Bring on the laughs
Last summer, Hawaii comic Augie T headlined the “Summer of LOL” tour. This summer, it appears all of Maui has gotten into the act, with a bevy of comedy shows happening over the next two weeks.
Augie Tulba’s comedy career started in 1991, when he took open-mic-night top honors at the Honolulu Comedy Club. While mentoring with comedian Andy Bumatai, Tulba began to develop material realizing that it wasn’t necessary to use profanity to get a laugh. Shortly thereafter, he began performing with the comedy group Booga Booga.
“I was lucky to be taken under their wing,” he shared. “It allowed me to learn, be an opening act, maybe only on stage for five minutes at first. Then I was asked to open for the band Kapena. They toured all over the South Pacific, and I was playing in front of thousands of people.”
By 1999, Tulba had won his first Na Hoku Hanohano Award, and in 2002, he was voted Comedian of the Year by what was then the Honolulu Star Bulletin. In past years, Tulba starred in the Maui-based film “Get A Job,” performed on the Na Alii of Comedy Tour with Frank Delima, Ed Kaahea, Mel Cabang and Andy Bumatai, and recently received the prestigious Pacific Business News “40 Under 40” award. To date, Tulba is the only local comedian to sell out the Neal S. Blaisdell Center arena.
It’s been more than three years since his last one-man show, but Tulba returns this weekend to produce and film his sixth one-man statewide comedy show, “So Dumb 2014.” In addition to being taped on Maui and at the Blaisdell arena, the tour heads to Seattle, San Diego, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, Houston and Boston. The final DVD version will also be available on demand through Oceanic Time Warner Cable in November.
“I haven’t done anything solo for awhile,” he shared. “This will be my first full show in years, and it will be vintage Augie with all new material.”
I asked if he had any acting projects on the horizon.
“Right now, I’m just focused on getting back to stand-up. ‘Hawaii Five-0,’ said they were going to bring my character back, but I’ve been waiting three years,” he joked.
You can check out the future of Hawaii’s comedy scene every Tuesday (or sign up yourself and give it a shot) at Power Up Comedy’s weekly comedy open-mic night. After a brief hiatus, Power Up has found a new regular home at Three’s Bar & Grill in Kihei. In addition to unknown comics taking the stage for the first time, catch Power Up regulars Chino LaForge, Jason Strahn, Chris Rose, Corky Gardner and Sunny Dennis filling out the bill each week.
The show starts at 9 p.m. every Tuesday. To participate, you’ll need to sign up between 8:30 p.m. and just prior to show time to make the set list. Cut off is first come, first served, and will end when the bill is full. Admission to Power Up Comedy’s open mic night is free.
Next week, Bobby Lee, former “MADtv” cast member and regular on “Chelsea Lately,” will perform at the MACC. When not taking on film and TV projects, Lee is also one of America’s hardest-working comics, touring the country year-round.
A native of San Diego, Lee was expected to follow in his father’s footsteps, running the family clothing store. After a few stints with local rock bands, he was discovered by Frank Burns, the manager of La Jolla’s Comedy Store. Pauly Shore (son of The Comedy Store founders Sammy and Mitzi Shore) caught Lee’s act at the club one night and asked the young comic to open for him in Las Vegas.
Lee became a regular at the San Diego and Los Angeles Comedy Stores, which resulted in landing a spot as a “MADtv” cast member. Lee was an audience favorite on the long-running sketch show, creating such memorable characters as a blind Kung Fu master, and parodying Connie Chung and North Korean President Kim Jong Il. Film fans might recognize Lee from such comedy hits as “Pineapple Express” and “Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle.”
* Bobby Lee will perform at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 21 at the Yokouchi Pavilion at the MACC. Seats range from $20 to $38 (plus applicable fees). To purchase tickets, visit the MACC box office, call 242-7469 or order online at www.mauiarts.org.
Uncle Willie K presents his first comedy show later this month, “A Pair of Queens and A Pair of Jacks – Night of Comedy.” In the tradition of the Na Alii of Comedy, the evening will be a variety lineup of top local comic personalities, and holding all the cards is Willie K as host. The “Morning Goddess” Alaka’i Paleka (Queen of Hearts) will bless you with sheer delight. Francis Tau’a (Jack of Diamonds) will dazzle your mind with ecstatic precision. Kathy “Tita” Collins (Queen of Clubs) will knock you off your feet, and Rodney Villanueva (Jack of Spades) will bury you in your seat.
* Willie K’s “A Pair of Queens and A Pair of Jacks” will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 28 in the McCoy Studio Theater at the MACC. Tickets range from $25 to $40 (plus applicable fees). To purchase tickets for any MACC event, visit the box office, call 242-7469 or order online at www.mauiarts.org.
Maui Improv returns to close out a month of comedy, featuring Tom McNamara and the Maui Improv students. This evolving local troupe will present long-form improvised comedy scenes based on audience suggestions. Over the past nine months, Maui Improv has grown to a troupe of 20 performers coached by some of the most prestigious improv artists in the world. Frequent guest instructors include Mark Beltzman (Second City, Improv Olympic of Chicago), David Razowsky (co-founder of Chicago’s Annoyance Theatre), and resident Second City alumnus Mike Burton and McNamara.
* Classes are offered weekly in Kihei and Pukalani, and tuition ranges from $15 for their drop-in classes up to $250, depending on the instructor and the number of classes you wish to attend. Catch their latest performance at 7 p.m. Aug. 31 at the ProArts Playhouse in Kihei. A $5 donation is requested. For tickets or more information, call 463-6550. For information about classes and future performances visit www.mauiimprov.com.
OPENING THIS WEEK
MAPA Live! presents “Miss Saigon,” music by Claude-Michel Schonberg, lyrics by Alain Boublil and Richard Maltby Jr., directed by David C. Johnston, choreographed by Andre Morissette and under the musical direction of Gary Shin-Leavitt. This haunting and heart-wrenching love story of a Vietnamese bar girl and an American Marine set during the Fall of Saigon is making its Maui debut featuring 45 performers and a 21-piece orchestra.
* Performances are 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays, this Friday through Aug. 24 in Castle Theater at the MACC. Tickets range from $15 to $65 (plus applicable fees); student discount available with valid identification. “Miss Saigon” contains mature themes and language. To purchase tickets, visit the MACC box office, call 242-7469 or order online at www.mauiarts.org.
The Maui Academy of Performing Arts will hold open auditions for the classic American drama “The Glass Menagerie” by Tennessee Williams. Auditions will be held in 10-minute time slots beginning at 10 a.m. Aug. 23 at the Steppingstone Playhouse in Queen Ka’ahumanu Center. Directed by Sally Sefton, “The Glass Menagerie” will run weekends Oct. 24 through Nov. 9 at the Steppingstone Playhouse. No preparation is necessary for the audition. Actors will read from the script. To schedule an audition slot, contact Tina Kailiponi at 244-8760 or firstname.lastname@example.org.