After years of talking to others about producing a comedy show starring disabled artists, Damon Rozier, a wheelchair bound comedian, decided last year to stop talking and to do it himself. “I got tired of pitching the idea and no one stepping up to the plate,” he said.
His efforts paid off. On Saturday, October 25, Laughter is the KEY to Life will present the “We Dare You Not to Laugh Comedy Tour” at the Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College in Manhattan.
“Over the years, there has been the Kings of Comedy, the Queens of Comedy and the Latin Kings of Comedy. In the history of comedy, there’s never been a comedy show consisting of all disabled comics,” says Rozier, executive producer of the show, which will be making entertainment history.
The evening promises to be entertaining and enlightening, says Rozier. It will help others to understand why they “should not judge a book or person by [the] cover but rather take the time out to read the book and meet the individual behind the disability.”
Billed as the first-ever of its type to be performed in this country, the “We Dare You Not To Laugh Comedy Tour” will present the audience with opportunities to enjoy funny and humorous tales from an exceptional group of artists whose take on life is from unique perspectives. Combined, they offer 50-60 years of professionally making others feel good. “They will make their disabilities disappear while onstage,” explained Rozier, who was the first comedian in a wheelchair to perform on BET’s Comic View in 2008.
Appearing that evening will be Charles Walden, a familiar television personality that has appeared on Def Comedy Jam, BET Comic View and Comedy Central. Through the years, Walden, who has Cerebral Palsy, has opened and worked with Wanda Sykes, Kevin Hart and Sheryl Underwood to name a few. Also on the bill is Nigel the Ventriloquist whose speech impediment has not interfered with his work as he has traveled the country performing and opening for comedians such as Bill Bellamy, Tommy Davidson and others. They will be joined by comedian Tim “T.P.” Lucas, who began telling jokes before becoming visually impaired with an inherited and rare form of Glaucoma in 1991. He has worked with Dolomite, Thea Vidale and Joe Torre.
“We Dare You Not to Laugh” will be hosted by Marlon Randolph who is known for his sharp wit that puts a comical spin on issues facing urban communities. Didier “DJ” Cassagnol, a paraplegic, will provide musical entertainment.
Rozier, 47, a Spring Creek Towers (Starrett City) resident, is particularly excited about the show because it is another manifestation of his strong belief that if there is a will, there is a way. Last week, the nine time New York City Marathon runner (in his wheelchair), who finished each time, experienced a life altering personal accomplishment. “Thanks to God and technology, with my sons there at the hospital to see me, I stood and took my first steps since my motorcycle accident in 1996 that left me wheelchair bound,” said Rozier, who will also perform during the “We Dare You Not to Laugh Comedy Tour.”
BY AGNES E. GREEN