- Aug. 13, 1988
Dayton Daily News (OH)
1985: The comedy boom is in full swing. Mike Bowling, the successful creator of the stuffed animal the Pound Puppy, opens Jokers Comedy Café, 8900 Kingsridge Drive. 1988: The annual summerlong talent competition Jokers Joke Off begins. The event has been the launching pad for comedians such as former MadTV cast member Pat Kilbane and television personality and ex-Soul Train host Mystro Clark.
- Jul. 23, 1994
Variety; July 1994
Columbia TriStar Television Distribution's naming of nine comedians to star in the comedy television program; Tommy Blaze; Mystro Clark; Deborah Magdalena; Dan O'Connor; Stan Quash; Brad Sherwood; Nancy Sullivan; Shawn Alex Thompson; Lou Thornton.
- Jan. 16, 1996
"THE JOKE'S ARE ON HIM"
Dayton Daily News (OH); January 16, 1996,
Jokers Comedy Cafe, which only minutes before had been packed with laughter, was nearly empty now. All that remained were the empty beer bottles that littered the tables and the old cigarette smoke that hung from the ceiling. And the caricatures on the walls. Framed drawings of Leno and Belushi, Dangerfield and Carlin.
Surrounded by the images of comics who had climbed to the peak of their profession, Mystro Clark talked about his own ascent. The University of Dayton graduate had been steadily climbing for five years and now the top of the hill was in sight. In March, he reported, he would be starring in his own sitcom on the Fox network. "It's sort of Archie Bunker meets Larry Sanders," is how he describes the show's premise. "Right now the working title is the Mystro Clark Show . But I wouldn't mind if they changed it. When you have your name on the show, that's a lot of pressure."
But, when you have your own name on a network television show, that also means you have reached the top. When you go from amateur nights in Dayton comedy clubs to Warner Bros. productions in Burbank, Calif., it means you have successfully scaled a slippery slope.
And that made this recent weekend gig at Jokers a triumphant homecoming for "Mystro" Clark.
A turnaway crowd packed the room for his opening show, on the eve of his birthday. Friends and family were there to cheer his return. Strangers paid $10 just to laugh. He gave them plenty of reasons for both.
For more than an hour he filled the room with cheers and laughter, skewering everything from Santa Claus to O.J. Simpson.
It was not, to be sure, a routine for the faint of heart or the sensitive of ear. Even in a venue where language is liberal, his monologue was harsh, filled with enough 12-letter words to make Richard Pryor blush.
But offstage, after the crowd was gone and all that remained were the empty bottles and stale smoke and waiting friends, he sheds the hard edge of his comic persona. Offstage, he is polite. Well-spoken. The sisters at Chaminade-Julienne High School would have been proud of their graduate as he discusses the journey that has brought him one step from the top.
It has been an improbable journey that began during his sophomore year at the University of Dayton, where his original interests tended more toward medicine than mirth.
He was on the road to a degree in medical technology when an impromptu trip to Wiley's Comedy Club presented an unexpected detour. Challenged to take the stage on an "open mike" amateur night, he rapped out five jokes and felt the warmth of an audience laughing for the first time. The next week he returned and felt the chill of an audience's indifference. But it didn't matter. He was hooked on humor. He went on to get his degree in medical technology, but his post-graduate work was done for laughs.
Using the nickname given to him by battalion-mates in his ROTC program he moved to Los Angeles and began piling up comedy credit hours in clubs and competitions.
Like all young comics, he paid his dues. But he paid them quickly.
"I gave myself four years to make it," he says. "If it didn't look promising after that, I was going to go to medical school."
But the four years brought more than promise. They brought him dates at major comedy clubs and television appearances on such shows as HBO's Def Comedy Jam , the Apollo Comedy Hour, Soul Train and a short-lived syndicated series called The Newz. Now, just a step from the top, Mystro Clark sits in the nearly empty room at Jokers, surrounded by the faces of comedians who have traveled the same road, climbed the same hill.
"Hopefully," he says, pointing over his right shoulder to the image of George Carlin, "they'll have a caricature of me up there some day."
- Aug. 20, 1996
Variety: August 20th, 1996
Disney Television has inked an exclusive TV deal with comedian Mystro Clark, and hopes to create a sitcom around the talent. Clark is said to have signed a one-year deal in the mid-to-high- six-figure range with the studio.
Other bidders for Clark's talents were said to include Warner Bros., Fox, NBC and ABC. NBC was said to have offered a six episode deal to Clark.
- Sep. 2, 1996
Mediaweek; September 2, 1996
Walt Disney Television has snapped up actor and comedian Mystro Clark for an exclusive deal, part of the studio's recent charge to create sitcoms around stand-up comics. Most recently, Clark starred in Fox's short-lived sitcom, The Show. His regular credits include The Newz, with guest appearances on The Parent 'Hood, Def Comedy Jam and several syndicated shows.
- Aug. 21, 1997
Variety: August 21st, 1997
Actor Mystro Clark has caught boogie fever. He’s picking up the baton as the new host of “Soul Train,” the syndicated weekly dance show that’s hustling, bumping, grinding and freakin’ into its 26th season this fall.
“Soul Train,” distributed by Tribune Entertainment, has been using celebrity guest hosts ever since exec producer Don Cornelius bowed out in 1993 after 22 years as the show’s frontman.
Clark will also be seen this fall alongside Scott Baio in the Fox sitcom “Rewind.” Clark’s TV credits include the Fox comedy series “The Show” and the Columbia TriStar syndie strip “The Newz.” He’s set to make his feature film debut later this year in Trimark Pictures’ “Chairman of the Board,” with Raquel Welch and Carrot Top.
Said Clark: “I couldn’t help but be awestruck over the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of someone whom I’ve admired as much as Don Cornelius.”
- Dec. 23, 2001
Dayton Daily News: December 23, 2001
Mystro Clark gave up a budding career as a science teacher to tell jokes for a living. Now he's beginning to live up to his name with a new career in rap music. The Chaminade-Julienne High School and University of Dayton graduate continues his mirth-making with two R-rated shows Wednesday at Jokers Comedy Cafe, but rap is his latest gig.
After starring in a network comedy series and hosting Soul Train for three years, Clark suddenly found himself with time on his hands this year.
`For the first time in five years, I didn't have a show,' he said in a call from his Los Angeles home. `So I did some soul-searching. I said to myself, `OK, what do I want to accomplish that I haven't?'
`Rap has been a hobby of mine since high school and I like the creative freedom of writing a song and not having 10 other people telling you what to do, so I'm getting some music stuff going.'
Clark launched Mystrotic Records and has recorded two rap singles on the label. One of them, Are You Ready , has gotten some radio play. On the other, Shake It Up , he raps with three nephews from Dayton.
He's also doing some dramatic acting. Clark plays a cop on That's Life , the CBS series about a thirtysomething college student and her family. He pops up on every third or fourth show. In its second season, That's Life airs at 9 p.m. Fridays on Channel 7.
"I'm having a good time," he said, "and I don't have to tell a joke all the time."
After a year of teaching in public schools and an Army tour, he landed in Los Angeles in 1991.
A brief stint as a hospital medical technician in Santa Monica didn't quench his thirst for laughs.
His hard-edged routines on HBO's Def Comedy Jam and The Apollo Comedy Hour got the attention of Fox Television bigwigs. In 1994 they cast him as a member of the late-night sketch-comedy show, The Newz . It lasted just one season, but it taught Clark how to think fast on his feet and feel comfortable in front of a camera.
It also earned him a co-starring role on The Show , a prime-time Fox sitcom. Clark played a black TV producer who grappled daily with a white writer.
The Show was axed after one season, but Clark's talent was obvious. He was slated to co-star with Scott Baio in another Fox sitcom, Rewind , but it was yanked in 1997.
No problem for Clark: The same year, he landed a job as host of TV's syndicated Soul Train .
After three years on the long-running rap/soul program, he said. "It was time to move on."
His film career has been moving on too. Clark played a surfer in the 1997 flick Chairman of the Board with Raquel Welch and Carrot Top and landed a co-starring role with Dolph Lundgren in Storm Catcher .
`What I'd really like to do is martial-arts films,' said Clark, who has studied martial arts since childhood. `In Storm Catcher, I got to kick a couple of bad guys out of a moving van. I'd like to do more of that."
Kick butt? Actually, Mystro has done plenty of that already.
* Who: Comedian Mystro Clark.
* Where: Jokers Comedy Cafe
* Tickets: $15, $20 and $30.95 for dinner show.
- Mar. 28, 2002
Daily Variety; March 28, 2002
A team of Hollywood heavyweights have their new ball game.
"SlamBall," a long-in-development new sport, will debut as a TNN television series with the intention of becoming a sports league. Concept comes from Tollin/Robbins Prods. and Telepictures Prods., which have drafted sports entrepreneur Pat Croce to get the game going."'SlamBall represents what we're looking for for Saturday nights on TNN," said Jim Burns, the network's senior VP of current series and sports programming.
NBC, will provide play-by-play for the show, while former NBA star and Fox broadcaster Reggie Theus will do color. Mystro Clark ("Soul Train") and femme announcer Jaime Little (motorcross programming) are sideline reporters.
- Oct. 20, 2004
Hollywood Reporter; October 20, 2004
Style Network has ordered 13 episodes of "Pulled Over," a new family-makeover series created by actor-comedian Steve Harvey and his producing partner Rushion McDonald. Each one-hour episode of the series, set to debut on the cable channel in December, will feature one fashion-challenged family getting "pulled over" and taken into "custody" to receive a complete makeover, including its wardrobe, home and automobile. Actor-singer Nia Peeples and actor-comedian Mystro Clark are set to host "Pulled Over," a co-production with Chameleon Entertainment.
- Mar. 30, 2006
E News, Update: March 30, 2006
Jennifer Elise Cox (Mary on "Six Feet Under"), Jane Lynch (Joyce Wischnia on "The L Word"), Wendi McLendon-Covey (Deputy Clementine Johnson on "Reno 911!"), Sam Pancake (Cameron on "Kitchen Confidential"), Mystro Clark (guest star on "The Shield") and Jack Plotnick (Steve Mamella on "Reno 911!") have reportedly been named the principal cast members of the upcoming comedy, about a matchmaking agency marketed to customers as an "elite Beverly Hills" company, despite its location in Tarzana, California. Details on their respective characters weren't given. The series, which is set to bow on Mondays at
11pm, comes from Big Cattle Productions and Lionsgate Television with Brad Issacs, Eric McCormack, Guy Shalem and Michael Foreman serving as executive producers.