Florida A&M alumnus Roy Wood Jr. made his debut as a regular in the TBS series “Sullivan and Son” on Thursday after being a guest star last season.
“After appearing in all 10 episodes from week to week, I was promoted to season two,” said Wood, who is an actor and comedian.
Rather than pursuing a career in acting and comedy, Wood envisioned himself being on ESPN’s SportsCenter after graduating in 2001 with a broadcast journalism degree.
“I would have been happy cracking a couple jokes and talking about sports,” he said. “It wasn’t until I had my internship at a radio station, and that fed the thirst of, ‘Maybe I could do this.’”
Wood interned at Hot 105.7 with DJ Dap and was also involved in student media on campus. He contributed to WANM 90.5 FM and was the sports editor of The Famuan. He said his experiences at FAMU helped prepare him for his career’s journey.
“FAMU as a whole has taught me perseverance, to network and work around barriers to advance in your career, especially in the world of entertainment,” Wood said.
He recalled the late James Hawkins, the former dean of the School of Journalism & Graphic Communication who was the journalism division director while Wood was enrolled, “single-handedly” being the reason he stayed at FAMU. Wood said professor Kenneth Jones also made a lasting impression with his encouragement and communication.
“Professor Jones would give you a lot to explore,” Wood said. “It was more than just learn, memorize and take the test.”
Jones said Wood’s love of learning and speaking abilities made him a pleasure to have in his TV news and documentary classes.
“It was very enjoyable because he was the type of student who liked learning any and everything,” Jones said. “He’s very talented in terms of his ability to speak on-camera and off.”
With accomplishments such as television appearances on BET’s “Comic View,” prank calls on “The Tom Joyner Morning Show” and even hosting his own show, “The Roy Wood Jr. Show: Good Morning,” Wood said a couple of his accomplishments are most gratifying.
“The two that I am most proud of in my career are the ‘Late Show with David Letterman’ and ‘Def Comedy Jam,’ ” he said. “They are prestigious comedic institutions and are difficult shows to get on.”
Wood’s father, the late Roy Wood Sr., was a broadcasting pioneer for an African-American-owned radio station, so it is no surprise that Wood entered the media entertainment industry.
He sought to diversify his career by adding acting his resume. However, comedy was his first love.
“I control that, and no one has an influence or dictates how I do it and when,” he said. “I like the product of acting. Ultimately, with comedy, it’s just me, the microphone and my thoughts.”
“Sullivan and Son” cast member Valerie Azlynn, who plays Melanie Sutton, an emergency medical technician who is best friends with Wood’s character, feels he is comedic relief and one of the most talented comedians she has met.
“Roy does great stand-ups,” Azlynn said. “If you haven’t seen him on stage, you’re missing out and should fly or drive out to his next show.”
In addition to Thursday’s season two premiere, “Sullivan and Son” has a comedy tour that begins in Chicago today and ends in late August.
“Viewers will expect a lot of fun times in the show,” Wood said. “They can relate to turning to their friends with problems and understand the stupidity it can be with friends helping friends.”