The Papa Was Project, taking its name from the classic Motown song “Papa Was a Rolling Stone,” is an initiative to explore the the collective joys and challenges of being a father and what it means to be a dad in Detroit.
The project looks for unique ways to interact with Detroit’s dads and hosting a comedy showcase was a no brainer to founder Samuel J. Donald. Donald is also the President of Detroit Music. He says the event will not only make you laugh but celebrate dads all over.
“The Papa Was Project is dedicated to the memories of how our fathers raised us and it’s not just, I know we’re like all hard legs up in here, but everybody has a dad, and to the father that we all have had, this is a celebration of that.”
The Fathers of Funny comedy showcase, set for 6:30 p.m. Friday at Detroit Public Theatre, will feature stand-up performances by Detroit comedians who are also fathers, and explore the intricacies of fatherhood in the Motor City.
Nazim Fakir is a long-time partner of The Papa Was Project and managing partner of The Fakir Group. His father is Abdul “Duke” Fakir of the Four Tops. He says tough conversations are easier to have with a laugh.
“Using laughter in that way to talk about this subject, which is so important, it’s just an awesome thing to do,” Fakir said. “My dad, he was hilarious and in those other three guys that he spent many many years with they were like brothers, but you know I had the opportunity to be backstage with those guys and I swear if they hadn’t been singing they would have put Richard Pryor out of business.”
Stand-up comedians have a special place in society, helping audiences cope with challenging the norms, values, and power structures of fatherhood today.
Horace Sanders, a “Papa Was” interviewee and well-known Detroit stand-up comedian, and U-M alumnus, will be the host.
Sanders says audiences will get to see some of the best comedians from Detroit for a free show featuring Josh Adams, Melvin Bender and enjoy a chat.
“I work with these guys, and we like to say we’re not local comedians we’re Detroit Bridge comedians, we originated here, we travel around the country across in the international.”
This is one of several events that will explore the experiences of fatherhood in the city of Detroit through different perspectives.
Listen: Samuel J. Donald, Nazim Fakir and Horace Sanders joins CultureShift to discuss The Papa Was Project and comedy showcase