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Walter Latham kicks off “Latham Entertainment Presents” tour

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Walter Latham, producer of the hit concert films “The Original Kings of Comedy” directed by Spike Lee, and “Queens of Comedy,” Showtime’s highest rated special last year, announces his upcoming tour with his next wave of comic finds.

“Latham Entertainment Presents,” will highlight top comedians Earthquake (Def Comedy Jam), Bruce Bruce (The Wash, BET’s Comic View), Rickey Smiley (Friday After Next, Host of ComicView 2000), Sommore (Host of Russell Simmons’ Def Comedy Jam) and D.L. Hughley (The Hughleys, Original Kings of Comedy) and is hosted by J. Anthony Brown (Living Single, How to be a Player) in a two-part tour.

The first leg of the tour kicked off this fall, premiering in Houston on October 4, 2002; travelling across the country over a four week period, with dates in Miami, Baltimore, Memphis, New Orleans, Detroit, Cleveland, Atlanta, Charlotte, New York, and ending in Hampton, VA. The second leg will begin on January 17th, 2003 in Los Angeles and travel to Oakland (1/18), Washington DC (1/24), Philadelphia (1/25), Chicago (1/30), Greensboro (2/14), St. Louis (2/16) and Richmond, VA (3/14).

Walter Latham, the 31 year-old, whom many in the media and entertainment industry have referred to as an “entrepreneurial genius” is the mastermind behind some of the most successful comedic promotions in the country.

His Kings of Comedy tour, a phenomenon that swept the country by grossing $39 million in its two years of existence, was described by USA Today as being “perhaps the top grossing comedy tour in history.” In fact, the “Kings” tour, which consistently sold out in arenas seating 10,000 or more, grossed more than the Backstreet Boys’ tour in 1999.

Latham Entertainment also launched the lucrative Queens of Comedy tour in the spring of 2000 featuring Miss Laura Hayes, Adele Givens, Sommore, and Mo’Nique. He put that concert on film as well, and the female quartet appeared in a “Queens of Comedy” special, which aired on Showtime on January 27, 2001. In its debut, the special rated higher than any other special on the network that year.

In a marketing coup, Paramount Home Video simultaneously released and promoted “The Original Kings of Comedy” and the “Queens of Comedy” on VHS and DVD in February 2001. The accompanying soundtrack for this project was also nominated for a Grammy in the Best Spoken Comedy Album category in 2001.

Latham, who serves as chief executive officer of Latham Entertainment, recently announced a multi-million dollar deal with Miller Lite to produce a 13 week reality search for the “Next Kings and Queens of Comedy,” that was orchestrated by Miller Lite Advertising agency, Ogilvy & Mather. Walter Latham will Executive Produce and Latham Entertainment’s President of Production, Kimiko Fox will co-Executive Produce.

The reality show, which is scheduled to travel to 14 cities from L.A. to N.Y., will embark on the ultimate casting call, for the funniest, edgiest comedians across the country, giving television audiences a rare chance to see the best that comedy has to offer. The show will travel on a tour bus, and give audiences a peek into the life of a comedian on the road.

Cameras will capture the behind-the-scenes excitement, disappointments, and always entertaining lives of these comedians hoping to get their big break out of the difficult comedy club circuit to national attention. Latham will audition the hopefuls who will compete to win the Grand Prize of a television pilot development deal, a potential yearlong contract for Spokesperson for Miller Lite, and a cash bonus. Auditions begin Spring 2003 with the show to air that summer. Latham is presently entertaining network involvement.

After establishing a successful relationship with Paramount Pictures in partnering on “The Original Kings of Comedy,” Latham Entertainment strengthened its long-term position in the film industry by signing a three-year first look deal with Paramount and currently has several projects in development.

Latham Entertainment is the largest independently owned and operated comedy promotion company in the country.

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