“I wasn’t aware there was so much comedic talent in the Yuba-Sutter area,” said Sydney Johnson, one of three judges for Laughing with the Comics. “It’s impressive.”
The Yuba-Sutter Regional Arts Council (YSRAC) and Breakaway Theatre Productions hosted the first (of what may continue as an annual) event, modeled after the popular Dancing with the Stars. Six contestants were each mentored by a local comic for a month and a half. All twelve comedians participated in the show on Friday, August 24, but the amateurs were competing for a five minute opening slot at the Laughs Unlimited comedy club in Sacramento, scheduled to take place sometime in October.
The Lee Burrows Center was jam packed; this event brought in one of the largest crowds the “On Stage” series has ever seen. After the show, several of the contestants admitted that they had never performed in front of such a large crowd. Much time and effort was put into skits that resulted in quality entertainment.
Angel Diaz, a local favorite, told jokes about the difference between men’s rooms and ladie’s rooms, as well as the difference of toilet paper use by men and women. After my comment on the animation he put into his skit to liven it up, he said, “Comedy is like multi-media; there is more than one aspect of it. It involves body language, facial expressions, and ‘owning’ the stage.”
Diaz was the mentor of Caleb Mains. Mains had one of the longest skits, which included what he thought was the best pickup line ever — “I have a job” — and a satirical poem about his love for a Burger King employee when he worked at McDonalds. He also brought air freshener on stage for his “jokes that stink.” Mains was chosen in a three-way tie by the judges and, after a thundering round of audience approval, won the slot at Laughs Unlimited. He also won a golden horse’s ass trophy, and everyone got a crappy certificate. When asked how he felt about the upcoming show Mains replied, “I have a plan. Make sure I have gas in the car.”
Mentor Hark Dulai explained, “You can’t teach comedy. You can guide people and give tips, but they’ve got to have it in them somewhere.” Dulai had told a joke about a “lazy homeless guy” who had nothing on his sign. When Dulai approached him asking why, the man asked for a couple bucks to buy some sharpies. Nancy Levinson, who was mentored by Dulai, was also selected in the three-way tie. Her story about her first and only lawn mowing experience won her many laughs from the crowd.
Other jokes and stories ranged from the rivalry between Yuba City and Marysville, to skyping with J Lo, what being a nurse in the area is truly like, ridiculous responses from the iPhone’s Siri, badly worded newspaper headlines, pregnancy tests from the dollar store – a coin in a box, guaranteed 50% accuracy – and much more.
All in all, Laughing with the Comics was a huge success. For more information on the “On Stage” event series, the “Friday Night Films” cult classic series, or other events hosted by the YSRAC, check www.yubasutterarts.org or find them on facebook. Check the Laughs Unlimited calendar for a second chance to see winner Caleb Mains perform. Look for an updated story here at The Prospector after his October event.