Guy Adams: Jack of all trades, a master of Hollywood

LA Notebook

Share
Related Topics

Who is the most famous American you've never heard of? A NASCAR driver, perhaps? Some leading light from the world of baseball? Or maybe one of those country musicians who sell millions of records, but only to people with very red necks?

Actually, he's probably Tyler Perry, a comic actor who earns $125m a year and is one of the most successful men in Hollywood. Since 2006, Perry's fronted seven films, four of which went straight to number one. This week, his new flick, I Can Do Bad All By Myself, hit the top of the box office charts.

Out here, Perry isn't a household name so much as a national institution. Forbes magazine listed him as the third biggest black entertainer in America, after Oprah and Will Smith. His seven films have sold more than $330m-worth of tickets, yet all cost less than $15m to make.

Despite this, he is anonymous outside the US – where most of his films aren't even released. Fans only tend to exist within a large but geographically-limited demographic: church-going black Americans, who happen to like slapstick comedy.

Yet Perry has still flourished. He writes, produces, directs and finances all of his work, making him as independent as possible from major studios (like a cinematic Marxist, he owns his means of production). He is, in other words, a film star who defies accepted logic.

This summer, Hollywood's flops have been star- vehicles, from actors like Eddie Murphy and Julia Roberts; all the hits have been concept-driven, like Transformers and Star Trek. It's fashionable to cite this as evidence that film stars, as an institution, are in decline. But Tyler Perry's massive success makes you wonder if, instead, they're simply changing.

Not-so clinical comic timing

Kanye West's stage invasion at Sunday's MTV awards show overshadowed this week's edgiest topical joke, delivered later that night by the event's host, Russell Brand.

Comparing Britain to the US, the comedian noted: "Instead of truck, we say lorry; instead of elevator, we say lift; and instead of letting people die in the street, we have free healthcare."

The crowd were bemused. But they should have known what to expect. Last year, at the same event, Brand called George W Bush a "retarded cowboy" who "shouldn't be put in charge of a pair of scissors".

Hefner quits playing dad

Hugh Hefner, pictured, has announced he is divorcing his wife, Kimberly, 11 years after they separated: "I only remained married for the sake of our children," he told reporters. But how, exactly, do kids benefit from having a dad who lives next door, with a harem of blonde girlfriends?

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager - North West

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager - South West

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Administrator - IT - Fixed Term, Part Time

£17340 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Come and join one of the UK's leading ca...

Recruitment Genius: Property Sales Consultant - Chinese Speaking - OTE £70,000

£18000 - £70000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Opportunity for a Fluent Chines...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Refugees try to cross the border from Greece into Macedonia, near Gevgelija, on Wednesday. The town sits on the ‘Balkan corridor’ used by refugees, mostly from Syria, to travel from Turkey to Hungary, the gateway to the EU  

The UK response to the plight of Syrian refugees is a national embarrassment

Kevin Watkins
The provincial capital of Idlib, Syria, which fell to al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra last week  

'I was sure I’d be raped or killed. I was terrified': My life as a gay Syrian refugee who had to flee Isis

Subhi Nahas
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent