Guest Editor Bill Bellamy Talks "Mr. Box Office," Tour Inspired By Teddy Pendergrass And Staying Relevant
Comedian Bill Bellamy has capitalized off time spent in this industry by knowing how to make power moves.
In the past, he’s performed on Def Comedy Jam, was the voice of Nickelodeon’s "Cousin Skeeter", has been a host on MTV and starred in films such as Love Jones, How To Be a Player and The Brothers. After 20-plus years in the game, he still has a stash of tricks up his sleeve. Lately, he’s produced material to cater to all audiences, so there’s plenty of him to go around.
Sitcom junkies can tune into his new syndicated TV show "Mr. Box Office," which hit small screens in September. Bellamy plays Marcus Jackson, a member of Hollywood’s elite who slipped up and is condemned to do community service teaching at a rough high school. Over time, Marcus learns to look beyond his bubble of fame to discover how real people deal with tough situations, becoming a better him in the process. Bellamy drew from his own experiences to further connect with the character.
“He never really had to do anything that had any substance. Before I had kids, I didn’t have any real, down to earth ground-age,” he says while reminiscing on carefree days spent in the company of Janet and Jackson, Whitney Houston, Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre and Tupac. “Now in my real life, I have a family and I have more purpose. I utilize that in the show. [It's] cool to be making the money and to have all the stuff that we can dream of, but it’s also good to be a good person and be about something, too.”
For the fans that lack chill buttons or partake in the #TwitterAfterDark, “Crazy, Sexy, Dirty” is right up your alley. As Bellamy explains it, the live comedy taping represents three separate aspects of his personality. “It’s probably my most raw and honest one hour special. I’m not filtering this for y’all,” he says. “You’ve got to deal with it. If it’s dirty to you, it’s going to be good, trust me.” He covers everything from sex chat rooms to a segment specifically dedicated to “white people news.” “Crazy, Sexy Dirty” is currently available on DVD.
This year, Bellamy also showed the country that comedy could be sexy with his relationship-themed comedy tour, “Ladies Night Out.” “Our catchphrase is ‘Saving relationships one joke at a time,’” he says of the comedy special scheduled to air on Showtime in February 2013. His inspiration came from watching a documentary on Teddy Pendergrass. “He had this all female show. It was packed, sold out. I said, I’m going to be the first comedian to pull it off where it’s going to be all about the ladies.” He encourages wives, girlfriends and single BFFs alike to come out to what he promises will cause women “to lose their got-damn minds.”
You can also count on the “Who’s Got Jokes?” host to provide some family friendly laughs. Bellamy prepared some all clean comedy for “Stand Up for Family,” presented by American Family Insurance. “It’s about how we all grew up, our experiences and how we all have similar backgrounds with the way we grew up [with] our parents,” he says.
Despite his many endeavors, he attributes staying relevant and successful to taking a break. "I read the twitters and blogs where they ask, “What happened to Bill Bellamy? He was fun in the 90s," he says.
I just left the planet. I shut down the shop. You need time to raise your kids. You need time to step back from the game and say, okay, what do I need to do that can really make the most impact?"
But Bill's not stressing the labels; he's just doing him, as he always has. "To still be around to me is a testament to being talented for real, because if you weren’t, you wouldn’t be here. You’ve got to have something. Nobody’s going to check you out if you ain’t real. If you’ve got one hit, you better milk that hit, boy."