It’s tough for some entertainers right now. Writers and actors are on strike, the threat of computer-generated scripts and performers looms, and a happy ending seems months away. But seasoned comedians like Tommy Davison, known for his role on Fox’s “In Living Color” and films such as “Bamboozled,” “Booty Call” and “Black Dynamite,” have a way to keep laughing and getting paid – by getting on the road.
“I’ve been lucky,” Davidson says from his home in Los Angeles. “[My] stand-up flourishes when stuff happens.”
Davidson, 59, has toured with fellow comedian Katt Williams recently and will do a string of solo gigs at the Richmond Funny Bone this weekend.
He shares that his residual checks for his time on “In Living Color” haven’t mirrored the paltry sums that some writers and actors have posted on their social media – checks for amounts that barely surpass the postage cost on the envelope they came in. “I still get, you know, maybe a k [$1,000] a week,” he said of his royalty checks. “So that's a lot of groceries.”
Despite the show’s enduring popularity and that it featured several now-famous actors and comedians, none of its characters, such as the militant entertainer “Homey The Clown,” the wacky “Fire Marshall Bill,” or the desperate and lonely “Wanda” ever made it to the big screen. Davidson says that he has a couple of ideas based on his characters he’d like to develop once everyone gets back to work.
One would feature the shady promoters known as the “BS Brothers,” who he portrayed with David Allan Grier, known for accenting their business cards with a “Bam!” upon delivery. Another involves Sweet Tooth Jones, a former actor who teaches self-defense based on his limited experience in B movies.
“I actually wrote a screenplay based on that guy, man. And I’m still determined to do it, too,” he says. “That's the wonderful thing about my life, man. Dreams can come true, bro, every day.”
One dream that Davidson’s been holding onto is a chance to play a celebrity he’s impersonated on stage and television for years, the legendary dancer and singer Sammy Davis Jr. He mimicked the entertainer so well that Davis Jr.’s wife once wrote him a letter of appreciation after seeing him perform. Now, after years of discussion and delay, the project may be moving forward. “It's looking good. I couldn't say that, you know, months ago. But right now it's looking good,” he says. “We got some guys, some people that are interested and I'm so happy.”
“It's been 25 years working on that,” he adds.
Tommy Davidson performs at the Richmond Funny Bone from Sept. 15-17. Showtimes vary and the performances are for ages 21 and over. Tickets are $25. For more visit richmond.funnybone.com