Bone Hampton, emcee
The term "crossover" is seldom used of comedians, yet the word is the perfect descriptor for "Bone" Hampton, one of redemptive comedy's most well traveled and in-demand funnymen. Bone's comedic smarts know no bounds. One day he can be seen working the crowd at a comedy club, the next he's doing his thing at a church gig, and the following he's making a splash on a hit sitcom. "I look at comedy like wearing clothes," he says. "If I’m going to a prom, I'm going to wear a tuxedo. If I'm going to a choir rehearsal, I'll go in shorts and a T-shirt."
His versatility can be traced back to his modest beginnings at the University of North Texas, where Bone played football and worked towards an emergency administration and disaster planning degree. At one point, he even interned at FEMA. Despite having a full plate with juggling sports and academics, Bone and his college buddies decided to take a break to see Oscar® winner Jamie Foxx. The stand-up veteran was in town hosting a contest for the best Wanda impersonation, a character Foxx popularized on the sketch comedy show "In Living Color."
"Nobody would go up and do it," Bone recollects. At the prompting of his colleagues and a free T-shirt offer, Bone took matters into his own hands and walked up to the microphone. As he took the stage, things started on the wrong foot: Foxx introduced Bone as British one-hit-wonder Billy Ocean, hurling the audience into a frenzy. Unmoved by the clowning, Bone put on his best Wanda face and pressed on with his routine: "I know y'all not used to seeing me with glasses, but I had to go get me some bi-ficals because I thought I had bought me some collared greens, but it was poison ivy. So I broke out in a rash and I couldn’t wear any of my Vicotoria Secretions."
With "bi-ficals" Bone won over one-third of the audience. By the time he got to "poison ivy," he had the second third going. The moment he reached "Vicotoria Secretions," the whole place went nuts. As Bone wrapped his uproarious Wanda impression, Foxx was so impressed by it he decided to join Bone on stage to mouth the character’s trademark one-liner: "I'm gon' rock yo world!"
Indeed, Bone's world was never the same after that. He got his free T-shirt, but then went on to win the main Wanda competition in Dallas. The exposure led to other opportunities in the area, including a chance to hone his skills at The Steve Harvey Comedy House, where he would perform regularly. It was there that Harvey saw Bone's potential and took him under his wing. Yet Harvey kept it real with him—if Bone was to make it in the for-laughs circuit, he needed to go someplace else.
Today, Bone is gearing up for the release of "Thou Shalt Laugh: The Deuce," a DVD hosted by comedy legend and Emmy® Award winner Tim Conway ("The Carol Burnett Show," "SpongeBob SquarePants") that features some of the brightest talent in Christian comedy, including Bone, Taylor Mason ("Taylor's Attic"), Thor Ramsey ("Bananas"), Victoria Jackson ("Saturday Night Live") and Daniel Nainan. Following closely on the heels of this comedy DVD will be Bone's first PBS special, where he appears onstage with renowned musician and former "Entertainment Tonight" host John Tesh.
No matter the outlet or the venue, though, Bone's mission remains simple. "I never look at myself like I'm a funny person," he says. "I just like to have a good time. I just want to be the ringleader of the good time."