Wednesday, October 22, 2014
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Bellamy Got Jokes

Bill_Bellamy
Bill Bellamy


By Brandon I. Brooks

Sentinel Entertainment Editor

 

 

Bill Bellamy talks with the Sentinel about his successful TV One comedy series “Bill Bellamy’s Who’s Got Jokes?”

 

Actor and comedian Bill Bellamy returned to television last weekend with his highly anticipated comedy series, “Bill Bellamy’s Who’s Got Jokes?” 

Now in its fourth season televised on the TV One network, “Bill Bellamy’s Who’s Got Jokes?” differs from the past three seasons because this time around, the series was produced from Las Vegas at the Luxor Hotel.

Serving as the executive producer, Bellamy shared with the Sentinel that the backdrop of Las Vegas takes the show to another level. “I don’t know what it is about sin city? I don’t what it is about people that go to Vegas (Laughs)? They go there to have a good time and we went there with a new energy.  We wanted to make this the best season ever.  Our chemistry was clicking, we had all these funny moments that we couldn’t even script, like it just happened, like everybody’s dying laughing.  We stepped up the game with celebrities.  Everybody we called wanted to be a part of us in Las Vegas.  So we had Evander Holyfield pop in, we had Ray J pop in, we got Eric Snow from the Cleveland Cavaliers pop through, Lisa Raye, like it’s crazy.   We even got George Wallace”. 

Bellamy shared that its took a couple of seasons for the show to pick up momentum but now in its fourth season, “Who’s Got Jokes?”, seems to be stronger and funnier than ever. 

The surprise of this season and arguably the best part of the show is how funny Bellamy’s cohorts Rodney Perry and Tommy Ford are. 

Rodney Perry handles the audience as the official “Man on the Street,” performing hilarious sketches and interviewing contestants along with common people on the streets of Las Vegas.  Tommy Ford decides whether contestants should lose points if their comedy routine veers into raunchy territory or exceeds the time limit.   

“We wanted to make sure that families could watch our show”, Bellamy said.  “We wanted to make sure that everybody could sit down and watch it where we wouldn’t leave out the kids.  When you get raw, that puts you in another bracket, that puts you in another field and then it’s like dang, we can only be on television a certain amount of time and a certain time at night.  So we were like let’s make everybody work clean.  I mean you can do whatever you want in the club.  But on the show you really have to work on your material so it’s still funny and it still will rock the mic”. 

The series popularity of “Bill Bellamy’s Who’s Got Jokes?” has made for tougher competition as comics are lining up all around the country for a shot at comic stardom. 

“Who’s Got Jokes”, has become a staple in Hollywood as a springboard for comics to launch their career.  Bellamy shared with the Sentinel that this season is more competitive than any other season because the competition is much stronger.  “I’m the point guard of the show”, Bellamy says.  “I pass the ball around to everybody.  Everybody gets a chance to shine.  It’s just an incredible experience”. 

Bellamy doesn’t decide the winner of “Who’s Got Jokes?”, the winner of each episode is actually picked by a panel of three celebrity judges along with help from the audience who is called the “Who’s Got Jokes 100”.  

Even though Bellamy doesn’t decide the one winner, as the executive producer of the program the Sentinel asked Bellamy, what is it that he looks for in a comedian?  Bellamy shared with the Sentinel that he looks for somebody that has something to say or is going through something in their life that their talking about and that’s interesting. 

“I like good premises, somebody who really has a lot of stage presence” Bellamy said.  “Is on stage and you want to watch them, you want to hear what they have to say.  I’m looking for the next Bill Bellamy.   I’m like ok there has to be another talented cat out there, guy or girl that has some swagger.  That’s really funny, that people will enjoy and I would love to be able to say hey man, I discovered that kind of person”. 

“Bill Bellamy’s Who’s Got Jokes?” is obviously about finding that next great comic so to get an idea of what measure of greatness Bellamy is looking for, the Sentinel asked Bellamy to share with us who his top comedian of all time?  Bellamy said that he couldn’t narrow his list down to one comedian but being a good sport he agreed to give the Sentinel his top five.

“I can do a top five.  Bill Bellamy’s top five is Richard Pryor at number one.  My point guard would be Richard Pryor.  Then we got to go with number two, Eddie Murphy.  Three, I’m a go with Bill Cosby.  Number four, I’m going to go old school with it, Red Fox.  Another one that I just love because the energy he would bring to the stage is Robin Williams.  You never knew what Robin Williams was going to say.  It seems like he was on acid.  I use to be amazed how many characters and voices and inflections and stuff he would do in just ten minutes.”

Bellamy first started messing around with comedy while attending Rutgers University.  Bellamy said that he was intrigued by the idea of “how do you get on stage and just talk”. 

This idea led Bellamy to trying his hand doing open mic nights and different talent shows at Rutgers University.  When he graduated he decided that he was going to try to go to New York and do some comedy clubs. While in New York, Bellamy met two club owners that gave him a shot headlining their club.  The opportunities proved to be life changing because the owners gave Bellamy his first shot to audition in front of real Hollywood executives. 

Bellamy landed his first big break as a VJ on MTV and he also landed a guest spot as a star comic on HBO’s “Def Comedy Jam”.  Soon after, Bellamy starred in his own Showtime comedy special “Booty Call”, which became on of the networks top rated specials.     

With all that Bill Bellamy has experienced and accomplished throughout his years in show business, the Sentinel asked Bellamy to share which moment stands above the rest?  Bellamy shared his most memorable experience is when he interviewed Michael Jackson and premiered Michael Jackson’s “History” video.  Bellamy was a VJ on MTV and he remembers that the video was broadcasted simultaneously on several different networks.  Bellamy was the host to introduce the monumental video in the middle of Time Square.  It was a day he said that he will never forget.    

Over the last decade Bellamy has starred in such feature films as Oliver Stone’s “Any Given Sunday”, “How to Be a Player” and “The Brothers”.  His television career includes a starring role on Fox series “Fastlane”, and he has also served as the host of NBC’s “Last Comic Standing”, the past few seasons. 

The Sentinel asked Bellamy to share with the readers what he thinks it takes for up and coming star to make it in the business.  “You have to be hungry.  You have to really want your dream to come true”, Bellamy says.  “Like really see it, feel it, know what it feels like in your head and you  visualize it, see yourself on that stage and see people screaming because it’s really important for you to try to focus on what it is your trying to do because it’s going to be difficult at certain points”. 

Bellamy said that we all will feel disappointment one time or another in whatever profession we are pursuing.  He said there are certain moments when people don’t even want to be.  But Bellamy shared that the individual has to find the desire to overcome those tough moments. “That’s where your spiritual and faith game will keep you solid because you got to believe that you wouldn’t be blessed with a talent if it’s not going to take you somewhere”, Bellamy said.  “Why would you have this gift if you can’t use it?  It’s hard and it’s not always going to be glamorous.  You got to keep it moving.  Sometimes you have to be your biggest fan”. 

So what’s up next for Bellamy? Bellamy is touring the country with his famous comedy tour along with filming a movie with Ice Cube titled “Lottery Ticket” that is due out sometime in 2010.  Bellamy is also gearing up for a new comedy special to premiere sometime in January.  The Sentinel asked Bellamy for a sneak peak and all he could say is that the show is going to be “timeless”. 

“Bill Bellamy’s Who’s Got Jokes?” can be seen every Saturday on the TV network at 10pm.  For more information on Bellamy and his career visit Bellamy www.billbellamy.com or visit www.tvoneonline.com.

Category: Exclusive




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