Sinbad finds new comedic road in ‘funkedy’
Sinbad didn’t begin his career as a clean comic but one night while performing he decided to try something different.
“Everybody was being so dirty,” Sinbad said of the other comedians performing that night. “Everybody was sounding the same and trying to be super hip. So I just switched it up and found that I was able to talk about more things clean,” said Sinbad, who has been performing since 1983. “I could still talk about sex, drugs, or anything. I just changed the words that I used.”
Hollywood soon came calling with starring roles in television shows such as “The Cosby Show” spin-off “A Different World.” He also starred in several feature films including “Houseguest,” “First Kid” and “Jingle All the Way.”
Viewers might have seen the comedian recently on his short-lived WE tv reality show, “Sinbad: It’s Just Family” in 2011 that followed the comedian as he moved back in with his ex-wife that he remarried.
“It was funny and it was my family,” Sinbad said of the show, which also featured the couple’s two adult children who lived with them. “I wanted to be able to show that in the craziness of families there is also a lot of fun but [the producers] wanted more family fights.”
The show also highlighted the comedian’s financial woes that caused him to file bankruptcy after owing millions to the IRS.
“When I first got started I couldn’t get Hollywood to pay for my [HBO comedy specials] so I produced them out of my own pocket,” Sinbad said. “I’m not ashamed because I tried something very big. Sometimes things don’t work out and it was not for lack of trying.”
The comedian said he is not finished trying new things. His band, Memphis Red and the Stank Nasty Band, are performing “funkedy,” a mix of funk music and comedy. Sinbad, who plays guitar and percussion, performs comedy while playing with the band, which covers popular funk songs. The band plans to soon branch out to original material.
“The band is keeping funk alive forever,” Sinbad said. “Sugarfoot [of the Ohio Players] recently died, and there are a few musicians such as Quincy Jones and Prince that are still around. There is a void coming and the next generation isn’t filling that gap.”
While in town, the Benton Harbor, Mich., native said he plans to listen to some blues at Buddy Guy’s Legends, buy a new hat at D.C. Mad Hatter Navy Pier, and go shoe shopping at Nike Town.