The Hawaii Comedy Blog

The official blog of the gang at Hawaii Comedy Theater

Posts Tagged ‘Waikiki’

Fear the Comedy Club Owner

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.

Redd Foxx In 3rd Row!

Of all the things to do in Waikiki, on this particular night the correct answer was the Honolulu Comedy Club.

“Bo,” I breathed with excitement into the phone. “Redd Foxx is sitting in our club right now. 3rd row.”

Powerless. Helpless. Bo Irvine was headlining at our Turtle Bay comedy gig on Oahu’s North Shore and was too far away to hele back into town to meet his idol. I knew Redd Foxx was on the top of Bo’s list, because a year or two prior to this we had a minor disagreement over the subject of Redd Foxx.

What happened was I had set Bo up for his first press interview with the Honolulu Advertiser. Cool. The next day I find myself reading in the paper that his comedy idol is none other than Redd Foxx. Not cool.

“Are you kidding me?” I whined at him. “Redd Foxx? REDD FOXX?? What the heck were you thinking!

Bo was bewildered. “Because the reporter asked me who my comedy inspiration was and I answered the question.”

“Truth has nothing to do with what you say to a reporter!”

“What’s wrong with Redd Foxx?” he asked, still not knowing where I was coming from.

“Well, nothing’s wrong with him. Great comedian. Legendary comedian. But he’s blue. Blue comedian. Very R rated. You’re not an R rated comic, but if you tell everyone Redd Foxx is your comedy idol everything might get the mistaken impression that you are trying to emulate him.  To be Redd Foxx.  To be R.  Bo Irvine is R.  But you R not R!”

“I was just telling the truth.”

He just doesn’t get it. Or maybe I’m the one not getting it. Yes, tell the truth. But no law says you have to tell the Whole Truth unless you’re in a court of law and your hand’s on the Book.

The reason this came up was because a few minutes ago I was on the phone with a very nice gentleman who works with a program that airs on MTV and also happens to be Redd Foxx’s grandson. He is working on starting a show in Las Vegas show at the hotel for which I am the entertainment consultant. I asked him a question that had been nagging me. “For years I’ve been telling people that Redd Foxx was in the audience at our comedy club in Honolulu six weeks before he passed away, that he was on his honeymoon. Do I have my facts right?”

I’d always been concerned that I dreamed this up. I’m in show business and delusion is contagious. I like knowing I have both feet on the ground. Besides, I distinctly remember calling Bo who raced back to Waikiki after his show was over but to no avail. Too late. Redd was gone.

Fact check: Green light, positive. Redd did honeymoon in Hawaii just before he passed away. Note to self: No senile yet.

I never did ask Bo if he cut a few minutes off his stand-up show that night at Turtle Bay to get back in time to meet his comedy inspiration. Bo always tells me the truth and I didn’t want to know. Do not shave points off the show to meet an idol. The truth? I can’t handle the truth.

Factoid: Redd Foxx’s real name was John Elroy Sanford. I never knew that!

Okay folks… If you can stomach blue R rated stand-up, which has NO relationship whatsoever to what Bo Irvine does on stage, here a link for ya: Redd Foxx


I met John, a New York comic, at the Las Vegas Convention Center this week. Very funny and nice guy. A former NYC cop. When I told him that I’ve run comedy clubs in Hawaii for quite a number of years he felt compelled to share a story with me about his first experience with the world of stand-up. It was as a member of the audience.

And it wasn’t pretty.

Before going down that road though, a little background. We are both staying at the same hotel down the block from the LV Convention Center, the Clarion Hotel & Casino, the GM of which is Steve Dennis, a very good friend of mine and Bo Irvine. Steve was one of our locally based comics on Oahu in the late 80’s while attending UH.

Okay then. Go with me to a Thursday in January 1989. Waikiki. Diamond Head. Wedding. Honeymoon. Friday. John and his new bride went out to the a comedy club.

“Was it by chance at the Ilikai Hotel?” I asked. I knew it was. We’ve pretty much been the only comedy club in Hawaii since 1988.
Yep, Ilikai. Top floor, killer view. Honolulu Comedy Club.
“That was my club.”
No kidding!
Small world.

John was a jerk. That’s his description, not mine. “I was such a (bleeping) jerk,” he confessed. “We went to the club on Friday night, and then went back on Saturday night so I could yell out the punch lines before the comedian got to them.”

If he only knew then as a customer what he knows today as a professional comedian. He continued: “But the comic slammed me. Bad. Really put me in my place. Made me feel ‘this’ big. But boy did I have it coming to me.”

In the late 1980’s, we only had a finite number of local comics and I had to know which one did the deed so I could give him a belated high five. “Do you remember what he looked like?” I asked.

“Yeah,” John answered. “Tall, thin, big bushy eyebrows.”

“Guess what John. The hotel you’re staying at? Mr. Bushy Eyebrows is the General Manager.

High five.

Things to do in Waikiki by day

If you’re going to visit Hawaii, it’s no secret that you’re thinking about what to do during your visit. And while checking out what to do outside of Waikiki is perfectly fine, there’s also a lot of things you can do while staying in Waikiki.

For starters, you can hang out at world-famous Waikiki Beach and enjoy the sun and sand Hawaii is known for. Get in your bathing suit or swimming trunks, put on some sun block and work on that tan or take a dip in the water!

Taking a dip or working on your tan aren’t the only things you can do while at the beach. You can also take surfing lessons or rent a boogie board for an exciting time with the waves.

You can also take a ride on a catamaran and enjoy seeing the Waikiki and Honolulu coastline.

If you’re looking for a bit of physical activity, a hike to the top of Diamond Head is a popular thing to do for both locals and tourists alike. A few tour companies offer hiking tours to Diamond Head, but you can go on your own by taking the bus or driving there if you have a rental car.

And of course, the world-class shopping venues around Waikiki and Ala Moana are also hard to ignore. You can basically shop ’til you drop and enjoy high-end shopping at places like 2100 Kalakaua, or find bargains at places like the International Marketplace.

If you get hungry after your shopping spree, Waikiki also has that covered. From hot dogs to high end restaurants, you’ll find nearly every cuisine within walking distance. We’ll give you some top suggestions on restaurants in our next post. Stay tuned!