Miami’s comedy scene is packed with comedians, both newcomers and seasoned veterans. Comedian Larry Dogg has taken his journey to the next level with his comedy band, The Larry Dogg Band.
“The inspiration of live music … I started listening to a band called Frankie Beverly and Maze,” Dogg said of his motivation for mixing his comedy with music. “And, it inspired me, the words that he said about people. About making families feel good, uniting people; his music has inspired me so much.”
The comedian has been on the entertainment scene for 18 years and with his band for seven. Dogg is from Liberty City and prior to a career in comedy, his bread and butter was selling drugs. While he has had his own troubles with the law in the past, his close friends’ experiences helped him to transition from one chapter of his life to the next.
“I had three best friends that got killed,” Dogg said. “They got killed in the streets. I have had tons of friends that have gone to prison. I have been to jail a few times, but that did not change my life. It was when my friends got killed. ... That changed my life.”
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Since then, he has been a full-time comedian. He does a lot of local dates, but also spends a good chunk of his time on the road performing in cities throughout Florida. He performs with his Larry Dogg Band and also by himself. You can find him every Wednesday at Gingerbay Café, 1908 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, hosting a weekly comedy show.
His band does covers of Frankie Beverly and Maze; the O’Jays; and other artists that create soul music. The Larry Dogg Band is slated to perform on Feb. 26 at the Pompano Street Festival. Although Dogg is not a professionally trained singer, he says that he literally developed his voice for singing by imitating his musical inspiration.
“I used to sing in the car, to his voice,” Dogg says of training to sound like Frankie Beverly. “I practiced his voice so much that I started sounding like him. It used to scare me, I sounded just like him. And people used to say, ‘You know, you sound just like him.’ ”
As of right now, Dogg performs a selection of about 60 covered songs with the band. He also adds that he has had the talent to create laughter for as long as he can remember.
“I always wanted to be a comedian,” said the underground veteran. “I used to love to make people laugh. I mean, I have stories about getting stopped by the police. If you can make a cop laugh, you won’t get a ticket.”
Brian Massey, 25, of Hollywood, says he “grew up watching a lot of funny people. Larry was one of them.”
“Growing up in Miami, I knew that he was one of the local comics that people could really relate to and feel like he represented the streets,” Massey said.
Dogg says that every show he performs is unique.
“I was trying to separate [the two] when trying to get booked,” he said. “It has been hard for me for the past couple of years. No one knew if they should book me for the band or book me for stand-up. They would come up to me and say, ‘What do you do?’ When I’m singing, if I improve a joke while doing a Prince song or Bobby Womack song, that is what I will do. But I can’t give you stand up and then start singing. Now people are getting it, that this dude is multi-talented.”
Ultimately, Dogg is focused on the experience that his shows deliver. He said that his versatility is what helps to make him special and able to pull the emotion out of his audiences.
“I made you laugh, first,” he said. “I made you cry. I made you think about somebody you could be with. I made you think about somebody that passed away. That is what I leave, that’s what they take away from my shows.”