He saw his life taking shape in various stages.
“I thought I’d start out playing basketball, then I’d do music, and then I’d make movies,” says the man known as Sinbad, who eventually ended up as a successful actor/comedian with a style of comedy all his own. Sinbad will take the stage for one night only tomorrow at the Tropicana Showroom in Atlantic City.
Ranked by Comedy Central as one of the top100 standup comedians of all time, Sinbad has built a loyal following by taking audiences’ painful trials or embracing tribulations of day-by-day life, and then throwing them back in their faces. He can also make it sound profound without being profane. Not that he’s any kind of choirboy, but by being the son of a preacher man he decided to keep his comedy “clean” after his father attended one of his early performances. Up to that time, he’d been what he describes as “semi-dirty.”
But Sinbad is quick to tell you he hates the words “clean” and “dirty.” He insists, “Either you’re funny or you’re not funny. And today, people demand a comic be really funny because we’ve seen and heard so much that nothing shocks us anymore.”
Originally from Benton Harbor, Mich., Sinbad was a one-time basketball standout for the University of Denver and said everything he needed to know about comedy he learned from playing basketball.
“Athletes are some of the funniest people you’ll ever meet in life. I know athletes who are funnier than any comedian I know. And,” he adds, “basketball and comedy have a lot in common, like the competitive aspect that teaches you to never give up.”
And he never did. Playing for years in comedy clubs around the country and building up a fairly sizeable following, Sinbad acknowledges that his big break, as far as TV was concerned, came with his appearance on the former TV hit show, “Star Search.” His many appearances on that show led to movie and TV deals, although, he says, most of the time no one knew exactly what to do with him.
Eventually, making films, Sinbad appeared in films made mostly for the younger set because Hollywood tried to stereotype him. “They assumed that because I was clean on stage I just wanted to do kid movies.”
Later that turned around and Sinbad was able to branch out, appearing in films such as “Houseguest,” “Necessary Roughness” and others. He also did many TV specials, and recently appeared as a recurring guest star on the Showtime Original Series, “Resurrection Blvd.” Audiences have also seen him on the FX TV Series “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.”
His “Sinbad’s ’70s Soul Music Festival” received the prestigious NAACP Image Award consecutively for two years as the “Most Outstanding Variety Series/Special.”
Sinbad has even written a self-help book entitled “Sinbad’s Guide to Life: (Because I Know Everything).”
And, he insists, he’s up for a whole lot more. “I want to do many more movies and a lot of specials. I believe I haven’t touched a tenth of what I can do. That’s the frustration of it all. There’s so much more inside me. I keep myself in reasonable shape so that I can go out there and start all over again. There’s my music, my comedy. I want to produce, direct, do it all. I’m gonna be like Clint Eastwood — just an old bad man!”
For times and ticket information, call (800) 736-1420.