Mom was inspiration for Donnell Rawlings' humor
Donnell Rawlings began his career in comedy clubs. As a heckler.
"People started showing up for the show just to see me heckle," Rawlings says. "The owner asked me to go onstage to silence me. It backfired for him, but it worked for me. Once I went onstage, I didn't see myself as ever doing anything else."
He says the comics he heckled didn't take offense.
"A lot of them became my closest friends," he says.
Don't heckle him when he performs at the Pittsburgh Improv this weekend, though.
Born in Washington, D.C., Rawlings probably is best known for playing the bizarre, half-naked, lotion-toting Ashy Larry on the popular, but short-lived "Chappelle's Show" on Comedy Central. He titled his 2010 DVD "From Ashy to Classy."
He cites his mother, Joyce Rawlings, as his chief comedic influence. No matter how bad things got, he says, she found a way to make him laugh.
"My mom had a sense of humor even when things didn't go all that great in my life," he says.
Things seem to be going well now. Rawlings is developing a resume of film and television roles. He played Damien Price in the Baltimore crime drama "The Wire." He appears on "Guy Code" on MTV, where he dispenses advice such as how to talk to cops. He's also climbing aboard "Hip Hop Squares," a urban-centric reboot of the traditional "Hollywood Squares" game show set to premiere in May on MTV2. Additional Information:
When: 8 p.m. today; 8 and 10 p.m. Friday; 7 and 9 p.m. Saturday; 7 p.m. Sunday
Where: Pittsburgh Improv, Waterfront
Details: 412-462-5233 or www.improv.com
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments â either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.