Damon Williams, comedian and longtime host of his namesake “New Year’s Eve Comedy Bash” at Merrillville’s Star Plaza Theatre, is proud of the tradition he has created for many area showgoers.
“I have people approach me every year, throughout the year, saying they’ve been to six of the New Year’s shows and are going again,” he said. “It’s become what they do every year. There are couples that have met at the show and now they’re married and have kids.”
Making his 14th annual trip to Star Plaza for this year’s “Bash,” Williams, whop was reared in Chicago, is a pillar of the region’s comedy community as well as a longtime fixture on a national level.
Over the years, he has performed on stages alongside the likes of “Kings of Comedy” D.L. Hughley, Cedric the Entertainer, Steve Harvey and Bernie Mac as well as vocal greats Ray Charles and Luther Vandross. Additionally, Williams has been championed by laughmasters such as Damon Wayans and Jamie Foxx on stand-up shows seen on small screen channels such as HBO, Comedy Central and BET.
In addition to heavy touring, Williams has had a weekly feature, “Seriously Ignorant News,” which pokes fun at crimes gone wrong, on syndicated radio host Tom Joyner’s show for two years now. He has also created a pair of pilots, one a lifestyle/dating program and the other shot at his home and based on his family life, which he hopes to have on the airwaves in 2013.
“Tom has 115 markets and 8 million listeners, approximately, throughout the country,” Williams said. “To be on that once a week, even if it’s just a three-minute segment, is really starting to catch on.”
Over the years, Williams has brought an array of funny notables, such as Katt Williams, Bruce Bruce, and J.B. Smoove, to Star Plaza for his annual year-end comedy showcase.
“A lot of the comics we used over the years have gone on to be pretty major, but we catch them when they’re on the (mainstream) cusp,” Williams said.
For this year’s “Bash,” Williams is bringing five urban comics to the Star Plaza stage to ring in the New Year.
Scheduled to perform are Leon Rogers, who has been heard locally on Chicago radio station WGCI and was part of the Foxx-hosted “Laffapalooza” in past years, Alex Thomas, who has appeared on TV shows ranging from “Martin” to “The Parkers” to “The Best Damn Sports Show Period” and Scruncho, whose credits include films such as “For the Love Of Money” and “How High.”
Also on the roster for this year’s “Bash” is B-Phlat, who has been featured on HBO’s “Def Comedy Jam” and Martin Lawrence’s “1st Amendment Comedy Show” on Starz and Tony Tone, who was seen in P.Diddy’s “Bad Boys of Comedy” and this year’s “Godfather of Comedy,” starring iconic writer and funnyman Paul Mooney.
“It’s going to be a fun night,” Williams said. “It’s a great way to bring the new year in.”