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Yo, Mama 

Comedian faces cruel critics -- like his mom.

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Like many stand-up comics, Atlanta native Bruce Bruce wants his own sitcom. But the former chef and snack-food salesman will settle for something else with his name on it: a restaurant that serves a side of comedy with the meal. Just don’t expect him to stick to the recipe. “The best reactions are from stuff you do right off the top of your head,” he says, referring to his occasionally free-form comedy sets. “Like when you just create something right there on the spot.”

Still, audiences can be tough, he says -- but no critics are as harsh as family members. The former host of BET’s Comic View recalls a conversation he had with his mom. “She says, ‘I’m looking at Comic View, and there’s a guy on there that looks just like you.’ I said, ‘Mama, that’s me.’ She said, ‘No, he’s sharp as hell!’” Still, Bruce Bruce credits his mother for giving him the thick skin he needs to survive the often brutal world of stand-up comedy. “My mama used to make a deal with us,” he says. “She’d say, ‘Boy, cut the front yard, and when you get through, don’t forget about the back. And that’s the goddamned deal.’”
July 20-21, 8 & 10:15 p.m.; Sun., July 22, 7 p.m.

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