What happens when an actor, former boxer and lifelong fan of the world's most recognizable cultural icon gets to meet his hero face to face, while working on the epic motion picture that bears his name? Well, if you're comedian Vincent Cook and your hero is legendary boxing champion / humanitarian Muhammad Ali, a heart-felt theatre tribute is what happens.
In ALI: The Man, The Myth, The Peoples' Champion, master impressionist Vincent Cook steps off the comedy stage and produces a one man cultural show that goes beyond the stories, feature films and documentaries – embracing the soul of a man loved and respected by millions. Outspoken and larger-than-life, ALI features Vincent sharing Muhammad's quiet moments, his intimate feelings, and his public triumphs with a comical twist. ALI: The Man, The Myth, The Peoples' Champion highlights the Champ's historic battles in and out of the ring, and unveils his biggest fight of all.
Vincent Cook has been in good entertainment company for quite some time, having been handpicked by legendary comedian Richard Pryor to open Pryor's final live comedy tour. Most recently, Cook worked extensively with Oscar nominated actor/rapper Will Smith in Michael Mann's "Ali" 2001 movie.
In playing the role of Will Smith's boxing double in "Ali", Vincent Cook stated that when auditioning, he had no clue he would be really fighting - but he was soon to find out. "Once they gave me a mouthpiece and told me to 'protect myself at all times,' I figured it out pretty fast," explains Cook. After being personally selected by director Michael Mann, Vincent ran over 100 miles and spent in excess of 20 hours per week in the gym, as preparation for the acclaimed film.
In his amateur boxing days, Vincent Cook won a gold medal for the United States Boxing Team and was proclaimed a Golden Gloves Champion, another similarity he shares with his hero, Muhammad Ali. Although Cook has always been quick with his hands, comedy remains his true passion. In fact, with his ability to make people laugh, Vincent was voted class clown throughout his school and college years, all the while being a young boxing champion. "My wit is even faster than my hands," Cook explains.
Upon noticing Vincent's mastering of Ali's boxing style and voice, Michael Mann informed Cook he would be awarded a meaningful role in the film, one that connected closely with his current job on the set. Vincent was asked to play Jimmy Ellis, Ali's famed sparring partner and a former Heavyweight Champion of the World. During the making of "Ali", Cook realized yet another childhood dream when he received the opportunity to meet Muhammad Ali in person. The overall experience of working on "Ali" would inspire Vincent to spend the next few years creating a labor of love - his ALI: The Man, The Myth, The Peoples' Champion production.
In addition to comedy, Vincent Cook remains a master impressionist, being able to imitate Don King, Sugar Ray Leonard, Howard Cosell, Ronald Reagan, Lennox Lewis, and of course Muhammad Ali, among many others. In addition to touring with the late, great Luther Vandross, Vincent has also opened for Patti Labelle, Kenny G, The Temptations, New Edition, and even for former President of the United States Bill Clinton (as he played his Saxophone during the US California Primary)!
Vincent Cook has also starred in the hit television show "Blackberry Inn" on the BET Network, and has performed stand-up numerous times on such groundbreaking shows as HBO's Def Comedy Jam, BET's Comic View, and Showtime At The Apollo. Cook worked with Academy Award winner Halle Berry in Robert Townsend's "BAPS", and recently co-starred with Emmy nominated actor John Amos ("Good Times," "Roots") in "The Watermelon Heist".
As if all this wasn't enough, Cook is also a real life hero in his own right. While a youngster, Cook was profiled in the Washington Post for saving six people from a burning building in America's capital, Washington DC. One thing seems certain - Muhammad Ali must be very proud of a disciple of his named Vincent Cook.
ALI: The Man, The Myth, The Peoples' Champion is produced in Canada by Quansettia Films in association with Lyrical Knockout Entertainment.