Sinbad doesn’t think comedy, he feels it
Funny man performs at the DeJoria Center
April 28, 2017
When award-winning comedian Sinbad performs at the DeJoria Center on Saturday, April 29, the audience will see a once-in-a-lifetime performance.
"I do a different show every night," Sinbad said during a phone call to The Park Record from the NAB technology conference in Las Vegas. "It's because when I do something and want to do it again, I can't remember what I did. That's the beauty of ADHD."
Sinbad, born David Adkins, said he got into comedy because it was something he liked to do, not because he thought about doing it.
"It's never deep with any comedian," he said with a laugh. "A lot of times becoming a comedian isn't a comedian's first choice. I had music, basketball and some other things.
"It's just something you feel. Comedy was just something I was doing and then I realized, 'Oh, maybe this could become a profession.'"
While Sinbad is known for not using profanity in his shows, he doesn't like being labeled a family-friendly comedian.
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"The thing is I was dirty when I started, but I never looked at comedy as dirty or clean," he said. "I just wanted to be as funny as I could.
"I remember one night, when I was just starting out, I was in Chicago and not known, but there was a group of us and we all sounded like bad Richard Pryors. I thought, 'Now, how can I stand out without losing my edge?'"
Keeping the edge was and still is important to Sinbad.
"I wanted to be edgy and talk about different things that might offend somebody," he said. "Now, that might not just mean the words would offend somebody. Sometimes a subject will. Sometimes truth is offensive."
Sinbad kept his edge that night in Chicago when he was still an unknown.
"I went on with my same anger and militancy and talked about family, but no one picked up on the fact that I wasn't cussing," he said. "It wasn't until I went to Hollywood that people put me into that clean, family man box."
Sinbad hates the family-man box.
"I ain't that guy," he said. "I ain't that dude. If you like me, you like me. If you don't, you don't. But just don't say you like me because I'm a family man. I mean a serial killer could be a family man. He just doesn't kill his family."
Many of Sinbad's anecdotes come from his personal life, yet, he can't explain what makes some things funny to him.
"It's like music," he said. "When you learn music, you start to hear notes other people can't hear.
"Now, think about this. Music is comprised of the same 12 notes, but what do some people — Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock or Frank Sinatra — see in those notes that other people can't hear?"
Sinbad calls artists' ability to recognize qualities others miss "The Gift."
"I think there was a gift, something given to me, that is different than what was given to others," he said. "Let's face it LeBron (James) was given some stuff everyone else wasn't. I mean there are a lot of people who are 6 feet 8 inches tall."
Having the gift doesn't mean James had it easy, Sinbad said.
"It's not that he didn't work at it." Sinbad said. "It means he still was given something else.
"Like him, I can't hear it, see it or touch it. I can't explain it or try to figure it out. I just know it exists. "
The gift is like air to Sinbad.
"I don't have to know about oxygen," he said. "I can study science, but I'm cool with it. If I can breathe, I'm good."
Even with the gift, Sinbad did face challenges in his career.
"The big challenge is to push myself to stay relevant," he said. "It wasn't about how do I find myself. It was about letting everybody else find me.
"Early on, yes, I had to try to figure something out, but then something clicked when on stage. And that's when I went, 'Wow, that's my technique.'"
Throughout his career, Sinbad, who was named one of the 100 Great Standups of All Time by Comedy Central, has toured the world, and appeared in a variety of films and TV shows.
But he still hasn't done half of what he wants to do.
"I'm 60 years old and there are so many things that I haven't begun to do," he said. "I want to do things with music and I want to do things with technology.
"Your reach should be longer than your grasp, which means you should die trying something new."
The comedian, however, said his life has been filled with rewards.
"The big one is that my family loves me," he said. "I love my kids and we have life. If I can help them or they can help me, it means everything for me. "
Sinbad also knows the importance of being comfortable with who he is: an African-American who happens to do comedy.
"First of all we're born whatever color we are," he said. "I don't play bullcrap. I don't play dumbness. I don't play what's happening in America: how people treat racism, sexism and ageism. I don't have time for that. I will not tolerate it. I'm proud of who I am. I wouldn't be who I am if I wasn't black, and there is something that comes with that."
Comedian Sinbad will perform at 8 p.m. on Saturday, April 29, at the DeJoria Center, 970 N. S.R. 32, in Kamas. Tickets start at $45 and can be purchased by visiting http://www.dejoriacenter.com.
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