The real him

Success hasn't spoiled Bill Bellamy

Fairfield Daily Republic ©

FAIRFIELD - It's 85 degrees on the island of St. Martin where comedian Bill Bellamy is having lunch with his wife and daughter.

"It's hot as hell," he says in jest, as the laps of waves interrupt the phone conversation every now and then.

Bellamy, the man who made "booty call" a household term, is taking a short break before returning to California, where he's reaping the success of his debut comedy "Bill Bellamy: Back to My Roots" and the TBS movie, "Getting Played."

The tall, handsome man donning a permanent look of innocence also starred in the FOX series "Fastlane" opposite Peter Facinelli during the 2002-03 season, WB sitcom's "Men, Women & Dogs" and the films "The Brothers," "Any Given Sunday" and "Love Stinks," to name just a few.

This year, Bellamy will be seen in the film "Neverwas" starring opposite Jessica Lange and William Hurt. But, of course, not before his performance at Pepper Belly's Comedy & Variety Theatre today through Sunday.

Yet no one would know of his successes given his nonchalant attitude toward life and his career. "I ain't tripping," he says with a laugh. And there's no reason why he should.

Are you still sporting your goat-tee?
Yeah, I have to have my manhood.

Talk to me about "Neverwas."

That will be out probably the first quarter this year. That's pretty cool and I most recently did Comedy Central's "Back to My Roots," which is playing on TV.

How is "Back To My Roots" going?

It's been great. It was a long time coming and I worked really hard putting it together with funny material that is timeless and relates to everybody.

Given all your performances, who is the real you?

My comedy is my best passageway to who I am. A lot of the characters that I portray are not who I am. The comedy is the most honest portion of my life. In my standup, I have so much fun, I tell the truth. I'm vulnerable on stage, I'm real and I share my thoughts, observations and my personal life with the audience. And I think that's what makes me funny. At the end of the day, it's about real people and learning from each other. It's fly.

Are you working on a pilot for Fox?

We shot the pilot, they just didn't pick it up. No problem, that's just the name of the game, it's up and down. Now "Fastlane," that was a great show. That was definitely a great show. They just canceled it and I don't know why.

You were with "MTV Jams" for five years. What did that do for your career?

I think what it did was expose me to the mainstream crowd. The young demographic crowd was white and black with everybody having fun. I was basically the party guy traveling and interviewing all the hot people and it introduced my name to America. From there it's been a climb doing this and that. I have to give credit to MTV.

Did you ever ask something that really upset the interviewee?

Like, "I heard your momma was a crack head. Is that true?" Yeah, that would be hilarious, but it would be bad.

Did you really enter a male pageant show before hitting comedy?

Yeah, because I look great in Speedos. it's either me or the Speedos doing something for me. It was a chance, I didn't know what I wanted to do. I did my stand-up as my talent in the pageant and people were like, "Oh my God, you were funny as hell!" I realized that was my thing. People got a sense of who I was. You feel me? I love this and I accept it. It's beautiful. I love doing movies and entertaining people. And I try to play different roles because I don't want to be the same dude. I've been a player enough times.

You're credited with coining the phrase, "booty call." For those who don't know what it is, give an explanation.

(Laughs). They know. You know. I know! We just didn't know what to call it at the time. It's like I got somebody coming by later, I gotta get me some and all it is, is just getting a call. It's not nasty, it's funny. It's, "Yo, I got this booty coming later." Girls would be saying (talks in feminine voice), "I had this booty call last night, it was OK, wasn't the booty I thought it was gonna be." (Laughs).

Of all the actors you've performed with, who made a lasting impression?

Um, most recently I would say William Hurt. It was an honor working with him. He's committed and I felt like, "Wow, that's an actor's actor." It was great. Yeah, it was hot. I was thinking, "I'm sitting here talking to William, yeah!"

Are you always a funny guy?

Yeah, but I do have a shut-down time when I break for lunch. Then I'm back.

Is there a comedian you look up to?

Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy, Bill Cosby, Uncle Bill. I've met everyone but Bill, but I'm certain I will one day.

You hit 40 last year. Any mid-life crisis?

No big deal, I ain't tripping (said in a high voice). You won't see me down the street driving big wheels, you feel me? I'm cool. If anything I'm living my dream and having fun.

As a comedian, do you take anything seriously?

I don't stress about crap (not the word used). I just live my life. I treat people how I want to be treated. Life is hard enough, it ain't worth tripping.

What do you do during your spare time?

I'm talking to your ass.

Yeah, but you don't do that all the time!

I chill. I play golf and video games. And I'm a fanatic for booty. Gotta love it.

Are you where you want to be?

Yeah, I'm on my way, this is just a pit stop to where I want to be. What I'm doing now is taking me to the next level.

What's next for you?

Big, big and hilarious movies. I want to make movies as funny as "Wedding Crashers." You'll be seeing a lot of me this year.