by Nanette D. Massey
Man,if there’s one thing we all desperately need these days after coming out from our Covid lockdown, it’s a good laugh.
Helium Comedy Club in downtown Buffalo is providing us with the opportunity to do just that all weekend with former Mad TV funnyman Aries Spears.
Spears grew up in New York City and was so sure of what he wanted to do with his life, he took the bold step of quitting high school to begin his career in earnest. ”I knew what I wanted to do early so I just got my GED and flew by the seat of my pants.”
He had already appeared on It’s Showtime At The Apollo and Russel Simmons’ Def Comedy Jam by the time he took the leap and moved to Los Angeles in 1992. You have to take a deep dive into the IMdb.com database to learn that early on, he actually landed a few guest appearances on the Cosby Show spin-off, A Different World.
In movies, he is probably best remembered for his role in the 1996 blockbuster Jerry Maguire where he played the little brother “Tee Pee” (the one with the ants crawling down his bedroom wall!) Yes, the brother holding the football in the famous “show me the money” phone call scene. An interesting little known fact is that Aries actually auditioned for the lead role eventually made iconic by Cuba Gooding Jr.
“The director needed the part to go to a big draw name,” he recalled. “But he liked me and wanted me in the film, so I was the brother.”
When asked about his favorite movie making experience, Aries named The Pest (1997). “That was with John Leguizamo and we shot it in Miami. John is a very funny guy.”
In television, you know him as the man of a thousand characters on Mad TV. Spears was a series regular from seasons three through ten, making him the cast regular with the second longest stint on the show. Coming from working as a solo act for most of his career, the show “gave me valuable training in working with an ensemble cast; things like timing, adaptability to others, comedic sensibilities.” His most personally memorable characters were Belma Buttons, one of two rotund and rattling talk show hosts, and his many turns doing his impression of basketball great Shaquille O’Neal.
Spears is on the calendar for six shows this weekend, giving you plenty of chances to catch his act.
What can we expect from the comedian? “My show is non-politically correct, non-woke, old school, and raw. It’s real ‘in your face,’ real honest.”
This will be his fourth or fifth time in Buffalo, as he recalls. “I’m really looking forward to coming back out there, I always have a good time” with Buffalo audiences.
Showtime! Helium 30 Mississippi Street
Thurs, Aug 12 @ 8pm
Fri, Aug 13, 2021. Two Shows 7 & 10 pm
Sat, Aug 14 Two Shows 7 & 10 pm
Sun, Aug 15 @ 7pm
For Tickets & Info (716)853-1211