The funnyman opens up about making marriage work and raising kids in Hollywood.
Comedian Bill Bellamy has made us laugh out loud for over a decade with his playful brand of stand up and smooth big screen antics in classic film favorites like How to Be A Player and Love Jones. It’s been awhile since we’ve seen him in the spotlight, but the married father of two hasn’t stopped hustling for laughs.
This summer he's garnered big accolades for his new Showtime live comedy special Crazy Sexy Dirty, which was just released on DVD. “This is a big year for me,” Bellamy tells ESSENCE.com. “Everything is going well and the stars are lining up for your boy.” He’s right about that. His new syndicated series Mr. Box Office premieres this fall and he recently filmed his newest comedy special, The Ladies Night Out, which is coming soon to Showtime.
We sat down with the funnyman to ask how he and his wife, actress Kristen Baker, have made marriage work for 11 years — that’s forever in Hollywood! — and what life is like in the Bellamy household.
ESSENCE.COM: Your comedy special was a hit with fans, but it had been awhile since we’d seen you. What have you been up to?
BILL BELLAMY: I’ve got a new TV series coming out this fall called Mr. Box Office. It’s dope. It’s going to be syndicated, so it’s going to be on different channels. It’s scripted. I’m playing the biggest movie star in the world, like an Eddie Murphy or Will Smith, at the peak of what he’s doing. I get into an altercation with TMZ, and I have to go to court. The judge sentences me to community service to teach at the worst school in South Central. I’m teaching in the hood with these bad kids.
And then, my next special is called Ladies Night Out, and it’s also going to be on Showtime. It’s a comedy special for the ladies and the material is all relationship driven. Just imagine a night out with you and your girls. You all look fly. You’ve got your red bottoms on, and you’re doing it big. You’re going to hear four funny good-looking guys who are funny, hilarious, and silly, all talking about relationships. We already shot it. There were a thousand females in the audience.
ESSENCE.COM: What's fatherhood like for you?
BELLAMY: When you have a daughter your radar is up so high because now you see a side of things that you never saw before. It's like, oh man, what is she going to think? What is her perception of what beauty is? What is it like being a young Black female in a mostly white school? I mean there are so many issues I think about now. We decided to keep exposing the children to a lot of things because if you just let your kids be in the suburbs, that’s not enough. That’s not real. Our goal is to make sure that our kids are exposed to everything — this neighborhood and that neighborhood, and even everything from basketball to soccer to chess.
ESSENCE.COM: Do your kids know what you do?
BELLAMY: They are really proud of me. It's super dope. They show my work off to their friends. I'm like, "Wow." This is the first time they are at this age so you're learning something different every time. They’re like, "Daddy, how many agents do you have?" My daughter has done a commercial and she's done some modeling and kids magazines.
ESSENCE.COM: You’ve been married for 11 years. That's like a 50-year anniversary in Hollywood. How do you two make it work?
BELLAMY: I think it's simple. It’s about communication and connection. You kind of have to work on that because the business itself can take you all over the place, and you can get lost. Do things that keep you connected. I have to make time for my family. They are more important than my career because they give me the things that are invaluable that I could never have without them. I never thought that would happen to me because I always thought my career was everything. You know, I thought, "I’ve got to do this. I’ve got to hustle. I’ve got to be funny and make these movies and all that stuff." I thought [my career] was my family at the time, but now I know what family truly is.