in conversation with John Salley
Unsuccessful Thug: One Comedian’s Journey from Naptown to Tinseltown
Ann and Jerry Moss Theatre
New Roads School
Herb Alpert Educational Village
3131 Olympic Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90404
$45 General Admission Seat + a copy of Unsuccessful Thug
$55 Reserved Section Seat + a copy of Unsuccessful Thug
$20 General Admission Seat
From Naptown to Tinseltown—legendary stand-up comedian and actor Mike Epps finally tells all in this outrageous, hilarious, no-holds-barred memoir.
Mike Epps is a stand-up comedian playing clubs, theaters, and arenas worldwide. He is also an actor, film producer, writer, and rapper. He has appeared in the cult hits Next Friday, Friday After Next and All About the Benjamins. Other features include The Hangover franchise, Faster, Hancock, Lottery Ticket, Next Day Air, Roll Bounce, The Fighting Temptations, the Resident Evil franchise, Bait, How High, Dr. Dolittle 2, Talk to Me and Guess Who? He has also starred as the title character in the ABC series Uncle Buck and appeared on the Starz series Survivors Remorse.
Before starring in Def Comedy Jam and Showtime at the Apollo—before the sold-out comedy shows, Uncle Buck, and becoming his hero Richard Pryor in a biopic—there was Indianapolis. And not the good part. Mike Epps is one of America’s favorite and funniest people, but the path to fame was paved with opportunities to mess it up. And mess it up he did.
Growing up in “Naptown”—what people who live there really call rough-around-the-edges Indianapolis—Epps found himself forced to hustle from an early age. Despite his mother’s best efforts, and the love of his well-behaved brother, “Chaney,” and his beloved sister, Julie, Epps was drawn to a life of crime, but as he quickly discovered, stealing and dealing didn’t really fit his sweet sensibilities. Not to mention he wasn’t very good at it—take, for example, the day he had to call the cops on himself when a dog wouldn’t let him leave a house he was burgling. After several arrests and more than a few months in jail, Epps finally realized that he was an unsuccessful thug, and instead turned to the next most obvious career path: stand-up comedy.
Heading first to New York, then all over the country, and finally to Hollywood, Mike Epps carved out a unique place in American comedy, combining hysterical tales of his family and friends with a mordant take on life in the Naptowns of America. Comedy saved Mike Epps, and here he reveals exactly how he finally grew up and got out, barely. And when describing how he survived when so many of his friends didn’t, Epps makes clear what he’s thankful for and sorry about. Unsuccessful Thug is about growing up black in America, facing down racism in Hollywood, and ultimately how it feels to fail at thugdom, pull yourself up by the bootstraps, and end up selling out arenas and starring in movies across the country.
John Salley played basketball at Georgia Tech and from there went on to become a 15-year NBA veteran and was the first NBA player to win four championships with three different teams — the Detoit Pistons, Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers. Since retiring from the NBA, he has worked in television, film and radio. Film credits include Bad Boys 1 & 2, Eddieand Confession of a Shopaholic. John has served as host for numerous award shows and was also the host of The John Salley Block Party on 100.3 The Beat Morning Show in Los Angeles. John recently hosted the Reunion Shows of VH-1’s #1 rated show, Basketball Wives. For 7 years he was co-host of The Best Damn Sports Show Period on Fox Sports Net. He was also the host of the sports talk show Ballers on BET and Game On! airing on The Reelz Channel. Visit his website.