Comedy Act Theatre (History)
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Comedy Act Theatre (History) Soundtrack "Pocket" ©2019 J.Silva
"As a little boy, I knew that my mission in life was to change the world through culture."
In 1985 Michael E. Williams, a former member of Quincy Jones Workshops and a concert promoter, had an idea to provide a platform for African American culture. This platform would be in the area of comedy, which would emanate from one place; from this idea, the Comedy Act Theatre was born.
Michael positioned his first club in the historic cultural neighborhood of Leimert Park, on Los Angeles, California’s westside. After experiencing the gifting of the iconic Robin Harris, Williams hired him as the MC for the Los Angeles club; it proved to be a game-changer. (Harris rose to national recognition through his "BeBe's Kids" routines. Harris remained MC until his untimely death in 1990.)
On C.A.T’s first night, a little-known comic, Sinbad, was one of 17 other comedic talents to perform. As the concept skyrocket in success, the second club opened in Oakland, CA. Then on to Atlanta, Ga, and finally to Chicago, IL. As news of the clubs success spread, it emerged unparalleled, providing an opportunity for the audience to hear their voice expressed through the performers onstage. Among its regular audience members were: Spike Lee, Magic Johnson, Denzel Washington, Lawrence Fishburne, Russell Simmons, Mike Tyson, and Ticha Campbell-Martin, to name a few.
Williams honed his skills as a writer and producer while developing collaborative relationships that combined the talents of the comedians with his undeniable entrepreneurial vision and leadership.
The contributions of Michael E. Williams speak for themselves.
Contributions of Michael Williams:
Michael E. Williams started the first organized African American-owned comedy club chain in the US with venues in major markets such as Los Angeles, and Oakland, CA, Atlanta, GA, and Chicago, IL.
Michael E. Williams has spearheaded a black stand-up comedy industry that opened the doors to a multitude of entertainment professionals.
The Comedy Act Theatre facilitated the continuation of the next wave of comedic talent.
Television and movie producers, including HBO, Showtime, BET, Comedy Central, and Fox scouted the club's talent and benefited from his endeavors.
Recognition of the accomplishments of Michael E. Williams is visible through the number of comedians showcased in his clubs, as evidenced by:
In excess of 300 comedy-related films featuring present-day African American comics produced between 1987-Present.
More than 33 comedy-related television and cable shows featuring present-day black comics produced between 1987- Present.
Mr. Williams's efforts opened industry doors, establishing diverse career opportunities within the industry and confirmed African American comedy was financially viable.
The Comedy Act Theatre was legendary in its exposure of show-business professionals, (including producers, writers, directors, casting agents and talent promoters), to a new pool of performers.
Michael E. Williams
Visionary, Innovator, Entrepreneur, Producer, Writer, Author, Mentor
The Comedy Act Planet, born from, The Comedy Act Theatre now joins comedians across the globe through the influence and connection of one man... Michael E. Williams, rightly dubbed “The God Father of Comedy” who has expanded his vision to encompass the world.