It’s frequently expressed that individuals of so-called privileged means have had their mouths amply furnished with a silver spoon in life and thus have had an easy street to travel. But, this weekend Cleveland is going to get the Witherspoon treatment and have its road made that much funnier.
This weekend get ‘Spoon’-fed at the Improv
By BAKARI SIMPSON
It’s frequently expressed that individuals of so-called privileged means have had their mouths amply furnished with a silver spoon in life and thus have had an easy street to travel. But, this weekend Cleveland is going to get the Witherspoon treatment and have its road made that much funnier. Coming to the Improv Comedy Club Jan. 21- 23 comedian John “Pops” Witherspoon will drop in town with his classic style of hilarity and sharp wit that has been putting food on his table and smiles on his fans faces for well beyond three decades.
Frankly, even with his five-star stand-up career put to the side, Witherspoon is a living legend appearing in not only an exasperating amount of movies period but of straight up Black classics ranging from: “Hollywood Shuffle,” ”I’m Gonna Git You Sucka,” “House Party,” “Boomerang,” “The Five Heart Beats” and of course “Friday” (the complete trilogy). Then you have his jaw-dropping television credits that stretch back to his appearances on famed “227”, “Amen,” “What’s Happening,” “Good Times” all the way up to his role as “Granddad” on today’s hit satirical animated comedy show the “Boondocks” (starring the voice of former “227” cast member Regina King).
The origin of Witherspoon’s comedy career, his fierce work effort and the countless characters that he’s breathed life into during the course of appearing in innumerable films, television programs and now cartoon shows all began way back in a Detroit acting class.
“In my acting class we used to do a lot of comedy so I said maybe I can make some money doing comedy also. So, I started writing an act, but it all started from me being in acting class in Detroit…yeah, I wanted to be an actor, my brother, he used to go to class all the time and I thought that was pretty cool. So, I started going to class myself and everything turned out pretty good.”
Nevertheless, despite all the over-the-top behavior effortlessly provided on stage or screen, in the real world Witherspoon remains one intensely focused and serious businessman. Even in light of his extremely long and stunning career, he takes nothing for granted and meticulously plans for the day that the river runs dry.
“I don’t hardly ever go anywhere, you know, I do the radio and I go back to my hotel room and do my shows, it’s all business,” Witherspoon said. “It’s not like I am going to town to dance and eat chicken, I go to work, and when you go to work you see a lot of people go and party…to each their own, but my thing is it’s a business, its all a business, you have to treat it like it’s a business.
“…I cannot count on the fact that I am going to be funny and people are going to like me, so I have to save my money, you know what I am saying? I can’t count on the fact that they are going to like me no matter what and I am going to get another hit any way, so that aint going to happen, you don’t know, next week your butt might be gone so you better have some money to fall back on. That’s the mentality that I have always had, plus I was forced to because when I came out here I was broke, cant use up all your money cause then you be broke again and that’s the last thing that I want to do, be broke.”Cleveland, you know that you already love him, so, come on down and show ya boy some of that good old fashion affection while holding your belly and laughing hard. When Witherspoon was asked what his request was of Cleveland he said, “Bring your butt on in there and quit sitting at home!”