When Mike Epps was growing up in Indianapolis, he used to practice his autograph.
“I would sit around and dream of being a celebrity,” Epps said. “I would work on that autograph.”
Epps, 41, doesn’t have to dream anymore.
The stand-up superstar and actor, who will perform Saturday at Century II, has appeared in films including “The Hangover” (as Black Doug) and “Next Friday” (as Day-Day Jones). And he was the voice of Boog in “Open Season 2.”
“I’ve worked very hard, but I’ve been very fortunate to get such roles,” Epps said. “I’ve gotten parts that people remember, and that’s the best. People love ‘Black Doug’ in ‘The Hangover.’ ”
Epps also acted in “Sparkle,” the remake film released in August also starring “American Idol” alum Jordin Sparks. It was Whitney Houston’s final film.
“You need to challenge yourself and do some different things,” Epps said. “It’s not a good idea to repeat yourself. I have some range. I really enjoyed working on that movie.”
The films are one thing, and stand-up is another. The latter remains his passion, he said.
“I like doing the movies,” Epps said. “You have to sit around a bit, but that’s the way it goes. It’s all good, but I love doing stand-up. That’s where it’s at for me. Stand-up is like therapy for me. I need to do it. I talk about what I experience in life. If I didn’t do this, I would be on a couch with a therapist. It’s amazing that I can talk about my life, and people pay to hear about it. It’s incredible.”
The sound of laughter is what makes Epps happiest, he said.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s other people cracking up or me losing it,” Epps said. “There’s something about laughing that makes everyone feel good. I like watching people do funny things. I laugh at everyday simple things. I laugh at life, and I think I bring life to the stage. Comedy doesn’t have to be this big, grand thing. The little things in life are often what is most hilarious.”
Expect Epps to take on challenging roles and deliver much stand-up in the future.
“I’m going to try to keep evolving,” Epps said. “I want to grow as a comic and to hopefully have some really interesting roles in film. It’s only going to get that much more interesting from here on.”