Bill Bellamy's greatest YouTube hits
Except for the greats, comedians tend to have a short shelf life. Anyone heard from Norm Macdonald lately?
But Bill Bellamy has managed to carve out a career that is nearing 20 years long, because he never stopped doing stand-up.
“It’s been like 17 years now, man,” he says from a hotel room in Denver. “I just keep on going. I’ve always got to be active and on stage”
After two seasons in the spotlight as host of NBC’s “Last Comic Standing,” Bellamy is on the road doing shows across the country. Starting Thursday, the former “Def Comedy Jam” sensation will take up four-night residency at Capt. Brien’s Off the Hook Comedy Club on Marco Island.
“There are some guys who don’t want to do stand-up any more (after they get on TV or in the movies),” he says. “But there are other guys who just have such a passion for the craft that they can’t stop.”
Bellamy came on the scene in the early ’90s and is widely credited with coining the phrase “booty call,” to describe late night hook-ups. Long before D.L. Hughley and Steve Harvey were doing their shows in suit and tie, Bellamy was the dapper comedian with a dirty mind on the HBO comedy series “Def Comedy Jam.” The show launched him into the top tier of a new wave of black comedians who would go on to reshape TV and film for the next two decades. Dave Chappelle, Chris Tucker, Bernie Mac and Eddie Griffin were also alums.
Still, his real leap into celebrity status came not because of his jokes, but because of his telegenic presence. After seeing him on stage, some executives at MTV scooped him up to host two new programs geared toward the black, urban audiences. First “MTV Beach House” which put Bellamy on the beach with a host of comely co-eds while spinning the latest hip-hop and R&B hits and later “MTV Jamz,” where he often interviewed popular urban artists.
Suddenly he went from being Bill Bellamy, comedian from New Jersey, to being “Bill Bellamy, oh my God is that really you.”
“It was a really sudden thing,” he says of his leap into celebrity. “It was a rock star change in my life. I was just a funny guy. And then MTV happened. But it was really beneficial to my career.”
From there Bellamy went on to roles in movies, though oddly enough not “Booty Call,” and briefly hosted his own eponymous talk show on MTV. He starred in a TV series called “Fastlane” with Peter Facinelli and Tiffani-Amber Thiessen, but it only lasted one season. Then in 2007 he took over the hosting duties for “Last Comic Standing” and began executive producing his own contest show called “Who’s Got Jokes?”
Just like almost every TV talent competition, those shows focused as much in the early going on the bad performers as it did the good ones.
“There are a lot of not-so-funny people,” he says. “You gotta feel bad for them.”
While he’s been working on TV and movie projects, he always finds time to hit the stage at comedy clubs, big and small. It’s the only way his brand of topical humor can stay relevant. Right now his bits include takes on Michael Jackson, Steve McNair and Barack Obama.
“I write a lot of commentary about what’s going on right now,” he says. “(When you are on stage) you know if it’s on point. You are able to see what works and what doesn’t.”
Bellamy says his topics have changed much after years of being in the spotlight and being around the rich and famous.
“Celebrities have the same problems as everyone else,” he says. “Actually that’s what makes it even funnier.”
IF YOU GO
* When: 9:30 p.m. Thursday and Aug. 16, 8 and 10 p.m. Aug. 14 and 15
* Where: Capt. Brien’s Off the Hook Comedy Club, 599 S. Collier Blvd. Suite 218, Marco Island
* Admission: $20
* Information: 389-6900 or www.offthehookcomedy.com
Capt. Brien’s Off the Hook Comedy Club
* Costake Economopoulos, today through Sunday
* Bill Bellamy, Thursday through Aug. 16
* Carl Rimi, Aug. 20-24
* Tom Arnold, Aug. 28-30
* Bruce Bruce, Sept. 3-6
BILL BELLAMY'S GREATEST YouTube HITS
Videos contain adult language.
* His first performance on “Def Comedy Jam” where he drops his famous phrase “booty call”
(click the link)www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBX03Odt03o
* Second stint of “Def Comedy Jam,” check out that mustard jacket and crazy tie.
(Click on the link) www.youtube.com/watch?v=MlKMuP2Lzeo
* The difference between white people and black people at the zoo (click on the link)www.youtube.com/watch?v=lAgCWIcmLZU