in the Mix
|(L-R): Actress Rae Dawn Chong, Jaden’s Ladder co-founder Oneta Bobbett and friend Shelly Brown at the “Bright Lights, Big City” gala at the Ritz Carlton Hotel on April 20. (Colette Greenstein photo)||Comedian and actor Bill Bellamy performs at the Wilbur Theatre this Friday. (Photo courtesy of Zsanae Davis)|
“Bright Lights, Big City” Gala
It was an evening of music, dancing and fun at the Fifth Annual “Bright Lights, Big City” gala at The Ritz Carlton Hotel in Boston. Hosted by “Coach” Willie Maye and presented by Ambassadors JoJo and Debbie White, the evening included a live and silent auction, music by DJ Roy Barboza and a live performance by Taylor Dayne, who got the crowd up and dancing as she sang her classic hit “Tell It To My Heart.” Supporting the event was Larry Brown, NBA Hall of Fame coach, and his wife Shelly; Marshall Faulk, NFL Hall of Famer and former running back with the St. Louis Rams; Patrick Pass, former New England Patriot; Harry Douglass, Atlanta Falcons wide receiver; Officer Jenn Penton from Donnie Wahlberg’s hit TNT show “Boston’s Finest”; and actress Rae Dawn Chong. Jaden’s Ladder is a nonprofit organization that assists survivors of domestic violence with life-enhancing, post-shelter programs and support that builds confidence and fosters self-reliance. The 200-plus people in attendance raised $168,000 for the non-profit.
Bill Bellamy Brings the Laughter!
Fresh from his third Showtime special “Ladies Night Out,” comedian and actor Bill Bellamy has been performing stand-up comedy for almost 20 years. The Newark, N.J., native began his stand-up career while a student at Rutgers University, honed his skills at small comedy clubs around the country and soon was making waves in New York clubs like The Improv and The Comic Strip, and at The Comedy Store in Los Angeles.
His first television appearance was on “Showtime at the Apollo,” which was followed by a spot on “Def Comedy Jam” where he notoriously coined the phrase “booty call.” The catchphrase caught like fire, and it soon became the name for his first Showtime comedy special. On the heels of the success of that special, Bellamy became a staple on MTV, where he hosted shows such as “MTV Jams” and “MTV Beach House.”
It was only a matter of time before Bellamy transitioned to the big screen with roles in the films “Love Jones,” “How To Be A Player,” “The Brothers” and “Any Given Sunday.” Between television gigs, film roles and touring, he debuted his second comedy special, “Crazy Sexy Dirty,” for Showtime, and he’s currently starring on the syndicated sitcom “Mr. Box Office.”
Bellamy recently chatted with the Banner about his comedy career and his stop in Boston this Friday.
You started off on “Def Comedy Jam” back in the ‘90s. What does that mean to you?
I was so young. I was so hungry. I didn’t know the impact of “Def Comedy Jam.” I didn’t know that it was going to change my career. And when it blew up, I was like, “Oh my god.” Nineteen years later, you don’t see a lot of cats still in the game. It’s scary on one hand, but I’m one of the survivors in the game. I’m still putting it down.
How has your stand-up evolved since your first special?
There’s a lot of maturity, a lot of real-life circumstances that have given me material that I have now. I’ve been more honest than I’ve ever been before. When I first came into the game, I wanted to be safe and politically correct. Now, I talk about what’s going on my life.
You’re actively engaged on Twitter and Facebook. Has the use of social media helped in promoting your projects?
It’s absolutely fantastic. I never knew social media was so powerful. You have such a connection with the fans. I embraced it. When I go on a rant, I go in.
What projects are you working on?
I have my sitcom “Mr. Box Office” on Centric, BET and in syndication. [I’ve got] The Ladies Night Out tour on Showtime. We’re getting ready to shoot the concert film to Ladies Night Out. And I’m hosting the Centric Comedy All-Stars in Las Vegas in November.
What can we expect from your show on May 3 in Boston?
Oh my gosh. I’m going to ignite. I’m going to have an out-of-body experience. I’m going to bring so much joy and unbridled laughter.
Check out Bill Bellamy this Friday, May 3 at The Wilbur Theatre at 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $25 and $32 and can be purchased online at www.ticketmaster.com or at The Wilbur box office, 246 Tremont St. in downtown Boston, Monday-Saturday 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.
The rescheduled date of Rihanna’s “Diamonds World Tour” is this Monday, May 6 at 7:30 p.m.
On Thursday, May 16, Community Works presents their annual “Share A Laugh” benefit at the Somerville Theatre with comedians Wendy Liebman along with Bethany Van Delft, Chris Tabb and Kelly McFarland. Tickets can be purchased at www.communityworks.org.
The “Lights Out Tour” starring Kelly Rowland and The-Dream is at The Wilbur Theatre on Wednesday, May 29 at 8 p.m.
Tickets are now on sale for the Tony Award-winning musical “Wicked,” which comes to Boston from August 7 to September 15.
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