SUISUN CITY — Anthony McKinley has gone from being a criminal to a comic.
Performing under the name Scruncho, McKinley said he never said goodbye to the friends who he got in trouble with.
“I just don’t say hello to them as much,” he said, laughing.
Scruncho comes to Dimitri’s next weekend.
“The thing about my show is it’s more than comedy,” he said. While it’s edgy, Scruncho said he doesn’t single out people in his audience. “I don’t knock anyone,” he said.
He also strives to make the show personal by sharing his pain and hurt.
“Sometimes pain has a way of making you feel you are the only one going through it,” he said. “But at the end of the day, there’s always some light.”
Scruncho said he got his break in comedy while running from the police and into a comedy club, getting up on stage and grabbing the microphone.
“When the police walked in, everyone was laughing and they walked by,” he said.
He loves the Bay Area and has performed in many clubs where “no one pays to get in.”
“That means a lot of people were not there to see comedy and you’ve got to win them over,” he said.
Bay Area audiences either love you or hate you. And when they don’t like you, they will let you know, he said.
Classic comics, such as Charlie Chaplin, are among his favorites. So are the Marx Brothers. He thinks Scruncho would have fit in perfectly with Harpo, Groucho, Chico, Gummo and Zeppo.
Richard Pryor has been an influence, too.
“He was the first comedian to bring characters from the ’hood to life,” he said. “A lot of people study him.”
Finding peace within has changed his life, Scruncho said. However, he doesn’t like the term “new person.”
“You become who you are. I’ve done a lot of bad things but God knew I had a good heart. There a lot of people who have done good things but have a bad heart.
“You can’t trust what you see with the naked eye. You have to walk by faith, not by sight.”
He put that faith in fellow comic Mike Epps.
“He has singlehandedly opened all the doors for me,” Scruncho said.
Scruncho is best known for his performances on Martin Lawrence’s “1st Amendment Stand-Up” comedy show on Starz and his one-man show, “All I Need is a Hug,” produced by Epps.
He’s got a publishing deal for a book he wrote about his life and one-man show.
He dreams of working with George Lopez.
“Where he came from and what he is to the Latino community is what I am to the black community,” Scruncho said. “He’s so genuine.”
Reach Amy Maginnis-Honey at 427-6957 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/amaginnisdr.