If you’re a fan of hip-hop, R&B, and morning radio shows, you may have heard of Rickey Smiley. Host of The Rickey Smiley Morning Show, this veteran comedian, actor, and radio personality has been making audiences laugh for more than 25 years. He’s also a devoted dad who recently went through an unimaginable scare with one of his children. Here’s an in-depth look at the life and career of this talented performer and prank-caller extraordinaire.
Who Is Ricky Smiley?
Born on August 10th, 1968, Rickey Smiley is a stand-up comedian, actor, TV show host, and radio show host. He’s released eight best-selling comedy albums, has appeared on popular shows such as Uptown Comedy Club and Showtime At The Apollo, and has a nationally syndicated radio show that can be heard in more than 70 markets across the country. He’s also star of the hit TV reality show Rickey Smiley For Real, which has been airing on TV One since 2015.
Offstage, Smiley is a devoted father of 10 kids (two are biological, the rest are adopted) and is passionate about helping under-served communities through his non-profit, The Rickey Smiley Foundation. Known for his quick wit and irreverent brand of humor, Smiley is clearly a funnyman with a heart of gold.
Rickey Smiley Is The Host And Star of “The Rickey Smiley Morning Show”
Smiley began his radio career in 2004 as a morning radio host for a local station in Dallas, Texas. Audiences adored him and by 2008, The Rickey Smiley Morning Show was syndicated and airing nationally. Currently, it airs weekdays from 6 am to10 am ET on more than 70 stations across the country, including markets in Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Detroit, Miami, and Orlando.
Blending hip hop and R&B music with news, comedy, and spiritual entertainment, The Rickey Smiley Morning Show is known for its witty humor, conversational tone, and social justice awareness. It features a colorful cast of co-stars alongside Smiley, including Eva Marcille, Gary Wit Da Tea, Da Brat, Rock T, and Special K. The show also includes Smiley’s hilarious on-air prank calls, which have become a trademark of the long-running radio program.
Steve Harvey Gave Rickey Smiley His First Big Break
Rickey Smiley says that he’s forever grateful to Steve Harvey, who helped bring his career to the next level back in 1999. At the time, Harvey was headlining the incredibly successful Kings of Comedy tour with fellow comedians, D.L. Hughley, Cedric The Entertainer, and Bernie Mac. In addition to giving Smiley a big break as opening act, the Family Feud host sung the young comedian’s praises to the audience after he finished his first set.
Smiley told TV One: “He said, ‘Let me tell ya’ll something. You can say I said it first – this is the next one. And I went off the stage and just cried because he didn’t have to do that. He didn’t have to anoint me in front of my peers.”
Rickey Smiley’s Daughter Was Shot
Recently, the beloved entertainer went through a terrifying ordeal with his daughter, Aaryn. Over the July 4th weekend earlier this year, the 19-year-old was shot three times. She had gotten caught in a crossfire while out on Saturday night inHouston getting food. The Monday morning following the shooting, Smiley explained on his radio show:
I wasn’t even going to say anything about this. I’ve been dealing with this all morning, sitting up here with butterflies in my stomach trying to do the show. My youngest daughter was shot last night. She’s in the hospital right now… I’m just so angry.
The worried father added: “I go to bed around 8:30 or 9 o’clock, and I woke up to text messages. The fact that she’s laying up in the hospital and probably going to have to go into surgery… She’s just crying, she’s scared, I can’t get to her and I just hate it.”
Later, Smiley shared a photo on his Instagram feed, along with a message explaining that he couldn’t see his daughter in the hospital due to COVID-19 safety protocols.
Fortunately, Smiley was able to return to his Instagram feed later that day to report that Aaryn was doing ok. “My daughter made it out of her operation. She’s doing great! Thank you for your prayers!”
Smiley also shared a picture and message from Aaryn herself. “This is the most terrifying thing that has ever happened to me,” she wrote. “I won’t be out of the hospital for a while nor will I be able to walk for a while due to nerve damage. I’m so sorry if I can’t respond to everyone but please know I’m thankful for all of you messages.”
Thankfully, Aaryn eventually recovered from all of her injuries. But it was a traumatic experience for everyone involved, including Rickey Smiley. We’re so glad both daughter and father are healthy and doing well!