Tommy Davidson: The Legendary Comedian Inspires With His Unfathomable Story, Slays With His Performances
Tommy Davidson is a legendary comedian and one of the best multi-talented entertainers in comedy. His impressions, his dancing, his singing, his acting, and his stand-up comedy have filled up TV and movie screens since the ’90s.
A star of the legendary and breakthrough TV show “In Living Color”, he has gone on to appear in major motion pictures including “Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls”, and alongside Samuel Jackson and Halle Berry in “Strictly Business”, as well as in many other movies. He starred in several of his own comedy specials, has had multiple recurring appearances on hit television series including Martin, MADtv, Everybody Hates Chris, Black Dynamite, I’m Dying Up Here, and countless more, and has appeared on several recent game/ reality programs including Worst Cooks in America and as the host of 37 episodes of Vacation Creation.
Tommy has made numerous appearances on the likes of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Late Night with Conan Obrien, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, The TODAY Show, The View, Wendy Williams, The Bernie Mac Show, The Arsenio Hall Show, and many more.
In Tommy’s 2020 critically acclaimed book “Living In Color – What’s Funny About Me” he reveals truths about his life that are unfathomable and nothing less than inspiring.
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Tommy Davidson: The Legendary Comedian Inspires With His Unfathomable Story, Slays With His Performances
Joining me is the legendary comedian, Tommy Davidson, one of the biggest multitalented entertainers in comedy. His impressions, dancing, singing, acting and stand-up comedy have been filling up TV and movie screens since the ‘90s. A star of the legendary and breakthrough TV show In Living Color, he’s gone on to appear in major motion pictures including Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, alongside Samuel Jackson and Halle Berry in Strictly Business, as well as in many other movies.
Starring in several of his own comedy specials and multiple recurring appearances on hit television series including Martin, Mad TV, Everybody Hates Chris, Black Dynamite, I’m Dying Up Here and countless more plus appearing on several game and reality programs including Worst Cooks in America and as the host of 37 episodes of Vacation Creation. Tommy’s made numerous appearances on the likes of The Tonight Show, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, The Today Show, The View, Wendy Williams, The Bernie Mac Show, The Arsenio Hall Show and many more. In Tommy’s 2020 critically acclaimed book, Living in Color: What’s Funny About Me, he reveals the truths about his life that are unfathomable and nothing less than inspiring. Please join me now with the incredible Tommy Davidson.
“Show some love. The legend of comedy, Mr. Tommy Davidson.” “My mother gave you a trick question. ‘Give me that remote.’ My mother says, ‘All of you stay right there until I get downstairs.’ Any average, all-American white woman walking the streets of America because we don’t know who our heroes are. Where are you? You can be at Best Buy, CBS, Toys “R” Us, IHOP. If it’s a bull, who steps up for everybody? White women are like heroes. You’ve ever been in a grocery store and fifteen minutes, no managers, no cashiers, white women to the rescue. They make announcements for everybody in the store, ‘What in the hell is going on back there?’ She starts doing little interviews, ‘How long have you been here?’ That’s bull. ‘Help us.’ They’re negotiators. They can negotiate with the manager. ‘Are you the manager?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Here, now. Primarily we’re here to get pancakes.’ Black people love white women because they always refer to us. ‘We’ve been here like 30 or 40 minutes. This guy, 45 minutes or maybe Shaquanda has been here for too long with her two children, Nikki and Ebony. Ebony’s running out of Kool-Aid for Christ sakes.’”
Tommy Davidson, thank you for joining me here on the show. How are you doing?
“Chris, I’d like to give you a little show. It’s about a Hebrew.”
People forget, not only are you a comedian and a great actor but you are an incredible improvisationist. Is that the right word, improvisationist?
It doesn’t matter because you’ve got the S’s right. It’s the best part. I’m thinking of a little bit of everybody like American culture in general. I can drop from being like a black Jew what Sammy is to being regular Italian like Stallone for instance. The one thing about him is he’s an American icon. Even though I don’t look like him at all, I don’t resemble him at all but if you look here in my lip, you can see that’s perfection. The good thing about Stallone is no matter what movie he’s in, he’s still the same actor like in Rocky. The guy comes in, “Rocky, you can be the champ.” He’s still casual. “Is that right?” “Yeah, that’s right. I’ve got to put a nail on his gun and put a hold on his cheek. I couldn’t do anything about it.” “Why are you telling me that?” “I don’t know.” From one thing to higher inflections, you can say one thing wrong and I can go off like, “Why do you look around my house, mate?” “I never asked you for no favors asking me to fight. I’ll fight.” It’s the same thing with Rambo, like the guy coming into the cave and he goes, “You’re liking this private war, aren’t you?” “You do nothing.” It’s all those inflections that help Stallone’s character. I thought I’d lay that on you. The Cat in the Hat. How’s it going?
You are the cat.
2021, it’s been crazy. It’s been a tough year for everybody. The best thing that happened is that everybody knows we are on the same day. For 285,000 Americans, I can’t say that. This is a good day. This is the last thing we have before tomorrow.
There are many reasons to have you on the show and to discuss many topics to talk about with you. I’m excited because your book came out before the pandemic.
It came out in February 2020 and the pandemic hit in March 2020.
The book, Living in Color: What’s Funny About Me goes into a lot of things about you that I don’t think many people know, even some of your biggest fans don’t realize the story about your life, where you came from and how you got to where you are. I want to talk about that a lot but I also want to talk about what you’ve done, what you’ve accomplished, where you’re going, where you’re headed and all the exciting fun stuff that you’ve done because it’s an unbelievable resume and journey. We should start at the beginning. The book goes into all of this, which is cool for you to share this and very brave of you to do so. Your birth mom left you, unfortunately, in a pile of trash outside a house, who would come to be your real mom. Your adopted mom had a premonition that she knew to be there, in general, in that area but also to look under that tire is what it was.
It was one of those things that makes me uniquely me and the book was prompted by my sister who asked me, “Why don’t you ever talk about mom?” It came out of me and her relationship being brother and sister. We’re twins but she’s blonde. We’re the same age. She’s like a month older than me and she’s white. You can be blonde and black too, this is America. I thought about that and I said to myself it’s not necessary anymore because the reason why I was like that was because I was ashamed of her. When I showed up with her or she showed up at school, all the black kids didn’t think I was cool anymore because I’ve got a white mom.
When I showed up with them somewhere, things weren’t cool at all because their son was black. This is in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. When I moved to Fort Collins, Colorado and Wyoming, I didn’t know what black and white were. It’s called Living in Color. It’s the title. I didn’t even know about color. We moved to Washington, DC during the riots about two days after Martin Luther King got shot. I’ve seen all those riots that we’re seeing now. I’ve seen all of this before. It’s also surreal that my book will be coming out because it’s personal. We got to Washington, DC, and the black kids attacked us every day.
They beat our ass every day. They would call my sister and brother white cracker and call me white cracker lover. I went to my mother and I said, “Who are these? Why are they calling me a white cracker lover? I like graham crackers.” That’s when she told me, “You call people color when they don’t like them.” I said, “What color am I?” She says, “You’re black.” I said, “No I’m not, I’m brown like the crayon.” She said, “No, but that’s what we say.” I say, “You’re wrong.” We then moved out to the suburbs and things got tough. It’s the first time I heard the word nigger. Grown men were chasing me home. I could be riding my bike and out.
How old were you when you ended up in the suburbs outside DC?
She adopted you at age eighteen months after finding you under a tire in a pile of trash, you’re in a coma, you almost died. It was touch and go. She brings you back to Fort Collins, Colorado with the family so you move in with an all-white family in an all-white neighborhood.Blacks have a problem with the ones that control what opportunities they have. Click To Tweet
The only thing I knew was I was an American boy. I grew up with farms, meadows and horses as a little boy.
When you started going to school, that’s when you started being ashamed of saying your mom.
It was in DC.
When you went to DC, that’s when it all changed. Everybody treated you great in Colorado.
I didn’t know anything. I thought I was a brown one of whatever we were. I’d see a cat have kittens. It could be a white cat having a black kitten. I thought I was a brown one of us.
You knew you were a human, which is all that matters. You then went to DC, that’s when the racism started happening and you started seeing that right after Martin Luther King had been assassinated. You then moved out to the suburbs. Is that because of racism? Was that the reason?
It was tough to be in DC. It was tough for me there, being white, my family moved out to the suburbs and it got worse, me being black. I go to my mother and go, “Who are these niggas? We’ve got to stay away from them. They’re bad people.” She said, “That’s what our color calls people, your color what they don’t like.” I go, “What color are you?” She said, “We’re white.” I said, “You’re not white. You’re peach.” That’s when my whole little heart divided. I was confused because I was like, “Who do I love? The people who look like me or the people who love me?” That thusly started Living In Color: What’s Funny About Me. That’s what’s funny about me is I can’t zip this off. You can consider me a white American but then you can’t.
Your mom was amazing because not only did she adopt you and she had the premonition to find you, she saved your life, she brought you up. When did you realize that it was heavy that you almost died and that she found you and you must’ve started appreciating her as a mom for all of that? Also, the benefit versus the disadvantage of growing up in that white family. When did you start to realize all that stuff?
It was during that time in DC. When I was six, that all made sense to me. In my earlier years, the family that I grew up with never mentioned race at all. I got the lessons that turned me into the person that I am. My family is what you would deem to be progressive but progressive is just a word. My family didn’t have any problems with that we’re different. My grandfather got down on the ground one time, I was about four years old playing with my little Cowboys and Indians.
He gets down on me and says, “Tommy, you’ve got to make the Indians the heroes because they’re the heroes. This is their land. I want you to know that all Cowboys didn’t kill Indians. I’m a cowboy.” We got all this stuff straight. When I was four years old, my mother worked at a Chicano Juvenile Home and they treated me like the Crown Prince when I showed up. They carried me on their shoulders. They fought over me to spend the day with me. I was considered Tomasito Negrito. I got all the good things that a child could get as far as being nurtured and loved. I didn’t even experience hate, racism or any of that until I moved to Washington DC.
What happened after you got to the suburbs? What were the next ten years as you turned into a teenager and started getting ready to get out of the house?
Thank God we moved to an integrated neighborhood.
You moved again from the suburbs.
We moved again from the suburbs and this time, some black guys ran in front of me and the white guys ran that way. I’ve been black ever since that day.
Where was the integrated neighborhood?
It was in Silver Spring, Maryland right on the DC line.
DC is your home or Maryland and DC is where you grew up?
I’m closer to DC than Maryland. I’m Maryland too.
Did you realize you were funny all along? Was that how you dealt with the stress and pain?
I was a great kid. How could you not be a great kid in the ‘70s? Everything we have from Sesame Street to Scooby-Doo to Hong Kong food and HR preface stuff, The Banana Splits, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin and Midnight Special. We had Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert, “I’m Don Kirshner and welcome to the Rock Concert. Tonight, we have Funkadelic and Parliament and we have Grand Funk.” It’s like you had to play Funk and Parliament on the same show. AM radio was the radio that we listened to. There was no black or white music. There was just music. You would hear, “People all over the world, join me. Start a love train.” All of a sudden, we were all the same students and we were lucky because we grew up in a generation that respected ecology. We were the peace children coming out of the Vietnam era, all colors are coming together, it was all about peace. Peace was hip. We were the outgrowth of the hippies. All of that was wonderful. It was a wonderful thing.
You grew up in a very loving family, obviously. At some point, you can look back and say, “How lucky am I?” That must have been something that you drew from a lot of times.
I’m unfortunate to have had that, not a perfect family but love being at the core. You show me normal. I want to know what it looks like. That’s the experience that I came out of.
Were you more into music or were you more into being funny in these teenage years? What are some of your favorite impressions? Let’s start there because I know you were interested in music because you’re an incredible musician. You’re an incredible singer. I know you’re even working on releasing some music.
That’s the second chapter.
I know you can do a lot of great entertainers, but what are some of the others?
The ones I grew up with like Al Green was one of them, “I’m so tired of being alone. I’m so tired of being alone. Won’t you help me, girl, as soon as you can?” Barry White, “I’m going to love you, love you, love you a little more. I’m going to need you, need you, need you every day.” I call him the walrus of love. There was Michael McDonald, “Girl, don’t worry. I’ve been lied to. I’ve been here many times before. Girl, don’t you worry. I know where I stand. I don’t need this love. I don’t need your hand I know I could turn, blink and you’d be gone. Then I must be prepared any time to carry on, but minute by minute I keep holding on.”
I remember when you did that in front of thousands in the MGM in Vegas. I don’t know how that next band came out and followed you because you had that entire crowd cheering, screaming, clapping and laughing. You have your impressions that are the people. Your Obama impression is the best Obama impression I’ve ever seen.
“Senator Obama, what do you think about the word ‘it’?” “First let’s talk about the word it. If it means lowering interest rates that Americans can afford homes and it is plausible and it should work. It will come up here. If it is too legit to quit like MC Hammer hit that old town stuff, it is legit as well.”
There are many different ways you can go on stage. You can do straight up comedy which is an observational comedy about your family, growing up and all these different people who you admire and who make you laugh.”
“I made a million by the time I was ten. I wrote a love song to a rat named Ben. I played with little animals.” I did this whole thing. “I made a million by the time I was ten. I wrote a love song to a rat named Ben and then I got a nose job and changed my chin and made my skin light.”
When did you realize that you were a comedian? Were you on the trajectory to be a musician at some point and then you shifted? What happened?”
That was my thing. I was a protege as a kid, a singer. I’ve won countless shows everywhere. I sang first before I could barely talk. I didn’t know they were even called impressions. I just like to sing like people. I love music. It’s a part of me. From The Carpenters to The Osmonds, to The Jackson 5, to Earth, Wind and Fire. I was influenced by music, big band, Broadway plays and Disney movies. If it was there, I absorbed it. I never thought about comedy. I used to make people laugh when I was a little kid and it used to freak me out.
We’d be at the table, it would be Thanksgiving or some big holiday. I’d say something and everybody is laughing. One day I went to my mom and said, “Why does everybody laugh at me?” She said, “No one’s laughing at you.” This is pretty profound. She said, “The way you put things make people happy so fast. Before they could even think about it, they laugh first. You make people happy fast that they can’t even keep up with it, they have to laugh.” I said, “That’s not so bad.” What’s interesting is that I never looked at comedians as something I wanted to do because I always thought that some people would look at me like I was stupid. I don’t know why I felt like that as a kid. Even though I enjoyed Flip Wilson and laughing, I loved comedy. I love Richard Pryor and all that stuff.
It wasn’t what I wanted to become. I wanted to become a singer. I got a job at a Ramada Inn as an assistant chef and that’s a good job for an eighteen-year-old. My friend Howard looked at me and said, “You are the dumbest person I ever met in my life because you could be the biggest star ever. You’ve got so much talent.” He had known me since I was eight years old. He finally pressed me so much. He got me to go down to some raggedy strip club in Washington, DC in the worst part of DC. He managed to put me on stage.
How old were you?
I was 18 or 19. He told me to go on stage. Finally, the guy goes, “Are you going up or what?” I looked at Howard. I said, “What am I supposed to do?” He said, “I don’t care what you do. Say something.” That was dramatic.
What did you say?
I said, “Me and my sister had a lot of roaches when I was growing up and my mother helped me clean the kitchen all weekend. We spent Saturday and Sunday, all day cleaning up the kitchen. By Monday, we didn’t have any roaches in the kitchen but they were eating our couch.” It was funny to them.The pandemic showed us that we're really not as in much control as we think we are. Click To Tweet
That was the first joke you ever told.
“They were eating our couch because we went to watch cartoons when we came home from school and we hear all the scratching and stuff. We looked under the couch and we’re like, ‘There are roaches in couch.’ They were eating the couch.” People laughed. “How many got roaches? Let me see a show of hands. Don’t laugh because I know some of you. I grew up with roaches. That is not a big thing. Shame on you. My mother could be in the living room with friends and a roach run across the table. She just said, ‘Could you get that for me, baby?’”
I went from there and I had all these weapons already there. I could bring out singers because I can channel them. Stevie Wonder, he’s nothing to do. “You call my name so sweet and your kiss incomplete. You are saying to me it’s time to go. First, the feeling’s alright then it’s gone from my sight. Be a fool in love with you or if you really love me.” It’s there and always there. Lou Rawls, “You’ll never find a head as big as mine.” I met him. The good thing about my career is I’ve met all my heroes.
You’ve met all your heroes and you were on a groundbreaking, change-the-world television show that started a network and the careers of some of the biggest stars on the planet. I know that some of the writers went on from In Living Color then to Friends and Martin?
There are many shows on the air that came from our creators, writers and producers.
When you were acting with Jamie Foxx, Jim Carrey and the Wayans Brothers and you saw J Lo, did you realize that these people were monster talents? Did it all happen and then you turned around and you’re like, “That was cool.” At the moment, did you know how amazing this all was?
Everybody was amazing. The only person that got by me was Jennifer. I had no idea that she would become such a great actress too. Jennifer isn’t just a good dancer and a good performer, she is a great actress.
The Sean Penn movie, that was amazing.
It goes back and forth. She was such a great performer. In general, she’s good and nice but she did get by me. I met her. Keenan brought her to the set of Strictly Business, the movie that I was doing with Halle Berry.
Was that the first movie you did?
Yes. There she was. They introduced me, “This is Jennifer.” She’s a pretty girl. I said, “How are you doing?” “She’s going to be one of the next dancers.” I said, “Cool,” but I had no idea that she was going to be this astronomical talent, which she is. I give her props and she’s an excellent businesswoman. She’s that above all. She knows her way around.
She did the Super Bowl halftime show in 2020.
She knows her way around. It looks like she found her life too and that’s important. She has someone who loves her, she has her children. What can we ask for in this world? The thing that I’ve benefited the most in my career is who I am now and how I was able to have that experience to use as a reference to who I want to be and the type of person that I want to be for others.
Are you referring to the moments in your life where you had the addiction problems that you had to go through?
All of them, everything. From witnessing immense violence, I’ve seen people getting rehabs, being involved in fights half my life, seeing what transpired with my friends’ families and the neighborhood, what I went through with race and relationships. My experience has afforded me to be the person I want to be for others, who I want to be for others. It all was a part of the picture. The right bus driver who left me at the bus stop in February where I was freezing when I had to be at work every day at a certain time. I had to walk all the way to work because he looked right at me and passed me. Difficult times with different actors and producers, stuff that I dealt with, my own downward spirals, all of those experiences, I can surmise and use to be the person I am now for others. I’ll give you an example, I was in Afghanistan. That’s a very proud moment.
Operation Enduring Freedom.
More than once over there to entertain our servicemen and women and around the world in the whole theater, from Nepal to Kurdistan, which is on the border of Mongolia and China. There was a young man who had lost his foot in Afghanistan that I went to see to say hi. I don’t know what the hell I was going to tell him. I get in the hospital room where he is. He’s laid out sleeping, this guy sees me, pops up, smiles and goes, “What the hell are you doing here?” I said, “I was going to ask you the same thing.” All the way to a woman dying in Philadelphia during my show that I invited to the show. She did me a huge favor and she cashed a check for me when her place was closed. She didn’t realize I was Tommy Davidson until people told her, “Do you know who that is?” She was like, “It’s my birthday.” I said, “Come to my show.” She said, “Can I bring my kids?” I said, “Sure.” They were about 21 or 22.
Fifteen minutes to the performance, she has a massive heart attack and dies but I have faith in mankind. It wasn’t a dry eye in the house, everybody filed out. Respectively, the manager paid for everybody’s food. Even the dishwashers, no one didn’t feel the impact of that. This attractive black girl walked up to me, there’s a light in her eyes. She looked at me and said, “Isn’t that beautiful?” I said, “What are you talking about?” She said, “Isn’t that beautiful that of all the ways God could have walked her up to heaven, he chose you and your laughter? It could have been a train crash, cancer but she went out with joy with you.” When I got on the plane and I see Smokey Robinson, I’m still shaken by the situation. I went to him. I said, “Did this ever happen to you?” He said, “It never happened to me. Invite all your enemies to your next show because you’re killing them.” This is a life that I’ve been afforded through living.
You’ve been giving back. This book is a great way of giving back to inspire a lot of people.
The holiday is my favorite time of year because everybody starts acting like I act every day. People start saying hi to each other, treating people with kindness. I’ve always been like that as a kid.
There’s so much I want to unpack here from what we talked about. I want to start with the fact that I saw you perform in Hollywood and you do a lot of this charity.
Jonathan Butler and everybody came out, Louie Anderson. Were you on that day?
Yeah. I forgot the name you said but it was for a woman who died.
She died of carcinoma which is a very rare cancer that doesn’t get funded.
You did a lot of this and if everybody comes out, you had the biggest stars in LA who were all there on stage with you. The amount of respect and love you have from your peers says a lot. The people who want to do work with you. I know you’re best friends with Jim Carrey and you have your ideas. The truth is that you do give back a lot and this book is part of that. During the pandemic with all of the Black Lives Matter stuff also going on simultaneously, you’ve been through this before. You were around when Martin Luther King was assassinated. There were a lot of similar protests and purposes out there in the world. Has anything changed and do you see that we’ve grown as people? Also in Hollywood, has anything changed? You had some issues with some people because of your race. What has changed? Are you happy with where things are? I feel like this is going to last. I feel like where we’re at is making some serious lasting change that should stay and should also continue to improve going forward. What are your thoughts on all of that?
I have faith in mankind. That’s coming from observing generations way before me and watching how things have changed from that far back. We’re in a new millennium, which is a European-dominated millennium. This isn’t the only millennium that’s been dominated by a group of people. It was more than one millennium that was dominated by Africans. We couldn’t get it right. We were buried in the sand for who knows how long even though we existed. They found those doggone pyramids and said, “Who made these?” My whole life has been spent trying to figure out why people treated each other that way that we’re different.
I studied the history of people. Things have got a lot better but some things are isms, like race isn’t an ism. It’s something that follows us as we live. Sexism is an ism, not a wasn’t and certain people benefit from these isms. Like you as a white male, you benefit from racism because of the advent of slavery, which built this country into a juggernaut and the European world into an economic juggernaut and they sit on top of. It came from racist practices like the genocide of the Native Americans, their land, serving of that and that whole thing, I benefit from sexism. I’m a man.
I get more money than my female counterpart. These are isms. These are things that are realities. At least we’re willing to deal with them. The people who run the policy in this company, have they learned? I do believe that a larger percentage of white people have learned. They’re not the ones that blacks have a problem with. Blacks have a problem with the ones that control what opportunities they have. If they’re still engaging in not providing proper education, jobs and opportunities, even my kids know that if you put 200 people in a room for three months and give them enough food for ten, what’s going to happen? I still have faith in mankind. You can’t go and cut the whole family’s head off and then say, “What are you going to do about it?” That’s how history has been. It’s all relative. I think where we are now is where we are now. The pandemic showed us that we’re not as in control as we think we are. The 5th Dimension said, “When the moon is in the Seventh House and Jupiter aligns with Mars.”
“Peace will guide the planets, and love.”
“Love will steer the stars.” That was the dawning of that age and now we are in that age. The good thing for me is that I’m able to verbalize what I see as where we are. We’re in the holidays and I’m an American boy. I can see it clear as I see it being an American boy and an African-American boy coming from different colors. The only problem that this country has had with color is green. I can use the colonies as a metaphor and use The Grinch. He came along and everybody was happy. He’s green, greedy and doesn’t want anything to have anything. He wants it all to himself, but there’s this little dog that hangs out with the man that digs this dude. That’s what he wants to do. He was waiting for the moment when his heart grew because I think he knew that he had it in him, and we’re at that point.
That was genius. I love what you said. It brings it all full circle to where we are.
We are that dog. Remember, man’s best friend, spell it backward. Here we have that situation to there’s this green thing.
It’s not the most important thing. It doesn’t control everything. Hopefully, we come out of this 2020 with some retrospective.
From the play Cabaret, “Money makes the world go around, the month go around,” or the O’Jays, “Money, some people really need it. You want to do things, do good things with it. Do bad things with it.”
I can’t wait to come to see you live again and hang out with you in person.
The last line, “Money can drive some people out of their minds.”
This has gone by quickly. We’re already where we need to wrap it up, unfortunately. I know you have more things to do. You’re going to be on Wendy Williams.
Please welcome, Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins. You’re going to Kenny Loggins.The only problem that this country has had with color is green. Click To Tweet
I’ll see if I can.
“You think that maybe it’s over. No, you don’t want it to be.”
“Are you going to wait for a sign, your miracle? Stand up and fight.”
“This is it.”
“Make no mistake where you are.”
“This is it.”
“Your back is to the corner.”
“This is it.”
“Don’t be a fool anymore.”
“This is it. One way or another. This is it. No one can tell what the future holds.” We’ll end there. No one can tell what the future holds. It all comes back to that. This is real and you’re a dear friend as well. The way that we met and the way you see the business, the good thing about the business is that people that love it, people that love entertainment from every side. I realized that the song, “There’s no business like show business is like no business.” I never accounted for that last line. It’s like, “No business. I know the business.” You can have a show that’s not that entertaining and it could still be a big hit like pimple poppers. It can’t compare to something like The Golden Girls but still broadcasts on TV. A lot of people get to see it as entertainment. There’s a gray area when it comes to entertainment, the entertainment that we know and that’s now known but as long as it does business, it’s like back in the turn of the century with blackface, vaudeville, freak shows or whatever. It’s a good thing that art is in the eye of the beholder for artists subjective. It’s a good thing that that’s the deal but so is love.
We’ve got to keep it that way. We’ve got to make sure that the artist stays that way and that the artists still get to be creative, tow the line, push the line, push the boundaries and talk about the real issues that nobody else can talk about and look at things from another perspective. Dave Chappelle is so good at doing that and there are certain people who can tow that line and find a way to do that. You’re one of those people.
Although he’s starting to look like Larry Holmes and Schmiegel.
The book, your story, your talent and you are amazing.
You are amazing.
I went to your wedding and there were all of your friends. There were many great people who are friends of yours and all the people who love you as a testament to how great of a man you are. You have a great loving family, amazing wife and all I can say is you’ve done it right. I look forward to seeing you again soon on stage and in-person, making the whole entire room laugh. Happy holidays to you.
My brother from another mother. I’ll see you then. “The cat is in the cradle and the silver spoon. Little boy blue and the man in the moon and we’ll get together then, friend. We’ll have a good time then.”
Peace, love, happiness and happy holidays to you and your family.
I love you. Thanks. The book. When is it out?
It already came out and it’s back out in paperback and audio. It’s a beautiful book and there it is right there. It’s not In Living Color, it’s Living In Color: What’s Funny About this guy, Tommy D.
It’s in all the places that everybody goes to, Walmart and Amazon.
You go deep. You reveal all.
It’s available. It’s still in hard copy in Barnes & Noble and on Amazon. I did the voice in it too. I’ll never do it again. That was hard but it was worth it. You could have never told a little boy from Silver Spring, Maryland, Washington, DC that he’d have an audiobook in his own voice that would go to me and to people to talk about his mom, family and where he grew up.
I’m glad that you did that and it’s a great book. I hope everybody reads it. I look forward to booking you to speak and to perform in the new year and that will happen. I will look forward to that. I’ll talk to you soon anyway.
Thanks, Chris. I love you much. Happy holidays.
You too. Bye.
About Tommy Davidson
Tommy Davidson’s exceptional range – from stand-up comedy and acting to versatile music accomplishments – have earned him a reputation as an extraordinary performer. Best known as one of the stars of the hit television show In Living Color, his visibility has allowed him to become a household name known for his innovative talent.
Davidson started his career as a standup comedian in Washington DC, earning an ardent following with relentless work in the leading comedy clubs. As one of the cutting-edge, young stand-ups, he was spotted by major concert promoters who booked him as the opening act for A-list tours including Patti LaBelle, Kenny G and Luther Vandross.
It wasn’t long before he came to Hollywood and was headlining at a number of clubs, including the Comedy Act Theatre, where he met Robert Townsend. This led to his first national television appearance with a starring role in Partners in Crime and was the conduit to Keenan Ivory Wayans, who proved instrumental in Davidson’s career by offering him an opportunity to audition.
By joining the uniquely talented cast of the most adventurous primetime variety show on television, In Living Color. He, Jamie Foxx, Jim Carrey, Damon Wayans and David Alan Grier made TV history. At last year’s 10th Annual “TV Land Awards” In Living Color — and the household name stars that were instrumental in making the sketch show iconic — were honored with the ‘Groundbreaking Award.
Tommy’s impressive film debut was opposite Halle Berry in Strictly Business. This led to numerous feature film roles from Spike Lee’s Bamboozled, where he received acclaim and praise for his turn as “Womack/Sleep ‘N Eats,” to Juwanna Mann (Morgan Creek Productions’) and the pivotal cameo in Jim Carrey’s Ace Ventura II: When Nature Calls, which has since become a cult favorite. He starred in 2011’s landmark, award-winning documentary, I Am Comic, opposite Tim Allen, Lewis Black, Sarah Silverman, Carlos Mencia, Jeff Foxworthy and Kathy Griffin.
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