixth season. “You know, they don’t have to call you back, man,” he quips about the producers asking him back, breaking into laughter. “You can lose your funny card. They’ll revoke that thing like the DMV!” But the truth is, Bellamy knows you’ve got to keep moving in this business, and Last Comic is a perfect example of that. “There’s so many new kinds of funny I see [doing the show]. It keeps the game interesting.” Bellamy also wouldn’t have to look farther than his own family to see how a single slip-up can put you on the outs with fans. His cousin, Shaquille O’Neal, is experiencing a bout of the lows right now with the Miami Heat. “At the moment, I’m hoping he might be a step-cousin or adopted cousin,” Bellamy jokes. “He’s got to work his way back in the family right now. But he’s still a big cruise ship. We just want him to keep floating.”

Bellamy himself will be doing more of a butterfly stroke when he visits the Improv (5700 Seminole Way, Hollywood) this weekend. “Stand up keeps you real,” he says. “It’s the best inside scoop on who I am as a person. It’s like a one-on-one with my audience that’s grown up with me.” Your personal invite costs $22. Call 954-981-5653, or visit www.improvftl.com.
Jan. 18-20, 2008

 
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