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Motown Maurice trades Tampa for Los Angeles in a go-for-broke bid for stardom



motownmaurice1.jpgIn the world of Snookie and Real Housewives, it's not unusual to meet someone with little or no background in performing who wants to be a star. But I have never met anyone quite like aspiring late night talk show host Motown Maurice.

I first wrote about him last year, when the then-Tampa resident pulled together all his credit cards to drop more than $30,000 creating a late-night talk show in the Cuban Club which was broadcast on WTTA-Ch. 38. Airing at 1 a.m. on Saturday night, it had a time finding viewers and sponsors, so it was gone after 10 airings. But it eventually left Motown convinced he had to move west to seek his dream.

motownmaurice4.jpgHosting a nationally shown, late night TV talk show.

Its an amazingly specific quest -- especially for a guy who isn't really a comedian, comedy writer or comic actor; the primary entry points into the gig for people like Jay Leno, Conan O'Brien, David Letterman and Jimmy Fallon. So when I realized Motown was in Los Angeles pursuing his dreams, I made sure to visit him during my time in Hollywood covering the TV Critics Association's summer press tour.

motownmarucie3.jpgWhat I found, was a still-optimistic, hardworking guy nearly on the verge of homelessness. Unwilling to dilute his focus on show business, Motown hasn't gotten a side job; he was living with a friend from his college days rent-free for 10 months, but when that ended, he was forced to sleep in a dodgy residence facility crammed with people suffering from mental illnesses or struggling with addiction.

Most recently, he's landed in a hotel for a few weeks, courtesy of a jobs program operated by the county of Los Angeles. But he seems to be following a path to stardom along the rockiest road imaginable -- auditioning for commercials, hosting jobs and game shows such as Let's Make a Deal and Baggage while strategizing on how to keep a roof over his head and using a credit card from his mother for food (the jobs program will also provide some relief in food stamps).

motownmaurice3.jpgIt was such an interesting tale, I couldn't help writing a feature for Sunday's Floridian on his quest.

A freelance photographer we hired in Los Angeles, Nancy Pastor, elevated my work with some amazing images documenting Motown's efforts.

At the heart of it all is a simple question: Is this guy fooling himself? Or can his unshakeable will bring success before he burns out or loses faith?

Check out the story I wrote about him, and answer that question for yourself.





[Last modified: Monday, September 5, 2011 11:11pm]


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