Tagged with "talk"
This Week's Celebrity pick is the beautiful comedian, actress, & late night talk show host, "Mo'Nique
Category: Celebrity Pick
Tags: mo'nique actree talk show host actress comedian celebrity pick word life production feature blog

Mo'Nique was born on December 11, 1967 in Baltimore,

Maryland. She started in stand-up comedy on a dare and was soon appearing on It's Showtime at the Apollo and Def Comedy Jam. She made appearances on Moesha and The Bernie Mac Show before landing a starring role on The Parkers. In 2009, Mo'Nique won an Academy Award for her performance in Precious, a film based on the novel Push by Sapphire.

Aspiring Comedian

Comedian, actress. Born Monique Imes on December 11, 1967, in Baltimore, Maryland. One of three children born to Steven Imes Jr. and his wife Alice, Mo'Nique has parlayed an extremely successful stand-up profession into a career that's seen her become an actress, author, clothing designer, and even the host of her own late night talk show.

Mo'Nique got her start as a young college student when, on a dare from her brother Steven, she took the stage one night during an open mic session at the Comedy Factory Outlet in Baltimore. The audience loved her, and the club owners offered her the chance to host her own show at a local beauty parlor the following week for $25.

Soon, Mo'Nique was taking the stage every chance she could. When she was offered the chance by her employer to relocate to Atlanta, Mo'Nique jumped at it, believing she'd catch more breaks and find more opportunities in the South to pursue her comedy.

Big Break

It proved to be a smart move. Just two years after that initial dare from her brother, Mo'Nique had earned enough stand-up work that she could pursue comedy full-time. Known for her less-than-svelte size, Mo'Nique celebrated her girth and her womanhood in a way comedy fans adored. Soon, she was on the music circuit, her brand of comedy tapped to open up for musicians like Keith Sweat and Bobby Brown.

In 1989, Mo'Nique got her first significant break when she was selected to appear on It's Showtime at the Apollo. Other big-ticket appearances soon followed, including Russell Simmons' Def Comedy Jam and BET's Comic View.

After a handful of appearances on the UPN comedy Moesha, and several other television spots, including an appearance on The Bernie Mac Show, Mo'Nique was launched full-time in the living rooms of American homes in 1999 with a starring role in the UPN sitcom, The Parkers.

Mainstream Success

In the show, the comedian played the rather outlandish mother, Nikki Parker, who attends college with her daughter and can't quite straighten out her love life. The comedy ran five seasons, and garnered Mo'Nique three NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series.

Even while keeping up with the rigors of a full-time television series, Mo'Nique made sure her stand-up career didn't suffer.

"Stand-up keeps you on your toes because it's instant," she told reporters. "With TV and movies you have to wait for the numbers to come in to see what happened at the box office. With stand-up, it's right there, that night, in your face."

To help stay atop her game, Mo'Nique headlined the 2001 smash hit Queens of Comedy, the successful female version of The Original Kings of Comedy tour. The album produced from those Queens shows, which also featured Adele Givens, Laura Hayes, and Sommore, earned a 2002 Grammy nomination for Best Spoken Comedy Album. From there, Mo'Nique returned to the Apollo, this time as host of the program, It's Showtime at the Apollo, the first female comedian to ever hold that title.

In 2003, Mo'Nique added author to her expanding resume when she penned the riotous Skinny Women Are Evil: Notes of a Big Girl in a Small-Minded World. A second title, Skinny Cooks Can't Be Trusted was published in 2006.

Diverse Roles

Despite her lack of any kind of formal training, Mo'Nique's acting started landing her movie work around the same time The Parkers run was coming to a close. A year before the sitcom's cancellation, the actress was cast alongside Danny Glover and Whoopi Goldberg in the Showtime film, Good Fences (2003).

Her comedy was also the focus of smaller roles in Soul Plane (2004) and Hair Show (2004). In addition she co-starred with Vivica A. Fox in Two Can Play That Game(2001), which earned her an NAACP Image Award Nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture.

In 2005, Mo'Nique returned to television to host the Oxygen Network's Mo'Nique's F.A.T. Chance, a beauty contest featuring all plus-sized women. In 2006, the comedian's extra pounds were at the center of Phat Girlz, a film about an overweight fashion designer in search of love.

That same year, Mo'Nique stepped into her meatiest role yet in Shadowboxer (2006). Starring Helen Mirren and Cuba Gooding Jr., and directed by Lee Daniels, the film cast the actress as a drug-ravaged woman, a role that turned the heads of critics and audiences who had grown accustomed to Mo'Nique's loud-and-proud brand of comedy.

Precious

But not everyone was surprised by the performance. Least of all the film's director, who had first met Mo'Nique a few years before and raved to her about her acting abilities. So, it was no surprise he tapped the actress again for his next project, Precious (2009), a film based on the novel Push by Sapphire. Daniels cast Mo'Nique as Mary Jones, an angry and abusive mother.

It was an ugly role, but one Mo'Nique knew how to play. As a child, she herself had been molested by her oldest brother, Gerald, and she says she drew on that experience to play the part.

"He was a monster to me so when [Lee] said 'action' I became a monster," she said on The Ellen Show.

It's a performance, too, that's proven to be cathartic for Mo'Nique, helping her deal with her brother, whom she has not spoken to in years. "It allowed me not to hate him," she said. "It allowed me not to be angry. It allowed me not to be the victim anymore." It also delivered plenty of Oscar buzz, from critics and audiences who couldn't get enough of the comedian's transformation and performance, which resulted in the actresses first Academy Award win. And it's put her on a path for other, meatier roles. Already on tap is another Lee Daniels production, a biopic about Hattie McDaniel, the first African-American to win an Oscar for her role in Gone with the Wind (1939).

?Recent Work

That's not to suggest, however, that Mo'Nique has turned her back on the laughs. BET forked over the most money it ever has to a performer for her to host her own late night talk show, The Mo'Nique Show, which debuted in the fall of 2009. And there's sure to be more stand-up and more comedy for her in the future.

"I'm gonna play this game the way I want to," she has said. "It might be serious, it might be a comedy, it might be a dramedy, it might be variety, it might be a talk show, whatever. There's no box."

But there is a little less of her. After tipping the scales at 262 pounds, Mo'Nique cut out red meat and started working out when her husband, Sidney Hicks, asked her to place more attention on her health. By the time Precious had debuted in November 2009, she'd lost more than 40 pounds.

Mo'Nique and Sydney are the parents of twin boys. The comedian and actress also has a son from a previous marriage.

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This week's celebrity pick is the fabulous late night talk show host, Arsenio Hall
Category: Celebrity Pick
Tags: arsenio hall late night talk show host word life production celebrity pick feature blog

Arsenio Hall is an American actor, comedian and former talk show host. In Chicago, he tried out stand-up comedy and was soon "discovered," later opening for Aretha Franklin and others. He appeared in the 1980s film Coming to America and Harlem Nights, but he is best known as the first black late-night talk show host. His groundbreaking talk show The Arsenio Hall Show ran from 1989-1994. He has starred in a variety of other TV projects and is slated to host his own late-night show once again in Fall 2013.

Early Career

Actor, comedian and television talk show host Arsenio Hall was born in Cleveland, Ohio on February 12, 1956. He is the son of Fred, a preacher, and his wife, Anne. Hall's parents separated when he was 6 years old. At age 7, he became interested in magic, and began performing at birthday parties, weddings and bar mitzvahs.

Hall is best known for his groundbreaking talk show The Arsenio Hall Show, which ran from 1989-94. As the first black late-night talk show host, one of Hall's distinctions is that he provided what was the first, and for a time, only, showcase for hardcore rap and hip-hop artists, and for controversial guests like Louis Farrakhan, the Nation of Islam leader.

He attended Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, majoring in communications, though he transferred and graduated from Kent State University in Kent, Ohio. Though he started out in advertising, in 1979 he moved to Chicago, switched to stand-up comedy and was "discovered" at a comedy club by singer Nancy Wilson. He got jobs opening for musicians such as Aretha Franklin, Tom Jones, Patti Labelle, Wayne Newton, and Tina Turner.

Throughout the Ď80s, Hall appeared on various comedy and musical shows, including Solid Gold, Motown Revue and The New Love American Style, and hosted a short-lived show called The Half-Hour Comedy Hour. He made his feature film debut in Amazon Women on the Moon in 1987. Hall also appeared in two films with friend Eddie Murphy: the box-office hit Coming to America (1988) and Harlem Nights (1989).

'The Arsenio Hall Show'

Back in 1987, however, Hall had tapped into what would be his most successful professional endeavor. He took over hosting duties from Joan Rivers on The Late Show. His easygoing, playful and somewhat risquť banter was a hit with audiences. Based on that success, he was approached to host his own syndicated late-night talk show. Two years later, The Arsenio Hall Show was born. Hallís deal included hosting and executive producing duties on the show, which was produced by Paramount and his own company, Arsenio Hall Productions. Starting a half-hour earlier than Johnny Carsonís late-night staple The Tonight Show in many regions, and booking younger, newer TV and musical artists than his established rival, Hall drew a young, hip audience. The show became famous for its Dog Pound "Woof! Woof!" (with pumping fist) chant and featured a range of guests that included Paula Abdul, En Vogue, Bill Clinton, Diana Ross and many more.

When Carson retired in 1992 and Jay Leno was chosen as his successor over David Letterman (whose show followed Carsonís), Letterman left NBC for CBS and started his own Late Show against Leno's. Leno started drawing young viewers away from Hall, and Letterman, who had a longstanding young audience, also cut into Hallís audience. Though the ratings dropped, Hall said in a later interview that the show was still profitable and that he chose to walk away to explore other creative arenas and take time for himself. The Arsenio Hall Show aired its final episode May 27, 1994.

Other Film and TV Ventures

Hall received two NAACP Image awards in 1991, a Key of Life Award for his work as "a crusader in the fight of human rights," and another for his show. In 1993 he executive-produced the feature film Bopha!, a story about a family during apartheid, starring Danny Glover, Alfre Woodward and Malcolm McDowell and directed by Morgan Freeman.

After three years away from the public eye, Hall returned to television in 1997 with his short-lived sitcom Arsenio, co-starring Vivica A. Fox. In 1998-99, he made regular appearances on the CBS series Martial Law.

Hall hosted a revival of the televised talent show Star Search from 2003 to 2004. He also appeared as guest co-host on such shows as Access Hollywood Live and Piers Morgan Tonight. In 2012, Hall showed the world just how business-savvy he is on the celebrity edition of Donald Trump's hit reality competition The Apprentice. He beat out the likes of Victoria Gotti, rocker Dee Snider and American Idol singer Clay Aiken to win the top prize for his charity: the Magic Johnson Foundation.

New Show

Hall made a comeback to television in the fall of 2013 with a new syndicated talk show backed by CBS Television and the Tribune Co. Upon realizing he missed his previous work and receiving encouragement from his teen son, he decided to return to the format, with the idea of there being a cross-generational audience.

"Maybe there is some nostalgia: 'I used to watch Arsenio when I was in college,'" Hall said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. "But we're doing a show for people, who have moved on, and now they can sit around with their kid who can stay up late, and there will be a lot of stuff they can both dig."

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