Volume 4 Issue 4 April 26-May2, 2009
With Half Of His Career In Acting & The Other Half In Music, Everyone’s Favorite Character Spencer Of TV’s
Talks About New Album, New Films & How He Got Into Show Biz
Staff Founder / Publisher Frank Holder Chief Financial Officer Kevin Layne Chief Operations Officer Brien Kelley, Esq. Editor-At- Large Sacre Wills Layout, Design & Graphic Art Editor Bernadette Holder PresidentTelevision Division Ray Murphy, Jr. TV Segment Producer Harlan Endelman Photo Editor Allen Zaki Columnists Tony Spires Vanessa Fraction Lamont Ferrell Joey Wells Peppur Chambers Darryl Littleton Sharon Braxton Lamont King Movie Reviews Aarona Browning PhotographersThis Issue Melissa Bring Frank Holder Richard Gumbs ZsanaĂŠ Dr. Billy Ingram Head ShotsWire Image Photos
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The content of this Magazine is copy written (2007-â€™08) by The Humor Mill Magazine, DBA Holder Publishing, LLC. and may not be reprinted or retransmitted or reproduced without proper credit given to its origin.
Credits Special Thanks Chico Chico Benymon Benymon Iva Iva LaShawn LaShawn Kevin Kevin Campbell Campbell Melissa Melissa Bring Bring Meredith Meredith Bruner Richard Richard Gumbs Gumbs Brien Brien Kelley Kelley Banana Banana Republic Republic MetroPark MetroPark
Chico Benymon Photo Shoot
Photos-Melissa Photos-Melissa Bring Bring Photo Photo Asst. Asst. Meredith Meredith Bruner Bruner Stylist-Bernadette Stylist-Bernadette Holder Holder
Iva Laâ€™Shawn Photo Shoot
PhotosPhotos- Richard Richard Gumbs Gumbs Model: Model: Kevin Kevin Campbell Campbell
Contents Comedy News
This week, more news from the Chris Rock camp, plus some big news from Damon Wayans camp about his future in comedy doing stand-up. Plus we have some interesting news from the new late night struggle thatâ€™s about to get underway in the urban community, and who is about to be head of those ships. We even have news on who took home the crown from the Bay Area Comedy Competition and Festival.
We have the latest news about the new film that Idris Elba is shooting, plus we have some more news that fans of rapper 50 Cent will love. Looks like we even have something interesting about the latest news from the Ghostbusters film update.
Chico Benymon~ Half & Half
Everyoneâ€™s favorite character Spencer from the former hit UPN and CW TV Show Half & Half talks about everything from his rise to fame, to his struggle early on with his music career (before he became an actor). Now Benymon talks about his career since the show ended, his new solo album (and his new producers) plus his 2 new films. We also discover what made this New Yorker jump into the game in the first place, and how he plans to stay there! AND, we discover which A list actor gave him some great advice about Hollywood and how to maintain his career.
Departments Humor Mail
As usual, here are some of the letters and emails we have gotten from you in the last couple of weeks. Take a look at some of the reader’s thoughts and see if some of them mirror your own.
Star Spotlight~ Rachel True By Antonia Andullerro After breaking out on the scene on The Cosby Show very early on in her career, and eventually landing in several films from CB4, The Craft, and Half Baked, we take a look at the career of Rachel True. So far, we have to say that one of her biggest career accomplishments was on UPN’s and The CW’s hit show Half & Half. Well, we examine her career and we give you an insightful look at what she has on tap.
Half & HalfGlass ½ Full
By Sharon Braxton
In today’s economy, our writer gives a straightforward look at what you should do to be able to maintain a living- or at least to maintain a livelihood in this market. A very positive read for everyone while we all wait that Stimulus package!
Comedian Tony Rock right after his performance after a comedy show at Chocolate Sundaes at The Laugh Factory in Hollywood.
Photo: Frank Holder
Departments Comedian Of The Week~ Grady
We catch up with one of Chicago’s finest- a comedian who goes by the name of Grady. Easily one of the most talked about comedian in the game, we get a chance to talk to this comedian and ask him about his comedy and why the country needs to know who he is. Really, is he that funny? Well, the powers-that-be think so, and the way his future is looking with upcoming appearances and powerful Hollywood Execs saying so, then it must be so.
Style With… Iva La’Shawn
Easily one of the sexiest comedians in the game, we give you a very good peak at Iva as she shows us what’s good in this week’s style section.
Comedian and actress Iva La’Shawn during our photo shoot in Hollywood.
Photo: By Richard Gumbs
Departments Everybody Wins
By Tony Spires The Comedy Doctor
Our featured columnist and the founder of The Bay Area Black Comedy Competition & Comedy Festival gives us some more food for thought As he takes a look at the Festival and those who competed. Unlike what you may have heard or of what has been reported things might not always appear as they seem.
This week we review the hit films from this past weekend Obsessed with Beyonce Knowles and Fighting that starred Channing Tatum and Terrance Howard. The question remains can Sasha Fierce open a movie? Can Tatum do anything besides dance? We got the scoop!
Brand New~ Music Reviews By DJ Sidekick
One of the hottest DJ’s in LA gives us his top 5, plus he takes a look at some of the songs that just missed.
Now That Barack Is In Charge! Photographer: Frank Holder
By Darryl Littleton
Another article this week from book author, comedian Darryl Littleton. Check out his new and latest chapter titled Just Say You Read It.
Comedian B-Phlat at The Improv during Big Spike’s Mo’ Betta Mondays in Hollywood.
Departments Half & Half
By Peppur Chambers
One of our new columnists gives us a funny look at an old commercial and her take on the thought of that commercial. Anyway, it’s a pretty funny column, so take a look-see.
Lamontologues: Night of the Living Faceheads By Lamont King
Ok, from this title, need we say more? Well, anyway, let us introduce you to a comedian and writer who is one of our featured writers this week so we can bring you his own unique style. Check him out, as he is not only funny- he has lots of food for thought.
Photo: Frank Holder
Actress Jazsmine Lewis on the Red Carpet of Flo Anthony’s Black Noir Magazine’s Celebration at the Sky Bay in Hollywood.
Editor’s Page To All Of Our Readers, What I love about the entertainment industry is that you never know what is gonna happen tomorrow. For example, who could see the retirement of Damon Wayans in the future, especially after his huge internet campaign and his TV shows that were about to drop? Who also could see on the horizon all of the stuff coming out of the Chris Rock camp so suddenly? I don’t know how stories arise, but I do know that every new day there is something always new to talk about. Some stuff becomes yesterday news real fast, and other stuff just lingers (see Chris Brown). Anyway, the past couple of weeks I decided to take a look at all of these things because I am seeing some amazing growth from some of these fresh new faces in the comedy game. Some of these faces can become a household name and I love reporting every minute of it; I guess I am just loving everything comedy right now. Oh well. Don’t mind me at all, I just love to talk.
Comedian Corey Holcomb and Comedy Club Owner Mary Lindsey outside the Chocolate Sundaes Comedy show located at the Laugh Factory in Hollywood.
Photo: Frank Holder
Frank Holder Publisher Humor Mill Magazine
To The Humor Mill Magazine; I love getting your issue as soon as I see it in my email. This week was a great surprise! I am a huge Tony Rock fan and I wanted to get to know him a little better. I wish your interview was longer. Is Tony always so rushed or were you guys interviewing him at a bad time? Kelly Marks Boston, MA Ed NOTE: We were interviewing Tony Rock right before his hosting gig at The Laugh Factory. It just worked out that way that he seemed rushed, trust us. Humor Mill Magazine; You guys rock! Speaking of Rock you guys had my favorite Rock on your cover! Don’t care what anyone says, he’s way better than Chris!
Photo: Frank Holder
Cherri Luapae Unknown The Humor Mill Mag: Great to see a brotha doing his thang! Tony get it! Keep representin’ Brooklyn too son! Bad Ass Barney Rubble Brooklyn, NY Comedian Dean Edwards upstairs inside the Laugh Factory right before his performance at The Chocolate Sundaes Comedy Show in Hollywood.
Mail The Humor Mill: Wow! Maybe I lived in the dark ages, but I had no idea Tony Rock was related to Chris Rock! And what I really loved in your article was how Tony refuses to use Chris to get him a leg up in Hollywood! I LOVED THAT! I am sure you guys know there are millions of people who think otherwise, and the said part is we see it everyday on TV or in their news. This brotha is out there trying to make it on his own steam, with his own ideas and is not asking for anything from Chris- not even an introduction! That is commendable! Hereâ€™s to you Tony teaching everyone out there to get ya OWN hustle on! Zora Niles New York, NY Humor Mill Magazine;
Brian Nemastrillo Philly, PA
Photo: Frank Holder Photo: Frank
Another great issue from The Humor Mill Magazine. Why am I not surprised? AND another great interview. You guys should really make them longer because they seem so short. Other than that I have no gripe with what you are doing and I am an avid fan. All I can say is keep up the good work! Meanwhile I will continue to read your news!
Comedian Beth Payne upstairs inside the Laugh Factory right after her performance at The Chocolate Sundaes Comedy Show in Hollywood.
Mail To The Humor Mill Magazine; Tony Rock is the man! I saw him in a film titled Three Can Play That Game, and I thought it was funny! He should have been in the first one! Anyway, you need to ask him when is he gonna get back on TV cause he was funny in that show that used to be on UPN. Keep pushin’ boy! Shannon M. Parker Hartford, CT To The Humor Mill Magazine;
Comedian Steve Wilson upstairs inside the Laugh Factory at The Chocolate Sundaes Comedy Show in Hollywood.
Photo: Frank Holder
Rosa Thomas Las Vegas, NV
Photo: Frank Holder
Finally a reason for me to write to your magazine. First of all I have to say I love reading your magazine and I have been reading it for a couple of years now and I am enjoying your growth. Very informative. Now for my reason to write; I am having a hard time trying to figure out how people like Katt Williams can make it in Hollywood and be in several films and have a tour going across the country and be making millions and here is a Black MAN- with talent, and no pimp gimmick- not getting the same opportunities. I don’t get it at all. Somebody call Ice Cube and have him give Tony Rock a shot instead of those mildly funny comedians. I said mild because Mike Epps used to be funny, now he’s corny. Katt was funny in his first five minutes, now that pimp routine is played. Tony Rock is funny, with no gimmick. Give him a shot! I would much rather see him on screen than Epps or Katt any day! That’s right I said it! Tony Rock is funnier than them!
Ed NOTE: With all of that being said what can we say? All we can add is that when it’s Tony Rock’s time it will happen. He is very talented and it will come. Humor Mill Magazine; I don’t think Tony Rock can act at all and that’s his problem. He would even be more successful if he stopped chasing women and focused more on comedy. That’s just my opinion. UNKNOWN
Comedian Esau upstairs inside the Laugh Factory right before his performance at The Chocolate Sundaes Comedy Show in Hollywood.
Mail Humor Mill Magazine; After reading your Tony Rock article I have to say that he really seems like he understands what he has to do in the Hollywood game. Kudos to him trying to do it on his own. Brian Hurt New York, NY To The Humor Mill; Tony Rock really comes across stupid on TV and in the movies so it was a breath of fresh air to realize that he is really only acting! I like his style, especially when I saw him with his own TV special! Now someone out there give this man his own comedy tour, plus his own one hour special on comedy central! He needs a turn too! Keisha Turner Los Angeles,CA
I guess I am one of the fortunate ones who gets to see Tony Rock on a regular basis, and I have to say that I think he is one of the next ones coming up in the game. If he wasn’t so arrogant he might actually be there by now. But it’s not up to me. All I can say is he should really pay attention to who’s looking, especially if he’s in the Hollywood eye. Unknown
Photo: Frank Holder
Humor Mill Magazine,
Comedic actor Eddie Steeples and comedian Ron G outside Mo’ Betta Monday’s at The Improv in Hollywood.
Mail The Humor Mill Magazine; I loved reading your new article by Peppur Chambers, and of course my all time favorite is Tony Spires. Tell Peppur that she needs to write for you guys more often and I would be one of the first people to send it out to everyone because I like her style and because Tony has been the man for a while now, and we need a woman to represent! Blaine Simard Birmingham, Al Humor Mill Magazine: I just loved the pictorial that you had from The John Witherspoon Roast. I am looking forward to seeing it on TV, and I sure hope it looks as good as it does in your magazine! Ed NOTE: Not sure how it will look on TV but it did look good to us!
Photo: Frank Holder
CORRECTIONS FROM LAST ISSUE! There were too many to name, but thanks to your letter we know about all of them! Besides the minor typos we had, there we really too many to name. â˜ş Hey, what can we say? We are doing the best that we can, especially without a full time Editor! Anyway, If you want to send us an email about the articles or your thoughts, all you have to do is send us an email to email@example.com for all of your comments. Some of these emails and other correspondence may be printed right here in these pages!
Host and comedian Joe Clair performing on stage at the Comedy Store during the Showtime on Sunset Comedy Show in Hollywood.
As we first reported several weeks ago, it looks like Chris Rock has officially announced that he has planned to end the TV show Everybody Hates Chris, the show based on his early life after four seasons. Everybody Hates Chris hasn't been picked up for a fifth season and the comedian plans to make it easy for bosses at the CW by ending the current season with a fitting finale. Terry Crews, who plays Rock's dad in the series, says, "Chris Rock didn't graduate high school and started comedy when he was, like, 17 years old. Our Chris (Tyler James Williams) is now a sophomore in high school, so the timing is lining up pretty well. Once he becomes a comedian, the show's over." And Williams, who is currently pursuing a film course at New York University, admits he's happy with the ending of the show, which is unofficially planned for May 8.
Damon Wayans One of the biggest stories we have discovered in the past few weeks is that comedian and actor Damon Wayans has called it quits from doing stand-up. No official word from his camp just yet, but our sources have confirmed this to us. If you recall, Wayans, beginning his career as a stand-up comic in 1982, landed a role as a featured performer on Saturday Night Live. Wayans went on to star in 4 of his own HBO specials, and for three seasons, he co-starred and wrote for the Emmy速 Award-winning series, In Living Color, for which he also personally received two Emmy nominations. Wayans has also starred in a number of films, including Bamboozled, Major Payne, Blankman, Bulletproof and Mo' Money, which he also wrote and executive produced. Additional film credits include The Great White Hype, Celtic
Pride, The Last Boy Scout, Earth Girls are Easy, I'm Gonna Git You Sucka, Colors, Punchline, Hollywood Shuffle, Roxanne, and Beverly Hills Cop. And who can forget his other TV credit, his very popular ABC sitcom My
Wife and Kids. Wayans is no less talented as an author. May of 1999 saw
the release of Bootleg, a humorous compilation of his observations regarding family, children, marriage, and politics. The book was a tremendous success and quickly reached the New York Times Bestseller List. There has also been word that Wayans is about to drop another book, plus his very quick partnership with YouTube for his WayOut TV venture recently ended. Overall Wayans career has spanned over the years and the focal point of his success has been his stand-up. There is news that Wayans has several projects in the works, including a new TV show supposedly for the fall.
Photographer: Frank Holder
R&B Singer Eric Benet, comedian and actress Kym Whitley, and comedian Joey Wells at an undisclosed location preparing for a future show in Hollywood.
L-R: Kevin Hart, Chris Rock, Tracy Morgan, Martin Lawrence & Zoe Saldana Comedian Kevin Hart has been added to the cast of director Neil LaBute's remake of Death at a Funeral, joining Chris Rock, Tracy Morgan, Martin Lawrence and Zoe Saldana. The film project follows a wildly dysfunctional family that comes together for the patriarch's funeral. Chaos ensues when a man shows up claiming he was the gay lover of the family's elder. Hart is playing a character named Brian the Undertaker.The comedian will be next up in the new Comedy Central series Krod Mandoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire.
As we reported several weeks ago, it looks like the deal is now done for comedian George Lopez to get his own late night talk show. It looks like the TBS network is gearing up to challenge the other networks for the coveted late night slot since all the networks feel that the late night landscape is now wide open after being vacated by Jay Leno of The Tonight Show. So far, we hear that TBS looks to launch the show in the 11:30PM time slot. No word on what the name of the new show will be. Stay tuned for more news on this shortly. George Lopez
We just discovered that comedian and actress Wanda Sykes is finally getting her own show with the FOX network that will be featured on Saturday nights, and hosted by Sykes. The show, so far titled The Sykes show, is expected to launch in the fall, and would fill the void left by the recently canceled sketch series MadTV. The Sykes show will be scheduled to air at 11 p.m, and it looks like it will be an hour long show. We hear that the show is being designed to look more like a panel series similar to Bill Maher's HBO show, as opposed to a regular talk show. One distinct difference that the Sykes show will offer is the show will follow Sykes as she shoots field segments along with topical panel discussions. Wanda Sykes
Photo: Frank Holder
Comedians Damon Wayans Jr. and Tiffany haddish upstairs inside the Laugh Factory right before Wayansâ€™ performance at The Chocolate Sundaes Comedy Show in Hollywood.
L-R: Sir Michael Caine, Johnny Depp, Shai LaBeouf & Eddie Murphy First, we have to state that we reported several months ago the next Batman film (yet to be titled) we discovered that the new villain will be the Riddler. Even though the script has not yet been written, and no one at that time was officially attached to star, word trickled down to us that this was the studio's next move in the Batman franchise. Well, a couple of weeks ago that part of the story was confirmed by Sir Michael Caine as he spoke to People.com confirming this fact to them, as he starred in both Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. Since our last report and the new news, Hollywood gossips have all reported that the part of the Riddler would be offered to Johnny Depp, Shai LaBeouf, and to Eddie Murphy. Well, here are some other facts that we have learned since our last report; the script has still not been written, nor has a director been hired for the film as studio bosses want Christopher Nolan back to direct but he is currently working on his latest project titled Inception, and he will not commit to the film until that film is complete. Now, where does Eddie Murphy fit in all of this? Well, without saying any names, the head of the studio and Murphy's agent are best of friends and amongst them a plan was devised to re-launch Murphy's career that will hopefully end up with an Oscar. Knowing all of this and the players involved, we think that the rumors out there are being placed to get the public's reaction to the thought of Eddie Murphy playing a villain. After all, who is keeping these rumors alive anyway? Well, stay tuned...
L-R: Richard Muprhy, Charlie Muphy, JB Smoove & DeRay Davis
We hear that comedian Charlie Murphy is stepping up his game and is finally filming his own comedy stand-up performance. The comedy performance is to be taped in Boston the weekend of April 24th-25th and will be Executive Produced by Charlie Murphy and Richard Murphy and will be distributed by Image Entertainment. Up next for Murphy is the film titled Frankenhood also starring DeRay Davis and J.B. Smoove set for theaters on May 5th.
Photographer: Frank Holder
Comedians Jay Philips and Dominique at The Comedy Store during The Trippinâ€™ On Tuesdays Comedy Show in Hollywood.
L-R: David Allen Grier, Damon Wayans, Jr., Kevin Hart & Chris Spencer In what was sure gonna happen sooner or later, actor/comedian David Alan Grier was voted off the dancing show ABC's Dancing With The Stars. Doing the Viennese Waltz, he was in the bottom two performers and was unable to get the required amount of votes to stay on the show. It's not all bad for Grier; he has several films on tap. First up is the film Dance Flick also starring Damon Wayans, Jr. and set to hit theaters May 22nd. Also up is the film titled Something Like A Business starring Kevin Hart, Earthquake, Chris Spencer, Kym Whitley and more. In what is sure to shake up the comedy scene in Hollywood, we have discovered that comedian and actor Jon Lovitz is starting up his own comedy club at Universal CityWalk in late May. Called The Jon Lovitz Comedy Club, it's his first venture into nightclub ownership. We wonder, is Lovitz tired of performing at The Laugh Factory where he is a staple of their club on almost any given night? Anyway, the press release states that he'll perform regularly at the new 400-seat club and "play a leading role in booking a performance line-up that will blend veteran stars with comedy’s top newcomers. Lovitz states that “This will be unlike anything anybody has ever experienced at a comedy club and it’s certain to be a smashing success. We’re offering great comedy, great food and an atmosphere of a tropical beach resort. It’s so real, the club’s indoors and I still got a tan." As of this writing, we have asked if there would be any urban nights at the club and we have not heard any response yet from his management. Stay tuned.
According to some internet reports, it looks like a fan tried to force his way into comedian Jamie Foxx’s room while he was in Philadelphia last month. The man was later arrested. According to the reports, Foxx answered the door to the intruder, who pretended he was Beyonce Knowles' producer, at his room at Pennsylvania city's Aka Hotel on March 22nd. We hear that Foxx was forced to overpower the 49-year-old man when he tried to push his way into the room. He fled but was caught by cops on Tuesday when members of Fox's security spotted him near the hotel and alerted the police. The unnamed man was arrested for burglary, criminal threats, stalking, false imprisonment and harassment. Our sources were unable to confirm or deny this report.
Host of the Bay Area Comedy Competition and Festival DC Curry here on stage performing with Ajuana Black & Blackout during the event in Oakland.
This year the 2009 Bay Area Black Comedy Competition Winner was just announced in Oakland, and the winner is comedian Kareem Green. It seems that everything didn't go as smooth as planned as the crowd disagreed with the announcement making their displeasure known by booing as the judges announced the winners. The crowd was in favor of Mike E. Winfield as he was announced as the third place winner. In second place came comedian Damon Rozier from New York, who also seems to be gaining steam across the country despite his disability.
L-R: Kareem Green & Tony Spires
L-R: Ice Cube, Tracy Morgan & Mike Epps
We have learned that actor/rapper/director Ice Cube has another new comedy film on tap besides the long awaited film Janky Promoters. We hear that his new film, titled Ride Along, is slated to begin filming this summer by New Line Cinemas. We hear that Cube will play a rogue cop with a soft spot for his sister. When she reveals she's engaged to an upper-crust white psychiatrist, the cop sets out to destroy the relationship by inviting his future brother-in-law on a ride-along. Word is that Cube is eyeing either Tracy Morgan or Mike Epps to star along with him. We also heard that there has been some strong interest from Cube to select a new comedian to star. In other Cube news, we just discovered that Cube’s other film Janky Promoters, which was scheduled to drop last week, has lost its distributer. Is that signs of the Weinstein Co. being in deep financial trouble because of the economy? We are not sure, but all signs sure do point in that direction. As of this writing, Janky, which also stars Mike Epps, has no release date. J. Reid Speaking of Bill Bellamy’s Who’s Got Jokes?, one of the comedians who performed, comedian J.Reid, lost his father the day before the taping of his performance for the show. We want to send out our sincerest condolences to him and his family during this trying time, and we want to commend him for his perseverance to even want to go up on stage and do the show.
Actors Michael Jai White and Terry Crews at the Producers screening of the new comedy film Black Dynamite which stars White in Hollywood.
Photo: Frank Holder
Finals of the 2009 Bay Area Comedy Competition and Festival are left to right: DC Ervin, Marcus Combs, Jason Andors, Mike E. Winfield, Kareem Green, and in the front row Damon Rozier, all before the show in Oakland.
L-R: Terrence Howard, Cuba Gooding, Jr. & Bryan Cranston Actors Terrence Howard, Cuba Gooding Jr. and Bryan Cranston are the latest stars to join the cast of George Lucas' new war film titled Red Tails, a World War II actionadventure about the Tuskegee Airmen - America's first black military pilots. The trio join an ensemble including hip-hop star Method Man and singers Ne-Yo, Jazmine Sullivan, Nate Parker, David Oyelowo, Tristan Wilds, Lee Tergesen, Elijah Kelley, Andre Royo and Jesse Williams will all star in the movie. As of this writing, we hear that Lucas is looking for someone for the comedic relief for the film. Star Wars guru Lucas, who co-created the film, will also serve as executive producer. Anthony Hemingway will direct. We hear that filming is scheduled to begin in Europe later this month. T-L-R: Tasha Smith, Ernie Hudson, Rockmond Dunbar, Keith David, Michael Beach B-L-R: Michael B. Jordan, Tisha Campbell-Martin, Salli Richardson-Whitfield & Nicole Ari Parker
Last week we reported that the film Pastor Brown which stars Salli RichardsonWhitfield, Nicole Ari Parker, Keith David, Michael B Jordan, Ernie Hudson, Michael Beach, Tasha Smith, Tisha Campbell-Martin, and Rockmond Dunbar, who also directs this film was being produced by Indywood Entertainment. We have discovered that the film is being produced by Rock Capital Films. We apologize for the confusion! Anyway we hear Pastor Brown is a film that is centered around Jessica "Jesse' Brown, estranged from her family for many years, who returns home to Atlanta to see her ailing father, a prominent pastor of one of the city's oldest and most respected churches. On his deathbed, Pastor Joseph Brown asks his daughter to take over the church. Jesse faces numerous challenges: a teenage son, a jealous sister, an ambitious associate pastor and a blossoming romance with an Islamic man. We have just learned that actress Queen Latifah will star in a new romantic comedy film titled Just Wright for Fox Searchlight. Word is the film is another modern day Cinderella tale, that centers on a female physical therapist who falls in love with a basketball player while helping him recover from a career-threatening injury. The film is to begin filming in late May. No word yet who will be cast as the basketball player for the film, but rumors say that producers are eyeing former ball player Rick Fox.
Photo: By ZsanaĂŠ Pictured here are actors Tyrese Gibson and actress Taraji P. Henson at Tyreseâ€™s launch party for his new comic book titled Mayhem in Los Angeles.
Actors Idris Elba and Zoe Saldana are in negotiations to be part of The Losers, Warner Bros. and Silver Pictures’ adaptation of the Vertigo/DC Comics book with Sylvain White directing. The actors will join Jeffrey Dean Morgan for the action film, which follows a Special Forces team betrayed by its handler and left for dead. The “losers” regroup in the interest of revenge, the opportunity to remove their names from a secret CIA death list and to conduct covert operations against the CIA and its interests. Elba will play a character named Roque, the group’s scarred second-in-command who is motivated by money. Saldana will be Aisha, a cold-blooded loose cannon. Up next for Elba is the film Obsessed with Beyonce Knowles which opens April 24th. Up for Saldana is the new Star Trek film which opens May 8th.
Jeffrey Dean Morgan
We hear the new film Twelve begins shooting on April 20th and features 50 Cent, in the story of a high school dropout-turned-drug dealer on New York's Upper East Side whose cousin is murdered and best friend arrested for the crime. Based on the book by Nick McDonell, the movie also stars Chace Crawford, Emma Roberts, Rory Culkin, Ellen Barkin and Kiefer Sutherland. Crawford, of CW's Gossip Girl, will likely star as the high school drop out named White Mike, who deals marijuana and an Ecstasy-like upper called “twelve” to Manhattan’s young and rich. But his profits go sour when his dealer’s cousin is brutally murdered and his best friend is arrested for the crime. According to MTV.com, much of the buzz around Twelve was centered on its author McDonell, who was only 17-years-old at the time of its publication. While the novel received good reviews from places like The New York Times, many argued that it had been published largely because of McDonell’s good connections — his dad is the managing editor of Sports Illustrated and was friends with Hunter S. Thompson, while his godfather manages Grove Press, the publisher of Twelve.
Word is actress CCH Pounder is in talks to play the mother of two sons portrayed by former New York Giants star Michael Strahan and wheelchair-bound actor Darryl Mitchell in the Fox comedy pilot, Brothers. The actress is known for her intense dramatic work on such television shows as ER and The Shield, but will show off her lighter side as mother of siblings trying to reconnect after Strahan's character, also a retired NFL player, returns to his hometown. Mitchell's character is confined to a wheelchair following a car accident. Up next for Pounder, she appears on Sci Fi Channel's new series Warehouse 13 in a recurring role and in Avatar.
Photo: By ZsanaĂŠ
Pictured here are comedian, actress & singer Luenell & Eugene Barry-Hill, cast as Eugene behind the scenes of Aint Misbehavinâ€™ in Los Angeles.
As I surf the informational super-highway we call the internet, in my search for the latest news and information that will probably neither enhance nor improve my quality of life, I have recently found myself getting addicted to those social networking sites like everyone else. I have been on Myspace since about 2006. I just got on Facebook in January of this year. Last week I finally jumped on Twitter. I must admit, once you get the hang of these sites they can be very addictive. I mean like the for-real kind of addictive. It’s like the addiction that normally comes with drugs but without the threat of jail time or brain damage. Well, even that’s subjective depending on the age of the person you are ‘socially networking with,’ and how much time u spend watching videos of toddlers cussing out strangers and store clerks. I used to be the one that was like ‘you ain’t gon never see me letting the world know my every movement on some damn computer page.’ I felt like the evolution of social networking sites was the devolution of simple human interaction. I believed that it was the end of the days where you got that courtesy call from your peoples that used to go something like, “Hey man, its me, I didn’t want nothing, I was just checkin in on you. I haven’t heard from you in awhile, holla at me, one.” I believed it was the end of the simple handshake or dap in passing. I believed we would all end up in some weird premature futuristic existence where everybody dressed funny and we all had to follow new rules barring interpersonal contact like in the movie Demolition Man. And then I took one hit of that finger candy, known on the streets as FB, and I was an instant customer. Facebook had me hooked. I was a Facehead. I had to have it in the morning when I got up. I had to have it at night before I went to bed. It would call me during the day if it felt I was neglecting it. I even gave the dealer access to my cellphone so that even when I was nowhere near my computer, I could get it whenever I wanted it, in the palm of my hand. I was even getting Face’d in public places. Of course I didn’t see anything wrong with it. Everybody was doing it. I often found myself checking other people’s status updates to see who was using. And if I wasn’t copping, somebody was always there to tag me up in a random note or old photo. Once tagged, I now was enabling somebody else’s habit. Now I was trafficking. Aiding and abetting. A co-defendant. Might as well been sharing keyboards. Ok, maybe it’s not that serious but Facebook is definitely hardcore. It makes doing Myspace seem like sniffing glue. See, on the ‘Space you can hide behind some weird ass screen name and you can hide from people indefinitely. Not on the ‘Book.
On that FB you have to use your full name, mostly given, and preferably birth. You can’t escape elementary school playmates, old junior-high jump-offs, hated high school rivals, former co-eds and coworkers, or anybody looking for you intentionally or unintentionally. The other day I got a friend request from ol’ Bin Laden. He had more friends than me and I found out that we had about a hundred friends in common. I thought to myself, ‘the U.S. government ain’t really looking for this dude! This man on here posting events sending gifts, passing drinks, and got his own group with a fan page! If creditors and collection agencies ever decided to smarten up and jump on these sites to find people, we all would be in trouble! I had just started getting the hang of blogging and now cats are doing video logs. ‘Vlogging,’ as its more commonly called, is taking weblogs to the next level. It’s where, instead of writing, you turn the camera on yourself and basically rant about whatever is on your mind at the time. My mans Lem Dunnigan, out of Newark, NJ, took his FB vlog to another level. Lem does an all-out morning show, via vlog, every morning, from his bedroom—most of the time in his nightclothes and fresh out of sleep. He has quite the following too. Every show is followed by scores of comments and responses from his viewers. He gon’ mess around and catch a case—possession with intent to distribute. Addictive or not, these sites are excellent tools for marketing and [self-] promotion. They are great for keeping in touch with people you really don’t want to actually talk to for whatever reason, and are even greater as a free publicity tool. Just make sure you read the terms of service (possession is 9/10’s of their law). So, in closing, be careful when you are social networking. Not only are you friends with your friends, but you are also friends with their friends, and friends with their friends’ friends…and so on and so forth! Ewwww! Wear gloves and remember to always practice safe text! Lamont King Actor/Writer/Stand-up Comic/Radio&TV Host “I’m always working…I’m always looking for work.” www.LamontKing.tv www.UrbanFlavorz.tv THINKERTAINMENT! 2009
With an acting swagger that many people don’t have, Chico Benymon acts like he’s been in this acting game for years. As a matter of fact, after landing in Hollywood in 2002 after only being in town for only a week the executives of the then UPN sitcom Half & Half must have also thought so, because after his audition he immediately got the infamous part of one of TV’s most favorite characters, Spencer. But we get too far ahead, and to understand the swagger, you have got to know the past. Chico Benymon started singing at the tender age of 2 years old New York, singing in church, and lead to him playing the piano at the age of five. Fast forward to his 16th year, and after many awards, he went on to perform at the famous Apollo Theatre where he went on to win 1st place three times in a row. Fast forward again, and Chico now has a budding music career as he was able to sign with Will Smith’s Record Label as a part of the R&B group, Tra-knox, which led to his Hollywood journey from several small parts in some films such as Ali and a guest spot on Moesha, which led to Half & Half. Chico starred on Half & Half which aired from 2002-2006 and you could say it put Chico on the acting map. His funny and very lovable character Spencer is one of those characters that is very memorable and will probably follow him his entire career. Since the end of the show Chico has starred in Life Is Not a Fairy Tale: The Fantasia Barrino Story, as Rodney Birk, and most recently just finished filming two films, Guardian of Eden and Speed Dating. He also hasn’t’ forgotten his musical roots as he is about to launch his solo career with a new album, with the first single and video titled Weakness, which will shoot the video in about three weeks. There is so more than meets the eye with Chico, even activities that he loves to associate himself with, from assisting in the community to his entertainment flag football league called the E.F.F. League (Entertainment Flag Football League). With so much going on- and more- we decided to talk with Chico so he could tell us about all of his upcoming projects and his plans in front of and behind the camera. Here is a portion of the interview; Humor Mill: First question is, we have all seen you on Half & Half and we got a chance to see you as a bad guy and as a good guy, but lets go back. How did you get in to Hollywood? How did that come about? Chico Benymon: Man! My story is kinda like the “Cinderella” Hollywood story. Most people in LA, they come up to me and say “Man I have been acting for nine or ten years!” My story is a little different. I was in a group called Tra-knox signed to Will Smith and I was strictly about my music, just strictly about my music. We were with Overbrook and Interscope and what happened was when Will used to get involved in his films ( Will was “hands on” with the project) but when he got a film he would have to go work and we kinda was on the shelf.
“… A friend of mine was on an audition and I went with himI snuck into it- and it just happened to be an audition for Moesha, and I ended up booking it. They were like, ‘are you SAG?’ I said ‘Naw, I am Puerto Rican and Black’”.
We would have to wait, and time went by, and we would all go back to our jobs and I just felt like that was not what I was supposed to do. You know, just having that regular job. So I was on the set of Enemy Of The State and the whole group came out there and Will was getting ready to Wild, Wild West right after and I just started seeing Will on the camera’s and I was like “Man! This is hot! I like this camera stuff! I think I might want to do this! Like a plan ‘B’.” Will told me “You should do this. You should always have a plan ‘B’”. So we kept going in and out of California, and I was really diggin’ Cali, and I linked up with people that were doing ‘extra’ work, and to me that was amazing because it was like you get to work with whoever. So to make a long story short, a friend of mine was on an audition and I went with him - I snuck into it, and it just happened to be an audition for Moesha and I ended up booking it. They were like, “are you SAG?” I said “naw I am Puerto Rican and Black”. They were like “what?” And I kinda peeped that it was wrong, and said “Naw I am just playing! (Laughs!) You know what I mean? I was just sitting around hoping that somebody would tell me and then this girl, one of the Producers came up to me and said “SAG is the Union” and I think she kinda knew. She told me to get SAG “because we are shooting this show in three weeks” and you know I called big bro’ Will and I said “What is SAG? I need to get SAG!” He was saying “ Are you kidding me? You booked a Show?” He was just shocked off of that. So a couple of my friends were doing extra work on Jamie Foxx’s show so I went over there and the second AD (Assistant Director) who was also second AD on Half & Half, asked me if I wanted to do extra work and she made me eligible for SAG. So then I was eligible, I paid the dues I became SAG, and I shot. It was amazing. From then on, I was saying, “I got to do this!” I saw myself on Moesha, and my peoples back in New York saw it, and I was like “I am digging this stuff!” But in between all of that I was still touring with Will, doing the group thing, and we were doing Men In Black 2, and I met my Executive Producer of Half & Half Yvette Lee Bowser at Tae Bow class. I mean, man I keep it real! I said I saw her pull up in the black Benz, and I said “man that’s what I am talking about! A sista with a black Benz! And I said “I bet this is not even your man’s!” She said “I know you.” I said “oh”. Then I said “How do you know me?” And she said “I saw your picture, I know your manager.” I said “Really so what do you do?” She said “I am a producer.” So in my head I went straight to the music. “Oh you produce? What label?” She said “No, I am a TV Producer. I got something coming up, you should come through, and I will give you a call….So it came up, I went in for the audition and I booked it. To view the complete interview please visit http://www.humormillmag.com
“…Rueben Cannon (Casting Director) came out of the audition and hugged me and said ‘Good job, now go home.’ In the parking lot someone came up to me and said ‘check your answering machine’. Man! I did a HUNDRED home! Man, I got to the answering machine and I remember my manager saying congratulations! You shoot this Monday…”
This week we caught up with another comedian from Chicago, a comedian who goes by the name of Grady. You may have seen him on last season’s Martin Lawrence Presents 1st Amendment on Showtime (and truth be told- you may see him again this season). Well, anyway, we got to ask him about his start in the comedy game and what he thinks about the comedy industry. As he states, a comedian doesn’t really find himself until years of doing standup, and then you only then discover what type of comedian you really are. We ask Grady about who he is, and what type of comedian we can expect from his style of comedy and more. We also ask him about his thoughts of Chicago’s comedians who seem to be about to take over the comedy industry. All of that and more in this interview. Here is a portion of our discussion; Humor Mill Magazine: This week we have a comedian who goes by the name of Grady on the line. Grady, what’s going on? Grady: I am good. How y’all doing out there. HM: First thing is , we want to get started by asking you how did you get started in comedy and where did you get started at? G: Oh man I started when I was (11) eleven years old and I messed around in neighborhoods making people laugh, and making the grown folks laugh. Then it just kind of transpired from there. You know most of the time, when you are a class clown it kind of brings folks to say “hey this dude has something for us”. You know it would be some days, Friday is usually the day in public school that is just “chill” days. I am from Chicago so I don’t know what everyone else does or how it is in any other city, but I got in it from there. I started doing it professionally (9) nine years ago on a bet. It was just like “Man you should do stand-up” and I was going to get my hair cut and my barber was like “Yo, are you exposing that gift?” And I was like “what are you talking about?” And he walked me out the door and said “Don’t come back until you have.” I was kinda under pressure trying to figure out what the hell he was talking about. And it just hit me, and I said to myself “Forget this, that’s what I am gonna do.” So I called my barber and I said “Yo man I am starting at Riddles Comedy Club in Chicago” and he said “Alright come on back and get your hair cut.” (laughs) Just like that. I said “What?” but yeah, it went from there. HM: Since you got started out some years ago is comedy what you expected it to be? G: You know I been doing this for (9) years, and its going to have its stretches, its going to have its ups and its gonna have its downs. Comedy right now…I am not one of those comedians who say comedy is dead, ‘cause I am a comic myself. I am a fan of everybody’s stuff. I don’t really care if you are a cerebral comic. Some comics… I am a physical comic, just a mixture of everything. To listen to the complete interview and hear what Grady’s thoughts are about the rest of the comics who all reside from Chicago check out the link here: http://humormill.podhoster.com/
Photographer: Frank Holder
Actress LisaRaye and Director Preston Whitmore on the Red Carpet of Flo Anthony’s Black Noir Magazine’s Celebration at the Sky Bay in Hollywood.
Film: Obsessed Starring: Beyonce Knowles and Idris Elba Director: Steve Shill Embracing the campy nature of their Fatal Attaction meets The Temp remake in the last week of their marketing campaign for Obsessed, Screen Gems was rewarded with a impressive $11 million opening day for the Beyonce Knowles and Ali Larter thriller. Reviews have not been kind, but the "don't you try to touch my man" thriller touched a nerve in moviegoers. We have to say, so far it looks like a huge coup for the Sony Pictures division and no doubt convincing studio execs (or her agents) that Sasha Fierce can open a movie. We personally liked the film.
Film: Fighting Starring: Channing Tatum and Terrance Howard Director: Dito Montiel Arguably the first film Channing Tatum has opened on his own, the action flick was a not bad follow-up from Step Up To The Streets 2. The film, Fighting takes place in New York City, where a young counterfeiter (Tatum) is introduced to the world of underground street fighting by a seasoned scam artist (Howard), who becomes his manager on the bareknuckling brawling circuit. We should note right here that Tatum is a star to keep your eye on because he has the looks, the moves (see the Step Up films), he can fight, and this summer with his part in GI Joe: Rise Of The Cobra we will see he can shoot. With all of those ingredients- and his great agent- you are sure to see more of him. Anyway, the film Fighting is a film that you donâ€™t want to miss.
The 2009 Champion the Bay Area Comedy Competition and Festival Kareem Green poses before the show in Oakland.
The following is an excerpt the from the upcoming book, NOW THAT BARACK IS IN CHARGE, the chapter titled Just Say You
The day of glorifying ignorance has come to an end and not a nana second too soon. Turning your nose up to facts and holding education and knowledge in disdain shows who’s really the fool. Stop spewing that, “Man, I don’t know that shit. It was before my time.” So was Jesus, but you managed to have learned about him. Heard of Lincoln (Barack’s made sure you have)? How about Malcolm X, Cleopatra, Al Capone, Bonnie & Clyde, Harriet Tubman, Marilyn Monroe, and Martin Luther King – they were all before your time. So spare me excuses for being dumb. Most people aren’t dumb by nature. As a group people can be really knuckleheads, but your average individual has something to say. If you take the time to listen, most humans know at least one or two subjects with great depth. You just have to get into where their heads are at to spark that interest to want to learn more. A person with no desire to pass a math class will be the first to sweat you about money. When the context is currency, the outlook changes. Same goes for the marijuana user who now reads books on botany or the ‘slow’ kid who is a whiz when it comes to photography or maybe its engines. Stupid? Not people; and definitely not black people. So since the president has flipped the game and now intelligence is back in, let’s all climb on a bandwagon worth riding and pay more attention to what’s going on. I’m not standing up on a box (soap if you can find one these days) as I type this preaching that everybody needs to run out a devour “War & Peace” or subscribe to The Wall Street Journal... But what I am saying is read something. Read a magazine, a book, a label, the scroll at the bottom of the TV screen – something to where you know more when you finish reading it than when you started. I’m sick and tired of ignorance ruling the day. And another thing – stop saying you grew up in the hood if you didn’t. Be proud of who you are and where you came from. If it was the suburbs and you talk like somebody is pinching your nose and you sport a short cropped natural and the diversity of your iPod is Kenny Chesney to U2 and you walk like you’ve got a stick up your ass – claim it! Don’t go around trying to Snoop it up, looking foolish in your quest for the street cred you’ll never attain. Man, you’ll get killed perpetrating. Extra! Extra!! Not all black people grew up in poverty. Slavery has been over for quite awhile now and there are some folks who had upbringings in middle class and…well-off environments. So battle cries of, ‘Say hell yeah if you grew up broke” may be met with deafening silence. Keep in mind it’s not how much money you had coming up, but what you’ve done since then that matters. Now that Barack’s in charge the boulevards in the hood will be paved with platinum. Also remember, some black people would rather live on a diet of Tab and Twinkies before admitting to being broke in front of non-blacks, so let them reside on Front Street and stop trying to shine the klieg lights on it. One day when blacks claim to be from royalty if they are descendents of blacks who took advantage of this Golden Era they’ll probably be correct.
If you truly knew poverty, you know you want to brag on it as much as a case of crabs. Having no money sucks and the only ones reliving the nostalgic era of an empty stomach is the ones who got out and have convinced themselves they can never go back. Why would anybody want membership in that club? “We were so poor…” Spare me. You live through it so you weren’t that damn poor. And if you’re lying you need to have a block of poor people kick your ass. If you’re a black person who came up rich you ought to be ashamed of yourself if you haven’t done anything to help anybody else. Your Republicanism is stifling. And has anybody ever heard of a mentor. These are people who not only tell you what to do, but how to do it. A good mentor can steer you in the right direction. Expand your horizons and inspire you to be something like, president. They can expose your desire to conform, blend in and get along and let you know it’s alright to let your brain get some exercise. The day of the outwardly intelligent black person has come. Rejoice all you closet geniuses; scared to display your true brilliance because what your “friends” might think. “Look at this smart ass trying to show off.” Well, count me as a member of the smart asses. I relish talking rings around any bigot who has the penis sidecars to play me for dumb…because of my skin tone. I make ‘em cry. Send ‘em home to their mamas. And I advise more blacks to do the same. Don’t be a stereo type of old. What - you’re a beta max.? Now don’t because a pain in the ass. Barack knows how to temper his smarts. Learn from that. The last thing you want to become is somebody spewing out useless information. Don’t overcompensate, but don’t look so simple a caveman could do you. It’s like jazz. You’ve got people who specialize in playing a lot of notes. Impressive. Then you have musicians who play with feeling. Moves you. So black people need to ‘out’ their medulla oblongatas and show the world we mean business. Break out that Thesaurus. I know that nobody wants to be a known nerd. We all want to seen as cool. Isn’t Barack cool? He’s quick witted, smart, athletic, confident, grounded, and ever sine he became president his ears are getting smaller. What’s not cool about that? Why wouldn’t that be the example to pursue VS saggin with a throwback jersey a snarl and a tattoo that would take you a million years to tell a person what it meant? Thing is you could know. Everybody I know uses computers, but not everybody uses them for good. Play games, chat, read silly shit, order crap, but damn – take a moment to read a news story, research something that interest you or listen to a clip. Not to knock libraries, but you don’t have to leave to house. No asking a librarian to help you. No walking down any aisles. All you’ve got to do is take your dark pigmented finger and click and read. If you can’t read –listen to the news. Pay attention to what people are talking about. But please don’t claim your lack of formal education justifies your request for slack. Just say you read it. Nobody is going to ask you to actually do it. At least I don’t think so; unless you’re going around slobbering when you talk, in that case just nod with approval. To read more please stay tuned to these pages to see when the book will be available!
This week’s Star Spotlight focuses on actress Rachel True (born Rachel India True) on November 15, 1966 in New York City. As a child, Rachel acquired an interest and soon a love for acting through watching her stepmother perform in several New York City Theater plays. In 1991, one of Rachel’s first television appearances was on the NBC sitcom “The Cosby Show”, where she played Nikki, a friend of Theo’s in three different episodes. Of course you could only imagine how this jump started her career to even bigger future endeavors. The Cosby Show made a mark in history and for Rachel to be a part of that in the beginning of her acting career was extremely lucrative. She then went on to score reoccurring roles on Beverly Hills 90210, The Drew Carey Show and HBO’S Dream On. By 1993 she was living in Los Angeles starring in movies like CB4 in conjunction with Chris Rock and The Craft along with Neve Cambell and Fairuza Balk. In 1998 True appeared in the classic flick Half Baked playing the girlfriend of Dave Chapelle, a pothead who concealed his habit. Up until this point, True was well-known for playing characters with an evil side later transforming to a comedic side, when she linked up with Essence Atkins in the UPN comedy, Half & Half in 2002. Mathematically speaking two half’s do make a whole, but on the TV sitcom Half & Half it took Dee Dee, played by Essence Atkins and Mona played by Rachel True a long time coming to realize that they are one in the same. These two half sisters were like night and day, Dee Dee playing the law school graduate that grew up with both of her parents in a very wealthy neighborhood and Mona playing the record company exec that was raised by a single mom in a middle class neighborhood. Mona Thorne, played by True is very liberal and sarcastic in this role trying to find that equilibrium between family, work and her search for Mr. Right. The show aired for three seasons and developed this bond between two sisters that once had nothing in common except for daddy. They cultivate a true sisterhood and begin to realize how much they really do have in common while being neighbors. Over time the sisters console one another and give each other advice on career alternatives and how to deal with their mothers. Half & Half is an all time favorite so I strongly suggest you catch it on UPN. On behalf of myself and the Humormill Magazine we hope to see more of Rachel True in the days ahead.
Photo: Dr. Billy Ingram
Host of Access Hollywood Shaun Robinson at her book signing of her titled book Exactly As I am in Beverly Hills.
What’s up Humor Mill fam! It’s your friendly neighborhood favorite DJ, DJ Sidekick, and I’m here to give you your weekly music report and countdown. Let’s get into it: My Favorite Top 5 1. Lil Wayne, Drake, Jae Mills - Every Girl 2. Cold flames - Miss Me, Kiss Me 3. Fabolous ft. The Dream - Throw It In The Bag 4. Oj The Juiceman ft Gucci Mane- Bricks Remix 5. Busta Rhymes ft T-Pain - Hustlers Anthem The Bubble Zone: (Things That Are On The Bubble) West Coast Running Back Badlucc - My Gucci G Child himself Warren G -Let’s Get High 4/20 Anthem The Clipse ft Kanye West- Kind Of A Big Deal Ron Brown ft Keri Hilson- Simple Yo, you can find your boy on Thursday nights at Classic Thursdays at The Blue Velvet Lounge, and on Sunday nights at Chocolate Sundaes at The Laugh Factory. I am also on Twitter at twitter.Com/Dj_sidekick or facebook.Com/djsidekick, and on myspace.Com/dj_sidekick. Make sure you look me up to find me and lock me in. So, until next week, keep pushin’ to your goal never quit!! And make sure you check out my new mix tapes that I will be droppin’ for The Humor Mill Magazine!!!
Photo: Frank Holder
Actress Jazsmine Lewis and her husband Brien Kelly on the Red Carpet of Flo Anthonyâ€™s Black Noir Magazineâ€™s Celebration at the Sky Bay in Hollywood.
When I was charged with writing about this Issue’s topic, which is “Half and Half”, my immediate thought was, “That’s not funny”. The UPN sitcom itself was funny, of course, but beyond that, there’s not much humor in those three words that incite me laugh. And I’m ok with that. However, what did make me laugh (or at least chuckle half-heartedly) was a fleeting memory of the old-school commercials for Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups where some kooky “3’s Company” John Ritter-y guy would be walking the streets of Manhattan (or somewhere) eating a refreshing snack of what my brother’s and I referred to as, “A Peanut Butter Spoon”. He’d have the entire jar of peanut butter in one hand while happily eating a huge spoon of peanut butter with the other. As he rounded a blind corner, a “Charlie’s Angels” Farrah Fawcett type would be strolling from the opposite direction while enjoying a hearty chocolate bar. Then, “Whoops!” they would collide into each other, and the end shot would have her huge chocolate bar perched half-way into his jar of peanut butter. She’d say, “Hey, your peanut butter is on my chocolate!” (or something like that), and he’d quip, “What! Your chocolate is in my peanut butter!” All this was a peppy way to say a Reese’s Peanut Butter cup was half peanut butter covered in half chocolate, basically. Or, for our purposes, a classic case of “Half and Half”. Now, I’m sure some spoof of this classic has been done somewhere, such as Saturday Night Live back then or maybe even You Tube today, but wouldn’t it be funny if there was a minor switcheroo of casting and some close ups? We’d have a completely different commercial! Imagine Shaft from “Shaft” and Claudine from “Claudine” colliding in Manhattan, only Shaft would be holding the chocolate and Claudine would have the peanut butter. This gives a whole different meaning to, “Your chocolate is in my peanut butter!” I think this joining of one half into another is much more pleasing and makes me smile at the notion that after that particular experience of Half and Half, I could see myself sitting back, sighing and enjoying a Reese’s…much like a cigarette. How ‘bout you?
Peppur is the creator and performer of Harlem’s Night Cabaret performed by the sultry, sassy, sophisticated and sometimes funny, Brown Betties. www.brownbetties.com
Let’s discuss your state of mind in this crazy economy. If you had to put your selfesteem in a glass right now, would it be half-FULL or half empty? To the readers of this article, if you have lost your job my prayers are with you. I have been there and I feel your pain and fear. Ask God to allow you to see the glass as ½ full instead of ½ empty cups. Ask that he plant a seed in your heart and match the need large enough to sustain you and your family. Market yourself as a global commodity. China, Asia, Africa, and Europe have always competed on a global level. The US administration is starting to understand the synergy of friendly global competition and business networking. Visualize yourself as doing international business. You never know where God will lead you. I never thought I would be an internationally known author, completing three books after leaving the music business and traveling the world. It is crucial that you socialize with people that are feeding your spirit with fulfilling solutions to your job situation, i.e. where to obtain your next job, contacts in their rolodex, how to get paid for your experience, etc. Always network upward, very seldom lateral or downward (unless you are volunteering). Step out of your comfort zone and into the realm of possibilities. Write a list of companies you want to work for, search for stories and problems within the corporation and contact them with a brief solution. They will receive the rest of your brilliant business ideas once they hire you! Take a day to relax. Start out with a cup of Moroccan green tea (sip through a straw so your teeth don’t stain. You’ll need that winning smile on your interviews!). Periodic breaks are good, but never give up on your dreams. A storm is temporary. Drugs, smoking and/or excessive drinking is going to take away your ambitions. If your glass is getting low, seek assistance to get it refilled. Your spiritual leader, church family, spouse, mentor, and friends, are a good place to start. You cannot be positive and negative, high and low, practice being faithful and fearful. You must choose one. Choose the fullness of life! Oh, what a difference a day makes! For those of you who have dared to step out and pursue your dreams, I encourage and commend you. It takes strategic planning and a strong faith during these difficult times to see your glass as half full. NOTHING is impossible. Positive thoughts and hard work pay off. If your mind can conceive it, your heart will believe it and your character can achieve it. Every door that closes is an opportunity for GOD to open a new one. Continue to visualize in spite of the obstacles you are facing. The job that is for YOU, no one can take it away. Remove the unwanted particles from your glass of life! Create, implement, and execute. Be happy for other’s successes. It assures us that God is in the blessing business and our blessings are right around the corner. Once received, we should reach back and help someone else. Kindness is like air – there is plenty to go around! By Motivational Speaker and Author Sharon Braxton Seasons: 40 Ways to Affirm Your Life Crying Shame Before I Let Go: I will not settle for mediocrity www.sharonbraxton.com 818 384-0380
Photos: Richard Gumbs Models: Iva Laâ€™Shawn Kevin Cavell
Iva La’Shawn was born in Springfield, Ohio. She frequently began performing for the audience at the church where her father was a pastor. Upon entering high school, she joined the drama club, landing leading roles in many plays. Although Iva loved acting, she decided to major in Dentistry at The Ohio State University. It wasn’t long before she found that she was extremely dissatisfied with that decision and needed to make a change. So, she stepped out on faith and moved to Los Angeles, California to pursue her dreams and make them her reality. Iva is one of the hottest, new female talents to hit the scene. She was recently cast in her first lead drama movie role in the independent film “Marco Polo” (spring 2008). Iva’s list of credits also includes the smash stage play “The Maintenance Man ” in which she toured and costarred in the role of Tina alongside Billy Dee Williams and Darius McCarary (Family Matters). Furthermore, her hysterical performance as Diane in the comedy film “The Wash” has all of Hollywood discussing her star potential. Iva also took on multiple hats when she wrote, produced and starred in her first short film “I’m Every Woman”, where she displayed her talents as multiple characters. Be sure to catch Iva on a television near you as she’s featured on NBC’s “Last Comic Standing 5”, Martin Lawrence Presents “First Amendment Stand Up ” and Jamie Foxx Presents “Laffapalooza”.
Having had several sitcom and movie appearances, Iva is clearly on a non-stop mission to conquer Hollywood. She is a witty, and humorous young lady whose greatness shines just as the road to success is sure. Iva not only excels as a stand-up comic, and phenomenal actress, she has a keen sense of "on your feet" timing and incredible comedic ability. Pegged as the "female version" of Martin Lawrence she takes the compliment with stride and you can be sure that every performance will be delivered with animated fury, and loveable style. Iva Laâ€™Shawnâ€™s star is definitely on the rise.
Whatever you want to say, Deon's charismatic personality and original style make him one of the most popular performers in the comedy scene today. SO you better watch out, because he will sneak up on you!
As many of my readers know, I’ve been producing the nation’s leading and longest-running African American comedy festival, The Bay Area Black Comedy Competition & Festival, for literally decades. For 23 years, (20 of them with my wife Rhonda Spires), I, along with countless thousands of others witnessed what I think were some of the greatest moments in Black Comedy History. From those great moments hundreds of careers were launched. Dozens of legitimate stars’ lights twinkled for the very first time like: Jamie Foxx, Katt Williams, Chris Tucker, Mike Epps, Don “DC” Curry, Mark Curry, Sheryl Underwood, Nick Cannon, D.L. Hughley, Laura Hayes, Arnez J. and Craig Robinson, just to mention the first dozen. We comedy lovers, indeed the entire nation has benefited-either directly or from some residual stream from the trailblazing efforts and historic successes of the Bay Area Black Comedy Competition & Festival. It’s no secret that many of our comedy stars go on to tackle TV, film and music. Some comics, such as Jamie Foxx for example, go on to rise to the top of the Hollywood elite performers as an Academy Award-winning actor and a multi-platinum selling recording artist. We comedy consumers get many of the benefits. Our lives are enhanced. So, in effect, as cliché as it may sound, when it comes to the Bay Area Black Comedy Competition, everybody truly wins. Each year, at least10 people from both inside and outside the Festival will make the claim that “Everybody wins.” It’s usually uttered by fellow comedians to show solidarity or by conscientious industry people who wish to put nervous comics at ease. On a few rare occasions, I’ve heard it used because there was so much love in the room. I’ve seen it happen at our famous comedy forums and also backstage prior to the six Finalists drawing lots to see who goes on when. I’m using it to illustrate an even bigger point. 2009 BAY AREA BLACK COMEDY COMPETITION FINALS As has been our tradition starting with our 4th year in 1990, the Finals were held at Oakland’s premiere concert venue, the historic Paramount Theatre on Saturday April 4th, 2009. Immediately preceding the Finals, on the Paramount’s mezzanine level, Full Circle Entertainment and Full Vision Arts Foundation, our non-profit partner, in association with LA Jones & Associates, presented the 4th Annual InSpired Artist Reception & Awards Ceremony, where we honor heroes in the arts and in our community, mix and mingle with champagne, finger foods and Bay Area VIP’s and beautiful people. KAREEM GREEN, BROOKLYN, NY Brooklyn’s Kareem Green was crowned champion of 2009. Previously unknown to Bay Area audiences, Green energetically introduced himself to the Opening Weekend crowd at Tommy T’s Comedy Club in Pleasanton, California in February and was rewarded each night with thunderous applause. By the time he got to the Finals he felt that the title was his to win or lose. He won clearly. In fact, I don’t think the thought of losing ever entered his consciousness.
DAMON ROZIER, BROOKLYN, NY First Runner Up was another comic from Brooklyn, Damon Rozier. BK was definitely in the building! Physically confined to a wheelchair since suffering a motorcycle accident some 11 years ago, Rozier’s warm and disarming style kept him in contention from day one. His outward stature may be restricted as a result of his paralysis, but his sense of humor and command of the stage hurled him to heights that only 5 others also ascended. Watch out for Damon Rozier! MIKE E WINFIELD, SACRAMENTO, CA Second Runner Up was Sacramento’s Mike E Winfield. I’ve peaked-in on Mike E’s career from time to time over the last 4 seasons or so and he’s consistently improved and continued to reinforce his comedy arsenal. Always comfortable on stage and always quick to warm up to even the most hostile or ambivalent crowd, Winfield made Oakland his home away from home that night. Taking nothing away from the winner or first runner up, Winfield also unquestionably made himself one of the crowd favorites. With a stand up appearance on Showtime Network already under his belt, America will be hearing soon from this young lion with a big smile and even bigger potential. JASON ANDORS, NEW YORK, NY Third Runner Up was New York’s Jason Andors. Self-described as, “A nonreligious Jew,” Andors was the Competition’s first white Finalist. Against incredible odds, Andors joked, mimicked and pop-locked his way to the big show in Oakland. He really flipped the script on us and made us question our own philosophy on fairness and equal opportunity. He made comedy history. MARCUS COMBS, CHICAGO, IL Taking the Fourth Runner Up slot was Chicagoan Marcus Combs. Going into the Finals, Combs was selected by many spectators as the favorite to win it all. Another comic to pay close attention to, Combs has the ability, confidence and the swagger to take his career to the next level. D.C. ERVIN, VALLEJO, CA In the final position was D.C. Ervin, from the Bay Area city of Vallejo, California. A committed and focused second-generation comic, with the skills and smarts to make it in this business, Ervin moved south to Los Angeles last year to pursue his dream. Although he was Fifth Runner Up, his future shines brightly. THE SPECIAL GUESTS Hosting the festivities was the Don of Comedy-Don ‘DC” Curry. Always on top of his stand up game, to the amazement of the entire crowd, DC opened with his own rendition of the blues classic “Down Home Blues” and tore it down! After his song, he lit up the stage with his trademark stand up and set the tone for the entire evening. The music was provided by Bay Area R&B singing sensation Ajuana Black and her band Blackout. Ajuana electrified the Paramount Theatre crowd with her gifted voice and high-energy style.
Returning as a special guest for the second consecutive year was Oakland’s own internationally recognized spoken word artist Ise Lyfe. Accompanied by a classically trained cellist and armed with strong material, a commanding stage presence and engaging charm, Ise Lyfe utilized poetry, music, a keen sense of humor and even some impressively polished comedic timing to captivate the audience. As a result, he received thunderous applause. The show’s second half was set-off by yet another young comic to watch, Los Angeles’ Ocean Glapion. After practically being thrown into the comedy lion’s den-aka-the warm-up-spot and surviving it back in 2007, this time Glapion surpassed survival. He conquered. From top to bottom it was a great show. Many heralded this year’s Finals as a comedic, as well as an artistic achievement. At the end of the day, “Everybody won!” Thanks to everyone who helped to make the 2009 Bay Area Black Comedy Competition & Festival another huge success! Thanks to your support, everybody really does win! Thank all of you for reading the column. It’s my pleasure to share these insights with my people. It’s food for thought. If you can’t chew it, don’t swallow it. May God bless you all abundantly. Until next time, be safe, be smart, be successful, be thankful. One Love, for real. Holla at your Doctor! -#Tony Spires is a filmmaker, event producer, personal manager, poet, musician, award-winning playwright, acclaimed director and columnist for The Humor Mill Magazine. He is also co-founder of Full Vision Arts Foundation. Known as The Comedy Doctor in comedy circles, he is perhaps best known as the founder of the nationally reputed Bay Area Black Comedy Competition & Festival and as writer/director/producer of the acclaimed feature film, “Tears Of A Clown” now available on DVD. Email Tony at: ComedyDoctor@BlackComedyCompetition.com. Visit his youth Arts Organization at: http://www.FullVisionArts.org.
Photo: Frank Holder
GQ Model Marcus Hill and R&B Singer Ginuwine on the Red Carpet of Flo Anthony’s Black Noir Magazine’s Celebration at the Sky Bay in Hollywood.
This issue we interview Chico Benymon from TV's Half & Half and lots more!