On this day in comedy on November 18, 1970, Comedic Actor Michael Elliot “Mike” Epps was born in Indianapolis, Indiana
Epps got started in stand-up comedy as a teenager. By the time he was old enough to legally be in the clubs he was performing he was seasoned. He moved to Atlanta, got a job working at the Comedy Act Theater there and got more seasoned. Then he moved to Brooklyn, got on Def Comedy Jam and the Def Jam tour. Epps was moving up quick.
His next move was film. He got his cherry busted in 1997 under the direction of Vin Diesel in the film Strays. In 2000 he got his breakthrough role as Day-Day playing opposite Ice Cube in Next Friday, the sequel to the surprise blockbuster, Friday. After that he cranked them out: 3 Strikes, Bait, Dr, Dolittle 2 (voice only), How High, All About the Benjamins, Friday After Next, Malibu’s Most Wanted, Guess Who, The Honeymooners, Lottery Ticket, Soul Men, Janky Promoters, The Hangover trilogy, the Resident Evil films, Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins and a slew of others. He did cartoon voice-overs (The Boondocks, Open Season 2), comedy specials (Under Rated & Never Faded) and plenty of TV (Wild ‘n Out, Survivor’s Remorse, Being Mary Jane, Uncle Buck).
Epps also showed he had a dramatic side. In the remake of Sparkle, Epps played a demented drug lord and received favorable reviews from critics and audiences alike. He co-starred alongside Queen Latifah in HBO’s, Bessie, the biopic of blues singer Bessie Smith. Once again Epps was impressive as Bessie’s personal bootlegger/boyfriend. It was work like that which convinced director, Lee Daniels to cast him in the coveted role of Richard Pryor in Is It Something I Said, the biopic of the famed and controversial comedian.
By Darryl “D’Militant” Littleton
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