ABOUT COMEDIANS WITHOUT BOARDERS
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” has expanded his vision to encompass the world.
The word "laughter" is already in my last name.
Toni “Dirti Red” Slaughter is a Dayton, OH native. She began her comedy career by performing in a comedy skit as a contestant in the Miss Black America pageant, representing the state of Ohio. The pageant was nationally televised and it was here she gained interest of a host of Hampton Universities comedic alumni. She realized she had a keen ability for telling stories. With her laid-back comedic presence, she gains the attention of her audience by telling clever humorous stories of her upbringing and relationships.
Toni went on to be a regular at the Comedy Act Theater in Atlanta and working as an MC at Joker Comedy Café in Dayton, OH. As her body of work began to gain momentum, Toni began traveling the country opening for various headlining comediennes such as Monique, T.K. Kirkland, Laura Hayes, D.L. Hughley, Bruce Bruce, and Don D.C. Curry. She went on tour with Def Comedy Jam in 1994-1995. She later went on a nationwide tour in 1997 with Tyler Craig and Shawty in the stage play “No Way to Treat a Black Woman” portraying the character Juanita.
It was at the height of her career she decided to move to Los Angeles. During her time in LA, she worked with comediennes such as Lavelle Crawford, Gary Owens, and Guy Torrey. She made it her mission to showcase her talents at the world-famous Comedy Store. She later made the decision to return to Dayton with her experiences and talents in tow. She then opened her own comedy room to invite various comediennes from around the country to perform and showcase their talents.
For the last few years, Toni has been reviving her career by making local appearances at the Q’s, Who Got Next, and Nanette Lee’s Phat Tuesday. She is regular in Los Angeles at Hope Flood’s Comics Rock Convention.
If you don’t remember nothing else about Toni “Dirti Red” Please remember this! I want to make my come back like Dave Chappelle…fight for my dreams like LeBron James…and keep my swag like Steve Harvey…The Ohio Swag!!!
Michael McCoy, better known as Chriss Charles, was born in Chicago, IL youngest of 5 children born to Virgil and Mattie McCoy. Attending private school, Michael was the class clown, standing out due to his height; Michael used Comedy as a form of expression and found himself changing the adverse situational dynamics he encountered through Comedy. From these elements, he witnessed the birth of Comedian Chriss Charles (Michael's alter-ego).
Chriss Charles was very much a product of the time, citing SNL's sketch comedy and role models, John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd. Attending the University of Wisconsin - Whitewater, dropping out in his Junior year; then enter a career in show business, Chriss set out to study acting in New York, focusing on the improv teams, later realizing his focus was on Stand up. Like many others in the comedy genre, Charles acknowledges the influence of watching and studying comedy greats like Richard Pryor and Eddie Murphy. The goal of becoming a stand-up comedian became a tangible thing with an achievable outcome.
In 1989 Chriss Charles performed for the first time at the Comedy Store in Los Angeles at "Potluck Night" on Monday. (The Manager would select ten aspiring comedians for the Monday night sets.) "You got more for your money on Mondays." Potluck Night combined beginners, up-and-comers, and comedy professionals who would drop in, to work on new material or were checking in with their fans. On that fateful Monday night, Chriss left his career to luck. Deciding that if he were selected, he would know that Comedy was his destiny-- if not, he would return home and pursue careers in his other gifts, visual art (as a painter) or writing. As fate would have it, that evening Chriss had a great show! Chriss attributes that performance to beginner's luck. Why luck? Because at his next show, he remembers, "I stunk!" Chriss ascribes his initial act to a "total rip-off" of his idol Richard Pryor (which is why it went over so well.) But Chriss owned his second performance and understood why it bombed when he came on stage as Chriss Charles presenting his original material. Having experienced this memorable fail, every time he heard his name, he would make a b-line to the car, sick at the stomach, and with his tires spinning, move on to the next club to see if he had the heart to try it again.
In the developing phase of his career, he was hesitant to be seen by one person, so the thought of thousands experiencing his brand of humor was unimaginable. Chriss Charles states that he entered comedy "not as a way to make people laugh, but to provoke thought." He was never the court jester or fool; Chriss wanted to be someone that African Americans could laugh with and be proud of at the same time. His Comedy was usually political, with a predominant and overt racial perspective.
With supportive friends, Chriss Charles set his sights on overcoming his fears and finding his voice. With more laughs, his confidence grew, with more material the longer he found he could stay on stage. Growing from five to ten minutes of material to becoming a regular at another Los Angeles comedy staple, the Comedy Act Theatre, (a black-owned club, in the cultural hub of the African American community on the Westside of Los Angeles,) Chriss Charles was on his way.
Chriss began feeling so comfortable at the Comedy Act Theatre; he left other LA comedy venues for the unique venue where he had the freedom to be himself in front of "his people." He found his home there, stating that "the Comedy Act was like 'Cheers'" where everyone knew his name. Michael Williams owner of the club (and known as the Godfather of Comedy), another of his mentors, took time to counsel him and give him performance tips; Williams saw something in Chriss and bumped him to the front of the line. Later Chriss was afforded the opportunity to substitute for and learn the trade under Robin Harris (the premier comedian of the time, and headliner of the club.) Chriss Charles's growth catapulted him into the spotlight. Now celebrated at the Comedy Act Theatre, his talent was evident, so Michael Williams decided to send him to the Atlanta club, at its launch, to be a significant contributor to the club as its MC.
Robin Harris (Be-Be's Kids), the House MC in Los Angeles, instructed him not to chase after promoters. Robin’s advice was to make enough noise by building his set, and the promoters would begin to make their way to him. And it worked! Chriss Charles's first opportunity was for HBO's Def Comedy Jam; from there, he joined the roster at a major comedy club in Chicago. Other clubs spawned in The Comedy Act likeness, and he became a regular at these clubs as well.
Chriss was known for "running off" audience members in the major Comedy clubs. His racial brand of Comedy aimed at a particular population of the audience of the majority patronized clubs caused some audience members to exit. Eventually, he was required to guarantee that he would not run-away portions of their audience; he assured owners that if you came to the club to laugh, you would do just that.
From 1989- 1999 Chriss was a regular on the comedy club circuit. Like many who enter Comedy, Chriss used Comedy as a method to exorcise his inner demons. But like legions of other entertainers with budding careers and lots of promise, life, and its challenges entered the picture, followed by drug use, which brought depression and isolation. Before he knew what happened, Chriss watched as his bright career faded to black through a self-imposed exile designed to allow the time he needed to get back on track. What he thought would be a brief hiatus ended up being a 25-year break from what he enjoyed most, making his audience laugh and think.
Since his exit, he has attempted to re-enter the game periodically, most recently in Sacramento, CA. But Charles realized he was not yet ready for the industry's rigors; he retreated to what was now his north star, guiding light and inspiration, his family. Chriss Charles is a husband and father of eight (having six children and custody of his two grandsons).
Chriss Charles still has a voice and something to say. With knowledge and personal awareness, Chriss learned from his past, leaving behind the need to provoke anyone, understanding that "truth has the ability to provoke." Gaining unique insight and maturity, Chriss knows going out of his way to offend someone is a thing of the past. And with drug use out of the picture (with many years of sobriety). Chriss uses his faith foundation, recovery tools, awareness, and internal resources to deal with depression. Chriss Charles's current challenge is how to say what he sees comedically in a way that does not stand in opposition to his faith?
Chriss describes his perspective as "seeing BS in things and feeling the need to call it out," but challenging himself in new ways to speak the truth once he enters the realm of his comedic flow-- while not allowing Chriss Charles to out-weight Michael McCoy's sense of faith and self. Chriss understands that time is precious, and his industry equity is for a cause greater than himself. Chriss says, "He has allowed me to live to tell, and I am ready to do just that."
From the southeast side of the greatest city in the world “Chicago”, Poncho G brings his hysterical act to major cities across the world. Poncho G has opened up for numerous All-star comedians including AJ Johnson, Rodney Perry, Chris Spencer, Alex Thompson, and has shared the stage with Kenan Thompson for an SNL guest spot competition.
With just over 3 years of stand-up comedy under his, belt Poncho has premiered in his own residency at the famous Las Vegas Rio Hotel & Casino and the well-known venue Ninja Karaoke located in the downtown area of Vegas.
Poncho G continues to step on the scene leaving each place he touches down in laughter.
The Comedy Act Planet in Photos Pg 1
Enjoy the memories...Special thanks to my sister Sharon for sharing some of her pics with me. If you have special memories you would like to share contact us.
The Comedy Act Planet in Photos
Black Lives Matter