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Tuskegee grad finds comedy overcomes adversity


Darryl Moore’s fellow humorists call him the “Meanest Comic in the World.”

And considering some of the things he’s gone through bouts with cancer, depression and being homeless you wouldn’t think he has much to smile about.

But Moore has dedicated his life to making others laugh and his nickname has more to do with his sidesplitting routines than his personality (he’s a nice guy, by the way).

The up-and-coming comedian/actor currently has a lot on his plate. He recently appeared in the movie “Three Can Play That Game” starring Vivica A. Fox (the sequel to the movie “Two Can Play That Game”). He is also scheduled to perform at the 50th anniversary celebration of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in Atlanta in August.

“I truly believe it’s my time to shine,” Moore said. “I have been through so many obstacles and different periods in my life, but God continues to bless me and continues to allow me the chance to make the world laugh.”

His interest in comedy started at Tuskegee University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s in education. He cracked jokes with his peers all the time and people would constantly tell him he should become a comedian. Moore, however, dismissed the idea.

But, soon, all the laughter stopped.

Moore was diagnosed in 1999 with cancer, a disease his mother and uncle were already battling. Things got worse in 2002 when he went through a divorce. Between that and surgery to remove a cancerous tumor, Moore suffered a nervous breakdown.

“It was just everything coming down at once,” Moore said.

And to top it off, Moore found himself homeless for a brief period. He lived in Atlanta at the time and was sleeping in his truck.

He decided to turn his life around in 2004 and found motivation in comedy.

“I was sitting around watching Comedy Central and (BET’s) ‘Comic View’ and I said to myself ‘I could do that.'”

Moore found out about an open mike contest being sponsored by a local radio DJ in Atlanta. He decided to participate in the show something that was not well received by his then pregnant girlfriend.

“She told me if I went and did the show, she’d have an abortion,” Moore said.

Moore sneaked out to perform anyway and his girlfriend made good on her threat.

Reeling from the guilt of the death of his unborn child, Moore fell into a deep depression.

In 2005, Moore found the strength to turn his life around with the help of God.

“I went to church one day and Kirk Franklin was there performing and he pointed directly at me and said “If you don’t let your anger and sadness go, you’ll never make it.’ “

Moore took the advice to heart and put the horrors of the past behind him.

He got a big boost from another celebrity, comedian J. Anthony Brown.

“He heard me and some friends joking one day and asked me if I did any comedy,” Moore said. “When I told him I didn’t, he said I should.”

Brown sat him down for 20 minutes and schooled him on the business of comedy. A week later, Moore took the stage.

“From the first laugh I got, I was addicted and I’ve been doing it ever since,” he said, noting the experience has been good, but also challenging. “I’ve performed in front of eight people, I’ve been booed and people have thrown stuff at me, but I keep going.”

Moore, who is now cancer free, hopes his comedy will be a means to an end. His long-term goal is to start a nonprofit for young men who have dropped out of school that could provide job training and other benefits.

“My dream is to have it in every major city one day,” he said. “I want to leave a legacy for my sons.”

– Associated Press

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