The Hawaii Comedy Blog

The official blog of the gang at Hawaii Comedy Theater

Archive for April, 2011

Kento-san’s Excellent Adventure

Things to do in Waikiki. How about watch the filming of a national TV program?

When A&E’s Comedy On The Road with Jon Byner contacted us to film five of their shows at our club in Honolulu, producer Rick Messina called to ask me which of our Hawaiian-based comics would be good enough for the show.

Kento-san's national TV debut was when A&E filmed at our club

While many would have been intimidated to speak with someone of Rick Messina’s stature (Tim Allen’s personal business manager, executive producer of all of Tim’s movies, the Drew Carey Show, etc., etc.), but for me it was old home week. I’ve known Rick since he was a bartender at the East Side Comedy Club in Huntington, Long Island. We hadn’t spoken in years.

“You and who else?” Rick asked me.

The year was 1994 and the pickin’s were slim. Good local comics? Sure. I’ve got plenty.

But good enough for national TV? For a national audience that isn’t sensitized to the idiosyncrasies of our unique Hawaiian culture? We’re starting to narrow down the field. There’s me. Bo Irvine…

“How long of a set?” I replied

“8 minutes.”

“No problem. I’ve got one. Kento-san!”

This was early in Kento’s comedy career with us. At the time he had about 15 minutes of material. His first half was KILLER. Really, as good an 8 minute opening as any mainland comic I few over. From there he was still experimenting, still trying to find his sea legs. But if 8 minutes was all it took, he’s on the show baby and I’m proud to have my reputation behind it.

Beyond Kento, we had one other local comic who had fairly strong material. He, too, could have done the program. It’s just that I was never quite sure whose material he would be doing on any given night. It was an internal problem and we were dealing with it. (“Stop stealing other guys’ material. Please. Pretty please. Or we can’t let you work here.”) I didn’t exactly want to make this internal problem an external problem by putting him out there with my name attached. No thanks. We’ll just go with Kento-san. Original, extraordinary.

“Kento-who? Kento-what?” asked Rick.

“On the 1099 you can put Ken Komoto. On the rolling credits put Kento-san. He’s Japanese.”

“This program’s in English, Eddie.”

“Trust me.”

Which he did.

It’s now about two decades later and Kento comes equipped with an additional hour of KILLER material every bit as funny as his Original Eight. You can catch Kento-san every Wednesday and Saturday at our Hawaii Comedy Theater at the Sheraton Princess Ka’iulani Hotel in Waikiki.

Need balloons? Kento also runs the best balloon decorating and delivery company on the island, Flyin’ Hawaiian Balloons.

One of Kento-san's many balloon creations. No joke!

Molokai: Our Waitress Was a Waiter

It was a nightmare.

After working three shows at our Honolulu Comedy Club at the Ilikai in Waikiki, I finally made my way back to our condo at the Mauna Luan in Hawaii Kai and slipped into bed with my already fast asleep wife at a quarter past some ungodly early morning hour. Just as I was building up a good head of steam into my dreams, I started hallucinating that I was being awoken. Violently. So it seemed. By Charlotte. My wife.

In my stupor I looked over at the clock. Seven. I assumed it was a.m. 7am. Certainly not the time on a Sunday morning for a comedy club owner who worked three frenzied shows the previous night to be awakened.

So in this nightmare of mine Charlotte was looming over me, gently yet to me not so gently touching my shoulder in Get Up fashion. She had a mischievous smile and an explanation that sounded kinda like, “Happy birthday, our flight to Molokai leaves in 90 minutes.

Molokai? Oy!

Escape From Hawaii Comedy Dreams to Molokai Birthday Nightmare

Can’t we just go to Sandy Beach and gaze across the channel at the western Molokai shoreline? No dream. No such luck. Off to Molokai we went.

Upon landing we discovered that Kaluakoi, the island’s only resort, was on strike. Oh joy, oh rapture. Had Charlotte perhaps made reservations for this surprise birthday junket we MIGHT HAVE KNOWN THIS IN ADVANCE. But no. So we found ourselves a room in Kaunakakai.

We went for the nicest of all rooms in Kaunakakai. After all, it was my birthday. We entered the room. Nice curtains. White with thousands of brown speckles. Wait, those aren’t speckles. Termites. We’re out of there. Like running in a panic out of there. Found another hotel. Couldn’t have been any worse.

Ill-fated waterfall for Molokai pig

Driving west to hike into the Halawa Valley we passed two state workers asleep in a pickup truck. Upon arriving at the waterfall we encountered an awful smell. A dead body. No, whew, it wasn’t a human. Hair. Oh crap, it’s a bear. There are bears in these woods! No, that’s stupid. We’re in Hawaii. Look closer. A wild boar. Fell 2,000 feet to its demise from the mountain above. Stupid pig. One dead pig, no tourists, no luau to take advantage. Let’s get out of these woods.

Dinner. Restaurant. “Charlotte,” I said to my lovely bride of nearly two years several minutes into our meal, “when our waitress comes by again take a good hard look.”

“Why?” she asked.

“Because our waitress is a waiter.”

Silence. Jaw hanging.

“No way.”

“Yes way.”

Eddie wins bet. Let’s get off this island. I will never laugh at another Bo Irvine Molokai joke as long as I live.

Did anything good come from this short break from Hawaii Comedy Club World? Can’t be completely certain, but after doing the math I do know that 40 weeks later our first child was born.

Downtown (and uptown) Kaunakakai

Maybe it wasn’t such a nightmare after all.

After reading this, perhaps some travel writer will write a second page to their Things To Do On Molokai book.

Rush to Greatness

Rush? Nope! It's Las Vegas Comedian Kevin Burke's last minute 2010 Halloween costume

The night after enjoying Mel Cabang’s show at our new Sharkey’s Comedy Club Las Vegas (Clarion Hotel and Casino on Convention Center Dr.), former island comic Steve Dennis and I headed over to see comedian-friend Kevin Burke at the Fitz Casino & Hotel (downtown Las Vegas) where he stars in his one man show, “Fitz of Laughter.” Kevin also stars in the Vegas edition of “Defending The Caveman” at Harrah’s on the Strip. Two shows per night, pretty much every night of the week with barely enough time to drive between the two gigs.

This might sound trite, but sitting in the back of the room with Steve before the show, I asked Kevin what makes him so outrageously successful in a world of many very talented and starving comics. He said he didn’t know, then walked to the stage to start the show as his opening music was playing. 10 seconds later he walks back to us and says, “The reason I am so successful is due to my unfailing attention to detail,” at which point he picked up the cordless mic he had inadvertently left sitting on the seat beside us and proceeded to the stage once more leaving Steve and I hysterical and the rest of the audience wondering what the heck Kevin said to us as he walked from us to them.

Later that evening after Steve and I had left the showroom, Kevin calls my cell and says, “I believe secret to success is to assume that at every show there may be someone there who is seeing a show for the very first time… and someone seeing a show for the very last time.”

Hmmm… that’s something we may all want to consider.

No, the photo above isn’t Rush Limbaugh. It’s Kevin throwing together a last minute Halloween costume. Simplicity works best.

Sweetie Pacarro from KSSK called me a few months ago while I was in Vegas. We were both in Vegas at the same time, actually. She was there scouting talent for the upcoming annual Perry & Price live remote from LV on April 2nd and ran into a friend of mine, comedian Geechy Guy. Geech knew I was in town and Sweetie called me to say hi. Never mind that it was 11pm, but it’s Vegas and I was quite awake (don’t try that when I’m at home!). I was leaving LV the following morning so Sweetie and I didn’t have a chance to connect, but on the phone she asked me if I knew of anyone who would be good for the show. Absolutely. I put her in touch with Kevin.

Not sure if they ended up connecting and if he’s booked on the show, but when I tune into Mike & Larry tomorrow morning I guess I shall find out!

A few final notes: Defending The Caveman was written by comedian Rob Becker who used to play our Honolulu Comedy Club (Ilikai Hotel) and Hawaiian Islands Comedy Tour (Maui Marriott – Ka’anapali, Sports Page – Kihei, Kauai Hilton, Kona Surf Resort Poi Pounder Showroom). The show, born from his standup routine, plays in cities around the globe.

From Caveman’s website: “Defending the Caveman holds the record as the longest running solo play in Broadway history. Caveman is also now a worldwide rock-solid tour de force that has won the hearts of millions and it’s sure to win yours.  Caveman has been seen in 45 countries and translated into 30 different languages (and counting!).”