On this day in comedy on October 28, 1963 Comedienne, Actress, Talk Show Host, Sheryl Underwood was born in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Underwood got her initial comedic recognition as the first female finalist in the Miller Lite Comedy Search. The year was 1989 and Underwood was on a mission to succeed. She later drove from Los Angeles to New York to throw her hat in the ring as an alternate for HBO’s Def Comedy Jam, but was out-of-luck. Everybody showed up to perform in their coveted spot, but the initiative, drive and determination was not lost on entertainment executives. Underwood performed on Def Jam the following season. She also impressed on BET’s Comic View and won “Funniest Female Comedian on Comic View” award in 1994.
Sheryl Underwood was a known quantity with her peers before mainstream success. A self-admitted “sexually progressive, God-fearing, Black Republican”, she hosted a male stripper / comedy show for BET’s Pay-Per-View division. She toured extensively domestically and abroad, often to entertain the US military personnel (she had served in the armed forces herself). She was the co-host of BET’s Oh, Drama and host of BET’s Comic View, as well as Martin Lawrence’s 1st Amendment for Starz.
Underwood has been more than a creature of television. She was featured in the Warren Beatty film, Bulworth, the 1998 film, I Got the Hook Up in the role of Bad Mouth Bessie and in 2005’s Beauty Shop. She was a contributor on the Tom Joyner Morning Show and then abruptly left to join the crew of the Steve Harvey Morning Show. She was executive producer of the variety show, Holla and had her own radio show on Sirius XM called Sheryl Underwood and Company.
In 2011 Underwood became a talk show host. Leah Remini stepped down from her post on The Talk and Underwood stepped up. Along with Julie Chen, Aisha Tyler, Sharon Osbourne and Sara Gilbert, Underwood discusses controversial topics daily. Sometimes additional controversy follows these discussions like the time Underwood criticized “black hair” and praised so-called “white hair”. She also took heat for publicly blasting former Queens of Comedy, Laura Hayes, Sommore and Adele Givens. She’s been under the microscope for other comments as well.
Sheryl Underwood has guest starred on The Young and Restless as a judge and has made numerous guest appearances as herself.
By Darryl “D’Militant” Littleton
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