For Sommore, the Atlantic City Comedy Festival will be like one big family reunion.
The Trenton native is looking forward to seeing her actual family in the audience, as well as her professional “family” of comics on stage.
Sommore will headline the first slate of stand-up acts 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 7, while Mike Epps will lead the roster 8 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 8; both shows are at Boardwalk Hall.
However, having local relatives on hand for her set will put extra pressure on her to land every punch line.
“It’s always pressure when your family’s there,” she says. “You can’t tell those personal jokes, but then you want to really do well — you want to show off a little bit.”
In this golden age of television, where innovative streaming sites, subscription-based chann…
With a lineup that also includes Earthquake, George Wallace, Michael Blackson, Tommy Davidson and TuRae on Saturday night, and Arnez J, George Willborn, Don DC Curry, Aries Spear and DC Young Fly on Sunday night, Sommore also wants to impress her peers.
“Here’s the thing for me — it’s a competition, but it’s not a competition, but it’s a competition,” Sommore says. “You always want to bring your big guns. You come in and smile, but you have your gun with you.”
As the only female comic among the bunch — and a headliner to boot — Sommore sees the pressure as a privilege.
“It’s pressure, but when you love what you do, it’s game day,” she says. “It’s something you work towards when you’re among other headliners. It’s rewarding that you can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them.”
A stand up for decades, the former algebra teacher doesn’t have to worry about measuring up anymore.
Sommore — who has been praised by none other than Oprah Winfrey as “a force to be reckoned with in the new millennium”— became nationally known through the 2001 Queens of Comedy tour and subsequent film, which also featured Mo’Nique, Adele Givens and Laura Hayes.
“The Queens of Comedy was a very big platform, when you have women come together and make a stance,” she says. “I had done things prior to that, but it had a big impact.”
Golden Nugget Casino, Hotel & Marina is joining the fight against breast cancer with spe…
Her big and small screen performances include hosting the “Def Comedy Jam” and “Showtime at the Apollo,” appearing on VH1’s “Celebrity Fit Club (Season 6)” and taking on acting roles in “Friday After Next,” “Family Reunion” and “Dirty Laundry.”
She also headlined the Royal Comedy Tour for five years, and has released multiple stand-up performances, including “The Queen Stands Alone,” “Chandelier Status” and “Fun Non Amously Famous.”
For her next screen project, Sommore, whose half-sister is actress Nia Long, envisions a different format than the typical filmed stand up.
“I’m not working towards another special, but am thinking about a documentary type of project,” she says. “I got a chance to do some traveling overseas this year — I went to England to perform. That’s part of the documentary I’m working on.”
In meantime, Sommore has to deliver a very important set in A.C., where her worlds are scheduled to collide.
True to her personal brand as an “adult comedian,” Sommore will emphasize the personal over being topical.
“My whole set is about how I’m looking forward to menopause,” she says. “It’s something I’ve witnessed my aunts go through, it’s something I’ve seen my mom go through. It’s a part of life, and now it’s my turn.”
One subject she doesn’t plan to address is politics.
“I don’t have to get political — I’ve never been a political comedian,” she says. “Everybody else will probably do that stuff, so I will leave it to them.”
Why things are better now for female comics
When Sommore got her start in comedy some 25 years ago, she says female comics were considered a novelty act.
“Back when I started, it was like, are y’all ready for a women, and the crowd didn’t know whether she was going to be funny,” she recalls. “But women’s presence and reputation for being funny have come a long way.”
Still, every comic has to prove themselves one joke at a time.
“Your popularity only gains you five minutes — you still gotta work,” she says.