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As the third season finale of TVOne's smash-hit comedy show "Who's Got Jokes" approaches, the Sentinel took some time to speak with the show's host, Bill Bellamy, whose voice displayed an energy and enthusiasm matching his stand up persona. Similar in format alone to NBC’s “Last Comic Standing,” “Who’s Got Jokes” surpasses its network counterpart through successfully catering to an enormous audience of color. “Jokes” also has a strict “no swearing” policy, making it one of the few family friendly comedy shows available. All jokes aside, the nature of the competition appeals to Bellamy, “people have to be real in respect to their talent. You could win or lose, based on your performance…I like getting the real energy, the real thoughts of the people that are there.”
Unlike past seasons, three contestants have made it to the final round: Sean Larkins, Lav Luv, and DeKeys. “It’s a trip; they’re all so good, and they all came in with the same score, and Tommy Ford decided that they all should be finalists.” Bellamy says to also expect a few special guest appearances. For those who would write off the Jokes cast as mere reality TV pawns, the show is much more than “Flavor of Love.” Comedy isn’t something that can be faked, “you’ve either got it, or you don’t…nothing you see is scripted,” Bellamy says.
The shows hosts also represent a wide slice in the recent timeline of black comedy. Thomas Mikal Ford, who most of us remember as Martin Lawrence’s ever-present neighbor “Tommy,” serves as The Pope of Comedy, a check on the contestants to make sure their jokes are sharp, but clean. “One of the things I think people don’t know about Tommy is how funny he really is,” Bellamy says, before turning his attention to third co-host Rodney Perry: “he’s going to be making a lot of noise. He’s hosting his own shows, getting exposure on other networks. He’s another rising urban comedian. You can tell there’s a lot of love and chemistry between [us]. We’re having fun, thus you’re having fun.”
For his future, Bill has both movies and TV projects in the works, and attributes his re-energized success to his return to comedic roots. “A lot of people forgot I was a comedian. The comedy has been a community project, and it rejuvenated me. I took a chance, and it worked out.” On the small screen, Bellamy is developing a sitcom. “Black people on TV in a family setting,” as he describes it. I’m trying to get a show on the air that will make us laugh like the Cosby’s did. Black people on TV, beautiful, humorous, and intelligent.” We’re all looking forward to it.
The “Who’s Got Jokes?” season finale airs 10pm Eastern Time, December 13th.