Shake It Up

Comedian Earthquake has already erupted here several times. "I've always loved Houston, especially when it comes to females," he says. "But the heat is terrible. I once saw an illegal alien turn himself in to go back to Mexico! He couldn't handle it!"

Earthquake can handle the fact that he was recently awarded the Holy Grail of every stand-up comic's quest: his own sitcom. Known for his good-natured, direct brand of comedy, Earthquake is hoping to follow in the paths of Ray Romano and D.L. Hughley instead of, say, Tom Rhodes and Margaret Cho. He'll also be releasing a DVD, About Got Damm Time, in June.

"I play the black Archie Bunker," he says of the upcoming ABC show. When reminded that that pretty much also describes George Jefferson, he notes that his character will be in a different tax bracket. "George Jefferson was financially secure; that's why they called it 'movin' on up.' On my show, I won't have that kind of economics to support a family." Earthquake says he'll also follow a very Seinfeldian rule: Take advantage of your established persona, then surround yourself with a great cast.

The man born Nathaniel Stroman didn't even think of a career in comedy until after spending a decade in the air force, where, he notes, "ain't too much shit that's funny. And I didn't know it could be an actual occupation, that they paid people to act like a fool!"

It was while headlining a recent comedy/soul music fest with Earth, Wind & Fire that Earthquake learned a valuable performance lesson -- about the difference between what you say and how you say it.

"My favorite song of theirs is 'Reasons,' and people think it's a love song, but they never listen to the words!" he bellows. "It's about a one-night stand -- he's trying to find a reason to still be with her! You see couples hugging and crying, and saying, 'That's our song, baby.' But it's about leaving the bitch! How romantic is that?"

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Bob Ruggiero has been writing about music, books, visual arts and entertainment for the Houston Press since 1997, with an emphasis on classic rock. He used to have an incredible and luxurious mullet in college as well. He is the author of the band biography Slippin’ Out of Darkness: The Story of WAR.
Contact: Bob Ruggiero