IF YOU GO
■ What: Comedian Gary Owen.
■ When: 8 p.m. Friday, May 23.
■ Where: Community Theatre at Memorial Auditorium, 399 McCallie Ave.
■ Admission: $37.50 and $47.50 plus fees.
■ Phone: 423-642-8497.
■ Website: www.ChattanoogaOnStage.com.
Actor/comedian Gary Owen returns to his stand-up roots in a tour that brings him to Chattanooga on Friday, May 23. But don't be surprised if you hear him plug his next movie.
Owen reprises his role as the happily married Bennett in the June 20 release "Think Like a Man Too," the sequel to 2012's "Think Like a Man," based on Steve Harvey's best-selling relationship guide, "Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man."
Owen also has been seen in such films as "Little Man" with the Wayans brothers, "Rebound" with Martin Lawrence, "Daddy Day Care" with Eddie Murphy and as the scene-stealing "Bearcat" in "College."
When Tyler Perry met him on "The Tom Joyner Morning Show," he wrote Owen into the Season 5 cast of his TBS series, "House of Payne," playing Zach, a new barber.
In his online biography, Owen says he was always the class clown growing up in Cincinnati. After high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and was chosen for the prestigious Presidential Honor Guard. But spinning rifles and carrying flags for George Bush and Bill Clinton turned out to be the wrong job for a funny guy. "I was always smiling," he recalls. "I got yelled at for smiling all the time."
After leaving his ceremonial position, Owen became a military police officer at Naval Base Coronado in San Diego, but he says he was too much of a pushover to be a cop. He made only two arrests in three years, but it was during that time he embarked on his true calling: stand-up comedy. One night while hanging out with his service buddies, he worked up the nerve to go onstage at a nightclub. After a year of doing stand-up, he was named Funniest Serviceman in America.
He went on to win the Funniest Black Comedian in San Diego contest, which led to his first big gig at The Comedy Store in Hollywood. In July 1997, he auditioned for BET's "ComicView." Two appearances on the multicultural comedy showcase won him his own one-hour "Grandstand" show. At the end of the season, he was selected from the year's four "Grandstanders" to be the show's host. He is the only white on-air personality the network has ever had.