- Sept. 20, 2022
-- Celebrity comedian Robert L. Hines is on a mission to advocate for black creatives of all genders and ages. Known best for the viral character he's played "Toby Jones," Hines is determined to share his truth. The Chicago native is loved by many and known for his work in comedy, crypto, and even for his work in law enforcement as a correctional officer. Hines is an advocate for change and strongly believes in supporting black-owned brands, creatives, and businesses.
For years now, black entertainers and creatives have been speaking out about the unfair treatment they receive in regard to their talents, likeness, and contributions. Unfortunately, Hines is amongst those entertainers who have to fight for their own creative rights.
The Save Toby Jones Tour will be an online and in-person experience where Hines will be opening up about his journey, as well as, his own experience in comedy with not being properly compensated or acknowledged for the impact he has made across the world.
Fans and supporters can keep up with the latest updates by following him via social media where the official tour dates will be announced. www.instagram.com/robert_l_hinesAbout Robert L. Hines
Hines started doing stand-up comedy at the age of 21. His first performance was in June 1991 at the Funny Firm, a Chicago comedy club (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comedy_club
) owned by Len Austrevitch, who would later cast Hines in his first film roles in Where It Gets You and Chasing Robert. After his set, Hines met local comedians Bernie Mac (https://en.wikipedia.org/
Mac), Evan Lionel, Daran Howard and Shay Shay (Phillip White). Mac and Lionel booked Hines on the spot for their Monday night show at Chicago's Cotton Club, where Hines continued to appear for nearly a year. All four comedians became mentors and friends of Hines. From 1991 to 1996, Daran Howard tapped Hines to perform in his Laugh Fest College Comedy Tour with shows targeted to historically Black colleges. Hines credits Shay Shay with helping him learn to make his comedy more personal, telling Steven Johnson of the Chicago Tribune (https://en.wikipedia.org/
Tribune), "Shay told me I've got to share my pain."
In addition to touring and club performances (primarily in the Midwest), Hines has made a number of national TV appearances, including BET (https://en.wikipedia.org/
Television)'s Comic View (https://en.wikipedia.org/
, Comedy Central's Comic Justice and Fox's Uptown Comedy Club. In 1995, Hines was nominated for the Sammy Davis, Jr. Musical Comedy Award by BET (https://en.wikipedia.org/
Television)'s Comic View Comedy Awards TV show.
In 2008, Hines was cast to portray the character Toby Jones in an internet commercial spoof (https://en.wikipedia.org/
titled Jones' Big Ass Truck Rental and Storage produced by Big Dog Eat Child— a Chicago sketch comedy group. The character is created by Ramiro Castro Jr. and based on the sketch he wrote in 2005 of the same name. The ad featured a real web address and Hines' actual cellphone number and was inspired by the local hard-sell TV commercials the creators— brothers Pedro Castro and Ramiro Castro— saw growing up in Chicago. The two had spotted Hines during a stand-up comedy performance at Chicago's Lakeshore Theater in January 2008.
The Jones' Big Ass Truck Rental and Storage video was released in November 2008, and became a viral video (https://en.wikipedia.org/
sensation, garnering over 700,000 hits in its first two weeks of release. Hines received hundreds of calls to his cellphone from all over the world, with many people believing the spot was advertising a real business.
In April 2009, Big Dog Eat Child released Jones' Good ASS BBQ and Foot Massage, and followed with Jones' Cheap ASS Prepaid Legal and Daycare Academy in November 2009. Subsequent releases have included recordings of actual phone messages left on 'Toby's' voice mail, a series of "Ask Toby" advice videos, and spoofs of 'Legal Retraction & Clarification' videos from the 'urban entrepreneur'.