The first ever non-musical inductees at the Apollo Theater
Comedy is a universal genre that brings people together. No matter who you are, what background you come from, what race, religion, or ethnicity you are, funny is funny. And on Thursday, October 1, the Apollo Theater paid homage to not only some of the most talented comedians and funny people of all time, but also the most significant African Americans comedy pioneers: Richard Pryor, Jackie ‘Moms’ Mabley, and Redd Foxx. These three legendary talents will forever be remembered with their names on plaques on the Apollo Theater’s Walk of Fame, all of whom have had a long standing relationship with the Apollo and who are the first non-musical performers to be inducted.
At this event, both of Richard Pryor’s children, Richard Pryor Jr. and Rain Pryor, attended the event representing their father. And after the induction ceremony concluded, guests were invited inside the Apollo Theater to see a preview of the new Apollo Comedy Club, which will showcase a select few talented comedians once a month at the theater. In fact, Def Jam comedy producer Bob Sumner spearheaded the entire concept of an Apollo Comedy Club, and at this event, he introduced guests to some of the people who will perform at the club and who he thinks will put this club on the map.
First onto the stage was comedian Smokey Suarez, who was the host of the evening. Suarez, being the host of the night, started off strong and got the energy up especially when talking about how Harlem is changing. He talked about how white people are getting comfortable in Harlem and how Harlem itself is changing because of these white people moving in, and this topic hit home especially with some Harlem residents in attendance. Smokey also talked about what it’s like for him living in Spanish Harlem and how it is completely different from living in Black Harlem. According to Smokey, Spanish people love to share everything, especially food, while black people make only enough to feed the family, and this routine had everyone laughing. And with the energy being at a high, Smokey introduced the next comedian, Del Harrison.
Del came on the stage and told the crowd about how tough and strange it is living in NYC. She went on to say how because she lives in New York City, she doesn’t need to write any more jokes but instead just report back some of the crazy things that she sees. One of the bits that she did was how she deals with homeless people begging for money and the things they do to get that money. Del came with some great jokes and the audience really loved her warm but critical sense of humor.
Next up was Davian Velez, who started his set with talking about how he really looks like a cop. Davian amazing personality really shined. One of the best jokes that Davian had was the time he was almost attacked by a shark and how he left his cousin in the water because he was too busy running away.
And the final comic of the night was Marshall Brandon, who came on the stage and immediately used his intense sarcasm to win over the crowd. He started off talking about his outfit of the night and how he would probably wear the same outfit again tomorrow, saying the outfit was a ‘throwback because he is going to throwback the same outfit on again tomorrow.’ Marshall had a unique perspective on some of the simplest things in life and delivered all of his jokes well and had the audience laughing hard.
The Apollo Comedy Club is now open and you can see some of the funniest comics perform their material there so be sure to check it out.