Shaquille O’Neal’s All Star Comedy Jam tour, presented by C by Courvoisier, rolled through Washington, D.C., and Virginia last week, leaving behind a trail of tears and belly laughs.
The All Star Comedy Jam brand is quickly becoming a household name on the level of Def Comedy Jam and Kings of Comedy, and is credited with launching Kevin Hart’s career. The comedians on the 2012 tour live up to the hype.
There isn’t a weak link in the tour’s lineup. Gary Owen serves as host of the show, which features “Saturday Night Live” alum Finesse Mitchell, Tony Roberts, The Gangster of Comedy Capone (pictured) and some notable rising stars.
“This group that we have now, they are definitely all strong comedians,” said the show’s headliner, Capone, who started with the Shaq All Stars as an opening act. He now closes the show behind Tony Roberts, who delivered a flurry of punch lines with so much animation that the D.C. crowd could barely keep up.
“I’ll be totally honest with you. I don’t think that there’s another comedian living right now that can follow this guy," said Capone. "He’s so energetic. He’s just all over the place onstage and I’ve got to give him his props and he’s the type of person who keeps a man like me working.”
DJ Spinderella keeps the show moving on the 1s and 2s. She’s also an unsuspecting part of some of the acts.
“Capone will ask a question about sex out of the blue,” Spinderella explained. When he puts her on the spot, as he did at the D.C. show on Saturday, she said she doesn’t know what to say and ends up turning red.
The D.C. show also featured other surprise guests: American Sign Language translators. The comedians being, well, comedians, were totally amused by the signs that were used to convey their colorful language, and Gary started saying things just to see what it looked like in sign language.
The translators became a part of the show and seemed to enjoy getting to sign slang terms for crass phrases. One translator was even pulled to center stage at the end of the show when the comedians all come out and crack on each other, which is another highlight of the show.
Having a killer comedy lineup doesn’t hurt, but the success of the tour is also due in large part to the man behind the brand: Shaquille. Finesse, whose career has taken him from BET’s “Comic View” to “Saturday Night Live” to Disney Channel’s “A.N.T. Farm,” says comedy seems to be a natural extension for the former NBA All-Star.
“Shaq is a very likeable person. Just being around Shaq, you’ll know that he’s a big kid. He has a crazy sense of humor and this is just right up his alley.”
Capone added that Shaq’s success comes partially from his level of involvement.
“He’s actually involved in this project and he wants his brand to stay #1. I’m a guy who’s been handpicked by Shaq,” Capone explained. “I’ve been doing this for 20-something years and I’ve been on Def Jam and in several movies but I’ve never gotten the type of recognition that I’m getting now because he’s hands-on with us.”
Shaq is also giving the spotlight to tomorrow’s headliners at the beginning of the show. Comedians Antoine Blackman, Robert Powell and Lavar Walker made sure the show was funny right out of the gate.
The tour will hit seven additional cities before closing out on New Year’s Eve in Atlanta.
Tony, Capone and the quick-witted Gary Owen are all featured on the latest DVD in Shaq’s successful series, Shaquille O’Neal Presents: All Star Comedy Jam – Live From Orlando. You can watch a trailer from the DVD below.
— Sabrina M. Parker