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Smooth and hilarious Tone Bell on new comedy special ‘Can’t Cancel This’

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Atlanta native Tone Bell's first stand-up comedy special "Can't Cancel This" is available now on-demand after debuting earlier this year on Showtime. The former teacher also spent nearly 8 years in the corporate world before turning to comedy. "Those stories are coming," Bell tells The Maine Edge. "There are a lot of people I worked with that will have cameos in my next one-hour special." Atlanta native Tone Bell's first stand-up comedy special "Can't Cancel This" is available now on-demand after debuting earlier this year on Showtime. The former teacher also spent nearly 8 years in the corporate world before turning to comedy. "Those stories are coming," Bell tells The Maine Edge. "There are a lot of people I worked with that will have cameos in my next one-hour special." (Image from 'Can't Cancel This' courtesy of Comedy Dynamics)

Comedian Tone Bell coined the perfect title for his first standup comedy special: “Can’t Cancel This.”

The title refers to the fact that the Decatur, Georgia native has featured in a number of network comedy series that ultimately ended up on the chopping block. Among them: 2014’s “Bad Judge,” 2015’s “Truth Be Told,” Netflix’s “Disjointed” (2017-2018) and 2019’s CBS comedy “Fam.”

Bell’s work in the latter series led to “Can’t Cancel This” when CBS-owned premium channel Showtime began airing the special earlier this year. It’s available on-demand from Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Spectrum and most digital platforms.

“I’m really proud of this special, man. Thank you for giving it a shot,” Bell said at the outset of my interview with him.

On “Can’t Cancel This,” Bell’s storytelling prowess is razor-sharp as he lures the audience into his world for more than an hour of real-life stories. He seamlessly segues from discussing his joy about how it felt to finally pay off his student loans after 13 years to loving life as a single guy and doing comedy in Alaska, to name a few highlights.

A former first grade teacher, Bell also did promotional work for Budweiser and Anhauser-Busch before jumping head first into comedy.

A fan of classic comedy, Bell credits some of the greats for influencing and motivating his decision, and also for helping him comfortably find his own style and place onstage.

“I watched a lot of great comedians and studied them very closely,” Bell said. “Sometimes you have to take that influence and make it work for you. Some dudes are erratic, and they move a lot onstage. When you’re developing your style, you have to find out where you’re the most comfortable. Telling stories and just being smooth is kind of my thing.”

In a 2015 interview with Vulture, Bell cited comedians Whitney Cummings, Patrice O’Neal, Bill Burr and Brent Morin as some of his favorites. In a 2014 interview with Cliché magazine, Bell cited Kevin James of “The King of Queens” as a big influence for how he can take a small idea and blow it out of proportion.

Bell launched his comedy career in Dallas, Texas, where he’d moved from Georgia for seven years in the corporate world.

“It’s where I started doing comedy and it was very important for me to go back to the place where it all started for me,” Bell explained of his reason for shooting his first full stand-up special in Dallas. “My original fans and supporters, club owners, and everybody who’d been with me from the beginning were there. Since I’m from Atlanta, I plan to shoot my next special there.”

Bell says his years spent in the corporate world gave him some priceless stories that will likely see the light of day in his next special.

“Those stories are coming. There are a lot of people I worked with that will have cameos in my next one-hour special (laughs).”

With 10 films to his credit, Bell can be seen beginning September 13 in director Stella Meghie’s “The Weekend,” with Sasheer Zamata (“Saturday Night Live”), DeWanda Wise (“She’s Gotta Have It”), Kym Whitley and Y’lan Noel. Stand-up comedy does play a role in the upcoming film.

“It’s kind of a romantic drama with some comedy mixed in,” Bell said of “The Weekend.”

“It’s a nice, funny and very stylized movie that we shot last year. It hit the festivals, it’s coming out in select theatres and it will also be available on-demand. I’m really proud of it, man. It’s super different for me because I’m used to sitcoms and funny movies. This one is a little more grounded and gives people a chance to see something from me they haven’t seen yet. It’s totally different from my stand-up and totally different from how I am on sitcoms.”

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