Some of the best and brightest of the comedy world came out to Harlem’s Alhambra Ballroom for the 1st Annual LOL Comedy Honors, which was created to celebrate the legends who have pioneered the art of comedy in the Black community. Hosted by Bill Bellamy and Kim Coles, the event paid special tribute to the late Charlie Murphy, as well as honored the original Queens of Comedy in addition to bestowing awards to some of comedy’s best and brightest, including D. L. Hughley, Luenell, Mike Epps, Joe Torry, and Juhahn Jones.
We caught up with four of the evening’s attendees – Bill Bellamy, Adele Givens, Cocoa Brown, and Mount Vernon’s own Talent Harris, as they walked the red carpet and asked them to share their thoughts on another comedic great who passed away on August 19, the legendary teacher, political activist, and comedian Dick Gregory. Gregory was not only a pioneer in the comedy world and a powerful political activist and teacher, but he also touched the lives and inspired many comedians who followed in his success and took cues from his life’s work and story book. Gregory passed away at the age of 84 from heart failure, and although he will be missed, the following comedians celebrated his life and legacy at the LOL Comedy Honors pre-show and shared warm thoughts and memories of the late comedy legend. Here’s what they shared with Black Westchester.
“He (Dick) was the exact blueprint of the mental approach to my comedian business side. He basically not only literally opened the doors for that generation to open further for me, but he preached smart business and black consciousness and ownership. I have listened and modeled my whole business savvy approach this way and therefore I am amongst my comic peers as a leader and go-to guy in the international comedy game… and nationally the king of New York.”
Talent’s 4th annual comedy show, “Talent’s Westchester Comedy Festival, will be taking place at the Yonkers Comedy Club October 16-22. For more info go to yonkerscomedyclub.com.
“Dick Gregory paved the way for every comedian for it to be okay to have political commentary, and to talk about what’s going on in the state of our country, to talk about politics and racism and classism and sexism – he made it okay. And he also made it okay that every joke doesn’t warrant a big old belly of laughs. Sometimes you’re there to thought-provoke and get your audience to think. And a lot of us do have something to say, and it’s not just about knock knock, who’s there and all of that. A lot of us comics are educated, and we’re up there actually educating while we tell these jokes. So I am so grateful to Dick Gregory and his legacy because he allowed us as comics for that to be okay.”
Cocoa Brown is starring in the stage revival of the popular movie, Two Can Play That Game, alongside Vivica Fox, Carl Payne and Columbus Short. For more info go to jecaryous.com.
Bill Bellamy, actor and stand-up comedian, has appeared on several TV and movies, including Showtime at the Apollo, Def Comedy Jam, Love Jones, How To Be A Player, The Jamie Foxx Show, and The Bounce Back
“Dick Gregory is one of our legendary comedians. I mean, he brought so much to the game – a real voice, a real parameter for social justice, for doing comedy and speaking to the people and educating. There’s not a lot of us that specialize in that lane like him. He created that lane to me, where you’re laughing but you’re like, whew, I better drink my water… I gotta walk… you don’t have to have diabetes. There’s a lot of things I learned from Dick Gregory just watching his speeches. I mean, he would just do speeches and be telling it from the heart and it would be funny, but he’d be dead-ass serious. And you know, I’d be like, wow. So what a wonderful, bright spirit we had – we’re taking a very big loss with him, but I met his nephew Mark and I think he’s going to carry the torch. “
For more info on Bill Bellamy’s stand-up comedy tour, go to ticketmaster.com.
Adele Givens, actress and comedian, was featured in The Queens of Comedy Tour and has countless credits to her name, including Beauty Shop, The Player’s Club, Def Comedy Jam and Comedy Central Presents
“To me, this is a loss for everyone, not just the world of comedy, with the wisdom that the man had and he was always open to share it with you and to teach you something. I mean, he gave me a two dollar bill one time and gave me the history of the group of people on the back of the two dollar bill. Once I was on stage in Detroit, and he showed up on the stage while I was in the set. These are just personal brags that I’m doing right now that I had these moments with him, and me remembering it, it’s awesome. I’m so grateful for the person that he was and I’ll try to carry his knowledge on, because he loved to educate, and for me, my motto is, you’re not wise until you share that knowledge, and that makes it wisdom. Because if you just hold it in and never share it with anybody it’s like a book that nobody reads. And I love him for sharing all the time with us, I really do. “
For more info and tour dates for Adele Givens, go to ticketmaster.com.