Comedian Ernie Bivins, AKA “Black Ernie,” is making a name for himself in Las Vegas. “I’m 49, but I feel like I’m 29!” Jokes the Niagara Falls Native, whose career began here in his hometown in 2008. “I was doing shows for a few years and then I met Mike Epps in 2012,” says Ernie, “He gave me a shot and ever since then, Mike Epps has had me on every show of his on the East Coast.”
Black Ernie is still a close friend of actor/comedian Mike Epps, whose film credits include starring and supporting roles in hit franchises such as “Friday” and “The Hangover.” Recently, Black Ernie opened for Epps at two sold out shows at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas.
It’s clear from Ernie’s excitement that he loves what he does. Says Ernie, “Oh man, there were 3,000 people in that crowd at the Venetian. Mike Epps pays me well. He really helped my career a lot. Right now I’m also watching Luenell Campbell’s shows, she’s great and we have a lot of friends in common.”
Black Ernie is a natural performer. “I love the audience’s response,” he says, “I always like to perform to diverse crowds. Hearing them laugh their asses off… it’s like a laugh, a clap and a roar altogether!”
Having just finished working at Jimmy Kimmel’s Comedy Club, Black Ernie feels like he’s on top of the world.
“It makes me feel like Dave Chappelle. Out here, they show so much support. Things are going pretty fast. I’m just trying to get used to this heat out here!” He laughs.
Niagara Falls has produced several sports stars, but never a famous comedian. Black Ernie is well on the way to changing that and he hopes to return to his hometown and give back to his community. He wants to open a comedy club in the Falls, and start a Unity Day for kids.
Says Ernie, “My goal is to eventually open a comedy club in Niagara Falls. I know the ins and outs of the industry and I know celebrities who would come and perform. Laughter is good for the soul.” Ernie also mentions that a comedy club doesn’t have to be huge; the stage can be small and the room can be intimate.
Black Ernie plans to take some acting classes soon and pursue roles in comedic films. He describes his style of comedy as “flexible, diverse and raw.” His determination matches his talent, and he notes “Comedy is not an overnight thing. You’ve gotta love this thing. Sometimes you perform for 3,000 people, sometimes for 300 people and sometimes it’s only 30 people. But you’ve got to give it your best because you never know who’s in the crowd.”
You can follow Black Ernie on TikTok.