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Sinbad (comedian)

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Sinbad in 2008
Birth nameDavid Adkins
Born (1956-11-10) November 10, 1956 (age 67)[1]
Benton Harbor, Michigan, U.S.
  • Stand-up
  • film
  • television
Years active1986–present
GenresObservational comedy, political satire, black comedy, surreal humor, character comedy, clean comedy
Subject(s)Everyday life, self-deprecation, marriage, parenting, American politics, current events, family, friend, pop culture, race relations, racism, relationships, aging
Meredith Fuller
(m. 1985; div. 1992)
(m. 2002)

David Adkins (born November 10, 1956),[1] better known by his stage name Sinbad, is an American stand-up comedian and actor. He became known in the 1990s from being featured on his own HBO specials, appearing on several television series, most notably as Coach Walter Oakes in A Different World (1987–1991) and as David Bryan on The Sinbad Show (1993–1994). He has also appeared in films such as That's Adequate (1989), Coneheads (1993), Houseguest (1995), Jingle All the Way (1996), Crazy as Hell (2002) and Planes (2013).

Early life

Sinbad was born November 10, 1956, in Benton Harbor, Michigan, the son of Louise and a Baptist minister, Dr. Donald Beckley Adkins Sr.[2][3][4] He has five siblings: Donna, Dorothea, Mark, Michael, and Donald Jr.[5] His paternal grandmother was of Irish descent.[6] Sinbad attended Benton Harbor High School and graduated in 1974.[7] He attended college from 1974 to 1978 at the University of Denver in Denver, Colorado, where he lettered two seasons for the basketball team.

Military service

Sinbad served in the United States Air Force as a boom operator aboard KC-135 Stratotankers. While assigned to the 384th Air Refueling Wing at McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita, Kansas, he would often travel downtown to perform stand-up comedy. He competed as a comedian/MC in the Air Force's Talent Contest in 1981. Sinbad was almost dismissed with a dishonorable discharge for various misbehaviors, including going AWOL.[8]

I didn't make the Air Force basketball team and went into denial. So, I kept going AWOL. My mother kept begging me to go back. I told her, "No, I'm not going back. I'll just grow a beard. They won't recognize me. I'll just be another black man with a beard." I was going to Georgia Tech to learn about computers. I'd go AWOL all the time. I'd just leave. I'd come back, hoping they'd throw me out.[8]

After a series of incidents, he was eventually discharged "for parking my car in the wrong position."[9]


In an attempt to stand out in the entertainment industry, Adkins worked under the professional name Sinbad, which he chose out of admiration for Sinbad the Sailor.[8] He began his stand-up comic career appearing on Star Search. Sinbad won his round against fellow comedian Dennis Miller,[10] and made it to the finals before losing to John Kassir.[11]

He soon was cast on The Redd Foxx Show, a short lived sitcom, playing Byron Lightfoot.[12]

A Different World

In 1987, Sinbad landed a role in A Different World, a spin-off of The Cosby Show built around Lisa Bonet's character Denise Huxtable. Previously, Sinbad appeared in a one-off role on The Cosby Show as car salesman Davis Sarrette. While Bonet only stayed with the program for a season,[13] Sinbad stayed with the cast from 1988 until 1991 as Coach Walter Oakes.

Walter began to fall in love with a girl named Jaleesa Vinson, played by Dawnn Lewis. They dated, and eventually became engaged but decided to cancel the wedding due to differing outlooks on life.[14]

The Sinbad Show

By the early 1990s, his popularity had grown enough for Fox to greenlight The Sinbad Show, which premiered September 16, 1993. In it, Sinbad played 35-year-old David Bryan, a bachelor who decides to become a foster parent to two children after becoming emotionally attached to them.[15]

Around that time, Sinbad had received joint custody of his two children: Royce,[16] age 4; and Paige, age 7, and told the press that these experiences informed him of single parenting.[15]

Black men are already responsible, already take care of our duties, but nobody emphasizes that. I hear all this bad talk against men and their children. I just got so tired of it. More than anything else, I'm showing that life has changed, the world has changed. And now the key is not going to just be parenting, it's going to be mentoring, where people who are not even in your family are going to have to go in and help. And we are going to accept that responsibility, which we used to do in our culture.[15]

The Sinbad Show was canceled, with the last episode airing April 21, 1994. However, the role earned him a nomination in the 1995 Kids' Choice Awards for "Favorite Television Actor".[17]

Films and other projects

Sinbad meeting with Zama American High School students in September 2004

In 1990, Sinbad did his first stand-up comedy special for HBO called Sinbad: Brain Damaged. The special was recorded at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. In 1993, Sinbad did his next stand up special in New York City's Paramount Theater at Madison Square Garden called Sinbad: Afros and Bellbottoms for which he won a 1995 Image Award. He was brought back in 1996 for Sinbad: Son of a Preacher Man, recorded at the Paramount Theatre in Denver, Colorado, and again in 1997 for Sinbad: Nothin' but the Funk. All of these shows have been released on VHS and DVD.[citation needed]

Sinbad again won an NAACP Image Award in 1998 for his role in Sinbad's Summer Jam III: '70s Soul Music Festival. By 1995, Sinbad created a company called "David & Goliath Productions", that was located in Studio City.[5]

From 1989 to 1991, Sinbad was host of It's Showtime at the Apollo, and returned in 2005, while regular host Mo'Nique was on maternity leave. He hosted an episode of Soul Train that aired January 14, 1995; appeared as a contestant in an episode of Celebrity Jeopardy! in 1998; and was the emcee for the May 2000 Miss Universe Pageant.[18]

During the 1990s, Sinbad guest starred on an episode of Nickelodeon's All That. In one sketch, he played the father of recurring character Ishboo, dubbed "Sinboo". He also made a cameo appearance in the comedy movie Good Burger, starring Kenan & Kel, as "Mr. Wheat", a short-tempered teacher. His character was modeled after Gough Wheat, a past teacher of the movie's producer, Dan Schneider, at White Station High School in Memphis, Tennessee.[citation needed]

He and Phil Hartman co-starred in the comedy film Houseguest, where he plays Kevin Franklin, a Pittsburgh resident who owes $50,000 to the mob. Hartman, as Gary Young, comments to his children that they are waiting to pick up his old college friend, who is black and he has not seen for twenty years. Taking who they think to be a well-known dentist home, Young's family is stabilized by Franklin's own unstable nature. Released January 6, 1995, the film grossed $26 million in North America.[citation needed]

Sinbad's film roles also include First Kid, which he starred in, and Jingle All the Way (1996) opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rita Wilson and the late Phil Hartman. For Jingle All the Way, Sinbad won a Blockbuster Entertainment Award for "Favorite Supporting Actor – Family"; it was also his third and final collaboration with Hartman following the latter's death in May 1998.

In March 1996, Sinbad joined First Lady Hillary Clinton and musician Sheryl Crow, in a USO tour in Bosnia and Herzegovina.[19]

The NAACP Image Awards recognized his role in Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child (1996), nominating him in the "Outstanding Performance in an Animated/Live-Action/Dramatic Youth or Children's Series/Special" category. He lent his voice to Riley, an animal character, in Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco (1996), and later voiced the horse "Hollywood Shuffle" in Ready to Run.

In 1997, Sinbad released Sinbad's Guide to Life: Because I Know Everything, a book of comedic short essays. It was co written with David Ritz.[20]

In August 1997, Vibe magazine started its own syndicated late night talk show, which aired on UPN, hosted by actor Chris Spencer. Spencer was fired in October, and replaced by Sinbad; the series lasted until the summer of 1998. At that same time, Sinbad performed his HBO comedy special "Nothin' But the Funk" in Aruba's Guillermo P. Trinidad Memorial Stadium.

In 1998 and 1999, Sinbad reunited with Bill Cosby and Carsey-Werner Productions, and appeared in three episodes of Cosby. In February 1999, he was featured in an infomercial for Tae Bo, where he stated that he was successfully using the Tae Bo system to become an action star.[21]

In 2002, he appeared in three episodes of the Showtime series Resurrection Blvd. In 2004, he was named the No. 78 Greatest Stand Up Comic of All Time on "Comedy Central Presents: 100 Greatest Stand-Ups of All Time". In 2006, Maxim magazine ranked Sinbad as the "Worst Comic of All Time."[22]

In February 2007, actor Mark Curry credited Sinbad and Bill Cosby for helping convince him not to commit suicide.[23] Sinbad was responsible for discovering R&B trio 702, convincing their parents to let him take them to a music convention/competition under the name "Sweeta than Suga"; the group eventually being heard by music producer Michael Bivins.[24]

Sinbad also made a cameo appearance on the television show It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia as himself in a rehab center in the episode "Dennis Reynolds: An Erotic Life", which originally aired October 23, 2008.[25] His cameo was met with positive acclaim from fans of both him and the series.[26]

Sinbad was the host of Thou Shalt Laugh 3.[27] The DVD was released on November 11, 2008.[28]

He performed his Comedy Central television special Where U Been? at Club Nokia, which was later released on DVD[29] to even greater success. On March 14, 2010, he debuted on the Celebrity Apprentice and was fired on the second episode (March 21, 2010) after losing in the Kodak challenge as project manager, placing 13th.

Sinbad starred in a reality show on WE tv called Sinbad: It's Just Family that aired on Tuesdays at 10:00 p.m.; the show was canceled in 2011.

In 2013, Sinbad voiced Roper in the animated film Planes. The same year he had a guest role on the adult animated series American Dad!, voicing an animated version of himself in the episode "Lost in Space", then returning for the 2014 episode "The Longest Distance Relationship", and again in 2015's "Holy Shit, Jeff's Back!"[citation needed]

In April 2015, Sinbad appeared in a USO show at Bagram and Kandahar Air Bases in Afghanistan.[citation needed]

In 2017, he appeared on two episodes of Disney Junior's The Lion Guard, as the voice of Uroho the baboon. The same year, he appeared in a CollegeHumor April Fool's video consisting of newly created footage supposedly taken from a 1990s genie movie called Shazaam which never existed. The comedy drew from an Internet rumor confusing Shazaam with the real genie film titled Kazaam (1996), starring Shaquille O'Neal.[30][31][32] The false memories of Shazaam[33] have been explained as a confabulation of memories of the comedian wearing a genie-like costume during a TV presentation of Sinbad the Sailor movies in 1994.[34][35] In addition, in 1960s, Hanna-Barbera had an animated series about a genie called Shazzan.[36]

In 2018–2019 he starred on TV show Rel.[37]


Sinbad has a long history of using and promoting Apple products, working with Apple and appearing at Apple events. Examples include numerous appearances at Macworld[38] and WWDC[39] shows.

On January 25, 2011, he was the celebrity speaker of MacWorld Expo 2011.[38]


Sinbad also plays percussion and drums which he most often displays after every show appearance. He has played with numerous artists and musicians under the moniker of "Memphis Red"; such as Dawnn Lewis and Adult-Urban instrumentalist (saxophonist) Journell Henry "p/k/a. J. Henry".

Personal life

Sinbad married Meredith Fuller in 1985. They have two children together.[40] The couple divorced in 1992, but remarried in 2002.[41]

In November 2020, his family announced to the press that Sinbad was recovering from a recent stroke.[42] In March 2024, Sinbad announced on social media that he was still recovering from his stroke but that he was attempting a comeback to his career in the future.[43]

Tax issues

In April 2009, Sinbad was listed as one of the ten worst tax debtors in the state of California, owing the state $2.5 million in personal income tax.[44] On December 11, 2009, Sinbad filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.[45][46] On February 5, 2010, it was reported that Sinbad put his 2.5-acre (1.0 ha) hilltop home up for sale in order to alleviate his tax burdens.[47][48]



Year Title Role Notes
1986 Club Med Himself TV movie
1989 That's Adequate Stand-Up Comic
1991 Necessary Roughness Andre Krimm
1992 Time Out: The Truth About HIV, AIDS, and You Condom Video short
1993 Coneheads Otto
The Meteor Man Malik
1994 Aliens for Breakfast Areck TV movie
1995 Houseguest Kevin Franklin
1996 Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco Riley (voice)
First Kid Secret Service Agent Sam Simms
Jingle All the Way Myron Larabee
The Cherokee Kid Isaiah Turner / The Cherokee Kid TV movie
1997 Good Burger Mr. Wheat
2000 Ready to Run Hollywood Shuffle (voice) TV movie
Blue Shirts
2002 Crazy as Hell Orderly
Hansel and Gretel Raven (voice)
Treading Water The Security Guard
2006 Leila Leila's Uncle Short
2007 Stompin' Mr. Jackson
2008 Cuttin' da Mustard Bennie
2013 Planes Roper (voice)
2014 Vitaminamulch: Air Spectacular Short
2023 Good Burger 2 Mr. Wheat Voiceover Cameo


Year Title Role Notes
1986 The Redd Foxx Show Bryon Lightfoot Main cast
1987 The Cosby Show Davis Sarrette Episode: "Say Hello to a Good Buy"
1987–1991 A Different World Coach Walter Oakes Recurring cast: season 1, main cast: season 2–4
1992 Roc Ruben Stiles Episode: "Roc and the Actor"
Saturday Night Live Himself / Host Episode: Sinbad/Sade
1993–1994 The Sinbad Show David Bryan Main cast
1994 Sesame Street Himself Episode: 3266
1995 The Puzzle Place Himself Episode: "Bully for Jody"
All That Himself Episode: "Sinbad/Coolio"
1995–1999 Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child Frog Prince / Simpleton / Wolfgang (voice) 3 episodes
1997–1998 Vibe Himself Host
1998–1999 Cosby Del Recurring cast: season 3
2000 Moesha Professor LeCount Episode: "The Nutty Moesha"
2001 Girlfriends Himself Episode: "Jamaic-Up?"
2002 Resurrection Blvd. Odell Mason Supporting cast: season 3
2007–2009 Slacker Cats Eddie (voice) Main cast
2008 It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia Himself Episode: "Dennis Reynolds: An Erotic Life"
Family Guy Himself (voice) Episode: "Tales of a Third Grade Nothing"
2011 Are We There Yet? Judge Oakes Episode: "The Whose Card Is It Anyway Episode"
2012 The Eric Andre Show Himself Episode: "Sinbad"
2013–2015 American Dad Himself (voice) 3 episodes
2013–2014 Steven Universe Mr. Smiley (voice) Recurring cast: season 1
2015 Comedy Bang! Bang! Noel DeSoil Holyfield Episode: "Colin Hanks Wears a Denim Button Down and Black Sneakers"
2017 CollegeHumor Originals Shazaam Episode: "We Found Sinbad's SHAZAAM Genie Movie!"
The Lion Guard Uroho (voice) 2 episodes
2018–2019 Rel Milton Main cast
2022 Atlanta Himself Episode: "The Goof Who Sat By the Door"

See also


  1. ^ a b Jason Buchanan (2014). "Sinbad – Biography". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. Archived from the original on December 21, 2014. Retrieved December 21, 2013.
  2. ^ "Sinbad Biography (1956–)".
  3. ^ Swidwa, Julie (May 28, 2023). "BH 'giant,' Donald Adkins, dies at 81". Herald Palladium.
  4. ^ "UpcomingDiscs.com » Blog Archive » Sinbad: Make Me Wanna Holla". upcomingdiscs.com.
  5. ^ a b Roberts, Tara (October 1, 1995). "Hanging out with Sinbad: more than a successful actor and comedian, at heart Sinbad's a down-home family man". Essence. Retrieved March 17, 2007.
  6. ^ Ullman, Whitney (June 11, 2013). "Comedian Sinbad: 'Celebrity Apprentice' boss Donald Trump likes to 'see people miserable'". nj.com. Retrieved September 16, 2021.
  7. ^ Cotsirilos Thomopoulos, Elaine (2003). St. Joseph and Benton Harbor. Images of America. Arcadia Publishing. p. 39. ISBN 0738531901.
  8. ^ a b c Collier, Aldore (June 1997). "Sinbad talks about his divorce, single parenthood and his real name". Ebony. Johnson Publishing Company, Inc. Retrieved April 21, 2011.
  9. ^ Ritz, David (November 1, 1992). "Sinbad". Essence. Retrieved March 16, 2007.
  10. ^ USA Weekend, STRAIGHT TALK, By Jeffrey Zaslow, July 18–20, 1997. Retrieved May 13, 2010.
  11. ^ "John Kassir". Voice Chasers. Archived from the original on August 1, 2017. Retrieved November 16, 2015.
  12. ^ "Sinbad to Co-Star in Fox's Jerrod Carmichael-Lil Rel Comedy". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 3, 2018.
  13. ^ Weintraub, Joanne (June 14, 2006). "'Different', but still the same; Cable revives black college sitcom". The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved March 19, 2007.
  14. ^ Buchanan, Kyle (March 13, 2013). "Comedy Undercard: A Different World vs. Undeclared". New York. Retrieved March 20, 2018.
  15. ^ a b c "Sinbad: TV star plays father on new sitcom; says black men can be positive role models". Jet. November 22, 1993. Retrieved March 17, 2007.
  16. ^ Royce's name is pronounced "Roy-cee"; "Hanging out with Sinbad: more than a successful actor and comedian, at heart Sinbad's a down-home family man". Essence. October 1995
  17. ^ Prescott, Jean (May 19, 1995). "Nickelodeon Awards Spotlight Favorites of Youth". Tulsa World. Retrieved November 17, 2020.
  18. ^ Wilson, Cintra (May 17, 2000). "The 49th Annual Miss Universe Pageant". Salon. Archived from the original on February 11, 2007. Retrieved March 19, 2007.
  19. ^ Response by G.I.'s Mixed As Hillary Clinton Visits, The New York Times, 1996-03-26
  20. ^ Sinbad (June 19, 1997). Sinbad's Guide to Life: Because I Know Everything. Bantam Books. ISBN 9780553103731 – via Internet Archive.
  21. ^ The End of the World As We Know it: Tae Bo[permanent dead link], Iowa State Daily, February 1, 1999
  22. ^ The Worst Comedians of All Time Archived September 3, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  23. ^ "Mark Curry: Laughs kept him from suicide". USA Today Co. Inc. Associated Press. February 14, 2007. Retrieved March 19, 2007. said he changed his mind after talking to some funny friends, like Sinbad and Bill Cosby.
  24. ^ "AskMen.com — 702 pics". askmen.com. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. Retrieved March 20, 2007.
  25. ^ "Sinbad Rehab — It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia TV Show — Break.com". break.com. Archived from the original on December 21, 2009. Retrieved December 31, 2009.
  26. ^ Amitin, Seth (October 24, 2008). "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: "Dennis Reynolds: An Erotic Life" Review". ign.com.
  27. ^ Thou Shalt Laugh 3 Archived January 22, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  28. ^ "Thou Shalt Laugh 3 Hosted By Sinbad". November 11, 2008 – via Amazon.
  29. ^ "Sinbad: Where U Been?". February 23, 2010 – via Amazon.
  30. ^ "CollegeHumor's April Fools Prank Is Sinbad's 'Shazaam!' Movie". ew.com.
  31. ^ "Sinbad Wins April Fools' Day With Real Footage of Fake 'Shazaam' Film". rollingstone.com. April 2017.
  32. ^ Sam Adams (December 22, 2016). "Sinbad Never Made a Genie Movie Called Shazaam, and People Aren't Taking the News Well". Brow Beat. Slate.com. Retrieved July 23, 2018.
  33. ^ Phillip, Nicole; Broadway, Cody (August 11, 2021). "What Sinbad's Kids Want You to Know About 'Shazaam'". NBC Boston. Retrieved August 12, 2021.
  34. ^ December 28, 1994, on the cable channel TNT; the marathon featured movies including Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977).
  35. ^ "FACT CHECK: Did Sinbad Play a Genie in the 1990s Movie 'Shazaam'?". Snopes. December 28, 2016. Retrieved February 12, 2020.
  36. ^ "If You Remember 'Shazaam,' The Movie That Doesn't Exist, You Aren't Alone". The Odyssey Online. March 21, 2017. Retrieved February 12, 2020.
  37. ^ Rel (Comedy), 20th Century Fox Television, Morningside Entertainment, Scully Productions, September 9, 2018, retrieved December 23, 2022
  38. ^ a b Chen, Brian X. (January 25, 2011). "Macworld Expo 2011 Spotlights Sinbad, iOS Accessories". Wired.
  39. ^ Apple Master Sinbad @ WWDC 1999 YouTube.
  40. ^ "Sinbad – WE tv". www.wetv.com. Archived from the original on April 15, 2011. Retrieved December 1, 2020.
  41. ^ "Black Sports Gossip – Baller Lifestyles – Baller Wives – Ballers – Celeb News". ballerwives.com. Archived from the original on April 16, 2011. Retrieved December 1, 2020.
  42. ^ Fekadu, Mesfin. "Comedian Sinbad recovering from a stroke, family says". King5 News. Archived from the original on November 24, 2020. Retrieved November 16, 2020.
  43. ^ "Sinbad had a stroke four years ago. In his Instagram return, he says 'miracles happen'". Los Angeles Times. March 5, 2024. Retrieved April 8, 2024.
  44. ^ "SINBAD TAXES Embarrassment!". The Huffington Post. April 12, 2009. Archived from the original on December 22, 2009. Retrieved December 1, 2020.
  45. ^ Watkins, Boyce (December 19, 2009). "Sinbad: Comedian Files for Bankruptcy After Goi". www.bvonmoney.com. Archived from the original on April 26, 2010. Retrieved December 1, 2020.
  46. ^ Bhaduri, Ranjan (February 7, 2010). "Sinbad Files For Bankruptcy". www.thaindian.com. Archived from the original on February 8, 2010. Retrieved December 1, 2020.
  47. ^ "No joke: Sinbad's in trouble – BostonHerald.com". bostonherald.com.[permanent dead link]
  48. ^ "Housing Watch". www.housingwatch.com. Archived from the original on February 21, 2010. Retrieved February 22, 2010.

External links