Sinbad | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Sinbad, now almost 50, is still wearing outfits that were embarrassing back when he was wearing them in the 80s. But his stand-up was and still is plain ol' funny. Born David Adkins, the six-foot-five-inch comedian grew up in Benton Harbor, Michigan, and went to college on a basketball scholarship. In 1985 he was a stand-up finalist on Star Search, a gig that landed him a role on the short-lived Redd Foxx Show in 1986. Though his physicality and poor-black persona conjure Foxx, Sinbad owes most to the comedian who gave him his next break: Bill Cosby, producer of A Different World, where Sinbad played Coach Walter Oakes till 1991. Since then he's perfected his Cosby-esque approach to stand-up--clean storytelling, colorful characterizations, and a command of dialects that can seduce even audiences struggling to relate. "My mama was the queen of layaway," he says. "My mama'd buy $400 worth of clothes and go put down a dollar a month. I still got stuff on layaway from 1973." Sat 9/2, 8 PM, Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena, Aurora, 630-896-6666, $34.50-$49.50.

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