On this day in comedy on November 10, 1956 Comedian, Actor, David Adkins (“Sinbad”) was born in Benton Harbor, Michigan.
Most young men want to be athletes. Adkins had a basketball scholarship at the University of Denver and lettered for two seasons, but he didn’t want to be an athlete. He wanted to be a comedian. So, he went into the military (the perfect place to start a comedy career) and went AWOL all the time because he’d sneak off to do comedy shows. When he was finally discharged, Sinbad went to Hollywood to make it big. Sinbad was almost 30 years old and living the standard life of a struggling comedian. He resided in a seedy part of town in an even seedier hotel. When he went on the road he did so on a Greyhound Bus. It was a route he strung together himself and dubbed it “The Poverty Tour”. It turned out to be the number one comedy tour of that summer.
Sinbad made the conscious decision to work clean so his parents could come to his shows and be proud. He boosted their pride level when he became a finalist on CBS’s hit talent showcase, Star Search. He was cast for the short-lived Redd Foxx Show on ABC, but got more lasting exposure when he landed a role in the NBC hit sitcom, A Different World. Sinbad spent four season on the show (1987-1991).
Naturally, the star comedian got the star comedian deal – his own show. The Sinbad Show debuted on Fox in 1993 and was gone in 1994. Featuring T. K. Carter, Sinbad admitted he never wanted a TV in the first place and gave his self-titled sitcom very little of his efforts or talent. He wanted to do movies, but had to fulfill the television obligation of the star comedian package. Then he did films. House Guest with Phil Hartman (1994), First Kid (1996), the Arnold Schwarzenegger holiday vehicle, Jingle All the Way (1996) and Necessary Roughness were all successful.
Sinbad expanded his fan base with music. He hosted HBO’s annual music specials. Acts like Earth, Wind & Fire, Kool & the Gang, Smokey Robinson, Chaka Khan and the Stylistics were the norm. There were music festivals and Sinbad shared the stage with other prominent comedians of the day. For a brief time he hosted the Quincy Jones produced, late night talk show, Vibe until its foreseen cancellation. Sinbad has done cartoon voice overs, wrote a book and had his own reality show Sinbad: it’s Just Family, but mainly he continued to tour as a top drawing stand-up comedian.
Sinbad was ranked #78 on Comedy Central’s 100 Greatest Stand-Ups of All Time list.
By Darryl “D’Militant” Littleton
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