With a personality the size of some planets, it’s hard not to get pulled into the comedic orbit of Shaquille O’Neal.
On and off the basketball court, the legendary retired Laker is known for having a winning sense of humor. O’Neal has even made a second career with comedic acting roles ranging from TV series “Curb Your Enthusiasm” to feature film “Kazaam.”
His touring show, Shaq’s All Star Comedy Jam, comes to San Manuel Indian Bingo & Casino on today. While O’Neal won’t be at the Highland show, the night will feature comedians he picked: Bill Bellamy, Tommy Davidson, Michael Blackson, Tony Roberts and Aida Rodriguez. O’Neal talked about the show and comedy in a recent telephone interview.
Q. How did you get involved with the All Star Comedy Jam?
A. I’m the owner and inventor. When I was in L.A., comedy was my thing, Improv Monday nights at the Comedy Store. Def Jam came out with their thing, which I thought was fabulous. Then somehow, Def Jam stopped and there was a void in the business. No one was doing comedy anymore, so I thought I’d try one. Being as I went to all
those shows, I pretty much knew all the comedians. I did my first one in Phoenix with Kevin Hart, Cedric the Entertainer and a couple of other people. It went well, so I thought we’d do it once or twice a year.
Q. How personally do you get involved with all aspects of the show?
A. I have a great crew. They do a good job. Every now and then I’ll call a comedian and ask them to do a show. I’ve never been good at micromanaging. I was always taught to let people do what they do. I’m not a booker or manager or show planner, but the way I do business is that I oversee everything.
I don’t jump into other people’s business; I just let them do what they do. It’s just like playing basketball – I’m not going to tell you how to shoot, just make sure you get it done in a way that’s most effective for you.
Q. What makes you personally laugh?
A. Everything – especially grimy jokes. Jokes about my mother and even current events. I love to laugh.
Q. Who is the funniest person you know?
A. The funniest person I’ve ever seen is Kevin Hart, also Mike Epps and Michael Blackson. A lot of guys are funny in their own way.
Q. Last time the Shaq All Star Jam was at San Manuel, I talked with comedian Bill Bellamy (O’Neal’s cousin) and asked him who was funnier between the two of you. He said that you like to think you’re funnier than he is.
A. Yeah, I do. I’ve always competed with Bill since an early age. Bill is sharp.
Q. When you look back at your career and all the things you’ve done, what is the most hilarious thing you’ve ever been involved with?
A. I did a skit on “Saturday Night Live” once with Tracy Morgan that was funny. Also did one with Will Ferrell that was funny. The “Kazaam” movie was funny. I was a freaking genie!
Q. Have you ever tried to do stand-up comedy?
A. No. I would never do it. I’m too nervous. In basketball, when you first go out there, you can have a few bad moments but back it up. In comedy, that first joke better be funny.
I’ve seen a lot of guys when that first joke didn’t hit, the crowd would kill them.
I would be nervous that my first joke wouldn’t hit and the next joke wouldn’t hit – I’d get booed out of the building.
Q. When it comes to people walking up to you and wanting to talk about past projects, do you get more from the video game “Shaq Fu” or “Kazaam”?
A. “Kazaam.” Believe it or not, I’ll get adults that tell me it’s their favorite movie.
And I’ll tell them not to say that too loud.
Q. Is there anything left on your career bucket list?
A. I want to do an action movie that is so far action. I want to be the next African American action hero.
Source: The Press Enterprise