Sinbad continues to conjure up laughs
CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. — Sinbad is living the good life.
He was getting ready to jump on a plane from his home in California to Florida before heading off to Dubai, but took the time to chat before coming to his show in West Virginia.
“A lot of people can’t ride with me. They say they want this lifestyle, but after four days they want to go home,” he said with a laugh during a telephone interview in transit to the airport.
Even at 60 years old, Sinbad continues to keep up nearly the same grueling schedule he’s had since he first appeared on “Star Search” in the 1980s.
“Every weekend I’m out, sometimes Thursday through Sunday or Friday through Sunday,” he said.
He’ll be stopping in the Eastern Panhandle for two shows — at 9 p.m. Friday, April 21, and a sold-out concert Saturday, April 22, at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races.
For Sinbad, comedy was a calling that came early.
“When I was 5 years old, I knew I wanted to be a comedian,” he said. “I didn’t know what a comedian was. I just saw Alan King on TV and I said, ‘I want to be that guy.”
By sixth grade, he had made up his mind for sure. But he split his love between comedy and music (he played drums). Later, he would add basketball to the things he was passionate about.
“I think we all have something that talks to us, and I think because of parents, life or whatever, people push back to what speaks to them,” he said. “I’m lucky. I’ve always listened to what was talking to me.”
Comedy would have to wait as he played on the basketball team when he attended the University of Denver. Then he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force. During his last days with the service, he entertained troops with Tops and Blue Talent Show.
“It was one of the most prestigious squads and I wanted it,” he said. “I saw them come to my base and I thought, ‘Oh, I wanted that.’”
He had tried out for the Air Force basketball team, but he had torn his knees up so he figured that comedy and music would be where he could find his place in the Air Force.
After the Air Force, Sinbad didn’t play music for nearly 20 years. In addition to drums, he plays bass, saxophone and is learning trumpet and trombone.
“I think I like that more than comedy now,” he said of music. “That’s what talks to me the most.”
He said if a person can be funny and can sing, “he’s got the best of both worlds.”
“Music moves you in a way so beyond anything,” he said. “It just moves you. All my comedy has always involved music. All my specials have always involved music in some way.”
He brings bass guitar and saxophone with him on the road and plays some of the instruments at the end of his shows.
Although music and comedy are competing for Sinbad’s heart, he still is making people laugh.
“My writing is that I don’t write it down. I make mental notes because most of my comedy is improv,” he said. “I’ll write down, ‘talk about riding my bike’ and that’s is about deep as it gets.”
With his multiple talents, Sinbad easily made a transition into acting. In 1987, he landed a role in “Different World”. In the early 1990s, he got his own show, “The Sinbad Show” on Fox. He has continued to make guest appearances and starring roles in both TV and film as well as making his own comedy specials.
“Acting didn’t freak me out,” he said. “When people first start acting they always think, ‘How am I going to memorize all those lines?’ The ones you have to be more worried about is when you’re making a play because you can’t get off. When you’re making a movie, you have all the time. If you shoot three pages a day, that’s a lot.”
He said “acting is no more than telling the truth. To be willing to go to a dark place, to a happy place, be willing to go to places you might not go in your real life.”
Combining his talents, Sinbad has written a vampire flick for Netflix, which he said “is out there.”
Sinbad said he’s trying to get back in the swing of things. He said he had back surgery a little more than a year ago. He said he fell down steps about 10 years ago, and that, combined with an old basketball injury, reared its ugly head.
He said returning to standup took some time to get his body to work with him.
“It got me at first,” he said. “I was really active on stage. I would jump off stage and do pratfalls. Everything man. I had to modify.”
Those attending his show at Hollywood Casino should be ready for some laughs.
“If you go to a music concert you expect to move,” he said. “If you come to my show, you should expect to laugh.”