Bellamy still a player ... on the comedy scene
Charismatic comedian Bill Bellamy is bringing his “Ladies Night Out” comedy tour to the Pittsburgh Improv for a weekend.
Growing up in the tough city of Newark N.J., Bellamy realizes he's one of the lucky ones. The city's mean streets could have eaten him up as much as given him the thick skin and resolve to become the full-fledged star he is today.
“I just managed to find the sunshine in all the rain,” he says.
And, he says he never forgets where he came from by keeping his ear on the beat of the street.
“A lot of comedy comes from that pain,” he says.
Creatively, Bellamy goes with the flow — writing when the inspiration hits. He says he keeps a pen by his bed to capture his thoughts at all hours.
Bellamy's first exposure came on HBO's “Def Comedy Jam,” where he's often cited as the person who coined the phrase “Booty Call.”
But Bellamy credits MTV — back when they still played music videos — for really launching his career.
“I was just struggling, getting 5- to 10-minute sets in New York and New Jersey,” he says. “Then, MTV happened, and I had no idea how big it was. ... MTV was the springboard for it all.”
Before he could say “VJ,” he was a certified star, hosting MTV shows like “MTV Jams” and “MTV Beach House.” That led to movie and television roles, including “Love Jones,” “How to Be a Player,” “Any Given Sunday,” “Hot In Cleveland” and “Mr. Box Office.”
Last year, he hosted “Let's Ask America,” and this year will be seen in the feature film “The Bounce Back.”
Tall and still youthfully handsome, the 49-year-old comic says he still enjoys performing live. Bellamy describes his stand-up style as “slick, high-energy and up close and personal.”
For the “Ladies Night Out” tour, Bellamy handpicked three comedians, who he says, were “tearing it up” — J. Reid, Ali Siddiq and D'Lai.
Reid was the winner of the Bellamy-produced comedy-competition show “Who's Got Jokes?” Siddiq started doing comedy in prison and, Bellamy says, was so good other inmates cried when he was released. D'Lai is chock-full of charisma.
“(These comedians) all make you laugh their own way and with their own style,” Bellamy says.
His advice for the young comedians on the tour is the same as he would tell any young comic: “Really hustle on exposure. Use social media. Do a skit, and let the people decide if it's funny. If it starts getting a lot of views, the agents will come to you.”
Comedian Matt Wohlfarth is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.