Born on July 21, 1969, in Lincoln, Nebraska, the man known as Godfrey went on to forge a career as a stand-up comic, eventually warming up audiences for The Cosby Show. Godfrey has been featured in several films, including Zoolander, Soul Plane and The Cookout, and has a lengthy TV resume, having been the face of 7UP and appeared on shows like The It Factor, Third Watch, Comic View and Louie.
The future comedian known simply as Godfrey was born Godfrey C. Danchimah Jr. on July 21, 1969 in Lincoln, Nebraska. His parents had emigrated from Nigeria to flee the country's Biafra War. The family later moved to Chicago, where Godfrey grew up. He took to watching classic American TV comedies and later cited Lucille Ball, Jackie Gleason and The Three Stooges as influences on his work.
Godfrey attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on an academic scholarship. He majored in psychology and played football while also displaying a flair for comedy. He went on to work Chicago's stand-up comedy circuit, including the venue Just For Laughs, where he initially bombed.
Opening for Cosby
He moved to New York and landed a gig warming up studio audiences for The Cosby Show, receiving advice on his career from Bill Cosby himself and continuing his craft.
By the mid-1990s, Godfrey was starting to make appearances in feature films, landing his debut role in 1996's Original Gangstas, starring Fred Williamson, Pam Grier and Jim Brown. He was also featured the same year in Chain Reaction, an action flick with Keanu Reeves and Morgan Freeman. Over the ensuing years, Godfrey has racked up several more big-screen ventures, including parts in Zoolander (2001), Soul Plane (2004), Johnson Family Vacation (2004) and Unemployed (2007).
7UP and TV Shows
Godfrey became a well-known entity via the small screen as well. In 2002, he became the new face for the soft drink 7UP in a series of popular ads. His roster of TV appearances grew immensely over the decade. He was a cast member of the Bravo reality TV show The It Factor and later guest-starred on Third Watch. Godfrey also appeared as a VH1 commentator and on Comics Unleashed with Byron Allen, Comic View on BET and Louis C.K.'s FX sitcom Louie. And he starred in the Denis Leary–produced pilot Bronx Warrants, which wasn't picked up by FX.
Godfrey has continued to develop his stand-up comedy career and has become a headlining performer at major venues. His onstage work can be seen in releases like Godspeed (2008) and Black by Accident (2011), the latter having originally aired on Comedy Central.
Co-Starring With Shaq
In February of 2013, Godfrey joined Shaquille O'Neal to host TruTV's Upload, a program co-starring fellow comedian Gary Owen that features running commentary for curated Web videos as well as original clips created for the show.