Posts Tagged ‘Comedy’
Naïve me didn’t realize the power a comedy club owner wields until the day I walked into the post office in Hawaii Kai.
Charlotte and I had just moved from Hawaii Kai to Kaneohe and were having a little trouble with our mail forwarding. Not a big deal in the grand scheme of things. I wrote a note to the postmaster, stuck it in a Honolulu Comedy Club business envelope, and wrote the word “Postmaster” on it. My plan was the next time I drove by the post office in Hawaii Kai I would drop it off. Simple enough.
So I thought.
Standing in line. My turn. I walked up to the counter and handed the girl the envelope. “Please give this to the postmaster.” And the girl said…
“I can’t do that without a stamp.”
“I’m sorry?” I responded, “Not sure I follow.”
She said, “I can’t give this to him without a stamp.”
Stunned, I replied, “I’m not mailing it. I’m dropping it off. I did the driving.”
“There’s nothing I can do,” she persisted.
After pondering my options for a moment, I slowed my voice down and said, “I would like to see the postmaster. Can you please get him for me?”
She disappeared. When she returned, I’ll be a horned toad, she took my letter – without the stamp.
The following day I got a call from the postmaster letting me know he had resolved the mail forwarding problem. Very nice man, obviously enjoyed his job, enjoyed helping people. Before hanging up… should I, shouldn’t I… Eh, what the heck. Before hanging up I decided to tell him the story.
“By the way, did your girl at the counter tell you what I had to go through to get my note into your hands?”
She hadn’t. So I took the liberty of laying out the sequence of events. When I finished my story I could sense a range of emotions flying through the phone. The good postmaster’s response was a combination of shock, embarrassment, humor, and fear. It was the fear that took me by surprise.
Shock in that his girl wasn’t following policy, but rather trying to establish a new postal policy on the fly. Embarrassment by the sheer stupidity of it. Humor in that he had already been considering writing a book about all of the insane things he had seen in his postal career and this one was near the top of the list. But fear?
The kindly postmaster knew I owned the comedy club in Waikiki due to my letterhead, and he assumed I had ultimate power over the stage and microphone, as well as connections with media. He knew what comedians could do with stories like these. And he feared.
I, on the other hand, had no clue I had any of these powers. But I guess… maybe…
We had a good laugh. I’m pretty certain he’s retired by now so it’s probably safe to tell the story. Clearly not his fault… but girl, if you’re reading this… we’re watching you.
A quick video of Sharkey’s Comedy Club’s Shawn Felipe:
“What’s that sound?” Kathy asked. It’s a question I’ll never forget.
Charlotte and I first met comedienne Kathy Buckley while on a trip to Los Angeles scouting for new talent for our comedy club in Hawaii. We were all back stage at the Ice House Comedy & Magic Club in Pasadena. Our 3-month old daughter was with us.
If you didn’t read a certain previous blog post, not only is Kathy Buckley one of the nation’s top female comics, she is also hearing-impaired. It so happens, 6 months before this meeting she had been outfitted for a hearing aid that would allow her to hear sounds for the first time in her life. Birds singing, highway traffic, etc. All firsts. When we met her at the comedy club that night she was still in discovery mode.
“What’s that sound?” Kathy asked us. Apparently she heard something new and unfamiliar.
Charlotte figured out what sound she was referring to. “Oh, that was our baby!” Charlotte replied. “I’m tickling her. She was laughing.”
Kathy gazed with wonder like I’ve never seen at this 3 month old infant, then looked at Charlotte and asked, “Can you make her do that again?”
So Charlotte again induced deep belly laughs from the kid, and, oh my goodness, the dam in Kathy’s eyes broke. Tears started gushing. It was the first time she had ever heard an infant laugh and it was, I presume, a moment of overwhelming joy. I’m a guy, I don’t traffic in these areas, so all I can do is presume.
An area I do traffic in, however, is comedians being introduced to go on stage to make an audience laugh. And it just so happened that at this particular moment I heard Kathy Buckley being introduced to go on stage. To go on stage assigned with the task of making audience laugh. While in tears. This oughta be interesting.
“Um, uh, Kathy? I don’t mean to spoil this precious moment, but you’re being introduced right now.”
There must be a rule in the comedy club playbook. No crying on stage. In a flash, she shouted, “Oh crap,” quickly tried to wipe the tears from her eyes, and ran through the door to the stage.
And there she was.
I don’t specifically recall how Kathy managed to explain to the Ice House audience why she was crying as she took the stage, but she managed and as usual, she killed.
Kathy and I recounted this moment when we spoke last week. “I’m feeling old,” she said after I let her know that this infant daughter of mine is about to graduate from college.
A gifted comedienne, award-winning actress, accomplished author, and renowned inspirational speaker Kathy Buckley is a force like no other. Billed as “America’s First Hearing Impaired Comedienne,” Kathy Buckley is a five-time American Comedy Award Nominee as Best Stand-Up Female Comedienne, and the winner of countless other awards for her work. Her television appearances include The Tonight Show, Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, The Today Show, Entertainment Tonight, Extra, Inside Edition, CNN, HBO, VH1’s Stand-Up Spotlight, Comic Strip Live, Evening at the Improv, and Caroline’s Comedy Hour.
To get a full dose of this very special person, visit http://www.KathyBuckley.com.
To get a full dose of comedy shows in Hawaii, visit http://www.HawaiiComedyTheater.com
The synergy was unintentional. One particular week we had on the Honolulu Comedy Club show both Kathy Buckley and David Strassman. To the untrained eye, no big deal. But it was a big deal. Let’s go behind the Waikiki comedy scene for a moment.
Strassman is a ventriloquist. Kathy’s deaf. Ponder that, but please don’t get ahead of me.
Although Kathy is hearing-impaired, the “experts” didn’t discover the specific nature of her hearing problem until she was well into adulthood at which time they fixed her up with a latest and greatest micro-device. So Kathy is not only one of the most funny, talented and insightful comics to have worked Hawaii, but one of the best darned lip readers, too. She’s deaf, but she can hear. Yes, a tad confusing. Which brings us to David Strassman.
Kathy had worked with David many times before at comedy clubs in Los Angeles, but had never been able to experience his full act. Only half of his act. David’s half. Because David is a ventriloquist. Which brings us to Chuck.
Chuck is Strassman’s dummy. Chuck Wood. And Chuck is nasty. Nasty, nasty, nasty. This is in stark contrast to David who is truly one of the sweetest guys on earth. Kathy knew this because could lip read David. Yes, she knew what David was saying and that he was sweet. Before she was fitted for the hearing aid that would allow her to hear sounds for the first time ever, all she could ever do was watch Chuck’s mouth bob up and down. “I can’t lip read that stupid dummy,”Kathy would say.
Until that one night at the Honolulu Comedy Club in Waikiki. Which brings us to The Signer.
We had a large group at the club that night – like a big chunk of Honolulu’s hearing-impaired community. Half the crowd. They came to see Kathy Buckley. And they asked if they could bring a signer. I had to check with Strassman first. “You okay with that David?”
Okay with that? You’ve got to be kidding! This was music to a ventriloquist’s ears. “You mean there’s gonna be a guy on stage standing next to me for my entire show?” I could see him literally salivating, like handing candy to a baby. Chuck had a field day. A fart joke. How’s he going to sign that? You get the idea. But back to Kathy.
You see, this was the first time Kathy got to “hear” the other half of Strassman’s act. Now she finally knew what Chuck had been saying all those years. She finally understood why a steady stream of people would approach David after his shows saying, “David, we really liked you. You were wonderful. But we didn’t like Chuck. Chuck wasn’t nice.”
Hello folks. David is Chuck. Chuck is David. Ah, they just don’t get it. Dummies. And David would just smile and say thank you. Because David, you see, is nice.
You’ll want to watch these. Helps bring my pathetic words to life.
“All of it,” I replied.
I had asked Kevin Hughes if he was available in February to work at the Honolulu Comedy Club in Waikiki. “When in February?” he asked.
You see, I wanted him for the entire month.
In our five years of producing comedy shows in Waikiki to that point, Charlotte and I had never done this before. One headliner, no opening act. The full 90 to Kevin Hughes. And frankly, no month in the history of the Honolulu Comedy Club has ever better. In the history of comedy in Hawaii, if I may.
Relationship humor. Better communication. Sex therapy.
No one with a pulse left our comedy show the way they came in that month. Marriages on the rocks were saved. Couples would get engaged. Strangers would be strangers no longer. Nobody ended the evening alone.
Sample a few clips of Kevin Hughes for yourself. You will understand why it’s this way.
Waves of laughter emanating from our comedy club at the Ilikai so strong you could feel it next door at the Hilton Hawaiian Village.
Roberta Paulette, our comedy club manager, told me of one young lady who came each night for Kevin’s first two weeks. By the fourth night Roberta recognized her and welcomed her back. Mistaken identity, said the girl. She told Roberta she hadn’t been there before… at which point Roberta realized she had made a humongous mistake. This fine customer was bringing a different guy with her each evening. Uh… oops!
If you’re lucky enough to be at Sharkey’s Comedy Club in Waikiki when Kevin Hughes is on the show, don’t waste it on Boys Night Out.
Four straight weeks of sellouts, two leading up to Valentine’s Day followed by a word of mouth surge for the two weeks following. The first week of March we sent Kevin on our Hawaiian Islands Comedy Tour with stops at the Kauai Comedy Club at the Kauai Hilton, Maui Comedy Club at the Maui Marriott and Sports Page in Kihai, and Kona Comedy Club at the then-Kona Surf Resort. And then, if you can believe it, two more weeks at the Honolulu Comedy Club. All sellouts.
To the good Roberta Paulette Regalado who we haven’t heard from in years – if you’re reading this, an extremely fond hello to you from Charlotte and Eddie Sax. You were the greatest manager Hawaii comedy has ever seen.