Comedian comes home

Apr 10, 2002 at 12:00 am

Comedian Chris Rock once stated that his style of brash, politically sensitive comedy makes him popular. However, he reasoned that, if he could be clean and funny, he would be more permanent than popular.

Kinda like Sinbad, the Benton Harbor native who, on April 13, will bring to his home state just the kind of humor Rock wishes he could do. Sinbad is arguably permanent. His clean wit — and even cleaner image — have landed him movie roles, his own TV show and worldwide acclaim as one of the funniest stand-up comedians in the business. The funny man’s been around since Ed McMahon’s “Star Search.” Since Madonna was still a Material Girl. Since “The Cosby Show” was the No. 1 sitcom on TV. Awkwardly, Sinbad’s take on what makes him so funny really ain’t that funny.

Sinbad says he does not tell jokes. “I don’t know any,” he says. He instead tells stories. He’s a tall, lanky stage stalker with big eyes, red hair and an infectious smile. And he’s right. He turns auditoriums into living rooms, audiences into family members, and treats whole houses to raucous, hour-long fireside chats. He’s also known for being quite tuned to the needs of local communities.

The stage is set, then, for his return to Michigan.

It’s difficult to argue that Sinbad, the star of such family movies as First Kid and Houseguest, has always been a proponent of family and community inclusion. Some of his most popular stage material picks up where legendary comedian Bill Cosby’s left off, making jokes about “brain-damaged” or misbehaved children, husbands who become like zombies after a few years of marriage and, most of all, his tireless efforts to champion ’70s funk culture.

Sinbad’s ability to pull sidesplitting humor from the PG side of life is a rarity. But he puts his brand of happy laughter in perspective. “If you’re not happy before you’re successful,” he says, “you’re going to be miserable when you do become successful, because all your problems just get magnified.”

If you’re looking for a chance to honor your civic sensibilities while getting a good laugh, this might be the show for you. All proceeds go to the United Way, which funds more than 130 human service agencies throughout southeastern Michigan. So you crack up, knowing all the while that your ticket purchase is gonna feed somebody’s kid or provide somebody else with job training. After the year we’ve had, we could all use a good laugh.

Good thing Sinbad agrees.

Sinbad plays a benefit for United Way Community Services at the Music Hall, 350 Madison, Detroit on April 13. Call 313-963-2366 for ticket information.

The Metro Times staff contributes to the events stories featured every week; the section is edited by Nate Cavalieri