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Friday, June 21, 2002

Barry Koltnow

Do you think you're funny? Prove it

June 21, 2002

The Orange County Register

Many, many years ago, at the dawn of the comedy-club explosion, I was a stand-up comic.

I wasn't a stand-up comic for long. Actually, my career lasted one night.

But in my own defense, it was only supposed to last one night.

I was doing a story on the growth of stand-up comedy, and I decided that the best way to illustrate the story would be to perform as a stand-up.

The biggest comedy club in Orange County back then was the Laff Stop in Newport Beach.

I wrote about 15 minutes of original material and then prepared introductions for the five comics scheduled to perform that night. Bob Saget headlined the bill.

I wasn't absolutely horrible, although my memory is clouded by time.

But I do remember doing something right that night: I didn't invite any real critics to the show, so the only historical record of my performance was written by me.

If I remember correctly, I concluded in my story that I was funnier than three of the comics but could not approach the talent and professionalism of Saget and the second headliner, New York comic Bob Shaw.

Everyone should be a stand-up comic for one night.

It is an enlightening and humbling experience, not unlike selling magazine subscriptions door to door.

The reason I mention this is that Bill Word wants to give you a chance to be a stand-up comic for one night. Or maybe even longer.

Word, a seasoned pro who not only performs regularly at area clubs but books the Thursday-night comedy shows at Martini Blues in Huntington Beach, is the brainchild behind "Orange County's Funniest Person" contest.

The competition will be held on five consecutive Thursday nights in August at Martini Blues.

Eight comics will perform for 10 minutes each during four preliminary rounds. Two winners will be chosen each week, and the eight finalists will joke for $1,000 in prize money ($500 to the first-place finisher) Aug. 29.

Contestants can be veterans of the comedy-club circuit or brazen beginners who just want a shot at the brass ring.

The only requirement is that they reside in Orange County.

"I assume some of the more experienced comics will do it for the exposure, but I wouldn't rule out the $500 as a motivator," Word said.

The comedy promoter said he has picked many of the 32 contestants but insisted that he will consider late entries, as long as they're received by July 1.

"Although most of the tapes I've seen are from people with some experience," Word said, "I would love to find an unknown."

Word said he is looking for different styles of comedy to make the weekly shows as entertaining and interesting as possible for the audience.

"It wouldn't be very interesting if all the comics looked and sounded like me," he said.

If you want to add some spice to your life and don't want to sell magazine subscriptions door to door, send a VHS tape of yourself performing (it doesn't have to be in a club; it can be in your living room), along with a resume or contact sheet and proof of O.C. residence to: Word-Up Productions, 1835 Newport Blvd. A109, No. 404, Costa Mesa, CA 92627. Check complete contest rules at www.ocfunniest .com.

Martini Blues, 5874 Edinger Ave., Huntington Beach, (714) 840-2129.


Club Rubber, the revolutionary club promotion that burst on the scene six years ago and changed the way clubs do business, will cease to exist in Orange County. The club's last night will be Saturday at the Galaxy Theatre in Santa Ana.

However, Rubber will continue its operations in Las Vegas (next: a two-day party, Fourth of July weekend at the Palms hotel) and other Southern California locations.

Promoters John Huntington and Damian Sanders gave no reason on their Web site for closing their Orange County operation, but the local promotion clearly was not as hot as it was in the first few years.

What started as a house party thrown by Sanders, a former professional snowboarder, grew into an entertainment empire.

He and Huntington have become power brokers in Las Vegas as different hotels bid for their services.

It was just a matter of time before they outgrew Orange County. I can't even get these guys to return my calls.

The Galaxy, 3505 S. Harbor Blvd., Santa Ana; 21 and older.

Freedom Communications, Inc.
Copyright 2002
The Orange County Register


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