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COMEDY : Tommy Davidson: In Perpetual Motion

November 03, 1994|GLENN DOGGRELL | Glenn Doggrell writes about comedy for The Times Orange County Edition.

Comedian Tommy Davidson describes himself as a lucky guy. Busy would be more accurate. The former "In Living Color" cast member has had no trouble filling his time since the show was canceled in May.

His current projects include developing a movie with Martin Lawrence called "Meter Maids," creating and starring in a pilot for Fox, working with an animation company on two ideas he has for the Fox Children's Network and preparing for his third Showtime special, a musical variety show he'll host and star in with Gregory Hines and the Ohio Players.

And amid it all, he's working more than ever on his stand-up act, which he brings to the Brea Improv on Friday through Sunday for his Orange County debut before embarking on a monthlong tour with fellow comic Chris Rock.

All this is a far cry from his first taste of comedy in 1986, when he took the stage between acts at a topless bar in Washington, D.C., and two years later lost to a contestant dressed as a cucumber in a "Star Search" competition.

In Brea, fans should not expect to see his "In Living Color" characters. Rollo the washroom attendant, Sugar Ray Leonard and the bespectacled Spike Lee will stay home.

Instead, Davidson offers a lively performance, which underscores the black perspective and includes stand-up, musical spoofs and audience participation.

"The evening is a whole lot of fun, with old stuff and new stuff," the L.A. resident said in a phone interview Tuesday.

A fair portion of that fun comes from working off what the crowd gives him.

"That's typical Tommy behavior," he explained. "I'm a creature of adaptation. I take advantage of the second and the moment. My comedy breathes; it's not really that predictable. I do have a linear style, but other than that, there's a lot of abstract.

"I just go off on what I'm thinking. I'm not that topical. I like to talk about me and my experiences."

Davidson was born in Mississippi and raised in D.C., where he worked as a cook. His comedy career took off after he moved to L.A. in 1987, but he has long harbored other dreams.

"I used to want to be a singer and a musician for years, from 6 years old to today," said the entertainer, who can sing, play keyboards, bass and percussion. "I'm not really good, but in time I could be. I'm more of a singer than anything. But straight-ahead music is two or three years down the line."

Even that might be pushing it. Besides his show biz activities, he also wants to travel more, to Africa, China ("beautiful, vast and ancient"), Tibet and Australia.

"That's enough for now."

* Who: Tommy Davidson.

* When: Friday, Nov. 4, at 8:30 and 10:30 p.m.; Saturday, Nov. 5, at 8 and 10:30 p.m., and Sunday, Nov. 6, at 8:30 p.m.

* Where: The Brea Improv, 945 E. Birch St., Suite A, Brea.

* Whereabouts: Take the Lambert Road exit from the Orange (57) Freeway and go west. Turn left onto State College Boulevard and right onto Birch Street. The Improv is on the right, in the Brea Marketplace, across from the Brea Mall.

* Wherewithal: $10 to $15.

* Where to call: (714) 529-7878.

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