Tag: Lynwood

FEATURE: After 25 Years on the Road, Leslie Jones Becomes a Comedy Star

“This is gonna be kind of a hot one,” Ali LeRoi said.

“I’ve been waiting to sit her ass down for a minute,” Owen Smith said. “One of the funniest women in the game.”

“Funniest comedian in the game,” Jones interrupted. “Not just woman. I hate that shit.” End of introduction.

Comedians are combatants: they “kill,” they “bomb,” they “destroy.” Such bluster can mask insecurity, and Jones had good reason to feel defensive. She was forty-six, and had been a standup comedian for more than a quarter century; her peers respected her, but that respect rarely translated into high-paying gigs. “I remember some nights where I was, like, ‘All right, this comedy shit just ain’t working out,’ ” she told me recently. “And not just when I was twenty-five. Like, when I was forty-five.” She was a woman in a field dominated by men, and an African-American in an industry that remained disturbingly segregated.

Although she had opened for Katt Williams and Dave Chappelle, acted in movies alongside Ice Cube and Martin Lawrence, recorded a standup special for Showtime, and made several appearances on HBO’s “Def Comedy Jam” and BET’s “ComicView,” she worried that the gatekeepers of mainstream comedy—bookers for the “Tonight Show,” casting directors of big-budget films—had never heard her name. “Every black comedian in the country knew what I could do,” she said. “But that doesn’t mean everyone else is paying attention.” Chris Rock, who met Jones when they were both road comics in the late eighties, told me, “Black women have the hardest gig in show business. You hear Jennifer Lawrence complaining about getting paid less because she’s a woman—if she was black, she’d really have something to complain about.”

Jones spent much of her career performing in what she calls “shitty chitlin-circuit-ass rooms, where you’re just hoping the promoter pays you.” She told me that, around 2010, “I stopped only doing black clubs. I stopped doing what I call ‘nigger nights’—the Chocolate Sundays, the Mo’ Better Mondays. I knew how to relate to that audience, and I was winning where I was, but I wasn’t moving forward.” She lived in Los Angeles at the time, and she began asking for spots at the Comedy Store, where David Letterman and Robin Williams got their starts. A comedian named Erik Marino, who befriended her there, said, “She felt very strongly that she was being pigeonholed as a black comic—a BET comic.”

For a while, Jones performed at the Store at odd hours. Then, she said, “I went to the booker and I threw the race card at him. ‘Why you won’t let me go up at ten on a Friday? ’Cause I’m black?’ ” The booker gave her a prime-time slot. “She destroyed, obviously,” Marino said. “Bookers are the ones who care about black rooms versus white rooms. To us comedians, it’s, like, if you know what you’re doing and you can connect with an audience, they’re gonna laugh.”

Rock saw Jones perform at the Store in 2012. After her set, he told her, “You were always funny, but you’re at a new level now.”

“You’re right,” she responded. “But I’m not gonna really make it unless someone like you puts me on.” Rock took out his iPhone and added her name to a list labelled “Funny people.”

Continue reading “FEATURE: After 25 Years on the Road, Leslie Jones Becomes a Comedy Star”

Martin Luther King Hospital in Los Angeles Set to Reopen in Early 2015

mlk set to reopenThe embattled Los Angeles’ Martin Luther King Jr. Hospital is set to reopen in early 2015 according to hospital officials, giving residents in its surrounding community access to much needed care as well as job opportunities. The hospital originally opened in 1972 serving the African American and Latino community with various types of medical services until the year 2007. The “heaven sent” hospital as it is known to many members of the community was shut down due to high patient deaths, unqualified staff, hygiene issues, and medical scandals. The shut down resulted in the loss of hospital jobs and lack of nearby emergency rooms for the community.

According to the MLK Community hospital website, “The hospital is expected to serve 1.2 million residents from all over South Los Angeles including Compton, Inglewood, Watts-Willowbrook and Lynwood.”

Not only will the hospital create jobs for people in the community, but it will also provide more than 10 inpatient and outpatient services including but not limited to Anesthesiology, Cardiology-medical and diagnostic, Emergency medicine, Endocrinology and Gastroenterology. The new hospital will also have 131 beds, a 21-bed emergency department, a critical care unit, and labor and delivery services.

“We’re not done yet, we have a lot to do and we are going to do it,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. “We are putting in the kind of services that meet the needs and the demands of that population.”

The hospital will take new measures to ensure and decrease hospital scandals, hygiene issues, and unqualified staff by hiring the highest quality staff and using modern day technology. The hospitals mission is to “provide compassionate, collaborate, quality care and improve the health of our community. Our vision is to be a leading model of innovation, collaboration and community health care.”

For more information visit: http://www.mlkcommunityhospital.org

article by Kimberlee Buck via lasentinel.net