BALTIMORE — It’s a Tuesday morning, almost two weeks before comedian and actor Tommy Davidson comes to town for three days of appearances at the Baltimore Comedy Factory, and he’s trying to pronounce the city’s distinctive accent on the phone for me.
Comedian and actor Tommy Davidson.
“I love Bawlmore,” he says “Boolmar. Balmore.”
His Sept. 18-20 stop in the city was to be the latest part of what he calls his lifelong standup tour. This incarnation started in New Jersey and moved through Baltimore, Ohio, Canada and Texas. He says he’s always watching, always thinking of new things to add to his act.
The reason Davidson knows so much about Baltimore is that he’s from Washington, D.C. originally, and he was grateful for a chance to visit family, which he doesn’t get to do often.
“I gotta go see my sister, that’s for sure. Gotta go see my aunt, my family. It’s no excuse to be over here and not see my family.”
The reason he doesn’t get to come home much could be that he’s been working steadily for the past twenty-odd years. He earned national attention for the manic, hilarious characters he portrayed on the hit comedy sketch show In Living Color. Since then, he’s done comedy specials, movie appearances, and even contributed his voice to the popular children’s show The Proud Family. Through it all, he says that standup is his main priority.
“I do it pretty much the whole year,” he says about his standup career. “I do that first, and everything follows.”
He says his family doesn’t get to see him perform often because his shows usually coincide with times when they are working
“When I’m places doing work, people are at work,” he explains. “But, it’s always good when they do come.”
Plus, even if family can’t be there, people from his old neighborhood are always in the audience.
“They will tell me about myself, too,” he says.
So to what does he credit his ability to stay busy?
“Persistence and a good relationship with God,” Davidson says. He said that even if the money wasn’t there, even though he’s not the richest performer around, he’s happy.
“I really love it. I really love what I’m doing,” he said. “I don’t base my life on having more money. If I’m not happy with what I have right now, I’m not happy — you know?”
In addition to his stand up, he is the voice of Cream Corn on the Cartoon Network Show Black Dynamite. The show begins its second season soon. Also, with shows like Martin being aired in cable tv reruns and online sites like Hulu, streaming episodes of In Living Color, Davidson is earning a whole new generation of fans.
“It’s the good Lord’s way of keeping me out there,” he says. “I’ll be walking down the street and someone will say ‘I just saw you on tv last night.’ I’m out there and I’ve always got a new audience.”