Archive for December, 2010
The personal highlight of the year for us oddly did not take place in Hawaii but in Los Angeles. Bob Fisher, owner of the famed Ice House Comedy & Magic Club in Pasadena, arranged for us-vacationing-comics to see a taping of our friend George Lopez’s TBS show at Warner Bros Studios in Burbank. After visiting with George backstage following the show, the 7 of us enjoyed dinner down the block at the Smoke House. I just scanned in this picture and thought I’d share the moment. The entourage, left to right: Bob, his wonderful wife Barbara, hearing-impaired comedienne Kathy Buckley donning a Lopez Tonight t-shirt to combat the subzero temperatures inside the TV studio, Ariel, Charlotte and Eddie Sax all sporting a Sea World sunburn from the previous day, and Bo Irvine-naturally tan. In October, Bob celebrated the 50th year anniversary of the Ice House with a sold out star studded concert at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium. Congrats and, again, thanks.
A comedy club with the initials KKK. Not the sort of thing you’d see in, say, Mississippi. But I guess you can get away with it on Kauai. Last night our friend Ed Ka’ahea opened the Kalapaki Komedy Klub on the island of Kauai at Cafe Portofino, located at the Kauai Marriott & Beach Club.
The show’s lineup? Ed Ka’ahea & Bo Irvine from our Comedy Polynesia show on Oahu.
Result? Standing ovation, of course!
As much as I’d like to take credit for the Honolulu Comedy Club being the place where Bo first stepped on a comedy stage, that credit must go to the good Ed Ka’ahea back in 1987 when he hosted the infamous, notorious combat comedy “hell gig” Celebrity Bar & Grill in Makiki. Ed was a perfect host for such a gig, because if anyone was capable of handling such a challenging environment it was him. As an original member of the legendary performing troupe Booga Booga, Ed was prepared for just about anything.
Although I wasn’t at the Cafe Portofino gig last night, in the back of my mind I wonder how Ed adapts to doing comedy in such a high class environment. According to Bo, just fine.
Ed’s a pro. Love working with him. In fact, it’s an honor.
Bo barely made Hawaiian’s 10:50pm flight back to Oahu in time to grab a few hours of sleep before heading back into Waikiki to do the Perry & Price radio show from Jimmy Buffett’s at the Beachcomber. Also at the breakfast show was Wyland, who called Bo over and asked to take a picture together.
When Wyland asks to have a picture taken with you and not the other way around, I guess you’ve arrived.
Wyland was a regular at our comedy club at the Ilikai. Always came to our Saturday 11pm. Would have him and his entourage on one side of the showroom in the back and Don Ho with his entourage on the other.
I keep getting email forwards with an attachment called “TheJuggler.wmv.” Been getting these years. I guess because everyone knows I’m a juggler, as well as comedian, they feel obligated to show me someone who’s better at it than I.
And The Juggler is better at it than I. Some would argue the opposite, that I am better than he. But inevitably these are people who are financially tied to me in some way.
The Juggler’s name is Chriss Bliss. And he played our comedy clubs in Hawaii. The booking process, however, got off to a rocky start.
When I saw that our booking consultants in Los Angeles had put him on our schedule as one of their newfound acts, I called immediately and said, “Cancel.”
“But Eddie, why?”
I had a dilemma. I didn’t want to get a reputation in the comedy world of not wanting any jugglers to perform on our Honolulu Comedy Club stage aside from myself, because it’s not the case. I love good comedy jugglers. But I also didn’t want to tell them exactly why I was so quick and adamant with my decision. My official explanation: “Can’t say, please don’t ask.”
About 5 days later I received a very nice note from Chriss with a VHS of his act. He wrote that he didn’t understand the reason behind my mysterious cancellation but that his act had completely changed over the past several years. He asked me to watch the tape and if I still felt the same way, he’d be okay with it.
Fair enough. I watched it. And I laughed. Hard. Funny, funny, funny. Very different than what I had seen 8 years prior at a comedy club on Long Island where he was scheduled for a Friday & Saturday but in an unprecedented move for a comedy club, was fired after the Friday.
He didn’t do any comedy back then. Just juggling. Good juggling. Great juggling. In fact, Chriss Bliss was the opening act for Michael Jackson’s Thriller tour. Who else can lay claim to that little chunk of history? But not good enough to survive a second day at a small comedy club on Long Island.
And this is where I made my mistake. Back then I was a rookie comic and let my greenness carry over to being a rookie comedy club owner.
In my naivety I didn’t know what really happened that night on Long Island. The owner, as it turns out, was dating one of the waitresses and she apparently, for whatever convoluted reasons, didn’t like Chriss. And like an idiot I let that carry over to my rookiness as a club owner.
After watching his tape, I immediately called Chriss and sheepishly told him I would reinstate him if he could be gracious enough to overlook my shortsighted decision. Then I said, “I have to tell you why I cancelled.”
“Yes, please do.”
“Eight years ago, Long Island.”
And he laughed. Hard. Funny, funny, funny. “If I were you, Eddie, I would have done the exact same thing. That was by far the worst performing night of my life!”
Friends again. He rocked Honolulu. And showed me up as a juggler. But really, who cares? Bottom line is Chriss Bliss played Honolulu. Chriss Bliss, the guy who opened for Michael Jackson.
Enough with the forwarded wmv’s, everyone. I’m way ahead of you.
Watch the video of Chriss Bliss, a.k.a. The Juggler.
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