On this day in comedy on April 10, 1968 Comedian, Actor, Writer, Producer, Orlando Jones was born in Mobile, Alabama.
After getting turned onto entertaining by playing a werewolf in a haunted house in high school, Orlando Jones graduated and got serious. He and fellow comedian, Michael Fechter formed a successful production company, Homeboy’s Productions and Marketing, with Michael Jordan being one of their clients. From there Jones got a writing gig for NBC’s A Different World and a small part on the sitcom as well. He next formed a relationship with the new Fox network. Jones wrote for Roc, appeared on Herman’s Head and co-produced The Sinbad Show. Though audiences might best remember him as one of the original cast members on Fox’s sketch comedy show, MADtv.
With limited sketch comedy experience, Jones relied heavily on his comedy writing and producing skills to cement his stature. He created memorable characters (Dexter St. Croix, Reverend LaMont Nixon Fatback) and provided spot-on impressions (Danny DeVito, Eddie Griffin, Ice Cube). After two seasons he left to do movies and racked up an impressive resume of comedies as well as dramas (In Harm’s Way, Sour Grapes, Woo, Office Space, Magnolia, Drumline, The Replacements, Bedazzled, Double Take, Biker Boyz, The Chicago 8 and more).
Despite big screen achievements, Orlando Jones never strayed far from television. A series of commercials for 7 Up put Jones on the national map for over two years and he took advantage of it. He hosted an HBO special, got his own talk show, guest starred on popular sitcoms (The Bernie Mac Show, Girlfriends, Everybody Hates Chris) and had a leading role on an ABC crime drama. He’s appeared in documentaries (Looking for Lenny), done voice-over work for cartoons (The Boondocks, Yuletide in the ‘hood, Father of the Pride, The Adventures of Chico & Guapo, King of the Hill) and performs stand-up nationwide.
By Darryl “D’Militant” Littleton
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