Comedian Bill Bellamy headlines the Chicago Improv
BY ALLISON HORTON email@example.com February 1, 2013 3:42PM
† 8 p.m. and 10:15 p.m. Friday, 7 p.m. and 9:15 p.m. Saturday
† Chicago Improv, 5 Woodfield, Schaumburg
† Tickets: $27
† (847) 240-2001; www.chicago.improv.com
Updated: February 2, 2013 1:04AM
Bill Bellamy lucked out.
He credits his success from being in the “right place at the right time” while studying economics at Rutgers University. The former “Last Comic Standing” host began performing standup comedyon the side, and it wasn’t long before he caught the eye of Russell Simmons. The media mogul paved the way for his appearance in HBO’s “Def Comedy Jam,” where he’s credited with coining the now ubitiquous phrase “booty call.”
The buzz from the show, Bellamy says, got him the gig that brought him into the homes of every American teenager as a MTV veejay.
“The next thing you know I am hosting the Top 20 countdown and interviewing Janet Jackson, Tupac and Biggie,” Bellamy said. “I was blown away by the opportunity. Still to this day, I can’t believe it.”
The doors continued to open for Bellamy with roles in feature films such as “Any Given Sunday,” “How to Be a Player,” and “Love Jones.”
Now, nearly two decades after getting his start in the business, Bellamy continues to perform standup comedy. His “Ladies Night Out” comedy tour stops this weekend at the Chicago Improv in Schaumburg.
“I’m going to Garrett Popcorn when I get off the plane,” Bellamy said. “I love your deep dish pizza and Harold’s Chicken. I got to have it.”
Bellamy continues to be a regular on the small screen. He was the host of NBC’s “Last Comic Standing” for two seasons and host and executive producer of TV One’s “Bill Bellamy’s Who’s Got Jokes?” for four.
Next up, Bellamy stars in the new syndicated sitcom “Mr. Box Office” with Jon Lovitz and Vivica A. Fox, which airs 7 p.m. Sundays on WCIU. He plays a movie star who pushes a paparazzi and must perform community service by teaching underprivileged high school kids in South Central Los Angeles.
“[My character] is not really grounded except for the school,” Bellamy said. “It is the place where I am learning about the real world and how people need help.”
Bellamy also makes guest appearances on “Chelsea Lately” where he dishes up pop culture with other guests.
“She likes comics and wants them to be funny,” Bellamy said. “She can say whatever she wants. I’ve never seen a woman that can say anything.”
When asked how he avoids the barbs host Chelsea Handler tosses at the male comedians, Bellamy replied: “She got love for your boy.”
Even though the buddy cop Fox series, “Fastlane” only lasted one season from 2002-2003, Bellamy said he still keeps in touch with his co-star Peter Facinelli, who went on to star as Carlisle Cullen in the successful “Twilight” movies.
“He is kicking some booty out there,” Bellamy said. “I didn’t know he was going to go from being a cop to being a vampire.”
He also keeps in touch with retired NBA player Shaquille O’Neal, who is Bellamy’s second cousin on his mother’s side.
“That’s the dirty South” side of the family, Bellamy said.
If fans can’t make it to the show, catch Bellamy’s “Ladies Night Out” special Feb. 22 on Showtime.