Often referred to as “The King of Comedy,” Walter Latham is grateful for the humble upbringing and everyday challenges that shaped his early life and instilled in him a fierce passion that led to his success as a business mogul and humanitarian.
Born to a single mother in East New York, Brooklyn, Latham soon found himself in a similar situation, becoming a father at the young age of 18, and struggling to get by with odd jobs and a brief stint in the United States Air Force. At 20, he caught a break with a permanent position at the American Express Call Center in Greensboro, NC and was thrilled to finally provide health care for his son, even though he knew he was bound for something greater.
Inspiration soon struck Latham, after attending a performance by his childhood friend, MC Lyte, when he realized his calling was to produce concerts. He borrowed money from his mother and produced his first concert in a nightclub. The headline act didn’t show and Latham had to refund the patrons their money but what he learned from this unfortunate experience would change his path forever.
Latham decided to produce more concerts but mitigate his losses by soliciting sponsorships. He wrote and mailed 50 letters to various corporations about promoting a southeast tour with the hottest comedians. When Coors Brewing Company expressed interest, Latham soon found himself, at age 21, standing in a boardroom of top executives pitching his comedy idea.
His first comedy tour featured Chris Tucker and Bill Bellamy and Coors was so impressed they asked Latham to do another. Meanwhile, Chris Tucker, who was filming the movie “Friday” with Ice Cube, asked Latham to produce and promote his national tour surrounding the film release. That tour gave Latham credibility as a serious player and led to his success as the main tour promoter for Bernie Mac, Cedric The Entertainer, Sommore, Chris Rock, DL Hughley and many others. All of this, a prelude to what was about to become the biggest game changer in the business of comedy.