Submitted by Ed Condran — Correspondent
New Jersey and comedy go hand in hand. That has nothing to do with the endless Jersey jokes. The Garden State produces elite humorists almost like it produces tomatoes.
Larry David, Joe Piscopo, Artie Lange, Bill Maher and Richard Lewis are just some of the notable stand-up comics from the state.
Theres no place like Jersey, Piscopo once said. You come here and well, youre a certain way, if youre a comic.
Sommore, who will headline the Royal Comedy Tour, which stops Friday at Duke Energys Memorial Auditorium, agrees with Piscopo.
New Jersey has an impact on you, says the woman formerly known as Lori Ann Rambough. It helped shape me. I dont live in New Jersey anymore, but it has an impact on anyone that grew up there. I wouldnt be who I am without growing up in a city like Trenton. A lot of people get stuck there. But I got out when I was 19. There was no reason to stay.
The way out for Sommore, 46, came through education. She went to college in Georgia and graduated with a business administration degree from Morris Brown in Atlanta. She was a high school algebra instructor before turning to comedy.
People think teaching and comedy are two different things, but I think it was a logical jump for me, Sommore says.
Doing comedy is like instructing people, but the good thing is that they dont talk back. Theres no questions. I think I like that most about what I do.
She didnt cross over to comedy until 1992. Whats great about that is that youre never too old to become a comic, she says. You can get started at any time. So what if I wasnt 20 when I started?
Since her transition, Sommore has been featured in a number of films, such as Soul Plane, Friday After Next and Something New.
However, her ticket to the mainstream was the Queens of Comedy tour during the 90s, which featured her loose, unpredictable humor, along with comics Adele Givens, Miss Laura Hayes and comic/Oscar-winning actress MoNique.
Who could have guessed that tour would have gone over so well? Sommore says. We did really well. We became established, and I have some great friends because of that tour.
Now, Sommore is the queen among men on the Royal Comedy Tour with Earthquake, Arnez J, Bruce Bruce and Mark Curry. Although shes done well holding her own, she says she doesnt mind the collaborative approach.
Im fine with sharing a stage, she says. Its all good with me as long as I get a chance to make people laugh.