About JJ Walker & Michael Winslow
Jimmie Walker, the comedian who catapulted to fame playing J.J. Evans on the CBS urban sitcom Good Times symbolised the 70s American dream of success – a former kid from the ghetto who rose to wisecracking TV superstardom. Continuing to enjoy a comedy career approaching four decades after his stand up debut in 1967, his background on the New York Improv comedy scene has stood him in good stead. With Time Magazine naming him “Comedian of the Decade.” he’s also become hot property in Las Vegas and released his best-selling comedy album entitled, of course, “Dyn-o-mite!” (his character catchphrase from the hit series). Jimmie Walker’s main focus has remained on the stand-up circuit, touring an average of 25-30 weeks a year. The rubber-faced comic continues to pop up occasionally on the late night talk show scene and in his spare time can also be found writing scripts for TV and film.
Mike Winslow, aka Larvelle Jones from the hit comedy “Police Academy” movies is the comedian and actor widely known for his unique skills at making highly realistic sound effects with only his mouth. Winning The Gong Show top honors twice in 1976, Mike Winslow emerged as an 80’s and 90’s pop culture icon when he became the only Police Academy character to appear in all the installments of franchise, including all seven movies, cartoons, and the TV series. Since then, Michael has been touring as a stand-up comedian, displaying some of his vocal prowess as the “Man of 10,000 Sound Effects”. Currently Michael Winslow is also focused on creating music which comes as no surprise for one of the most prominent innovators of beat boxing, recently collaborating on projects with Grammy award winner Victor Wooten. But it’s Mike Winslow’s unique, wacky brand of comedy alongside his unparalleled gift as a “voicetramentalist” that makes him so well loved around the world.
WATCH JJ WALKER & MICHAEL WINSLOW: WE ARE STILL HERE
A joyous two for one in this shared comedy special with household heroes “Good Times” star Jimmie JJ Walker and Police Academy’s Mike Winslow. From 70 year old Walker’s hilarious bewilderment at what the hell happened to the world, to the awesome comic soundscapes of vocal impressionist Winslow (aka Mogwai in Gremlins), this set will fulfil all your nostalgic comedy cravings.
Reviews and Awards
Jimmie Walker was named Time Magazine’s Comedian of the Decade. Mike Winslow was nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture at the Image Awards for his role in Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol.
‘Hilarious… incredible stories, jokes, and all the wildness one can handle’Broadway’Broadway World
‘He’s not going up onstage to tell you all about Good Times. Jimmie Walker goes up on stage and tells you all about these times…the main thing he wants to do is make you laugh…That’s what he does’Chortle
‘Winslow’s hilarious. His incredibly rare comedy skills, still sharp after all these years’The List
‘A hilarious whirlwind of staggering special effects, astounding sounds, and extraordinary noises’Edinburgh Evening News
JJ Walker & Michael Winslow Tickets
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Comedian Jimmie Walker was born in June 1947, in New York’s tough South Bronx neighborhood. A keen basketball player, his ambitions were not initially aimed at the stage, quitting school and working various odd jobs trying to work out what to do next. Eventually he returned to night classes at Theodore Roosevelt High School gaining a diploma and later, an apprenticeship in radio engineering/announcing. Within a year he was hired as an engineer for a small radio station. Working there allowed him time to write his own material as well as develop a reputation for his keen sense of humour, motivating the young Jimmie to try live comedy performance.
Jimmie Walker made his stand-up debut as an opening act on New Year’s Eve in 1967 for “The Last Poets,” a militant poetry group, who he stayed with for 18 months polishing his skills and building his act. Comedian David Brenner spotted him in a Manhattan comedy club and he was introduced, along with Freddie Prinze, to Budd Friedman and his Improv stage in New York. After eventually becoming a regular there, Jimmie Walker shot his TV debut on Jack Paar’s show and his successful 1972 appearance propelled him to main attraction billing.
By the age of 26, Jimmie Walker was offered the part playing teenager J.J. Evans on Good Times (1974). His catchphrase “Dyn-o-mite!” became a part of popular American vernacular and the show had a successful 6 series run. His ever increasing popularity brought appearances elsewhere on primetime TV and in Las Vegas shows as well as film roles in movies such as Let’s Do It Again starring Sidney Poitier, Airplane! , Monster Mash: The Movie and the slasher movie parody Shriek If You Know What I Did Last Friday the Thirteenth.
When “Good Times” came to an end in 1979, Jimmie returned to the stand-up stage. Speaking to The Laugh Button, comedian Jimmie Walker explains how his latest special “We Are Still Here” came about:
“Well you know, Jimmie Walker’s not one of these guys that everybody’s hankering to get…as the years have gone by, almost 45 years, we constantly are writing. We are constantly putting stuff together. It’s a constant, constant process. We work all the littlest clubs, we’re not one of the main Bill Burr, Dave Chapelle guys …We’re not the youngest guys, but I think we’re in fine shape. Not speaking for Michael. I think I’m still relevant for what I do and I think I’m still there in terms of being KIND OF funny, I think. And clean and topical, which I don’t think is being done at all anymore…My crowd is coming to see our show and they’re a little more liberal, they’re in the middle, a little more right-leaning, right of center. And they come to our show and they watch. And the people that are like that, these are people that haven’t seen Saturday Night Live since John Belushi was on it. So it’s that kind of crowd. A different thing.”
Michael Winslow was born in September 1958 in Spokane, Washington, USA and attended the Lisa Maile School of Acting, Modeling and Imaging. An unusual childhood of sorts, Mike Winslow grew up at Fairchild Air Force Base where, according to his own account, he had very few friends, passing the time by imitating the sounds of engines, animals, anything that made noise. After graduating from college, Mike Winslow performed his sound imitation act in nightclubs and theatres was discovered at a bar where he was providing (with no instruments, of course) a one man fusion jazz concert. He has openly talked about being poor at the start of his career and living in his car until eventually making enough of a reputation (and money) to make his move to Hollywood.
His first television appearance on The Gong Show brought comedian Mike Winslow a wider audience, where he performed sound-alikes of Benji the movie dog, Star Trek, and Jimi Hendrix’s “Purple Haze”. In 1984 he was the voice of Mogwai in the cult hit movie Gremlins. A year later, Island Records released a 12″ of Michael Winslow entitled “I Am My Own Walkman”. Along with the fame of being the only cast member to appear in every incarnation of the Police Academy franchise as Sgt. Larvelle “Motor Mouth” Jones, Mike Winslow also appeared as a radar operator in the movie Spaceballs, in which he performed all the sound effects during his scene himself. In 2008, Mike Winslow began hosting the motion-picture television series called “Way Back Wednesday with Winslow” on the cable station WGN America, which features movies mostly released in the 1980s. He continues to perform stand-up comedy around the globe. He also debuted his own iPhone and iPod Touch apps in 2010, bringing his sound effects and comedy to a mobile platform.
Speaking to Den of Geek, Mike Winslow talks about the realisation that his talent for sound and comedy was somewhat unique:
“Each day I learn a little bit more…When I was growing up there was just a handful of folks. And then there was Mel Blanc, the guy who did the Bugs Bunny voices. He was the guy that was capable of doing all kinds of things. And I’m sure that every country has folks that do noises. I notice that…With this whole beatbox thing. You know, I’m impressed that kids can take something that they saw in a movie and turn it into a whole art form now… After a while, I started to enjoy the music side of it. Not just comedy, because when I was a kid, growing up, we saw all the comedies. We saw everything from Monty Python, the Young Ones, and then there was the Carol Burnett show here in America. You start to understand that there’s a whole improv side to it all. A physical side to it. That’s what I decided to do in my shows, because I love that stuff so much.”
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