Tony Roberts will make you laugh your teeth loose!
Felicia Haney | 3/12/2014, 12:38 p.m.
Comedian Tony Roberts comes to the Improv
By BAKARI SIMPSON
Get ready. This week one of the most animated, talented and hilarious comedians of our day is coming to the Cleveland Improv Comedy Club and Restaurant in the physical form of Tony Roberts. Roberts, who is filled with enough comedic electricity to illuminate a large city, will be hitting town this Thursday, March 13 and will be conducting sets thru Sunday, March 16 at the historic comedy club located on the West Bank of the Flats at 1148 Main Ave.
For anyone who has actually seen this livewire of a human being slinging jokes with the speed, lawlessness and ferocity of a liquor bootlegger’s tommy-gun, it might be an extreme stretch of the imagination to realize that comedy, the stage and even coming out of his naturally shy shell was anything but a natural process. In fact, not only was it not the initial career path of Roberts to shatter funny bones around the nation and globe at large, the unreasonably funny comedian recounts the days in his youth where he was too shy to really tell jokes in front of his friends. He was even too shy to speak in class.
It was not until he would reach his late twenties while sitting at a comedy club that a friend dared him with a bribe of $5o to get on stage for open mic and last three minutes. In need of the money, Roberts climbed the stage steps with nervousness raging so badly that he remembers wanting to throw up. Luckily, for the rest of us, that one time was all that was needed to knock down the first domino and launch a splendid career into motion. Having been bitten by the comedy bug, Roberts began reading books on comedy, continued to write jokes and in three years he would appear on “BET’s Comic View.” And the rest is… as they say, history.
Always finding a way to keep himself busy, the comedian has his third comedy special on the way, along with a 10-song, 10-video DVD featuring his own comedic songs. Very soon he will release a movie he directed called, “Not So Fast, My Tooth is Loose.”
Widely known for his physical and very high-energy stage presence, it might be a lesser known fact that on his own time he is a very laid back type of cat who enjoys being home, working out, sharpening his skill at his most recently picked up sport of golf and is monstrously present in his children’s lives at home and school. Even though he has certainly made it to a comfortable plateau in his life, Roberts can easily remember his more strenuous days growing up as a youth in the impoverished city of Detroit. His childhood and early memories of struggle are the fodder in which his work ethic was born and allowed to flourish.
Having found a happy balance of marriage, fatherhood, home life and his professional career Roberts is at a place in his life were he feels comfortable, blessed and really ready to bring out his best material. His Detroit background makes him feel more than a little at home in the Midwestern cities, so he is eager to get to town to do his thing. “I like to go to smaller rooms and do people rooms, not in a big city where it’s like a 5,000-plus seater. I’ll go do a 400-seater and love that personal feel. A lot of people don’t know that comics love to do smaller rooms because they feel like they can write, do their jokes and feel more personal. When you are doing a 5,000-seater it’s just a job; you are out there working. You can’t see nobody, you’re out there working 30-40 minutes and then you are backstage then back at the hotel. But, when you are working a smaller room it humbles you; you can personally see the people’s faces and they can see your face and you think about why you started this whole venture. When you are in touch with [the people], it’s better than the theatre dude.”
For those of you who know the potency of Roberts’ comedy you will not be disappointed. And to those who don’t know about his zaniness, straight from the horse’s mouth the comedian had this to say to those heading down to the show this weekend, “Aye! Cleveland, you know me, you know Tony Roberts, you know how I get down, I don’t have nothing to do but bring you the energy, bring you the jokes, bring you the real, that’s all I do every time I come. I am not going to let [you] down, so you don’t have nothing else to do but come out and get some of the hot sh!t.”