Bob Sumner Introduces Comedy’s Rising Stars

By Journalist Ms. Jones

NEWARK, NJ – “I’m Dirty.” That’s not what your kitchen sponge or communal yoga mat is saying… at least not today. That’s the title of Comedian Mason King’s new comedy special… He’s leaving it up to your interpretation. On Monday and Tuesday, August 15th and 16th he and 11 other up and coming stand-up comics taped their individual half-hour specials at Ironbound Studios with Comedy Collaborate, Laff Mobb, and Bob Sumner.

“These are half-hour specials, where the name of the show is going to be whatever they decide they want to name it. So, that makes it even so much cooler,” said Bob Sumner, best known as one of the creators of HBO’s “Def Comedy Jam” and one who has helped make stars out of comedians Mike Epps, Bill Bellamy, Chris Tucker, and Dave Chapelle to name a few. “This ain’t Def Comedy Jam… This ain’t Comic View… This ain’t none of that… It’s not about five minutes for more comics… It’s about 30 minutes for one comic. That’s how they’re gonna get noticed. If it’s five comics I’ll forget who’s Comic Number Two, who’s Comic Number Three… I’d rather focus on… one at a time.”

Rio Paris named his special. He hasn’t even told Sumner the title yet.

“This is exclusive. I tried to tell him… He was like, ‘Don’t tell me’…It’s called ‘Let Me Be Clear’…I have a joke about Barack Obama being a weed smoker. And I thought when he was no longer president… I thought the way he was going to make money for the Obama household was coming out with his own Visine to get rid of red eyes and I thought it would be called ‘Let Me Be Clear’… So, he says that a lot… So, I do a whole act out and I have a commercial,” said Paris who received his first standing ovation ever during the taping. “I’m here to make my impact on the comedy game as well… I feel like ‘Let Me Be Clear,’ [is] kind of like a double entendre in that sense.”

Comediennes Ambur James and Saya Meads taped their half-hour specials at Ironbound Studios on Tuesday, August 16th.
Comediennes Ambur James and Saya Meads taped their half-hour specials at Ironbound Studios on Tuesday, August 16th.

Rashaun Reese is a full-time comic. Sumner has known him for years. He has some TV credits already.

“I gotta admit I was a little… anxious… I’ve been doing it long enough. But you get the opportunity to do a 30-minute special, I always tell people it’s huge. Because in comedy, when you do stand-up on TV, which I’ve done twice, one was for like eight minutes long, the other was for like 10. So, when you start getting to 30 minutes and an hour, that’s a sign of respect,” said Rashaun Reese who has performed stand-up comedy on BET’s “One Mic Stand,” a spin-off of “Comic View,” hosted by Kevin Hart and produced by Sumner in 2008 and Bounce TV’s“ Off the Chain” which was hosted by Rodney Perry. Reese is also about to go on the Majah Hype Comedy Tour.

Unlike Reese who does comedy full-time, Saya Meads has a full-time day job. She is a banker but is truly excited about this comedy opportunity! She has high hopes and dreams.
“[I expect this to take me] up… There’s no other way you could go. I am of the utmost belief that I’m going to get to where I need to go… on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. I’m either going to be famous or infamous,” said Meads who is part of the Black Girl Giggles Group.

Ambur James also has a day job. She is a hairstylist by day, comic by night.

“I’m a hairstylist by trade, been doing hair for like 30 years… You know how it is in a beauty shop. You always ki kee and ka kaa. And so, everybody would always say…‘You missed your calling’…‘You should have been a comedian’…My auntie… just so happened to be doing a fundraiser…She was like, “Niece, just come. Do about five minutes. Tell some jokes’… I thought I had a dream about a set… me on stage, the jokes, and everything… Got on stage. Did five minutes. I blanked out, but I heard people laughing. I was like, ‘Are they laughing at me? Are they laughing with me?’… They was laughing at my jokes… From that point on, somebody in the audience saw me and was like, ‘Can you come and do my set?’… I just been booked ever since,” said James. “Most of my set is from my clients… hearing their stories about their life and… stuff that we talked about in the beauty shop and I just mesh it into a set.”

Sumner scoured the country looking for rising stars. He put on showcases in several states. He met Comedian Roy in Chicago, IL. Comedian Roy made him run out the door laughing. Comedian Roy has a testimony.

“I was homeless… My mom and my dad…were crackheads… I had no guidance… [I was locked up] just trying to hustle because my baby mom was cheating on me… My brother was texting and driving. [We had a car accident]…My head opened up to the skull… I died… They brought me back twice,” said Comedian Roy who uses laughter to his advantage and could definitely be an R&B Singer, but thinks he is too buffed.. “I’ve always been silly because… as a crackhead’s child you have to come out and do certain things to make people not talk about you… So, I had to be kind of witty or talking about people because my shoes wasn’t right… I couldn’t eat what they was eating… I used to make teachers laugh before they threw me out of class.”

The comics were all ages. Jerrel Beamon was the youngest. He’s only 21.

“I first went on stage when I was 16. I did a talent show at my school… Everybody at the school showed up because everybody wanted to see me, but some people wanted to see me bomb. I had some haters! ‘We gotta see this!’ I had girls coming up to me like, ‘You better do good. You the only reason I came here’… I went up… It went good. I got… second place because I went over my time… They took [points] off, but they were like, ‘This kid was good.’ But after that I dabbled in it until I graduated at 17and that’s when I did the clubs,” said Beamon who doesn’t need haters and girls as motivation and gets on stage four to five times per week. “I’m thankful that [Bob Sumner]… [is] rockin’ with me because I’m very new and young.”

Sumner calls Beamon, Chris Tucker. He put Tucker on when he was really young. He always put him on first in shows to grab people’s attention. He put Beamon on first for Monday night’s taping. He calls Mason King, Bernie Mac and put him last on Tuesday in the “Bernie Mac” position.

“I like to talk about history… and the parts we really don’t know about history, but what could it be,” said King from Memphis, TN who fills in the history blanks about MLK really being murdered by his sidechick. “We weren’t there. A pack of cigarettes were there at the crime scene. A bucket of ice was left at the crime scene. Sounds like a little afternoon delight to me… He telling her all the sweet little nothings. He lying to her from time to time. So, she packed a 22 this time.”

The other comics that taped on Monday, August 15th were Geneva Joy Hughes, Anthony Oakes, Apple Brown Betty, and Juno Turner. Over 600-700 comics showcased for Sumner, and he chose the top 60 comics to give half-hour specials. Sumner has not told all the comics yet that they’ve been given a special. He says it can change. G.L. Douglas found out about her taping just days before.

“It was… literally Thursday. I was out of town with my kids, and I get a call… ‘You gonna be back next week?’ I’m like, ‘Yeah.’ He’s like, ‘Alright. Let’s do it’…This is stuff that people prep for months for,” said Douglas who didn’t need prep time because she’ll be celebrating her 20th comedyversary next year and dedicated her show to her good friend Comedian Lord who passed away. “Lord used to be my number one supporter and he used to always tell me, ‘G.L., the day you realize how funny you are, you’re gonna be unstoppable… You’re the only one that don’t realize it.’ So, coming here, I said ‘Lord, I’m starting to realize it.’”

Journalist Ms. Jones

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