Performing Arts: Augie T. on ‘Last Stand’ tour
. . . But he’s NOT retiring! He’s just refocusing his energy
Comedian Augie T is making the island rounds with his “Last Stand” tour, which stops on Maui at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Castle Theater at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center in Kahului. Accompanied by Jose “Dynamite” Figueras and Daryl Bonilla, Augie has decided after 27 years of the comedy circuit, he’s ready to “hang up the BBDs and focus on new endeavors.”
Inspired in the fourth grade when he saw comedian Andy Bumatai live, it took him a few more years before he entered an open mic challenge at age 23 — and he’s never looked back.
“There were many times I wanted to pull the plug on stand-up,” remembers Augie. “I only had to do 10 minutes as an opening act to Henry Kapono, Mel Cabang, Andy Bumatai and bunch of other local entertainers. No one was laughing. People were just staring and not really paying attention — they came for the other people. I got off stage and Mel Cabang pulled me on the side and said, ‘I think you are going to be the greatest one day. Don’t be intimidated and try to be like everyone else. You funny, but you gottah believe it.’ “
Augie insists he is not retiring, he’s just choosing to turn his attention to new efforts, such as his daughter Mahealani’s non-profit foundation, B.R.A.V.E. Hawaii, which espouses people to Be Respectful And Value Everyone. She was a victim of bullying at age 11, and started this foundation at age 13. B.R.A.V.E. Hawaii has reached more than 70,000 students statewide to date.
He also may be considering a run for public office in 2020.
“Over the last few years, I was fortunate enough to serve in the administrations of Mayor Billy Kenoi on Hawaii Island and Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui,” notes Augie. “I learned a lot about myself, people and our community. I really enjoyed serving and helping.”
Augie reminisced about memorable moments in his career. One event that really stood out: being the first local stand-up comedian to sell out the Blaisdell Arena. He also remembers opening for Howie Mandel a few years back.
When looking for material for his comedy, Augie stays away from things overtly political.
“People pay to laugh! I’m a storyteller, a reflection of society,” he explains. “If I see something that makes me laugh, I’m probably going to talk about it.
“It’s super important to keep it real! I will only talk about things I believe in or have knowledge in. People can spot and smell a fake.”
When asked what he’s enjoyed most about what he’s been doing for the past 27 years, Augie notes “the countless stories about how I helped a lot of people going through rough times in their life, and by watching my DVD or being at one of my shows, it helped them through difficult times.
“Comedy is in my blood, and I’ve loved making people laugh my whole life.”
Joining Augie at his Maui stop, Figueras, or Jose Dynamite as he’s known on stage, has worked with Augie MANY, MANY times before (his emphasis). Augie came to Figueras and asked for his help in promoting this tour.
Originally from St. Louis, Figueras started performing comedy seriously in 2004 at open mic opportunities on Oahu.
“A lot of my humor comes from real-life situations, centered around my family,” explains Figueras. “[I am] a haole living in Hawaii in a house that’s dominated by the local women in my life.
“I love seeing regular fans,” admits Figueras. “They become friends.”
The third comedian on the bill is Bonilla. He’s been performing for over 20 years, but has been active on the stand-up circuit for only five. This is his first time performing on Maui.
Augie has been one of his biggest supporters ever since Bonilla appeared on Season 2 of “The Augie Show.”
“This is my first time opening for him,” notes Bonilla. “I’m very excited to be part of his ‘Last Stand’ tour.”
* Tickets for the show are $15, $25, $35, $45 (plus applicable fees) and are available at the box office, by calling 242-7469 or by going online at www.mauiarts.org.