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With the state near bankruptcy, Madigan and Rauner at each others' throats, and Mayor Rahm talking about laying off 1,400 school employees, I figured I needed a little levity.
Or at least a break from politics.
So who—of all people—did I turn to?
Rickey Hendon, one of the west side's master political wheeler-dealers.
I know it sounds strange to look to a former alderman, state senator and committeeman for a break from politics.
Here's how it happened . . .
I got a call from Frank Coconate—speaking of political wheeler-dealers—telling me to check out Rickey Hendon's latest protect.
I'm like—Rickey Hendon? The last I heard he was running Willie Wilson's presidential campaign—a long-shot act of delusion if ever there was one.
"No, man," said Coconate. "He made a video."
So I clicked on the link and found myself watching a four-minute music video called "Bad Azz Kids"—written and produced by Rickey "Hollywood" Hendon, who also stars. It's directed by his niece, Maisha Carter.
And let me tell you—I loved it!
I mean, I was roaring.
Plus, it's got this nifty beat, featuring catchy lines like . . .
"Kids—these doggone kids. Did you see what they did? / These doggone kids."
And . . .
"My crazy wife, she's at the mall—spending it all. / Boy, get your ass down off that wall."
That's 'cause one of the kids is literally climbing up the wall.
I'm hooked, people. I've been singing that damn song day and night—it's driving the dog crazy!
OK, I confess. I got this thing for tasteless slapstick. Don't get me started on Booty Call or American Pie.
But I'm telling you—Hollywood Hendon's no joke when it comes to comedy. He's got a presence. Think Bernie Mac meets Benny Hill.
After watching the video, I had to call him for the scoop . . .
"I've always been into comedy—even before I got into politics," he said. "I studied at Second City. I formed a group called Chicago Comedy Company. I went to California for a minute. I worked with lots of guys. L.C. Satterfield—he's in the video. Jimmy Spinks. I worked with him too."
That would be James Spinks, who played Harpo in Car Wash, one of the 70s greatest comedies.
"You know, they call me Hollywood," Hendon continued.
"Yes. How did you get that nickname?"
"A reporter gave it to me. I can't remember his name—one of those City Hall reporters. He didn't mean it for flattery. But we just took it and ran with it."
In the video, Hendon plays a put-upon father who has to babysit a bunch of wild and crazy kids while their mothers go shopping at the mall.
Hold it, I feel the song coming on . . .
"Kids, these doggone kids . . . "
Hendon wrote the lyrics. The music's composed by Earl Powell.
"They want to Mary J. Blige me—put me in a box," says Hendon. "But like Mary J. Blige says, 'I just don't sing sad songs.' And I just don't do politics.
"We plan to make 12 of these videos. Shoot them right here in Chicago—on the west side. The next one's called 'Stupid.' We start shooting on July 11. I'm going for it. If I don't make it, at least I had some fun."