Niagara Gazette

Night & Day

January 30, 2014

Local comedian Ernie Bivens uses humor to spread awareness

Night & Day — Local comedian Ernie Bivins knew from an early age that he wanted to find a way to follow in his father’s giving footsteps and do things to help the community.

Bivins, who was born and raised in Niagara Falls, has gone through hard times before. Having served some time for bad decisions in the past, Bivins learned that he had too much potential to do good to end up back where he was.

“I’ve been told I was funny all my life and I wanted to do something different,” he said. “I knew I had no business doing what I had been doing. I blame myself, I’m my worst critic, but its part of my driving force for doing good.”

The Ernie Bivins of today has proved that he has made a complete turnaround. Since he began to pursue a serious comedy career back in 2009, he has gained a fan base, regularly performs in the area and has even recently shared the stage with comedian Mike Epps at the Seneca Niagara Casino earlier this month.

Also known by his stage name, “Black Ernie,” Bivins says he obtains his comedic inspiration from other comedians like Richard Prior but mostly he draws it from “real” everyday life. He has a show coming up Saturday night at the Icehouse, 512 Third St., Niagara Falls.

“There’s stuff you would say with your friends but not in public — I just say it.” Bivins explained. “One of my slogans is ‘I don’t tell jokes, I tell the truth.’ “

Once his comedy career was off the ground, he turned his attention toward giving back. In the past few years, “Black Ernie” has worked to raise awareness of issues like cancer, cerebral palsy and bullying.

Most recently, Bivins was joined by Epps at the Doris Jones Family Resource Center to talk to local kids about why bullying is wrong. Bivins says he was inspired by his father, who was always involved with bringing positivity into the community.

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