Walter Latham in Original Kings of Comedy, The (2000)
WALTER LATHAM (Producer) CEO, Latham Entertainment, the 29 year-old, whom many in the media and entertainment industry have referred to as an "entrepreneurial genius" is the mastermind behind some of the most successful comedic promotions in the country. His "Kings of Comedy" tour, a phenomenon that swept the country by grossing $37 million in its two years of existence, was described by USA Today as being "perhaps the top grossing comedy tour in history." In fact, the "Kings" tour, which consistently sold out in arenas seating 10,000 or more, grossed more than the Backstreet Boys' tour in 1999.
However, just a few short years ago, only Latham and his mother, Rhonda Outlaw, would have predicted his meteoric rise to fame and fortune. As a kid growing up in a single-parent home in Brooklyn, New York, Latham always dreamed of being successful, while ignoring his environment and depressed surroundings. In fact, his escape was listening to comedy albums, especially Eddie Murphy and Richard Pryor, and, dreaming of one day "making it big" in the entertainment industry. In search of a better life, he moved to North Carolina in his teens but found life there equally as difficult.
After dropping out of East Carolina at age 20 to take care of his young son Kevion, Latham worked a variety of minimum wage jobs. He eventually began working at American Express, earning $15,000 a year, just enough money to take care of his son.
Guided by his own passion for comedy and knowing that, given an outlet for laughter, people would be able to forget their problems for a while, he decided to start a promotions company to produce comedy shows. He started the company with a $4,000 loan and the unequivocal support and encouragement of his mother, (she withdrew money from her pension fund). His first show flopped because none of the artists showed. However, Latham did not let this deter him from reaching his goal.
After sending out more than 50 letters, he convinced Coors to underwrite a 16-city tour with the then unknown comedians, Bill Bellamy and Chris Tucker. The tour made money and Coors renewed his contract. And, the rest, as they say, is history!
Latham had the vision, creativity, innate ability, and instinct, to tap into what urban audiences wanted, which has led to his success.
He has become Chris Tucker's exclusive promoter and promoted the award-winning HBO Special, "Bring The Pain," featuring Chris Rock as well as D.L. Hughley's HBO Special, "Going Home."