Sinbad (comedian)

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"David Adkins" redirects here. For the American actor and playwright, see David Adkins (actor).
Entertainer Sinbad.jpg
Sinbad on stage in July 2008
Pseudonym Sinbad
Birth name David Adkins
Born (1956-11-10) November 10, 1956 (age 60)[1]
Benton Harbor, Michigan, U.S.
Medium Stand-up, film, television
Nationality American
Years active 1978—present
Genres Observational comedy, Political satire, black comedy, Surreal humor, Character comedy
Subject(s) Everyday life, self-deprecation, marriage, parenting, American politics, current events, family, friend, pop culture, race relations, racism, relationships, ageing
Spouse Meredith Adkins (1985–1992; 2002–present)
Children 2
Notable works and roles Walter Oaks in A Different World
Himself in The Sinbad Show
Myron Larabee in Jingle All the Way
Kevin Franklin in Houseguest
Sam Simms in First Kid
Mr. Wheat in Good Burger
Eddie in Slacker Cats

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, and starring in the films Necessary Roughness, Houseguest, First Kid, Jingle All the Way and Good Burger.

Early life[edit]

Sinbad was born in Benton Harbor, Michigan, the son of Louise and the Baptist Rev. Dr. Donald Beckley Adkins.[2][3][4] He has five siblings: Donna, Dorothea, Mark, Michael, and Donald.[5] Sinbad attended Benton Harbor High School, where he was in the marching band as well as the math club.[citation needed] 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[edit]

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.[6]

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.[6]

After a series of incidents, he was eventually discharged "for parking my car in the wrong position."[7]


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.[6] He began his stand up comic career appearing on Star Search. Sinbad won his round against fellow comedian Dennis Miller,[8] and made it all the way to the finals before losing to John Kassir.[9]

He soon was cast on The Redd Foxx Show, a short lived sitcom, playing Byron Lightfoot. Sinbad is known for keeping his act clean and was devoid of derogatory statements or foul language, which he felt was not necessary to sell a crowd and continue to make them laugh.[citation needed]

A Different World[edit]

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 salesperson Davis Sarrette.[10] While Bonet only stayed with the program for a season,[11] Sinbad stayed with the cast from 1988 until 1991 as Coach Walter Oakes.

With the exception of later addition Marisa Tomei to the cast, the students at Hillman were all high-achieving African Americans with unique personalities, contrary to the "token" roles popular media previously focused on.[citation needed] In July 2006, in a cast reunion promoting the series syndication on cable channel Nick at Nite, Sinbad reflected on the program: "The show was a problem. You look back, black shows were just happening...It wasn't supposed to succeed and it did. This show was never given the accolades it should have."[citation needed] In A Different World, Walter began to fall in love with a girl named Jaleesa played by Dawnn Lewis. They dated, and eventually became engaged but decided to cancel the wedding due to differing outlooks on life.

Roles after A Different World[edit]

Sinbad co starred with Scott Bakula in Necessary Roughness, where he played Andre Krimm, a college professor recruited for the defensive line, after NCAA sanctions force the Texas State University Fightin' Armadillos to start from scratch. The Paramount Pictures film opened September 27, 1991, and grossed over US$20 million at the box office.

After playing a condom in the video Time Out: The Truth About HIV, AIDS, and You (1992), and hosting the November 21, 1992 episode of Saturday Night Live, he found small roles in The Meteor Man and Coneheads. Other appearances during this hiatus from episodic television were in the telefilm Aliens for Breakfast (1994), and two appearances on Bill Nye, the Science Guy.

The Sinbad Show[edit]

By the early 1990s, his popularity had grown enough for Fox to green light The Sinbad Show, which premiered September 16, 1993. In the self-titled series, 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.[12]

The series, which co-starred a young Salma Hayek, received praise from critics for its unique and realistic[citation needed] portrayal of African American life.[12] Around that time, Sinbad had recently received joint custody of his two kids, Royce,[13] then age 4 and Paige, age 7, and told the press that these experiences informed him of single parenting.[12]

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.[12]

The Sinbad Show was cancelled, with the last episode airing April 21, 1994. The role earned him an nomination in the 1995 Kids' Choice Awards for "Favorite Television Actor".

Films and other projects[edit]

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. The show was such a success[citation needed] that he was brought back in 1996 for Sinbad — Son of a Preacher Man and again in 1998, for Sinbad — Nothin' but the Funk. All of these shows have been released on VHS and DVD.

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 had 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.[14]

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). For Jingle All the Way, Sinbad won a Blockbuster Entertainment Award for "Favorite Supporting Actor — Family". He also performed his HBO comedy special "Son of a Preacher Man", at the Paramount Theatre in Denver, Colorado.

In March 1996, Sinbad joined First Lady Hillary Clinton and musician Sheryl Crow, in an USO tour in Bosnia and Herzegovina.[15] He also voiced Riley in Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco.

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.[16]

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.[10] In February 1999, he was featured in an infomercial for Tae Bo, where he claimed that he was successfully using the Tae Bo system to become an action star.[17]

During 2002, he appeared in three episodes of the Showtime series Resurrection Blvd.. In 2004, he was named the #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."[18]

In February 2007, actor Mark Curry credited Sinbad and Bill Cosby for helping convince him not to commit suicide.[19] 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.[20]

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.[21] His cameo was met with positive acclaim from fans of both him, and the series.[22]

Sinbad was the host of Thou Shalt Laugh 3.[23] The DVD was released on November 11, 2008.[24]

He recently performed his Comedy Central television special Where U Been? at Club Nokia, which was later released on DVD[25] 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.

On January 25, 2011, he was the celebrity speaker of MacWorld Expo 2011.[26] 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 cancelled in 2011.

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

In April 2015, Sinbad appeared in a USO show at Bagram and Kandahar Air Bases in Afghanistan.[27]

Personal life[edit]

Sinbad married Meredith Fuller in 1985. They have two children together.[28] The couple divorced in 1992, but remarried in 2002.[29]

Tax issues[edit]

In April 2009, Sinbad was placed in the Top 10 of the worst tax debtors for the state of California owing the state $2.5 million in personal income tax.[30] On December 11, 2009, Sinbad filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.[31][32] On February 5, 2010, it was reported that Sinbad put up his 2.5-acre (10,000 m2) hilltop home for sale in order to alleviate his tax burdens.[33][34]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Sinbad – Biography". The New York Times. Retrieved December 21, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Sinbad Biography (1956-)". 
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b Roberts, Tara (1995-10-01). "Hanging out with Sinbad: more than a successful actor and comedian, at heart Sinbad's a down-home family man". Essence. Retrieved 2007-03-17. 
  6. ^ a b c Collier, Aldore (June 1997). "Sinbad talks about his divorce, single parenthood and his real name". Ebony. Johnson Publishing Company, Inc. Retrieved 2011-04-21. 
  7. ^ Ritz, David (1992-11-01). "Sinbad". Essence. Retrieved 2007-03-16. 
  8. ^ USA Weekend, STRAIGHT TALK, By Jeffrey Zaslow, July 18–20, 1997; Accessed 13 May 2010.
  9. ^
  10. ^ a b "Sinbad". IMDb. Retrieved 2014-09-23. 
  11. ^ Weintraub, Joanne (2006-06-14). "'Different', but still the same; Cable revives black college sitcom". The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Journal Communications. Retrieved 2007-03-19. 
  12. ^ a b c d "Sinbad: TV star plays father on new sitcom; says black men can be positive role models". Jet. 1993-11-22. Retrieved 2007-03-17. 
  13. ^ 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, Oct, 1995
  14. ^ Wilson, Cintra (2000-05-17). "The 49th Annual Miss Universe Pageant". Salon Media Group, Inc. Retrieved 2007-03-19. 
  15. ^ Response by G.I.'s Mixed As Hillary Clinton Visits, The New York Times, 1996-03-26
  16. ^ Google Books
  17. ^ The End of the World As We Know it: Tae Bo, Iowa State Daily, 1999-02-01
  18. ^ The Worst Comedians of All Time
  19. ^ "Mark Curry: Laughs kept him from suicide". USA Today Co. Inc. Associated Press. 2007-02-14. Retrieved 2007-03-19. said he changed his mind after talking to some funny friends, like Sinbad and Bill Cosby. 
  20. ^ — 702 pics
  21. ^ Sinbad Rehab — It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia TV Show —
  22. ^ It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: "Dennis Reynolds: An Erotic Life" Review – TV Review at IGN
  23. ^ Thou Shalt Laugh 3
  24. ^ Thou Shalt Laugh 3: Sinbad, Truett Hancock, Matthew Phillips: Movies & TV
  25. ^ Sinbad: Where U Been?: Sinbad: Movies & TV
  26. ^ Chen, Brian X. (January 25, 2011). "Macworld Expo 2011 Spotlights Sinbad, iOS Accessories". Wired. 
  27. ^ Sinbad at KAF: PX Problems, YouTube, retrieved 2015-10-30 
  28. ^ Sinbad – WE tv
  29. ^
  30. ^ "SINBAD TAXES Embarrassment!". Huffington Post. April 12, 2009. 
  31. ^ Sinbad: Comedian Files for Bankruptcy After Going Broke – BV on Money
  32. ^ Sinbad Files For Bankruptcy – Thaindian News
  33. ^ No joke: Sinbad's in trouble –
  34. ^ Feeling Heat from IRS, Sinbad Will Sell LA Home | AOL Real Estate

External links[edit]