Everyone knows comedian Sinbad. From starring roles in films “Houseguest” and “Jingle All the Way” to TV shows “A Different World” and “The Sinbad Show,” the man who made you laugh out loud for decades is returning to Columbia for some standup comedy.
“Nothing’s off limits,” Sinbad said earlier this week, in advance of the opening of his shows at the Comedy House Friday. “I don’t have a set list. If you watch me three times, I’m going to give you three different shows. I’ve always done that.
“I can change in a moment on stage. That’s the thing about me that I thought set me apart from other comedians. You never knew what I was going to talk about. I don’t even know, so how could anybody else know?”
David Adkins, better known as “Sinbad,” started his standup comedy career while serving in the U.S. Air Force. He performed with the military’s “tops in blue” ensemble, realizing then that entertainment was his true calling.
After several appearances on “Star Search,” the 6’5” comic was hard to miss.
“‘Star Search’ is when it went from one night I’m doing comedy clubs and people getting to know me to people shouting my name on the street,” he said. “I was out on the road doing standup and had gone from nothing and within six months I was headlining. Within a year I was selling out shows.”
Sinbad – a stage name derived from his affinity for “Sinbad the Sailor” – looked up to comedic legends Bill Cosby, Richard Pryor, Redd Foxx and even Robin Williams.
“You look at the giants and try to get their tone, their sound and then you develop your own,” he said. “Robin was the one I saw and said: I have the same insanity. My style can’t be wrong.”
Today, at 61, Sinbad is still packing shows and reaching new fans. His secret?
“I stay active. I listen to everybody but I don’t lose the thing that makes me special. ... I’m inspired by legends; controversial legends – like LeBron leaving Cleveland and Prince putting out certain kinds of music and being a Jehovah witness. I love that they flipped it on everybody.”
Outside of his career in comedy, Sinbad is a professed “nerd” and musician, playing the guitar, saxophone and bass. You might even catch him performing on stage.
“People ask me if I wasn’t doing comedy what would I be doing and I say, this is what I came here to do. I didn’t have a fall back. I don’t ask myself, what if this doesn’t work out. That was never an option for me. It’s like someone who goes to medical school and someone asks them what’s your fallback plan if you don’t become a doctor.
“But if you want to be great at anything, isn’t that going to be hard? If you weren’t going to be a regular, normal 9-to-5 guy, isn’t all that hard?
“I was never going to be normal,” Sinbad said. “I was going to be a super hero. I became what I wanted to become.”