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Don't hang up on Roy Wood Jr. 

Prank call king comes to The Comedy Zone

If laughing at others' stupidity is your preferred form of entertainment, then you needn't proceed with caution when listening to Roy Wood Jr.'s prank calls. The prank calls typically turn into hilarious and sometimes verbally abusive face-offs between Wood and his targets. This can range from him ringing people about child support termination to arguing about teenage pregnancy. His prank calls are so popular they are currently syndicated on more than 30 morning shows nationally, plus radio stations in Canada and England.

Named as one of 12 comics to watch by Entertainment Weekly, Roy Wood Jr. headlines at The Comedy Zone Oct. 10-12.

Wood says his storytelling ability is influenced by his parents, both of whom were highly opinionated college professors. He started his career in broadcast journalism, where he worked as a morning news reporter, prior to making the jump to stand-up.

But telling jokes has been Wood's forte for some time. While enrolled at Florida A&M University, he would catch rides to Florida State and get stage time during student talent nights. After years of doing stand-up and opening for big acts like Tommy Davidson, D.L. Hughley and Ron White, Wood began making appearances on Comedy Central's Premium Blend, The Late Show with David Letterman, It's Showtime at the Apollo and BET's ComicView. In 2012, he landed the role of Roy on the TBS sitcom Sullivan & Son.

The transition from stand-up to television has been a different experience for Wood. "Working in television and acting, you have to work harder to carve out a space in your life on a regular basis to do these [performance] things," says Wood.

The 34-year-old budding actor keeps himself motivated and inspired by looking at the tenacity and drive of younger comedians. "I'm inspired by the comics younger than me. They have it much tougher than I did. Seeing the young guys does something to light a fire in me that I can't explain."

One of Roy Wood Jr.'s more interesting facets is that he doesn't just call himself a comedian; he considers himself a "journalist of comedy."

Using a different kind of reporting style, he creates a comedic platform on which to educate people about present issues via a new perspective. In other words, he makes his audiences think and laugh at the same time.

While not quite a family-friendly comedian, Wood is reminiscent of Bill Cosby with his clean and tasteful material. He is often hailed as a "colorblind comedian."

"My comedy isn't just for black people," said Wood. "You don't have to be deep into politics to relate to what I'm saying. My comedy is strictly about the world we all walk through as people."

$18-$20. Oct. 10, 8 p.m.; Oct. 11, 8 p.m. & 10:15 p.m.; Oct. 12, 7 p.m. & 9:30 p.m. The Comedy Zone, 900 N.C. Music Factory Blvd., Suite B3. 980-321-4702.

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