COMMUNICATION BREAKDOWN

Sinbad and I didn’t get off on the right foot. Or the left foot, for that matter. The first time he called, it was a Sunday afternoon and I was doing the parental handoff with my ex and missed the comedian’s call by one ring. His number was blocked and I couldn’t call back. I begged his publicist via text to have him phone me right back. He didn’t.

Over the next three days, with my deadline looming, I proceeded to text Sinbad’s publicist more than a dozen times, asking to reschedule. She kept promising to do so, but never confirmed a day or time. I thought it was done, kaput, and never to happen.

Then, on a Wednesday afternoon, as I was trying to catch up on some sleep (aka napping), my phone rang out of the blue. Because I was asleep — pretty much dead to the world — I missed his call again. At this point, I was feeling like a total failure and planning what I’d say to my editor about the large hole that was about to appear in the arts section of this magazine.

Lucky for me, and the only luck to be had in my Sinbad situation, the seriously tall, comedic veteran called me back about an hour later as I stared at my iPhone waiting for it to ring. Sinbad was less than stellar with my apologies and lack of professionalism.

The next seven minutes and 57 seconds were beyond awkward. Sinbad had little patience to engage me. He acted as though my questions were boring and his phone was crazy staticky.

Feeling like a loser, I reminded myself that Sinbad had his flaws, too. Remember those shirts he rocked in the ’80s and early ’90s? And, according to huffingtonpost.com, he has filed bankruptcy twice since 2009 because of back taxes and other debts.

See, we all make mistakes. That’s why I’ve chosen to tell you a bit about the man, the myth, the legend rather than insert crappy quotations from the crappy interview I had with him. Because, honestly, if you’re into comedy, you’re going to go see his show at The Florida Theatre on Friday, Aug. 7 no matter what I tell you.

Born David Adkins, Sinbad has been on the road since 1983, performing standup all over the world as well as appearing on several TV series and starring in the films Necessary Roughness, Houseguest, First Kid, Jingle All the Way and Good Burger.

Comedy Central ranked him as one of the top 100 standup comedians of all time and he’s pretty much besties with Oprah, appearing on her show more than a dozen times over the past few decades.

Sinbad’s also a musician. He performs as his alter ego Memphis Red in Memphis Red & the Stank Nasty Band with daughter, Paige Bryan, as vocalist. He plays guitar. They have 183 likes on Facebook.

When I texted a friend that I’d be interviewing Sinbad, his response was “that guy’s still working?” And, yes, Sinbad is still at it. Over the past five years, he’s had a go at Celebrity Apprentice, voiced various characters in a slew of animated films and recently appeared in a USO show at Bagram and Kandahar Air Bases in Afghanistan.

Sure, a lot has changed for the 58-year-old comedian since his starring role as Coach Walter Oakes on A Different World, but it’s tough to keep that kind of success going strong for three decades.

In conclusion, I will leave you with the few things I did learn during my clusterfuck of an interview with Sinbad. He still loves being on the road though the security measures since 9/11 have made it less enjoyable. He takes his stage name from the literary figure Sinbad the Sailor. He doesn’t forget what cities he’s in, but sometimes his hotel room.

And as I’ve learned over the past week, if Sinbad’s going to call you, you best be ready.

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