Stand-up, WorldPeace, and the streets

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.

Can I get an “AMEN” Charlie Sheen?

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