Sinbad loads up on local laughs

Sinbad answers a question from the audience in Taylor Performing Ats Center on Jan. 29. Proceeds from the event went to benefit the Joplin Boys and Girls Club.

Sinbad answers a question from the audience in Taylor Performing Ats Center on Jan. 29. Proceeds from the event went to benefit the Joplin Boys and Girls Club.

For a benefit titled, “Laughter For The Kids”, actor/comedian Sinbad was brought to Taylor Performing Arts Center in order to raise money for the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization.

Big Brothers Big Sisters is a mentoring program that focuses on matching children ages 6 to 14 years of age with positive role models.

This program is designed mainly for those who come from single-parent or extended-family homes.

Rona Brumback, senior psychology major, said Big Brothers Big Sisters has really made an impact on her daughter’s life.

“It has really made a difference in our lives,” Brumback said. “Being a single mother, it has really helped me out a lot and it has improved my daughter’s self-esteem.”

Brumback’s daughter Amber Ogole has been apart of the “Bigs” and “Littles” for two years.

Ogole said she enjoys spending time with her big sister because she plays all kinds of games with her. She did not think Sinbad did such a bad job either.

“I thought he was cool,” she said. “I really liked his jokes.”

Brumback said she liked how he incorporated the audience into the show.

Patrick W. Tuttle, executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Jasper and Newton Counties, said he made the choice to get involved with the organization because of its emphasis on children.

“You can’t go wrong with that,” he said.

The decision to bring Sinbad as a performer was an easy one for Tuttle. Aside from working on prior projects together, Sinbad and Tuttle were also in the Air Force together.

Making sure he gives back to the community, Sinbad has been supportive of other organizations as well.

He is the spokesperson for the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering and an active board member for Inner City Games.

Sinbad’s road to comedic stardom began on “Star Search,” leading him to roles on such shows as “The New Redd Foxx Show”, and Bill Cosby’s “A Different World”. Eventually he became executive producer of his own self-titled sitcom, “The Sinbad Show.”

Describing Sinbad as a “good, wholesome comedian,” Tuttle said Sinbad was a good choice because of his ability to connect with both children and adults.

Sinbad is most remembered by children in Homeward Bound 2 as the voice of canine Riley, his role in Houseguest and his cameo in The Coneheads.

Sinbad gave the audience lessons on what he called the “dysfunctionalisms of life.”

“Don’t feel bad if your family is jacked up,” he said. “Every family is jacked up.”

He first addressed the children who have less than favorable opinions of their parents.

“Your parents used to be cool, too,” he said. “They were cooler than you ever were; then they had you.”

He then enlightened parents on why they still have their adult children coming back into their homes. He talked about how he had nothing in his room when he was younger but how times have changed.

“Look at their rooms,” he said. “They got cable; they got computers, and they got video games. I wouldn’t leave either”.

Later in the show Sinbad encouraged audience participation by opening the floor to questions about issues such as relationships, jobs and pets.

Isiah Washington, freshman undecided major, said he was impressed with the event.

“I thought everything went well,” he said. “I was pleased with the turnout especially due to the weather, and I thought Sinbad provided some good entertainment for the evening.”

Tuttle said he thought it was a pretty good turnout for the first-time event but believes the cause is an endless effort.

“We always want more for the kids,” he said.

[ital]Forbes[ital] included Big Brothers Big Sisters on its Gold-Star list of top 10 charities in 2003. It was named for its effectiveness and efficiency.

The next event for the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Jasper and Newton Counties is the “Bowl For Kid’s Sake” on March 5.

Anyone interested in participating in this event can contact the Big Brothers Big Sisters office at 626-9244.