Los Angeles – Before there was Def Jam, Comedy Central or Comic View, there was The Comedy Act Theater (CAT), the very first Black comedy club in the country. Just ask Chris Tucker, Eddie Murphy, Damon Wayans or a host of others to name the individual who was singularly responsible for nurturing and launching the careers of most of the country’s superstar Black comedians and they will each name maverick entrepreneur Michael Williams, the founder/owner of the Comedy Act Theater. The Comedy Act Theater laid the foundation and set the blueprint for Black comedy and Black comedy clubs today.
Many industry insiders consider Williams the ‘unacknowledged’ godfather of contemporary African American comedy. But on Friday, April 29, that will all change when comedienne Hope Flood presents her “Awards Dinner and Special Tribute to Michael Williams,” starting at 7:00 p.m. with purple carpet arrivals, at the Regency West located at 3339 W. 43rd St. in Los Angeles, the original home of the Comedy Act Theater aka “The House that Robin Harris Built.” The evening is the highlight of her 5th Annual Comics Rock! Convention, an industry event that hosts workshops and seminars for aspiring comedians, actors and producers.
Celebrated media personality Tavis Smiley will present Williams with his award and veteran comedic talent Ricky Harris will host the evening as comedians, celebrities and industry professionals pay tribute to the legacy of Williams’ efforts. The affair launches with a “purple carpet” arrival and includes a buffet dinner, awards presentation and after party. Tickets are $35 in advance and can be purchased online at www.ComicsRockConvention.com or at the door.
The extensive list of Comedy Act Theater performers who either got their start or performed there regularly include Chris Rock, Robin Harris, Jamie Foxx, Martin Lawrence, Monique, Keenan Wayans, Sinbad, Bernie Mac, Cedric the Entertainer, Steve Harvey, D.L. Hughley, and Tommy Davidson to name a few. The Comedy Act Theater was considered “the place” for African American talent in entertainment, sports and fashion in the 80’s.Whoopi Goldberg taped her HBO special at the Comedy Act.
“As comedians, we all owe so much to Michael Williams. His theater was our learning ground, our shelter, and our comedy home. I am just deeply humbled to be able to produce this event in his honor. It is so long overdue. I’m anticipating some really special surprises with several comedic legends reaching out on this night to just say ‘we remember when’ and ‘thank you Michael,'” expresses Hope Flood.
For more information on the Comic Rocks! Convention, happening April 26 to 30
at J. Anthony Brown’s JSpot Comedy Club
, go to www.ComicsRockConvention.com
and mark your calendars for the“Comics Rock the Court Charity Celebrity Basketball Game”
onSaturday, April 30, from noon to 4:00 p.m. at the Jesse Owens Park, 9651 S. Western Avenue in Los Angeles.