Comedian Bill Bellamy has long delivered gut-busting jokes. But what he was not prepared for was his ’90s joke about a “booty call” to take off and become a pop cultural euphemism.
While appearing on “Def Comedy Jam All Stars Vol. 3” Bellamy told a joke about making a late-night call to a woman in which he was interested. The joke that was relatable to countless adults took off, along with the new term “booty call.”
Bellamy, 56, explained to “PEOPLE In The 90s Podcast” his thoughts on why the term took off, plus his one regret in not solidifying his ability to cash in on “booty call.”
“The reason why that blew up, I think, in my opinion, was one, the joke was really, really funny, but the phrase was so easy,” said Bellamy. “When I was doing it in the clubs, people started smiling, because they were like ‘That’s what it is!’ ”
He continued, “At the time I wasn’t thinking of it like that. I was just thinking of my joke. I didn’t realize the phrase would catch on to become, like you said, a normal word that people know what it is now. Booty call was just a clever way to you’re trying to get a girl to come by.”
But even with the response from his growing fan base, Bellamy never could have predicted the lasting imprint on culture that “booty call” would have.
“But who knew that everybody was going to lock in on it? I probably right now would be on a spaceship if I trademarked it,” he added, jokingly. “I mean, I’d be out there with Elon Musk somewhere.
The term itself is now more akin to “Netflix and chill” — ultimately meaning a consensual means of men and women attracting the target of their affection to spend more than platonic time with them. While Bellamy’s days of making “booty calls” are gone — he’s been married for twenty years — his jokes, and those of other Def Comedy Jam greats have remained a significant part of Black culture.
“When you go back and you watch those sets of all the comedians, guys and girls, we really, really were like the voices of the culture,” added the “Any Given Sunday” actor. Aside from Bellamy, the popular platform for Black comics also helped give more star power to D.L. Hughley, Adele Givens, Martin Lawrence, Joe Tory and Dave Chappelle, to name a few.