COMEDY MATTERS HOLIDAY ROUNDUP WITH TUMUA, COLIN QUINN, ESTHER KU, VERMONT COMEDY FESTIVAL, COMEDY HOLIDAY PARTIES AND LOTS MORE!!!
TUMUA PACKS GOTHAM COMEDY CLUB
It’s not often that I get to see a performer I don’t know or haven’t seen before, especially one with so much heat behind them. Such is the case with Tumua who was one of the closing acts of this year’s New York Comedy Festival.
Tumua is from Oahu, Hawaii and I was surpised to see what a huge following he had in New York, attested to by the sold out show at Gotham I attended. There’s a lot of Hawaiian people in New York that I was not aware of! And they all came out for him.
His website describes him as an actor, stand-up comedian, former collegiate athlete, and social media personality, with a combined online social media presence of more than 400,000 followers. His social media sketches and stand-up bits on Tik Tok are very well known in the Polynesian community throughout the world!
He sells out stadiums, and in December 2021, Tumua sold out the Blaisdell Concert Hall three times in Honolulu, Hawaii (2,100 seater) within hours! He also recently sold out the Blaisdell Arena (6,500 seater) this past November, 2022. His 2023 tour is called “Not Even Joking.”
A lot of his humor is geared towards his particular audience but it struck me funny when he said he has trouble at Starbucks when he orders something and they ask him his name to put on the cup. He orders a latte and then says “Tumua” and the barista says, “So that’s three latte’s then? You want two more? That line stuck with me.
At the end of his act he asked the audience to join him in a song, and surprisingly enough they did, … and they all knew the words, plus waving i-phone flashlights and everything like it was a concert at MSG! See the video below.
UP LATE ON STATEN ISLAND
I don’t get to Staten Island too often. I performed at The Looney Bin a couple of times, and went out to do Chris Distefano’s podcast Chrissy Chaos, with my bud The Homeless Pimp, but it’s not a common occurrence for me. My pal Frank Morano has an awesome show on WABC Radio called The Other Side of Midnight and he’s a great guy, so when he suggested I do his friend’s show “Up Late With Johnny Potenza” out on Staten Island, I was like ” I’m there.”
It was a fun show and I got to be on Johnny’s Christmas Show with my old friend Tom Waites who performed several songs with his band. A good time was had by all!
JEWISH HUMOR REIGNS AT STAND UP NEW YORK
There was a time when almost all comedians were Jewish and even the ones who weren’t were after being in the biz for enough time. Stand Up New York’s Dani Zoldan had the Chosen Comedy Festival this past summer which I was privileged to attend, along with about 4,000 other members of the tribe, and last month he had a comedy show in support of Israel.
Periel Aschenbrand was the host, a job she does so well, and Michael Rapaport opened the show with a very strong message, followed by performers like Keren Margolis who blamed her parents for not knowing how to spell “Karen”, Jewish rapper Kosha Dillz who’s been going viral on TikTok for his amazing videos. and Aaron Berg who came up wearing an amazing jacket that an Eskimo might wear to keep warm in the tundra!
COLIN QUINN AT THE VERMONT COMEDY FESTIVAL
I had always heard great things about Vermont, but I’m not a skier and for whatever reason never wound up going. Then I got contacted by two young comics named Collen Doyle and Matt Vita who produce the Vermont Comedy Festival. I’m always impressed by people who undertake such ambitious projects. I know how much effort it takes to produce a single comedy show. To produce an entire festival is a huge endeavor and takes a tremendous amount of work. It also deserves a tremendous amount of praise for pulling it off.
I was brought up to perform but also to be the official interviewer for the festival, with almost 60 comics attending from all over the country, having done that after covering JFL for 30 years, the NY Comedy Festival, the Las Vegas Comedy Festival and so many major comedy events. Last year they had Joe List as the headliner. I called Joe and got a good recommendation regarding his experience with the festival.
Then they asked me if I could help get a big star as the headliner. Top of their list was Colin Quinn a friend of mine for more than 30 years. So Colin agreed to be the headliner with an hour plus show at the Woodstock Town Hall Theater, a beautiful theater that holds 400 people. Needless to say it was sold out.
The highlight of the weekend for me was taking a little road trip with Colin to a place we both wanted to visit and then spending a couple of days together sharing meals and reminiscing about fun times over the years. We both had lots of stories to share, like when I attended his very first one man show called “An Irish Wake.” Besides Jackie Mason comics weren’t really doing one man shows in those days. I’ll never forget it!
We got to perform together at the Woolen Mill Comedy Club owned by Collen Doyle on the first official night of the festival, and then I got to open for him at his headline show at the Town Hall Theater. We went over in the afternoon to check out the space, and also to be able to see where it was because there are literally no lights in Vermont! (LOL)
I know they have electricity but the roads have no lights so if you don’t know exactly where you’re going once it gets dark, you can’t see the road signs, and you can wind up literally driving into the woods, which is what happened to me the night I got there. Thank G-d for GPS.
The festival connected me with a great videographer named Chris Gramuglia who was my interview partner for the entire time and also filmed the shows. He made it easy! All I had to bring was my Comedy Matters TV hand held mic and my custom mic flag and that was it. On the day of Colin’s headline show we shot this little video at an afternoon industry event featuring Abbey Robertson who books the headliners at New York Comedy Club. I made sure to shout out NYCC owner Emilio Savone for all that he does in the comedy world, and taught Collen Doyle that there’s more than one way to spell Colin! (LOL) And if you don’t believe me just ask Colin Quinn and Colin Jost!!!
We were put up in a beautiful hotel called 506 On The River, with great food, a super attentive staff, a beautiful restaurant, and great ambiance, and while we had some downtime the day of his headlining show I took the opportunity to do a little interview about what he was currently working on, to prep for his show on Dec. 18th at The Fat Black Pussycat, where he had a residency, and how he develops his material. This is what he said!
“Most of my material is still undeveloped. Like I write it, try and memorize it but then when you go on stage you realize it’s undeveloped and you only develop it by working it out in front of a crowd. So you always have to work to another level. Like in movies they stop developing which is why most movies are bad and stand up is funny, because movies, they develop it, then they shoot it, and put it out in front of an audience, maybe with two test audiences, and then it’s finished. They don’t redo it.”
“Like if you did a movie like where you ran it for 80 days, in front of like 80 audiences, then that would be like standup. That’s how stand-up works. Even if the producer comes in and re-edits the film they are re-editing it with THEIR taste. Our editing is with the help of 100 audiences.”
Then I asked him about his connection to The Comedy Cellar. He said it was “his favorite place on the planet. And it was always that way. The first time I saw it I was like this is what comedy is supposed to look like, and I still feel that way. I LOVE it!!!”
“Like with anything else, sometimes you have to take a break, but In general MacDougal Street is my favorite street ever, and to me The Cellar IS MacDougal Street. It’s my favorite place ever! Noam kept the tradition alive that his Dad Manny started.” He even had admiration for Ava, Manny’s wife who he said is a great artist and lives in the building next to The Cellar. “The Cellar is just a magical place, that’s how I feel about it!”
At the end of the weekend we drove back to NY together, over 5 hours through a terrific rainstorm to get home, and thank G-d we trusted Waze which took us around a terrible accident allowing me to get to a venue for VIP Talent as a keynote speaker! And all the VIP’ers were so excited to meet Colin Quinn!
HOLIDAY PARTIES ABOUND
One of the things that makes holiday time so special are the parties where people who often don’t see each other for a while get to hang out and celebrate the season. Such is the case for the comedy community. Below I will post photos from just some of the parties I attended.
New York Comedy Club’s party was packed as usual and I got to catch up with Adam Gilbert who won their 8th annual Fall Competition. It was also where Joe DeRosa, … who also supplied the sandwiches from his Joey Roses sandwich shop, … asked me to be the official mascot/’dancer for Salsa Windfall, his band with Paul Chell that recently headlined Arlene’s Grocery. At that show they played the music video I starred in called “Mouth On My Money” currently up on You Tube, with special effects thanks to The Homeless Pimp, and it was fun to see how many people reccognized me from that fun video. Part of it is below! I can’t wait to shoot more videos with those guys!
These are some photos from the party at The Stand.
And then there are these :
ESTHER KU IN NEW YORK
Esther Ku and I go back quite a ways. I remember helping her prepare for her appearance on Last Comic Stranding which was back in 2008, when she was just a little baby comic! (LOL) And then years later she was one of my special guests on Sirius XM with Ron and Fez!
Now she headlines all over the country so when I heard she’d be doing a show at Arthouse Hotel which is part of Stand Up NY, I knew I had to be there. Also she told me she wanted me to meet Mango her little rescue dog. She came dressed as Mrs Claus and she’ll be doing The Brokerage in Bellmore this coming Saturday December 30th!
Since it was the night of Christmas it was a small show and we talked about that after her set. Most people are home with their families on holidays while comedians are out trying to make strangers laugh. Such a crazy business!
THE LOVE FOR PATRICE O’NEAL GOES ON
Hard to believe it’s been 12 years since Patrice left us. It was Nov. 29th, 2011 and wherever I go guys still stop me who were fans of Patrice and what we did on The Black Phillip Show. At one of the parties just a couple of weeks ago a young guy came over to me and asked if we could take a photo. I do that anyway with anyone who mentions Black Phillip, and I keep them in a folder. He posted it on IG as people tend to do these days! (LOL)
When I was performing in Japan back in 2019, I left the stage and a guy named Devin came over to me all excited that he had been a fan of the show. At Skankfest one year two guys from Ireland came over to me, and one night near the Comedy Cellar two brothers from Africa came over to tell me they were fans of Patrice and the show. Not “brothers” due to their ethnicity but they were really biological brothers! (LOL)
The love for Patrice is still so strong because of the person he was. To me he was not just a comedian, he was a comedy philosopher, and it was truly one of my greatest honors when he named me a co-host of the show. This is a phone call I treasure which I received at 4:05 A.M. the first night we did the show together. I keep it on my phone, and I added stills going back through my history with Patrice.
So today as I’m writing this I was so moved to receive text messages from Patrice’s Mom Georgia who was kind enough to remember me on the holidays. I’m sure she wouidn’t mind me sharing what she wrote, because it meant the world to me as did my friendship with Patrice:
What a great Christmas present! And on that note I want to wish you all HAPPY, HAPPY HOLIDAYS AND ALL GOOD THINGS FOR THE COMING YEAR! 2024, LET’S GO!!!