Sinbad (entertainer)

Sinbad (entertainer)

Sinbad, June 2008
Birth name David Adkins
Born November 10, 1956 (1956-11-10) (age 55)
Benton Harbor, Michigan, United States
Medium Stand-up, film, television
Nationality American
Years active 1978—Present
Genres Observational comedy, Satire/Political satire, Black comedy, Surreal humor, Character comedy
Subject(s) Everyday life, self-deprecation, marriage, parenting, American politics, current events, family, friends, pop culture, race relations, racism, relationships, aging
Spouse Meredith Adkins (1985-1992; 2002-present)
Notable works and roles Walter Oaks in A Different World
Himself in The Sinbad Show
Myron Larabee in Jingle All the Way

David Adkins (born November 10, 1956)[1] better known by his professional name of Sinbad, is an American stand-up comedian and actor. He became well known in the 1990s from being featured on his own HBO specials, appearing on several television series, and starring in the films Necessary Roughness, Houseguest, First Kid, Jingle All the Way and Good Burger.


Early life

Sinbad was born in Benton Harbor, Michigan, the son of Martha and the Baptist Rev. Dr. Donald Adkins.[2] He has five siblings, named Donna, Dorothea, Mark, Michael, and Donald.[3] Sinbad attended Benton Harbor High School, where he was in the marching band as well as the math club. He attended college from 1974 to 1978 at the University of Denver in Denver, Colorado, where he lettered two seasons for the basketball team.

Military service

Sinbad served in the US Air Force as a boom operator aboard KC-135 Stratotankers. While assigned to the 384th Air Refueling Wing at McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita, Kansas, he would often go downtown to do stand-up comedy and competed as a comedian/MC in the USAF Talent Contest in 1981. Sinbad was almost dismissed with a dishonorable discharge for various misbehaviors, including going AWOL.[4]

I didn't make the Air Force basketball team and went into denial. So, I kept going AWOL. My mother kept begging me to go back. I told her, 'No, I'm not going back. I'll just grow a beard. They won't recognize me. I'll just be another black man with a beard.' I was going to Georgia Tech to learn about computers. I'd go AWOL all the time. I'd just leave. I'd come back, hoping they'd throw me out.[4]

After a series of incidents, he was eventually discharged "for parking my car in the wrong position."[5]


Under the professional name Sinbad, which Adkins chose out of admiration for Sinbad the Sailor in order to stand out in the entertainment industry,[4] he began his career appearing on Star Search. Sinbad won his round against fellow comedian Dennis Miller,[6] He soon was cast on The Redd Foxx Show, a short-lived sitcom, playing Byron Lightfoot.

A Different World

In 1987, Sinbad landed a role in A Different World, a spin-off of The Cosby Show for Lisa Bonet's character Denise Huxtable. Previously, Sinbad appeared in two different one-off roles on The Cosby Show, as a principal and as "Davis Sarrette". Huxtable attended Hillman College, a fictional historically black college. While Bonet only stayed with the program for a season,[7] Sinbad stayed with the cast from 1988 until 1991 as "Coach Walter Oakes".

With the exception of later addition Marisa Tomei to the cast, the students at Hillman were all high-achieving African Americans with unique personalities, contrary to the "token" roles popular media previously focused on. At a July 2006 cast reunion promoting the series syndication on cable channel Nick at Nite, Sinbad reflected on the program: "The show was a problem. You look back, black shows were just happening...It wasn't supposed to succeed and it did. This show was never given the accolades it should have." In A Different World, Walter began to fall in love with a girl named Jaleesa played by Dawnn Lewis. She was not interested in him until he asked her to marry him. The two decided to cancel the wedding due to differing outlooks on life.

Roles after A Different World

Sinbad co-starred with Scott Bakula in Necessary Roughness, where he played Andre Krimm, a college professor recruited for the defensive line, after NCAA sanctions force the Texas State University Fightin' Armadillos to start from scratch. The Paramount Pictures film opened September 27, 1991, and grossed over $20 million at the box office.

After playing a condom in the 1992 video Time Out: The Truth About HIV, AIDS, and You, and hosting the November 21, 1992 episode of Saturday Night Live, he found small roles in The Meteor Man and Coneheads. Other appearances during this hiatus from episodic television were in the 1994 telefilm Aliens for Breakfast, and two appearances on Bill Nye, the Science Guy.

The Sinbad Show

By the early 1990s, his popularity had grown enough for Fox to green-light The Sinbad Show, which premiered September 16, 1993. In the self-titled series, Sinbad played 35-year-old David Bryan, a bachelor who decides to become a foster parent to two children after becoming emotionally attached to them.[8] The series, which co-starred a young Salma Hayek, received praise from critics for its unique and realistic portrayal of African American life.[8] Around that time, Sinbad had recently received joint custody of his two kids, Royce,[9] then age 4 and Paige, age 7, and told the press that these experiences informed him of single parenting.[8]

Black men are already responsible, already take care of our duties, but nobody emphasizes that. I hear all this bad talk against men and their children. I just got so tired of it. More than anything else, I'm showing that life has changed, the world has changed. And now the key is not going to just be parenting, it's going to be mentoring, where people who are not even in your family are going to have to go in and help. And we are going to accept that responsibility, which we used to do in our culture.[8]

The Sinbad Show was cancelled, with the last episode airing April 21, 1994. The role earned him a 1995 Kids' Choice Awards nomination for "Favorite Television Actor".

Films and other projects

Sinbad meeting with students

In 1990, Sinbad did his first stand-up comedy special for HBO called Sinbad: Brain Damaged. The special was recorded at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. In 1993, Sinbad did his next stand-up special in New York City's Paramount Theatre at Madison Square Garden called Sinbad - Afros and Bellbottoms for which he won a 1995 Image Award. The show was such a success that he was brought back in 1996 for Sinbad - Son of a Preacher Man and again in 1998 for Sinbad - Nothin' but the Funk. All of these shows have been released on VHS and DVD.

Sinbad again won a 1998 Image Award in 1998 for Sinbad's Summer Jam III: '70s Soul Music Festival.

By 1995, Sinbad had created a company called "David & Goliath Productions" that was located in Studio City.[3]

From 1989 to 1991, Sinbad was host of It's Showtime at the Apollo, and returned in 2005 while regular host Mo'Nique was on maternity leave. He hosted a Soul Train episode that aired January 14, 1995; appeared as a contestant in a 1998 episode of Celebrity Jeopardy!; and was the emcee for the 2000 Miss Universe Pageant.[10]

During the 1990s, Sinbad guest-starred on an episode of Nickelodeon's All That. In one sketch, he played the father of recurring character Ishboo, dubbed "Sinboo". He also made a cameo appearance in the comedy movie Good Burger, starring Kenan & Kel, as "Mr. Wheat", a short tempered teacher whose car gets crushed by a giant realistic hamburger. His character was modeled after Gough Wheat, a past teacher of the movie's producer at White Station High School in Memphis, Tennessee.

He and Phil Hartman co-starred in the comedy film Houseguest, where he plays Kevin Franklin, a Pittsburgh resident who owes $50,000 to the mob. Hartman, as Gary Young, comments to his children that they're waiting to pick up a black man. Taking who they think to be a well-known dentist home, Young's family is stabilized by Franklin's own unstable nature. Released January 6, 1995, the film grossed $26 million in North America.

Sinbad's film roles also include First Kid, which he starred in, and Jingle All the Way (1996). For Jingle All the Way, Sinbad won a Blockbuster Entertainment Award for "Favorite Supporting Actor - Family". He also performed his HBO comedy special "Son of a Preacher Man" at the Paramount Theatre in Denver, Colorado.

In 1996, Sinbad joined First Lady Hillary Clinton and musician Sheryl Crow in a USO tour in Bosnia and Herzegovina.[11]

The NAACP Image Awards recognized his 1996 role in Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child, nominating him in the "Outstanding Performance in an Animated/Live-Action/Dramatic Youth or Children's Series/Special" category. He lent his voice to Riley, an animal character in Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco (1996), and later voiced the horse "Hollywood Shuffle" in Ready to Run.

VIBE magazine started its own syndicated late-night talk show in August 1997 which aired on UPN, hosted by actor Chris Spencer. Spencer was fired in October, and replaced by Sinbad; the series lasted until the summer of 1998. At that same time, Sinbad performed his HBO comedy special "Nothin' but the Funk" in Aruba's Guillermo P. Trinidad Memorial Stadium.

He was also featured in a 1999 infomercial for Tae Bo, where he claimed that he was successfully using the Tae Bo system to become an action star.[12]

In 2004 he was named the #78 greatest stand-up comic of all time on "Comedy Central Presents: 100 Greatest Stand-Ups of All Time".

In 2006 Maxim Magazine ranked Sinbad as the "Worst Comic of All Time".[13]

Actor Mark Curry credits Sinbad and Bill Cosby for helping convince him not to commit suicide.[14] Sinbad was responsible for discovering R&B trio 702; convincing their parents to let him take them to a music convention/competition, under the name "Sweeta than Suga", eventually being heard by music producer Michael Bivins.[15]

Sinbad also made a cameo appearance on the television show It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia as himself in a rehab center in the episode Dennis Reynolds: An Erotic Life, which originally aired October 23, 2008.[16] His cameo was met with positive acclaim from fans of both him, and the series.[17]

Sinbad was the host of Thou Shalt Laugh 3.[18] The DVD was released on November 11, 2008 [19]

He recently performed his Comedy Central television special "Where U Been? at Club Nokia, which was later released on DVD[20] to even greater success.

On March 14, 2010, he debuted on the Celebrity Apprentice and was fired on the second episode (March 21, 2010) after losing in the Kodak challenge as project manager, placing 13th.

On January 25, 2011, he was the celebrity speaker of MacWorld Expo 2011.[21]

Sinbad currently has a reality show on WE tv called Sinbad: It's Just Family that airs on Tuesdays at 10:00 p.m.

Tax issues

In 2009, Sinbad was placed in the top 10 of the 250 worst tax debtors for the state of California. The comedian owed the State $2.5 million in personal income tax.[22]

On December 11, 2009, Sinbad filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.[23][24]

On February 5, 2010, it was reported that Sinbad put up his 2.5-acre (10,000 m2) hilltop home for sale in order to alleviate his tax burdens.[25][26]

Personal life

Sinbad married Meredith Fuller in 1985. They have two children together. [27] The couple divorced in 1992, then remarried in 2002.

See also


  1. ^ Sinbad Biography (1956-)
  2. ^ Sinbad Biography (1956-2008)
  3. ^ a b Roberts, Tara (1995-10-01). "Hanging out with Sinbad: more than a successful actor and comedian, at heart Sinbad's a down-home family man". Essence. Retrieved 2007-03-17. 
  4. ^ a b c Collier, Aldore (June 1997). "Sinbad talks about his divorce, single parenthood and his real name". Johnson Publishing Company, Inc.. Retrieved 2011-04-21. 
  5. ^ Ritz, David (1992-11-01). "Sinbad". Essence. Retrieved 2007-03-16. 
  6. ^ USA Weekend, STRAIGHT TALK, By Jeffrey Zaslow, July 18–20, 1997; Accessed 13 May 2010.
  7. ^ Weintraub, Joanne (2006-06-14). "'Different', but still the same; Cable revives black college sitcom". The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Journal Communications). Retrieved 2007-03-19. 
  8. ^ a b c d "Sinbad: TV star plays father on new sitcom; says black men can be positive role models". Jet. 1993-11-22. Retrieved 2007-03-17. 
  9. ^ Royce's name is pronounced "Roy-cee"; Hanging out with Sinbad: more than a successful actor and comedian, at heart Sinbad's a down-home family man, Essence, Oct, 1995
  10. ^ Wilson, Cintra (2000-05-17). "The 49th Annual Miss Universe Pageant". (Salon Media Group, Inc.). Retrieved 2007-03-19. 
  11. ^ Response by G.I.'s Mixed As Hillary Clinton Visits, New York Times, 1996-03-26
  12. ^ The End of the World As We Know it: Tae Bo, Iowa State Daily, 1999-02-01
  13. ^ The Worst Comedians of All Time
  14. ^ Press, Associated (2007-02-14). "Mark Curry: Laughs kept him from suicide". USA Today (Gannett Co. Inc.). Retrieved 2007-03-19. "said he changed his mind after talking to some funny friends, like Sinbad and Bill Cosby." 
  15. ^ - 702 pics
  16. ^ Sinbad Rehab - It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia TV Show -
  17. ^ It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: "Dennis Reynolds: An Erotic Life" Review - TV Review at IGN
  18. ^ Thou Shalt Laugh 3
  19. ^ Thou Shalt Laugh 3: Sinbad, Truett Hancock, Matthew Phillips: Movies & TV
  20. ^ Sinbad: Where U Been?: Sinbad: Movies & TV
  21. ^ Macworld Expo 2011 Spotlights Sinbad, iOS Accessories | Gadget Lab|
  22. ^ SINBAD TAXES Embarrassment!
  23. ^ Sinbad: Comedian Files for Bankruptcy After Going Broke - BV on Money
  24. ^ Sinbad Files For Bankruptcy - Thaindian News
  25. ^ No joke: Sinbad’s in trouble -
  26. ^ Feeling Heat from IRS, Sinbad Will Sell LA Home | AOL Real Estate
  27. ^ Sinbad – WE tv

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