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This American humor of ours, call it comedy, call it jokes, call it what you will, gives each and every one of us a great stress release if only we seize it with both hands and choke the crap out of it."--gangster of comedy, Capone." This American system of ours, call it Amercianism, call it capitalism, call it what you will, gives each and every one of us a great opportunity if we seize it with both hands and make the most of it."--gangster Al Capone History has a funny way of repeating itself. Nearly 70 years later, the Bronx is introduced to Derrick Lee, another hustler who trades in his ruggish-thuggish ways to become a successful entrepreneur and later metamorphosize the world of comedy as Capone, the Gangster of Comedy. While both Capones lives slightly parallel each other, our beloved comedian’s life is not tragic, but inspirational. Unlike Chi-town’s original crime lord, Capone, the comedian didn’t ignore the warning signs that he needed to cease the hustle. His first and last sign came in 1991 after receiving a nine-month sentence. It was then that the soon-to-be notorious funnyman knew the street life wasn’t his calling. “Jail was a blessing for me,” recalls the 28-year old comedian of his spiraling street career. “At the rate I was going I’d either be spending a whole lot of time there or end up dead.” With a second chance, Capone left the street life and became a home attendant for the mentally challenged. “It may seem a little far fetched that I chose a Samaritan job, but I’ve always been interested in helping people, especially those who can’t do for themselves.” It was at his second job, that he began to hone his comedic skills by engaging in intense snap sessions with co-workers. It wasn’t until 1992, when a promoter friend of Capone’s challenged him to take his innate talent off the streets and to the stage that his comedy career was launched. “My first show was at Columbia University,” says the eight year comedic veteran of his meager beginnings and who credits his late mother for his comedic sense. “I won the amateur contest and I was invited to perform with the heavy hitters.” Performing with professionals such as Tracey Morgan (Saturday Night Live), Talent (Wyclef Jean’s 1998 The Carnival), Michael Epps (Next Friday) opened up many doors for the boisterous budding comedian. He immediately ditched his day job after he’d saved his earnings to open his first barber shop six years ago. “It was always one of my dreams to have my own barber shop and work for myself.” Today, the notorious funnyman is also the C.E.O. of D.D.L. Enterprises (his initials) and owns three businesses in the Bronx -a barber and beauty shop and a computer store. In addition to his acute business savvy, Capone’s ability to adapt to any audience has made him a mainstay in the comedy arena. He’s performed at a slew of comedy clubs including New York’s Caroline’s Comedy Club, Uptown Comedy Club, Boston Comedy Club and tons of universities. It is this same universal comedic flair that helped Capone nab his gig as the host of Harlem’s legendary Amateur Night at the Apollo Theatre
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