Bill Bellamy: Addicted

In an era of countless viral videos and sour attempts at humor, we still have

some funnymen who make us “lmao” effortlessly. Bill Bellamy is one comedian who

has had his hand in all things comedy since the moment he stepped on the scene.

From his comical VJ’ing on MTV Jams, to his stand-up, movies, and sitcoms, Bill

Bellamy knows what it means to chase a joke and actually catch it. So what’s

his key to making you laugh? One word. Addicted.

 

AllHipHop.com

Alternatives:

So, talk about a couple of the projects that you have going on right now.

 

Bill

Bellamy:

For those who may not know right now I’m the host of NBC’s Last Comic

Standing,

and then I also host my own show, Bill Bellamy’s Who’s Got Jokes on TV One so check your

local listings for that. I’ve been traveling the last two years all over the

country looking for young talent. People that are talented, funny, different,

interesting and super-duper humorous – that’s been one of my things

that’s been consuming some of my time.

 

Then

also two, I’ve been really working hard on a TV show that I’ve been writing and

trying to get the premise right for a family show for next season so that’s

been a passion of mine. I’ve been working on that ‘cause you know, we don’t

really have anybody that’s really representing the family right now. I think

just doing it funny like I would want to do it. So I said I’ma do it my damn

self.

 

AHHA: Like The Cosby Show style?

                                                                                          

Bill

Bellamy:

Yeah, like The Cosby Show for our generation, just real fun, family,

different, great values, funny situations, some bugged out kids you know hooked

up like that. I think that would be a lot of fun and then also you know picking

the right movies. I’ve just been lucky realistically in my career to be able to

do a little bit of everything.

 

Like

if you look up the stuff that I’ve done, it’s a lot of fun stuff and some of it

is totally different. I did Fastlanes, which was a dramatic action kind of show, then

I turn around and host Last Comic Standing and you can look back and see me in The

Brothers,

Love Jones,

Getting Played,

Def Comedy Jam.

You know a lot of people didn’t even know I was a comedian sometimes, so it’s a

trip.

 

AHHA: Of course one of my

favorites was your spot on MTV Jams.

 

Bill

Bellamy:

Yeah, MTV Jams was the jump-off you know? Out there interviewing Tupac and Dre

and Snoop and ahhhh man everybody in the ‘90s, man. I mean from Nirvana to Kurt

Cobain, Collective Soul, Hootie and the Blowfish, Madonna…Beyoncé when she

first came out, nobody even knew who she was, [sings]“no, no, no, yeah yeah,

yeah, yeah.” I was there; I was right there.

 

AHHA: It’s interesting

because you were a VJ at a time when music in general was starting to really

embrace…

 

Bill

Bellamy:

…Hip-Hop. Like this is a thing people don’t even really know unless you know

your music. I think I was in the right place at the right time. I was actually

right on the explosion of Hip-Hop going into pop culture, into mainstream

America. Like when MTV finally started playing Hip-Hop videos all the time, not

just on Yo! Because for a minute they were only playing Hip-Hop on Yo! MTV Raps

but then Hip-Hop blew up and it was being played everywhere. That was the bomb.

 

AHHA: Did you ever have any

bad experience with any rappers that you had interviewed or encountered along

the way?

 

Bill

Bellamy:

Nah, I’ve been really really lucky in that case. I mean I got love from all

angles especially since people like respect and love what I do. The weirdest

thing that ever happened to me, I remember when I was interviewing Dr. Dre and

he was producing Snoop’s first album, Doggystyle and Dr. Dre was under

house arrest at the time, he couldn’t leave his house.

 

So

they was working out the studio and that was the first time I was like in

California and that whole gang stuff. I knew Snoop was like gang affiliated and

all of this, I ain’t know what to wear. So I think I wore beige. I was like

nobody can be in the beige gang. Beige is neutral, ‘cause someone might be in

the white gang, someone might be in the all black gang but no one’s ever been a

beige thug so I was like I’ma wear beige and that should work.

 

AHHA: Yeah, that must have

been kinda weird.

 

Bill

Bellamy: Yeah…neutral

colors. No one was mad at Bill.

 

AHHA: [laughs] No one will

shoot you in earth tones.

 

Bill

Bellamy:

[laughs] No one can say you come up out tapioca.

 

AHHA: So, in traveling around

checking out all of the new talent, how do you go about telling someone they’re

not funny?

 

Bill

Bellamy:

It’s real easy, “kill yourself.” Nah you just gotta be like, “Look dawg

you  just don’t have it man. You

know, there’s a lot of trades like electrical work, you can always be an old

school librarian they still have those, Internet maybe. Internet that can be a

forte for you but comedy is not.”

 

AHHA: Does it annoy you at

all that you’ve got have these viral videos going on around YouTube where

somebody will say something that’s really actually not funny and then they get

their 15 minutes for kind of doing something half-heartedly funny?

 

Bill

Bellamy:

You’re right. The crazy thing is that it’s only 15 minutes, and I mean if

you’re in it just to be famous or just to be popular for a few minutes then

that’s what it is. But if you’re really trying to be around, be a veteran and

still be relevant, you know you gotta have talent. You gotta write material

that resonates with people, that people dig that’s memorable.

 

I

was just listening to a T.I song off [Paper Trail] and I was just

listening to his music man and he said some kind of rhyme that had my name in

the joint. I was like that’s kinda gangsta – just the fact that the cats,

the younger generation still know who I am or that I’m still around and cats

got love for me, I so appreciate that man, it’s like wow. You know and it’s

really hard you gotta get lucky you know, you gotta be in the right place,

right time, you gotta stay on your grind.

 

I

mean you look at somebody like Jay- Z you think it’s easy to stay in the game?

You look at a chick like Beyoncé, I mean this girl is working; she’s coming out with

a new album every two months. Look at Lil Wayne, when you look at a cat like

Lil Wayne right, cats wasn’t really respecting Lil Wayne about six years ago.

This dude is the number one hottest dude right now he’s coming so hard with it

and people love him for it. You can’t tell me people don’t respect his hustle

and he’s really bringing fire right now.

 

AHHA: That’s so true. It was

kind of interesting – and you saw it firsthand at MTV – when Lil

Wayne came out it was like okay, he’s that little kid in Ca$h Money.

 

Bill

Bellamy:

Right, he was like Tito Jackson in the Jacksons. But now look who’s the star

now you know what I mean? That’s what I love about our business; it’s like if

you work real hard and you have your talent and you persevere through the rough

times, you can really get it and really really get yours. I feel like the best

has yet to come from me. I feel like I definitely hit some nice little homeruns

here and there, but I never really got the out the park joint yet where I just

blow up like crazy where it’s just like, “Oh my God.” I think my “Oh my God”

moment is on its way.

 

AHHA: You’ve been everywhere

in your career.

 

Bill

Bellamy:

…and I’m really thankful. I’m really really thankful. I swear I’m keeping it so

real. It’s like I’m out here hustling getting on these planes, traveling all over

different cities, working for this show, that show, working and writing on my

TV shows, working on scripts and stuff. It requires a lot of work just to get a

little bit of shine. So you don’t even know if it’s gonna work or if people are

gonna dig it.

 

I

took a chance with Last Comic Standing; I didn’t know if people would really

dig me hosting that show, but I just thought it would be kinda fun and I just

went with the heart. I was like this could be fun so I went out and did it and

it worked. Who’s Got Jokes is another fun move and right now people need

to laugh, like our life is crazy, economically it’s retarded right now. I think

I’m in a really good place, providing laughter for folks, giving people a place

to come out, relax and really really enjoy themselves.

 

AHHA: Which do you like

better, standup or situational comedy?

 

Bill

Bellamy:

I like standup the best because I’m totally free to be me and do what I need to

do. With TV, you’re always dealing with subject matter – constraints, how

do you deliver the joke, this, that and the other. But I mean I’ve done TV for

15 years so I know what that is but it’s still hard. It’s nothing like going on

stage and being able to say whatever you want.

 

AHHA: Besides yourself, who

would you say is the funniest standup comedian?

 

Bill

Bellamy:

Well I can’t just say one. I mean it’s a lot. You got Dave Chapelle, Chris

Rock, you got Cedric [the Entertainer], D.L. [Hughley] You got Steve [Harvey],

Bernie Mac – the late Bernie Mac, oh my god. I like Katt Williams too.

 

AHHA: How were you affected

by the passing of Bernie Mac this year?

 

Bill

Bellamy:

Man, devastated. [Bernie Mac] was like a mentor to me, great friend, we did Def

Jam tour together and he basically adopted me like his little brother man. It

was really difficult for me to really wrap my head around it ‘cause I just

didn’t think stuff like that would happen you know? Especially with cats that

you’re working with, you’re out here on the grind, you’re proud of what they’re

doing, and he was only 52 or 53 or something like that. It just makes you

realize man, you gotta grind out baby. You gotta go get it man, you never know

how long you ‘gon be here so go for it.

 

AHHA: Definitely true. Do you

see the new comedians possessing that same level of humor that you and Bernie

Mac possessed as well as others?

 

Bill

Bellamy:

I don’t know man. It takes time to get to that level ‘cause you gotta be in the

game. I mean I don’t know who’s got it like that. All the guys that I know that

are actually good like that, they’ve been doing it for so long. Like I said,

Rock and Chapelle and Cedric, Steve, D.L, these cats. I mean a guy like

Earthquake he’s hilarious. I think Lavelle Crawford is hysterical. Nobody can

talk about being fat better than him, I mean he just makes being fat so funny.

The way he talks about it; it is hysterical. He makes you wanna eat, he make

you wanna be overweight like man, I could do it too.

 

AHHA: So with Last Comic

Standing

and even with Who’s Got Jokes, you’re offering opportunities to younger comedians

to get in the business. In the earlier days when you first started doing

comedy, you really had to grind to make your name and it worked ten fold. But

for a lot of the newer cats, do you think that the hustle and quality is

instilled in the newer comedians as much as it was in the past for people like

yourself?

 

Bill

Bellamy:

Yeah, I think it is, but the difference with these cats is there’s a lot of

ways to get quick fame and not longevity. Like they can be on the Internet and

do some stuff or they can get on these reality shows and be funny and stuff

like that. We were one and out – like you had Def Comedy Jam and maybe

two other moves and if you didn’t blow that up, it was a wrap. You back in the

club kind of like just trying to prove who you are again.

 

So

I think with these guys, what they gotta be careful of is understanding what it

is they’re doing trying to build a career and not trying to be a hot flash. You

want to be around, you want to be able to say you’ve been doing comedy 18 years

and people still love and come out to see you; you don’t want to be hot for one

summer. I think cats is like yeah whatever, been there, saw that.

 

AHHA:

How is

it being a dad?

 

Bill

Bellamy:

It’s a beautiful thing. I’ve always wanted it. I knew I was gonna wait ‘til the

right time and really really got blessed. I have two beautiful healthy kids and

they just make it worth everything from being with them and seeing them learn

and just really start getting real good with everything; it’s gangster. It’s

really a wonderful feeling to be able to teach, to learn from them as well and

they keep you young. They keep you fun.

 

My

kids have me doing stuff I would not do unless I had kids. I’m rolling around

on the rug, fighting and wrestling with these kids, just chasing them all over

the house. They’re running from me, hiding in the same spot 20 times. I’m like,

“dude, I know where you are, you always hide there! I know that’s your spot.”

It’s fun and I just think everything comes full circle in my life. I’ve had an

opportunity to start my family and I always wanted to be able to spend time

with my wife and my kids. I didn’t want to just be a workaholic and not enjoy

the fruits of my labor.

 

So

when people are like, “Yeah what happened to you? I ain’t seen you man,

whatever man,” I’m just like you know what? I’m kicking it with my kids man and

I’m being a father and really being a part of their young days because they’re

not gonna be little forever; it goes so fast. So I’m just really excited that I

was able to really be in this part because it’s so important that you nurture

them when they’re little like that and also when they get big. Before you know

it they’re like in school and they’re not babies anymore.

 

AHHA: Yeah, and your daughter

is getting big. She started school now.

 

Bill

Bellamy:

Yeah, she’s in kindergarten.

 

AHHA: Does she have a sense

of humor? You really get to see personalities in kids around that age? Are you

seeing it?

 

Bill

Bellamy:

She’s definitely got it going on. I mean she not as funny as her daddy though,

but she’s decent. She’s kinda hot for a five year old though. She got skills,

she got skills.

 

AHHA: If your life depended

on it and you had to make someone laugh, what joke would you tell them?

 

Bill

Bellamy:

Ahh man, I got so many. I just heard this joke it’s so funny. You ready?

Whatever word I said you say addicted.

 

AHHA:

Got it.

 

Bill

Bellamy:

Sex?

 

AHHA: Addicted.

 

Bill

Bellamy:

Alcohol?

 

AHHA: Addicted.

 

Bill

Bellamy: What

hit you in the butt last night?

 

AHHA: Addicted (a-d**k-did).

 

 

Related Stories