Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Boy am I bushed! Monday was a terrible day...lay-out day plus a three hour manager meeting about the budget. Please shoot me now. Hide the sharp objects. Where's the gas pipe?

Tuesday was spent at the Toy Fair in NYC....5:35 a.m. train, work most of the day ( I did take time to see my friend Richard Gordon and to go to the Virgin Megastore) and get back home at 11:35 p.m. Traveling with my buddy The Other Mark M made the day enjoyable. Then I had to be a Chamber of Commerce breakfast for 7:15 a.m.

There's nothing so invigorating as a chamber breakfast! At least the food was good and there was a bit of a story from the mayor's state of the city address. I had a hard time staying awake though. I wish I liked coffee.

I'll post the first installment of Toy Fair stuff tomorrow when my brain stops hurting. I love covering stuff like trade shows as they are the source for interesting trend information. I just wish I could do it in a civilized manner and stay overnight in the city.

Well, at least I can still go. The daily paper here has apparently given up on the Toy Fair despite four local companies that exhibit there. I love the conceit from The Republican's brass that they can still cover local news just fine after slashing their reportorial resources. What's next? A newspaper put together by interns and a handful of editors?

Ah to happier things, such as talking to up and coming comic Lavell Crawford.

Lavell Crawford said that as a child he wanted to be a superhero specifically, Spiderman.

"There were plenty of spiders in my basement, but none of them were radioactive," he recalled with a laugh.

His career goals changed, though, when he listened to a Richard Pryor album for the first time.

"I thought it was incredible," he said.

Crawford will be appearing at the Comedy Connection at the Hu Ke Lau on Feb. 23. Television audiences will recognize him from apperances on "The Tom Joyner Show," "Steve Harvey's Big Time," "BET's Comic View" and from the most recent season of "Last Comic Standing," where he came in second in the comedy competition.

Crawford has been very busy with his first Comedy Central special debuting on Feb. 22 as well as the release of his CD "Takin' a Fat Break." He also recently appeared on the cable television special, "Martin Lawrence Presents the First Amendment."

When he spoke with Reminder Publications last week he was waiting for the limousine to arrive to bring him to a taping of Chelsea Handler's talk show, "Chelsea Lately."

While in college his interest in comedy was strengthened when he saw Sinbad perform live. At first, Crawford thought his road as a performer was as a rapper, but he noticed that his rhymes were comedic and making people laugh.

Crawford said he was lucky to break into the industry in the early 1990s when comedy was booming. It took him five months of calling a local comedy club before they would give him a slot on a open mic night, but he was persistent.

"It was calling me," he said.

Crawford said that appearing on "Last Comic Standing" was a mixed blessing. He wanted to be in the final five comics because of the exposure it would give him, but the actual competition itself " was really bogus." The comics never learned of the percentages of audience approval.

"Television is a strange animal," he said. He noted that he and the other comics had to re-write their material to make sure it met the network's rules, but that dramatic shows are held to a different standard.

Crawford said the show was a "learning experience" for him and proved worth it as he is booked through December. He added that if the producers had wanted a more authentic reality show, they should have put the comics on the road and sent a camera crew to document them.

"They try to control it on television, but you can't control it on the road," he said. "Make it on the road, that's where all the drama starts."

The comic never censors himself, but his comedy is not laden with curses, the n-word or sexual references.

"I don't go overboard," he said.

Crawford would like to do everything in show business. He has written scripts; he is currently promoting and would like to get more acting roles.

Although Crawford formally writes his act, he said, "The stage is my notebook."

"I've written more jokes on stage than off," he said. He explained that he edits material as he works, subtracting and adding to a gag or routine depending upon the audience.

And Crawford explained how a comic has to be ready to exploit whatever happens before an audience. He explained that the Comedy Connection in Boston doesn't have a step onto the stage. The club was packed and Crawford said he was so excited he missed the stage and "fell on my face."

He didn't let that stop him as once he was on stage, he did 40 minutes on his accident.
© 2008 by Gordon Michael Dobbs

1 comment:

dogboy443 said...

Toy Fair '08 was enjoyable and I thank MIke for preventing me from not getting flattened my a NYC bus. He took me under his wing and gave me the Dad treatment. We were both exhausted by the end of the show but it was a lot of fun. I'll be adding more story and pix I took over at the