J. Anthony Brown is not a newcomer to The StarDome Comedy Club in Hoover; in fact, he’s one of its earliest performers.
“I was probably one of the first comedians to perform at The StarDome when it was downtown,” he said, adding that the club moved two times before landing its third and current location. “…I was one of the first comedians to start there. [StarDome Owner Bruce Ayers] owned a bar and we performed there…That had to be 30, 35 years ago.”
“I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: The StarDome is one of the best comedy clubs in the country,” he said. “Seating-wise, operation-wise, the way the fans treat you, and Bruce is just an all-around good guy. It’s great to come back to Birmingham.”
Brown will perform at The StarDome from March 10-12.
Tom Joyner Show
Most radio listeners probably know Brown from “The Tom Joyner Morning Show,” where he worked for 20 years. It’s only been about four months since his departure from the show.
“I want to say this because a lot of people think I quit because of money. I did not quit the Tom Joyner show because of money; the money I was making was very good money. I quit because I wanted to advance. I wanted to have my own weekend radio show,” he said. “They didn’t see fit to get behind me and give me that. So, I made a decision and the decision was very simple. I didn’t know what I was going to do, but I knew what I wasn’t going to do, and I wasn’t going to sit there another day and help make this better if [they] didn’t see fit to give me something of my own after 20 years of service.”
“Sometimes, you have to make that decision,” he continued. “You can stay there and sometimes people start treating you like a piece of furniture and it’s just [what] happens when you’re on something or do something for a long time; they overlook you. I just got tired of it,” he said. “It wasn’t money, it wasn’t a dispute or hatred towards Tom or anything like that. It was just the powers that be just didn’t see fit to give me a two-hour weekend show.”
Now, Brown hosts his own two-hour countdown show, “The J. Anthony Brown Show,” which broadcasts to 18 markets each weekend on Accelerated Radio. He also works week days on “The Sheryl Underwood Show,” which is broadcast to 95 radio markets. He hosts the podcast “The Drink Tank,” which features comedians discussing politics and is broadcast from Brown’s own J Spot Comedy Club in Los Angeles. The club has been business for 10 years and is one of the few that is black-owned and black-operated in the country.
Brown always wanted to be a comedian, but was first a tailor.
“On my way to designing school, my grant was cut short, so I wasn’t able to start. But I ended up getting a tailoring job in Atlanta and worked at different clothing stores… I just loved comedy. I love the power of making people laugh.”
His move to Atlanta jumpstarted his comedy career. Brown tried out at a gong show competition held at Mr. V’s Figure Eight, a local club.
“[I] didn’t get gonged—I didn’t win, but I didn’t get gonged. But I did get the job as the host and that really launched my career. It allowed me to have a place every week to work,” he said. “If you’re an entertainer or [with] any field you’re in, if you can do it consistently, if you have a place where you can do it consistently, it makes a big difference…And the fact that he was paying me $100—that was great money back then. So, that was the launch of my career in terms of doing stand-up and it’s been very successful. I’m really happy with it.”