Posted by: pop-break | October 3, 2009

Interview: Sinbad …. yes, Sinbad

brent johnson wrote this piece about the living comedy legend for The Trenton Times in 2007 …

Contrary to what you read on Wikipedia last year, Sinbad isn’t dead. Quite the opposite, actually.

The comedian is planning to film a pilot in December for a reality show called The World According To Sinbad. The premise?

“The world according to me,” says Sinbad, who’ll perform standup tomorrow at the Trenton War Memorial. “How I view life. As long as I’ve been here, I don’t think people know much about me.”

Wikipedia said Sinbad was dead ... We say HE LIVES!

Wikipedia said Sinbad was dead ... We say HE LIVES!

Apparently. Last March, his Wikipedia page reported that Sinbad died of a massive heart attack. (Anyone with a mouse and a keyboard can edit the Internet encyclopedia’s content — hence the rumor.)

Sinbad shrugs it off. The 51-year-old — who’ll turn 52 next Monday —doesn’t read his own press anyway.

“When I first started, I would read everything,” he says via phone on a recent Sunday night from his Los Angeles home. “I tried to find it all. …“I guess what happens is: It doesn’t really matter. At this point, you know who you are, you know what you do.”

Health is what cost Sinbad his original career goal.

“I thought basketball was going to be the key,” says Sinbad, born David Adkins to a minister father in Benton Harbor, Mich. “Then, as time went on, other things happened.”

The 6-foot-5 Adkins played for the University of Denver basketball team in the mid-1970s, but blew his knee out after two seasons. His standup career started at a talent show during a stint in the Air Force. He took his stage name from a college nickname derived from his watching Sinbad movies.

“That’s what everybody calls me,” he explains. “If they go back and forth, it’s just too crazy. One name makes it easy.”

From there, he got a break by appearing seven times on Star Search in the mid-80s — beating fellow celebrity-in-waiting Dennis Miller at one point. And in 1987, Sinbad got his biggest break by landing a role as Coach Walter Oakes on the Cosby Show spinoff A Different World.

His own series, FOX’s The Sinbad Show, followed in 1993 but only lasted a season.

By the mid-’90s, he was starring in films — including Houseguest, a mob-meets-suburbia comedy with Phil Hartman, and Jingle All The Way, a Christmas kid flick opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger. He doesn’t have a favorite amongst his flicks

“I’m still looking for the one that I could call my favorite,” he says.

Nor does he regret any of them.

“No, I did ’em,” he says. “You move on.”

His standup has been polarizing, though. In 2004, Comedy Central voted him No. 78 on its 100 Greatest Standups of All Time list. Maxim, however, named him the worst standup in history.

He bases his comedy on everyday life. And with a few days to go before the presidential election, it also has political elements. But no show is ever the same.

“It changes every time I’m on stage,” Sinbad says. “So sometimes, it’s real political. The audience kind of puts me where I need to go.”

A Barack Obama supporter, Sinbad says political comedy has been simple lately for one reason.

“Palin made it easy,” he jokes.

His own life got political during the Democratic primaries, when Hilary Clinton recalled a trip she made to Bosnia in 1996 that found her in the midst of “sniper fire.” Sinbad happened to be on the same USO tour and has since disputed the Senator’s claims.

“I think the only ‘red-phone moment was: ‘Do we eat here or at the next place?’” Sinbad told The Washington Post in March.

Sinbad says he rarely is asked about the story anymore. Be he still doesn’t get it.

“Why would she lie?” he says. “There was no need to.”

As for his former career path, Sinbad hasn’t played basketball for a decade, thanks to injury. He recently had a knee replacement. That’s just another “piece” of his life, as he puts it.

A Different World was one part of my life,” Sinbad explains. “All these other things were one part of my life. There’s much more to me than that.”



  1. Great article.

  2. […] 1.) Interview: Actor/Comedian Sinbad (Brent Johnson) […]

  3. Well done Brent.

  4. I love Sinbad! He is hilarious, I grew up listening to him and I am glad to see he is touring again. I actually got to see him at CES. Check out this video of him in the DateCheck booth:

  5. How do you like the Lakers now. Looks like Bynum has finally got his game together.

  6. […] Interview: Sinbad, Yes, Sinbad (Posted October ’09) Written by Brent Johnson This is the post that put us on the map. From […]

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