Actor/comedian/writer LaMont Ferrell is the creator of the Last Laugh Saturdays Comedy Club series which features monthly shows at the Rockdale Auditorium in Olde Town Conyers starting on June 28. (Special Photo)
Rockdale County resident LaMont Ferrell knows a lot about what’s funny.
And the Philadelphia native, who moved to the east metro area three years ago after a long residency in California, knows plenty about the serious business of producing comedy.
Ferrell has scripted and produced television shows like “Moesha,” “Girlfriends” and “You’re Kidding, Right?” and has worked as a writer for “Reed Between The Lines,” “House Of Payne,” “The Parent ‘Hood” and “Are We There Yet?”
He currently writes for the BET comedy “Let’s Stay Together” and through his company, Just Jokes Entertainment LLC, teaches a “Sitcom 101” course in Atlanta.
As is the case with many of the funny folks in the film and television industry, Ferrell got his start as a standup comedian, and he’s returning to his roots and bringing entertainment to Conyers at the same time with his latest venture, the Last Laughs Saturdays Comedy Show.
“I’m an entrepreneur at heart,” Ferrell, who lives in Rockdale County with his wife, Gwendolyn McDowell-Ferrell and their son Shane (who co-starred with his dad on “You’re Kidding”), said. “I’m always looking at opportunities and different things and I’m always looking to produce a live comedy show.
“In this area, there’s not a lot to do in terms of entertainment, so most people drive into Atlanta. There are a lot of comedy clubs in and around Atlanta, but that’s a 30- or 40-minute drive from here.
“I always felt there was an opportunity here and I’ve thought about opening a comedy club here someday, and I’ve decided to go for it and establish a monthly comedy show, so 12 times a year, people will know on the last Saturday of the month that there’s something going on in town. I want to see if we can build a following.”
The inaugural Last Laughs Saturdays show is set for 8 p.m. on Saturday, June 28 at the Rockdale Auditorium in Olde Town Conyers. Ferrell, who also has a number of acting credits, including a memorable cameo in 2009 on “The Office,” will co-host with actor/comedian Carl Payne (best known from the sitcoms “Martin” and “The Cosby Show”) and the show will include feature act Robert Hayes, aka Rob Haze, and headliner Preston Barnes, aka Bo P.
“I just decided to start something here in my own back yard,” Ferrell said. “I don’t have to fill a stadium — I just need a venue. And finding a venue here was the hardest part. When I stumbled across the Rockdale Auditorium, I decided to go for it.”
In the near future, Last Laughs Saturday will feature Damon Green and Bo Micadelic on Saturday, July 26, with Zoo Man and Joel Byars set to perform on Saturday, Aug. 30.
Although Ferrell’s brand of observational humor is on the clean side, he said the comedians’ performances in Conyers will be decidedly adult-oriented.
“This is not a kids’ show,” he said. “It’s kind of like any other comedy club. If you enjoy (Atlanta club) the Punch Line, you’ll enjoy this. I do have plans in the future of implementing a family show on another Saturday of the month, or even having an early family show and then a later show on the last Saturday.”
In addition to his screenwriting and standup duties, Ferrell is producing (along with Darrin Pearsall) his first film, a documentary on former Temple University basketball coach John Chaney, the Hall of Famer who won more than 500 games at Temple, where the 6-foot-4 Ferrell played under him.
Ferrell said the film, entitled “The Wise Old Owl,” will be modeled on ESPN’s popular “30 for 30” series of documentaries and adds he’s about “60 percent done.”
“I’d been asking (Chaney) about this for years and he didn’t really want to do it, but he gave some of his former players permission, so I’ve interviewed him and a bunch of coaches and former players,” Ferrell, who played at Temple in the late 1980s, said.
“It’s all about the legacy of John Chaney, who is best known for his coaching prowess but was truly a guy who cared more about you off the court than on the court. He did things that were unconventional for a college coach at the time, but he was a father figure to a lot of his players.”
With a host of credits behind him and many more opportunities ahead of him, Ferrell said he enjoys working in front of and behind the camera.
“I can do both and I will continue to do both. But if I had to pick one, I’d go behind the scenes,” he said. “I learned early on that there’s more power and control behind the camera. That’s where everything is. And you have the control to create, which is what I like about it. That’s what I tell my students — if you’re able to write you can create your own destiny.”
Tickets for the inaugural Last Laughs Saturdays Comedy Show at 8 p.m. on Saturday, June 28 are $15 in advance (and can be purchased by visiting www.eventbrite.com or www.justjokesentertainment.com) or $20 at the door. For more information, call 678-487-7672.
Chris Starrs is a freelance writer based in Athens. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.