Actor and standup comedian T’Shaun Barrett is the go-to-guy for bringing down the house at local comedy clubs. He is also an established actor with over twenty indie films to his credit and a co-starring role in the successful Barbershop 2. His episodic work includes the current season premiere of Grey’s Anatomy, Numbers, Without a Trace, Medium, ER and So Notorious. He is also a familiar face to television audiences as “the dude with the jackhammer” in the current popular dollar value menu campaign commercial from McDonalds. T’Shaun is also a favorite guest on Sirius/XM Radio’s The Jamie Foxx Show where, when time allows, he has an open invitation to drop in.
Born and raised on the Southside of Chicago, T’Shaun was greatly influenced by his father, the long-standing pastor of the Life Center Church. His father packed the house weekly with his entertaining, comedic and energetic sermons. His patient mother presided as the First Lady of the Church and looked after her brood of seven children.
In school, T’Shaun was the self-admitted class clown and was often suspended for his antics. Finally his parents transferred him to Curie High School for the Performing Arts because “I was a nut and this school had a place for nuts.” T’Shaun appeared in a number of plays at school and several local community productions including “Choices” at the Regal Theatre. After graduation he attended Chicago’s Columbia College where he studied film and theatre and began to land parts in many of the indie films shooting in Chicago. He also starred in the Victory Gardens Theatre production of Steve Carter’s “Root Causes.”
He was absolutely hooked on acting and the idea of moving to Hollywood. To raise funds, he started an event/party company. He produced, promoted, booked talent and served as MC for these festive events. After saving enough money to pay cash for a 1997 Pontiac Grand Prix, T’Shaun drove to Los Angeles where he crashed on the couch of his one friend who had moved to Hollywood. He began classes at The Actor’s Center and started the process of auditioning. Ironically, his big break came when he returned to Chicago to audition for Barbershop 2: he landed the part.
Encouraged by one of his L.A. friends, Jamie Foxx, T’Shaun decided to try his hand at stand-up comedy. “If Jamie thinks I’m funny, maybe I am.” Making an impressive debut at the famed L.A. Comedy Store on the Sunset Strip, T’Shaun has since become a regular both there and at L.A’s Laugh Factory. T’Shaun, a true charmer, is recognized daily for his value-conscious role in the McDonald’s commercial and for last year’s Miller Lite spot. Between his standup commitments and acting, he is a very busy guy.
In 2007 tragedy changed his family forever. His sister Kleo, a Cook County Deputy Sheriff, was shot and killed by an ex-boyfriend who also took his own life. The family honors her memory with the Kleo Barrett Angel Foundation. The Foundation provides assistance to families affected by domestic violence. Every year near Kleo’s birthday in October, the family produces a major fundraising event and T’Shaun serves as host.
“As a family, we want to shine a light on this terrible national epidemic and do what we can to help other families.” -Tshaun Barrett
T’Shaun truly loves to make people laugh and admires the work of the great comedians that came before him: Richard Pryor, Bernie Mac, Eddie Murphy, Martin Lawrence and Jamie Foxx.
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