By Leilani Roberts Ott
Comedian Darryl Littleton believes people who laugh live longer.
So he wants us all to live a happier life while he presents “A Black Comedian on Black Comedy” at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at The Roxy Theater, 220 W. Okmulgee Ave. The show is free.
It’s a live, clean comedy routine that celebrates the history of African-American humor. Following the live show, there will be an 18-minute screening of “Why We Laugh.” The event is presented by Muskogee Public Library in association with the city of Muskogee and the Greater Muskogee Area Chamber of Commerce.
Jeremy Jones, adult program coordinator for Muskogee Public Library, said the comedy show is kicking off the library’s celebration of Black History Month. Jones has had positive feedback from staff at other libraries on what a great show Littleton presents. His books are in many libraries.
Littleton was added to National Public Radio’s list of contributing commentators in 2006 following the release of his first book, “Black Comedians on Black Comedy,” chronicling the history of African-American comedy featuring interviews with 125 of the industry’s stars. Littleton produced it along with award-winning director Robert Townsend as a full length documentary, “Why We Laugh,” which made its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in 2009 and Showtime in February 2010, he said.
He calls Alabama home but is living in his childhood home in Inglewood, Calif., right now with his wife, Tuezdae, while his Alabama home is being renovated. His stop in Oklahoma is one of five on this tour, Littleton said. He also will present shows in Mississippi, South Carolina, North Carolina and Ohio.
“It will be informative and funny,” Littleton said. “Comedy booms when the economy is bad. Comics are able to filter hopelessness. I want people to have more appreciation of comedy. It sustains them through the hard times.”
A comedian for 20 years, Littleton is also the author of “Comediennes: Laugh Be a Lady,” written with his wife. He began his career writing sketches for “The Tom Joyner Morning Show” on CBS Radio and became a regular at the famous Comedy Store where he adopted the stage name, “D’Militant” for his social and political commentary, he said.
Comic D. L. Hughley had Littleton as his writer during his years as host of BET’s “Comic View.” Littleton was later hired as a writer and producer for the show where he wrote for such greats as Cedric the Entertainer.
Littleton guest-starred on Townsend’s WB sitcom, “The Parent Hood,” and was a performer on Townsend’s variety show “Townsend Television” for Fox. He appeared on “The Apollo Comedy Hour,” “Uptown Comedy Club,” HBO’s “Def Comedy Jam,” Comedy Central’s “Make Me Laugh,” Telemundo’s “Loco Comedy Jam,” Byron Allen’s “Comic’s Unleashed” and ABC’s “America’s Funniest People” where he was the grand prize winner. He has toured with many comedy stars like Chris Rock, Steve Harvey, Sherri Shepherd and more.
When asked about his career choice of being a comedian, he said it is for those who “can’t hold down a regular job.” Anybody can be a comic if someone gives them a few lines to say, but not everyone can be a comedian, he explained.
“I read the crowd,” he said. “People who are 80 think Johnny Carson was recent. I start the show in 1619 and take it to current day. I want people to leave the show knowing comedy is the best medicine.”
WHAT: “A Black Comedian on Black Comedy.”
WHEN: 6:30 p.m. Saturday.
WHERE: The Roxy Theater, 220 W. Okmulgee Ave.
SPONSORS: Muskogee Public Library in association with the city of Muskogee and the Greater Muskogee Area Chamber of Commerce.