Comedian Sinbad brings his funny take on life to Hollywood Casino
CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. — Keeping on his toes — performance wise — is important to one of the most popular comedians of the 1990s.
David Adkins, better known by his stage name as “Sinbad,” knows the magnitude of talent that legendary comedians showed and hope to leave a similar mark in history.
“Music changes, comedy changes. I was raised up with the greatest from Richard Pryor, Bill Cosby, (and) Robin Williams. That’s who I saw and wanted to be. When we look at the standard of excellence, these are the guys I’m competing with, these are the guys I’m hoping I can be remembered like,” he during a telephone interview from California.
Sinbad will bring that same type of energy to his comedy for two shows at 6 and 9 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 1, at The Event Center at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races.
“Oh, I’m gonna’ fix all their problems,” he chuckled as he explained what’s in store for the audience. “I get on stage and I’ll fix stuff.”
Best known for his memorable roles in movie and television including “First Kid,” “The Sinbad Show,” and “Houseguest,” the gift of making people laugh comes naturally to him.
He will co-star in the upcoming sitcom pilot “Rel” starring Lil Rel Howery set to premiere Sunday, Sept. 9, on Fox.
In the show “Rel,” the stand-up comic will play Nat, the father to the character Rel.
“They were looking for someone to play the father and I wasn’t for sure if I wanted to go back to do the sitcom thing,” explained Sinbad, who said he wanted to play a different character role such as one in the drama genre.
Being in the comedy industry for several decades has taught Sinbad important principles about his craft.
“There wasn’t that many opportunities on TV so it wasn’t that everyone you saw at the comedy club was on TV. You earned it. Sometimes you just earned it by keep going back, keep going back and getting funnier. Now, they look at your following. Now it’s all about social media, like how many people are following them. That doesn’t mean you’re always the funniest comic. It could just be you have a lot of followers because you’re social material.”
A few keys to comic success, according to Sinbad, is being able to spread out material and “offer something that’s unique.”
But, he added that one must first have the chance to showcase these skills.
“I think when guys and women get more opportunities to do standup, they get a chance to get better,” he said.
His own opportunity to take his career further came when he was cast in “A Different World,” a spin-off from “The Cosby Show” although he didn’t consider it first as one.
“I wasn’t originally on the show, I was trying to find a way to get off the show. I thought that was a comic warm-up to me, (someone) to warm up the studio audience so I conned my way into that job,” he said.
Nevertheless, Sinbad embodied the character of Walter Oakes, the Hillman College athletic director, and said he uses “A Different World” as his “gold standard.”
He gives credit to one of his longtime influencers, Bill Cosby for paving his way to land a role in the late ’80s sitcom.
“One thing about Bill Cosby, he’s a genius, he did something that was just amazing, phenomenal and with dignity. So we figured, ‘this (has) a chance to be great’ and then it was a younger version of it and it live up to the hype,” Sinbad said.
Aware of Cosby’s legal troubles — 60 women have claimed they have been sexual assaulted by Cosby, who was convicted of sexual assault in April on one case — Sinbad does not take a stance on Cosby’s circumstances but expressed sympathy.
“It breaks my heart because this is what he will be known for, people will see him as ‘this guy’ and so for a person who was surrounded and influenced by him, that breaks my heart,” Sinbad said. “I’m not going to say what they’re saying is true or not true, that’s not the man I knew. We don’t get many people like him and it hurts.”
As far as his fellow castmates on “A Different World,” he keeps in contact with all of them.
“Everybody is grown and doing their thing,” he said.
In the future, Sinbad wants to produce, direct, write and ultimately “be behind the camera” more.
He added that he might even write a book.
With a laugh, he said, “It might be time to tell the truth.”