An arresting comedian

August 23, 2007|By Dana Kinker | Dana Kinker,Sun reporter

By day, Tim "Timmy" Hall dons the uniform of the Baltimore Police Department, protecting the Central District.

After hours, he sheds his department- issued clothes and responsibilities and assumes another important job: making people laugh.

In the past few years, Hall, a 35-year-old Park Heights native, has made a name for himself in the local comedy scene. He's especially known for his routines inspired by his 16-year career as a police officer.

Today through Saturday, Hall will perform seven shows at the Baltimore Comedy Factory.

Hall's comedic style is fast and hard-hitting, with few breaks or pauses. He draws inspiration for his routines from his job and family. He has been married to his wife, Allyn, for 11 years and has two sons, Nevin, 12, and Niles, 18 months.

"I use my life experiences to make up all my acts," Hall said. "I make light of my bad days and talk about negative things that people can all relate to. Whenever something happens to me that I know I can use, I make a mental note of it and later turn it into a joke."

Hall especially enjoys using his experiences as a police officer in his act.

"I get to say what police officers can never say to citizens while on the job," Hall said. "I get on the citizens for what police officers don't like, and, when it is all said and done, everyone in the audience gets a much better understanding of who police officers are and what we do."

Comedy is one of Hall's biggest outlets for self-expression. As a comedian, he can say what he wants.

"I get to tell my life experiences, and I get to teach people through comedy," he said. "It's amazing how my experiences can turn into laughter."

Hall knew at age 15, after watching his godfather, a comedian, perform, that he wanted to be a comic. He began pursuing a comedy career at age 22.

Hall's first gig was at the National Great Blacks in Wax Museum for a black-history comedy show. He was nervous then, and now, even 11 years later, he still gets jittery before a show.

"I get nervous every single time I perform," Hall said. "The day I stop getting nervous is the day I will quit comedy."

Over the course of his comedy career, Hall said he's bombed at many shows, simply because every audience and every situation is different.

"Bombing a show almost makes you want to quit," Hall said. "It is like going to an interview and knowing right when you leave it that you did not get the job."

Hall has performed at the Comedy Factory almost 100 times. He began as an emcee and worked his way up to headlining.

His experiences as a police officer and growing up in the city help him attract a solid local following, said Matt Weber, owner of the Comedy Factory. That's why Weber books him as a headliner several times a year.

"He has a very diverse style with a broad range of topics that appeal to people of different races and backgrounds," Weber said.

Hall has also appeared on HBO's The Wire as a backup police officer, and on BET's Coming to the Stage and Comic View, both live stand-up comedy shows.

"It was excellent performing in such a big auditorium for Comic View," Hall said. "To hear that laughter and know it was going to be shown around the world was excellent."

Hall is writing a screenplay and hopes to eventually have it made into a movie.

"No matter what I am doing in the future, I know that I want to always come back to stand-up in the end," he said. "I want to someday be known as the comedian that changed the world."

dana.kinker@baltsun.com

Tim Hall will perform at 8 p.m. tonight; 8 p.m., 10 p.m. and midnight tomorrow; and 7 p.m., 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. Saturday at the Baltimore Comedy Factory, Light and Lombard streets. Tickets are $17. Call 410-547-7798 or go to baltimorecomedy .com.

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