By Bill Vaughan
The unbelievable story of how one man, Guy Torry (“American History X,” “Life”), moved mountains to launch an all-Black comedy night at the Comedy Store is told in “Phat Tuesdays: The Era of Hip Hop Comedy,” a three-episode docuseries directed by Reginald Hudlin (“The Black Godfather,” “House Party”).
Black comedians were shut out of mainstream, “white” comedy clubs in the 1990s, and had to find their own venues in South Los Angeles where Martin Lawrence, D.L. Hughley and Robin Harris showcased their talents.
It was then that comedian Torry launched his evening at the world-famous Comedy Store on the Sunset Strip. It quickly became the hottest club in L.A., attracting basketball superstars like Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant and John Salley; musicians like Prince, Tupac and Snoop Dogg; and celebrities like Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, and Mike Tyson.
The series steps back in time to watch comedians like Nick Cannon, Chris Tucker, Bill Bellamy and Torry himself get their break in film and television on the Phat Tuesdays stage.
It also illuminates how it became a beacon for female comics like Tiffany Haddish and Kym Whitley (who recount the sexism they faced in many parts of the industry); as well as comics of other marginalized ethnic groups like Russell Peters and Jo Koy.
Even well-known white comics appear on the show, like the late Bob Saget. Legends Dave Chappelle, Steve Harvey and more break down the science behind what it takes to be on stage and how Phat Tuesdays was lightning in a bottle.
All three episodes of “Phat Tuesdays: The Age of Hip Hop Comedy” premiere Feb. 4 on Prime Video.
TASTY QUIP: “#DeleteSpotify Clarity: Artist give their LIVES making music that streams for a 28th of a penny. Yes 28th of a penny. And Joe Rogan is paid millions? THIS IS AN ABUSE. thank you @neilyoung for your activist spirit. The music industry is abusive. sexist. racist. ageist ~ AMPLIFIED and UNCHECKED. THIS is not an opinion. THIS IS WISDOM. this streaming model is but ONE area that needs to be torn down and rebuilt with RESPECT for the artists AT THE FORE!” – INDIA.ARIE on Twitter
CLIPPETTES: Taraji P. Henson beat out Jennifer Hudson for the Shug Avery role in Blitz Bazawule’s “The Color Purple,” a movie adaptation of the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical of Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. She will join the already cast Corey Hawkins (“In The Heights,” “The Tragedy of Macbeth”) as Harpo; and Grammy-winning artist H.E.R. as Squeak in the new version with Walker, Quincy Jones, Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg (who directed the 1984 film) among the producers …
The Marley Brothers (Ziggy, Stephen, Damian, Ky-Mani and Julian) celebrate their father Bob Marley’s birthday as part of the three-day Cali Vibes (Feb. 4-6) at Long Beach’s Marina Green Park. Sean Paul, Slightly Stoopid, Shaggy, Steel Pulse, Barrington Levy, Koffee and Wu-Tang Clan are just some of the artists on the bill …
Also Feb. 4, GZA brings “Liquid Swords” and more to Garden Grove’s Garden Amp; while country superstar Kane Brown croons at the El Rey; Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe jams at the Teragram Ballroom; and comic Russell Peters brings his “Act Your Age World Tour” to the Microsoft Theater …
Paramount Plus has renewed the revival of “The Game” starring Wendy Raquel Robinson and Hosea Chanchez for a second season …
Jazz is represented on two nights as the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis swings by The Soreya on Feb. 5; and violinist Damian Escobar plays The Coach House Feb. 6 …
It’s the most Tony Award-nominated play in history. It stunned off-Broadway. Then it shocked Broadway. Now, Jeremy O. Harris’ revolutionary “Slave Play” begins its run (Feb. 9–March 13) at the Mark Taper Forum …
Feb. 9 also finds Grammy Award-winner John Mayer performing a live concert, hosted by Andy Cohen, at the Hollywood Palladium …
Plenty to do on Feb. 10 with Gregory Porter at The Soraya; Mavis Staples & Kandace Springs (of whom Prince described as “a voice that could melt snow”) at Costa Mesa’s Segerstrom Center; country star Jimmie Allen at the Grammy Museum; Nicole Byer & Friends at Largo; and Shaquille O’Neal’s All-Star Comedy Jam at Microsoft Theatre with Mo’Nique, Earthquake, Bill Bellamy and Michael Blackson — hosted by DeRay Davis …
It is also the first evening of the three-night Bud Light Super Bowl Music Fest, celebrating its third year at Crypto.Com Arena with openers Halsey and Machine Gun Kelly …
Global Dancehall superstar Kranium’s “Wi Deh Yah Tour” kicks off April 28 in Philadelphia and travels throughout the U.S. until closing May 5 at The Roxy. For stops and tickets, visit officialkranium.com/tour.
TASTY QUIP: “I am shook, I am grateful, I am praise dancing.” – MICKEY GUYTON upon being named to sing the National Anthem at Super Bowl LVI. She will join Jhené Aiko singing “America the Beautiful,” and Mary Mary doing “Lift Every Voice and Sing” with the Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles.
TC ON TV: Feb. 4 – “Howard High” (Tubi): An all-new original musical series following a high school group from director Christopher B. Stokes with guests including Keith Sweat and Marques Houston. Additionally, the show’s original soundtrack is now available on all digital platforms. “Sweet Magnolias” (Netflix): Heather Headley is featured in this small-town drama back for a second season. “The View” (ABC): Star Jones returns to guest co-host. “The Wrong High School Sweetheart” (LMN): More from the Vivica A. Fox-led franchise this time featuring former hot felon turned model/actor Jeremy Meeks. “Graham Norton” (BBCA): Penelope Cruz, Pedro Almodóvar “The Tonight Show” (NBC): Jennifer Lopez, Maluma
Feb. 5 – “Single Black Female” (Lifetime): Raven Goodwin (“Being Mary Jane”), Amber Riley (“Glee”) and K. Michelle star in this new take on the 1985 thriller “Single White Female.”
Feb. 6 – “Claws” (TNT): The largely entertaining series comes to an end. “Underground Railroad: The Secret History” (Science): “Midwest Refuge” “We Need To Talk About Cosby” (SHO): Episode two covers the 1970s and Bill Cosby’s circuitous path to becoming an on-screen educator and moral authority.
Feb. 7 – “Social Society” (AllBlk): Kendall Kyndall, Angela Simmons, Kendra G and Reginae Carter co-host the second season of the one-hour sketch comedy variety show. “One Thousand Years of Slavery – The Untold Story” (Smithsonian): Executive produced by Angela Bassett and Courtney B. Vance (who also narrates), this four-part docuseries features insights from Dr. Bernice King, Debbie Allen, Valerie Jarrett, Lorraine Toussaint, Soledad O’Brien, CCH Pounder, Sen. Cory Booker, and more. “Love & Hip Hop: Lineage To Legacy” (VH1): A special two-part event celebrating Black history and African ancestry bringing together for the first time ever, cast members from the L&HH and Black Ink Crew franchises. “Black Market with Michael K. Williams” (Vice): “Inside Job: Skin Deep” “Independent Lens” (PBS): “Owned: A Tale of Two Americas” is an exposé on how the American housing policy market has been manipulated for years in discriminatory ways. “Clotilda: Last American Slave Ship” (NGC/Hulu): About the most intact slave shipwreck found to date and the only one for which we know the full story of the voyage, the passengers and their descendants. Covering the same territory, the Sundance documentary “Descendant” was acquired by Netflix as part of its deal with Michelle and Barack Obama.
Feb. 8 – “Ms. Pat: Y’all Wanna Hear Something Crazy?” (Netflix): The BET+ sitcom star’s stand-up act as directed by Robert Townsend. “American Masters” (PBS): “Marian Anderson: The Whole World In Her Hands” tells the story of the opera and civil rights giant. “Queens” (ABC): Musical performances include “Remorse” by Naturi Naughton.
Feb. 9 – “Only Jokes Allowed” (Netflix): Six of South Africa’s top comedians take center stage and showcase their talent in this collection of short stand-up sets.
Feb. 10 – “About Last Night” (HBO Max): Ayesha and Stephen Curry invite celebrity couples to go head-to-head on uncensored relationship trivia and games, competing to see who knows their partner best. “Staycation” (AllBlk): A marriage counselor gives a divorcing couple the assignment of spending three days in a house alone in this world premiere movie starring Jennifer Freeman and Kendrick Cross. “North of The Ten” (BET+): Five rising social influencers chase their dreams from Chicago’s South Side in this new movie. “The Girl Before” (HBO Max): A tense four-episode series starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw and David Oyelowo. “KIMI” (HBO Max): Zoë Kravitz, Rita Wilson and Robin Givens star in this thriller directed by Steven Soderbergh. “Real Husbands of Hollywood: More Kevin, More Problems” (BET+): After five long years the wait is over! Kevin Hart, Boris Kodjoe, Duane Martin, J.B. Smoove, Jackie Long, Nelly, Nick Cannon and Robin Thicke are back for more altercations.
END QUOTE: “My focus is on building real products in the real world, real food, real clothes, real shelter. Do not ask me to do a f*****g NFT.” – KANYE WEST regarding the cryptocurrency popular non-fungible tokens on Instagram
As featured in the Los Angeles Wave and Independent, Tasty Clips is one of the leading entertainment columns in the nation, serving nearly one million weekly readers. Bill Vaughan may be reached at email@example.com, via Twitter @tastyclips, or Instagram @tasty_clips.