Davidson at the Billboard-Children Uniting Nations Oscar party, 2008.
November 10, 1963 |
Greenville, Mississippi, US
Born in Rolling Fork, Mississippi, Davidson was abandoned in the trash at 18 months old, before being rescued by the woman who became his adoptive mother. He was a child of an interracial adoption; his adoptive parents are Caucasian, and he is African-American. He has two younger Caucasian siblings, Michael and Beryle Davidson. He and his family moved from Colorado to Wyoming to Oregon until he was about 5 years old, when they settled in Silver Spring, Maryland. He attended high school at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, in Bethesda, Maryland. After graduating in 1982, he studied communications and interned at the radio station of the University of the District of Columbia for one semester. He had jobs in the kitchen of a hospital and in the storeroom of Hechinger in Hyattsville, Maryland.
Davidson started his career as a stand-up comedian in 1986, when a childhood friend convinced him to perform stand-up at The Penthouse strip club in Park View, Washington, D.C.. He continued performing in various comedy clubs throughout the Washington Metropolitan region, Baltimore, and Philadelphia. He opened concerts for Patti LaBelle, Starpoint, and Kenny G. He performed on a fundraising telethon for WHMM in 1987.
Davidson won an amateur stand-up competition at the Apollo Theater in 1987. Soon afterwards, he moved to North Hollywood, California, where he met Martin Lawrence, who lived in his building. He performed at the Comedy Store, where Robert Townsend heard of him and asked him to be the warm-up comic for an HBO special. After performing at Luther Vandross and Anita Baker shows, he appeared on the Arsenio Hall Show.
Davidson's first major exposure came on the variety show In Living Color, where he played various characters, including his impersonations of Sammy Davis, Jr. and Sugar Ray Leonard, and child victim of Homey D. Clown.
In 1991, he released Illin in Philly, a VHS tape of a stand-up performance, which was aired regularly on Comedy Central in the 1990s, and "On The Strength", another stand-up performance, this time filmed in New York City. He has also appeared in the films Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, Strictly Business, Booty Call and Juwanna Mann. Davidson provided the voice for Oscar Proud, the father in the Disney animated series The Proud Family. He was also a recurring character on MADtvs Real M*****F***ing Talk sketches. In an episode of Comedy Central's Live at Gotham, Davidson hosted the show with amateur acts trying to make names for themselves. He was also a guest on an episode of Cartoon Network's animated/live action talk show Space Ghost Coast to Coast. Davidson did commercials for Pizza Hut in 2002, talking about the "P'zone Revolution".
He appeared in an episode of the TV show Martin playing the role of Varnell.
In 2015, Tommy and his fiancee, Amanda, appeared in Season 4/Episode 11 of Celebrity Wife Swap. His fiancee swapped with Corey Feldman's girlfriend, Courtney. In 2016, Tommy appeared on Celebrity Family Feud.
- Peterson, Miranda (February 1, 2012). "Laughing with Comedian Tommy Davidson: Tommy talks Obama, performing for the troops & how to start a career in comedy". joonbug. SkyNet Media Group LLC.
- Company, Johnson Publishing (1996). Jet. Johnson Publishing Company. pp. 14–.
- Leff, Bill; Snyder, Wendy (September 18, 2013). "Actor and comedian Tommy Davidson reminisces with Bill and Wendy about his "In Living Color" days, compares his life to Webster and talks about his upcoming show at Laugh Factory Chicago" (audio). WGN Radio.
- Brown, DeNeen (February 18, 1996). "In Living Black-and-White: How Tommy Davidson's World Shaped His Very Funny Comedy". The Washington Post. p. G1.
- Maron, Marc, "Episode 605 - Tommy Davidson / Phil Hendrie", WTF with Marc Maron, May 25, 2015. (24th minute).
- Gebreyes, Rahel (October 27, 2014). "Tommy Davidson Looks Back On Being Adopted Into A White Family In The '60s". The Huffington Post.
- Stoddard, Christine (May 15, 2013). "Comedian Tommy Davidson Comes to Richmond". Richmond Times-Dispatch.
- Piccoli, Sean (April 20, 1990). "From strip joint to Fox: He's `In Living Color'". The Washington Times. p. E1.
- "WHMM Kicks Off Spring Membership Drive". Washington Informer. March 11, 1987. p. 18.
- Doup, Liz (January 8, 1991). "The Fresh Face of Fame". The Sun-Sentinel.
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