Sinbad is calling from the mountains outside of Pasadena, Calif., on his way to a voice lesson.
Is the 48-year-old comedian and actor going Broadway on us? Well, sort of. He performs Thursday at The Opera House as part of the Broadway Across America series.
“I’m the next hot r & b pop star,” he jokes.
Sinbad certainly doesn’t regret missing Boston’s “American Idol” auditions last week. “What, so they can find 10 more kids who can’t sing?”
And yet, it’s consistently the nation’s most popular TV show.
“We like the star thing. We like to see people become stars,” Sinbad says.
He knows that firsthand, getting his big break in the 1980s as stand-up comic on “Star Search.” That was different, he maintains, because he and the other comedians had to pay their dues. “You know, we put time in, 40 weeks a year working it as a comic. ‘Star Search’ was that little extra push that you needed,” he says.
“Idol” contestants talk about pleasing their fans? “Your fans? You’ve only been singing two months!” he says.
Sinbad has done TV sitcoms (“A Different World”), late-night talk shows and movies (“Houseguest”), but his most enduring work seems to be the 1996 film “Jingle All The Way,” which has become a holiday staple for airlines’ in-flight movies.
“I think it’s because of Arnold (Schwarzenegger),” Sinbad says. “Anything he touches turns to gold.”
Plus, people can relate to the idea of parents frantic over finding the “hot” Christmas gift for their children. “Every father has been through that one time. For me, it was a white Power Ranger. I stalked a supply truck,” he says.
Sinbad continues to tour, performing in theaters while plotting his next career move.
“I’ve got an idea for a sitcom, some movies. I’m a one-man industry,” he says.
But he has a clear preference.
“I love movies,” he says. “TV is what it is. It’s hard for me to work in that medium. There’s certain things that work better for me, and movies do that. Maybe it’s the size of the screen. I look good big.”

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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