So, LA Laker Ron Artest is now a stand-up. His Ron Artest Ultimate Comedy Tour kicked off Friday nite at the Melrose Improv in LA. And I so wish I could have been there. I know a few comics who went out to catch the shows, and I’m anxious to hear how they went.
I like Ron Artest. I think at the core he’s probably a really good dude. He’s made some mistakes, been through some tough stuff, and seems to be dealing with his issues in a very healthy way. He’s become an advocate for mental health. He sponsors summer youth basketball leagues… And he’s damned entertaining. He consistently makes me laugh — though I’m not convinced he always means to.
A Twitter friend of mine asked me last nite if it made me angry when stars with no comedy background decide to foray into stand-up. I told him no. Because the stage is the great equalizer. For self-destructive actors. For professional athletes in a lock-out year. Even for great comedians. I’m really paraphrasing here, but in his documentary “Comedian,” Jerry Seinfeld says something like: Being famous gets you maybe five minutes of leeway with the audience. After that you have to be funny.
At least Ron Artest realized up front that he should just host the show and pack it with established stand-ups. He’ll tell some prepared jokes, I imagine. And he’ll probably do some off the cuff, stream-of-consciousness stuff. And I’m sure people will laugh with/at him. Because he doesn’t take himself too seriously. I mean, have you heard him rap? He can’t be serious about that, right? And the name change thing… Here he is talking about it on PTI:
Oh, Ron. At least you’re not going completely “Ochocinco” with it. But I’m not sure you can call yourself WorldPeace and still be “the streets.”
Tee hee. I heart it. Live your life, Ron Ron. I’m a fan. #NoSnark