It’s all good with Sinbad
Sinbad has starred in TV, movies and even written his own tongue-in-cheek self-help book, “Sinbad’s Guide to Life: (Because I Know Everything).” But no matter in what field he roams, the son of a preacher and former college basketball player, never drifts too far from his first love — talking and hamming it up in a room full of people.
Ranked by Comedy Central as one of the Top 100 standup comedians of all time, Sinbad, helps Marshall University get its Homecoming Weekend Herd on with an 8 p.m. show Friday, Oct. 4 at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena.
Tickets are $25 and $35 for the general public, and $20 for Marshall students who pick them up at the Arena box office. Tickets are also available at Ticketmaster outlets, online and by calling 1-800-745-3000.
Sinbad, who of late has guest starred on “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” and did a stint on “Celebrity Apprentice,” said nothing beats the rush of a microphone flowing with a conversation with a live audience all vibing off the energy in a room.
“I never left it,” Sinbad said of standup. “Even when I started acting I knew better than to step away from that something that made everything possible. I mean Mick Jagger did a couple movies but he didn’t stop doing music. Probably the longest I ever went was a few weeks. I don’t think I ever took a full month off of comedy. I was always doing stand up somewhere even when I was shooting movies. It might go for six weeks and I would still be going and doing stand up. It kept me from not having to wonder if I was still funny. You see these guys who were great but quit playing music and man, you can walk away from something so long and that when you go back, it’s like going back to the beginning.”
Although he’s rolling in on Homecoming Weekend, Sinbad said as far as he’s concerned, there are no real pre-game warmups before he hits the stage.
“I used to do fake meditation,” Sinbad said with a laugh. “I don’t have one really. I just go on stage. I’m usually talking to people or playing the guitar, and sometimes I’ll be talking to someone and they’re introducing me and I’m like, ‘What?’ I guess it is at the point that I am always ready.”
An Air Force veteran, who has done many USO tours including ones with Hilary Clinton and Sheryl Crow, Sinbad has built and kept a loyal stand-up audience by always being ready to take audiences along for the ride that has been his life, the good, the bad, the ugly, and which since 2009, has meant two bankruptcy filings.
“I think whatever you are becomes part of what your comedy is,” Sinbad said, “Whatever happened growing up, playing basketball, being a preacher’s kid, playing drums when I was in high school. Comedy is its own art form and you are the art form. You are a performance artist and so to speak there is nothing to learn except really learning yourself.”
These days, Sinbad, who has a 13-piece funk band that he often jams with, has been further exploring his life-long passion of music.
“That’s something I’m working on walking on stage and just playing music but also combining comedy with the music,” Sinbad said. “It’s like at the end of the Jamie Foxx show and he does all those Prince and Luther (Vandross) tunes and it shows his musicality but is still about being funny. When he’s playing and singing that - we are laughing.”
Sinbad, who was just in Nashville honing his music by getting lessons from Reggie Wooten, said he feels like people are more accepting now of actors and comedians who play music and singers who want to act.
“Look at Justin Timberlake and he thought he’d retired from music but he loves it and some people really got anointed and are allowed to cross those lines,” Sinbad said. “If a brother did that going on ‘Saturday Night Live’ and acting like that they’d say he sold out, but he gets to be goofy and gets to be sexy. The only other person like that is Eddie Murphy and he too could be goofy and then sexy when he sang. For me with the guitar, I am not at a point where I can just walk in and play with anybody. If I stay in my range I understand but I am trying to get there with music. I have a lot of hours into comedy.”
For comedy material these days, the veteran comedian who came out of “The Cosby Show” spinoff “A Different World,” where he played Coach Walter Oakes for three years before getting his own show “The Sinbad Show,” only has to look and shake his head at pop culture.
“It’s too easy now,” Sinbad said. “You have stupid politicians, stupid entertainers and just everything is stupid. Look at Miley Cyrus, she’s 19 with a lot of money and she’s naked on a wrecking ball. She’s kept trying to talk about her music but we don’t care, she’s just naked on a wrecking ball. Of course, she is giving hope to every kid out there who can’t sing. Of course, we’ve always had one hit wonders and we had Milli Vanilli but we didn’t respect them, we ate them up. When we found out they couldn’t sing we made them give the Grammy back.”
Sinbad, who has been in several films including, “Jingle all the Way,” “House Guest” and his debut, “Necessary Roughness,” said that he’s still got a lot of great ideas for TV work, but feels like that part of the business has forsaken him.
“It’s funny how people forget what you do and if I go to go into a room and convince some guys that I am funny I am in the wrong room,” Sinbad said. “I got a bunch of good ideas for TV and movies. Of course, now instead of the father, I gotta play the grandfather. That’s OK, look at Clint Eastwood, he was still beating folks up in his 70s.”
Speaking of taking a punch, Sinbad said he’s honored to be coming back to Huntington, a city he used to play back in the early 1980s when he first got going doing standup at a now defunct club, The Library, and where he remembers getting one excellent jerry curl before a show.
“Huntington’s a great town, Hal Greer’s hometown,” said the former college basketball player. “I think of Marshall, because of the plane crash, kind of like Detroit. They’re just tough, you can knock them down but you can’t knock them out.”
If You Go:
WHAT: An Evening with Sinbad
WHERE: Big Sandy Superstore Arena
WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4
HOW MUCH: $25 and $35. Marshall student tickets are $20 at the Arena box office only
GET TIX: At the Arena box office, at all Ticketmaster outlets, online at www.ticketmaster.com or by calling 1-800-745-3000
ON DECK @ THE ARENA: Oct. 19, Rodney Atkins; Oct. 23, Alice Cooper; Oct. 26, Dancing With the Tri-State Stars; Nov. 7, TobyMac; Nov. 8, Jeff Dunham; Nov. 9, MU International Festival; Nov. 21, Florida Georgia Line (SOLD OUT); Nov. 23, Rob Zombie and Korn; Nov. 29, Martina McBride, The Joy of Christmas
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