SLOFunny Comedy Show co-host Brian Owens vividly remembers how he came across the name of his monthly comedy series – The SLOFunny Comedy Show – which runs the last Saturday of the month at Morro Bay Vets Hall until January.
It was during the after-party for the annual SLO Comedy Festival, and an unnamed drunk Los Angeles comedian who came to the festival at her own expense because she didn’t make the paid comic cut was insultingly paid Phoenix comedian Mary Upchurch saying, “You may be funny from Phoenix, but I’m funny from LA.”
“I looked at her and I said, ‘You might be funny in LA, but she’s funny in SLO because she actually walked into the festival,'” Owens recalled. than 40 comics. After that, Mary started making Phoenix-Funny merch.”
On Saturday, July 30, Owens and co-host Nancy Westerfield could very well have their biggest show on the show yet. They’ve booked five big names to play two shows (6:30 p.m. and 9 p.m.), one of which is Sacramento heavyweight Key Lewis, who will act as host. He is described as “a maniac of energy, improvisation, storytelling and multiple personalities! His love for people and his thirst for the stage are his eternal motivation.”
Lewis grew up under the influence of Eddie Murphy and Richard Pryor, and “later in life [George] Carlin because I started to understand what he was talking about,” he said in a phone interview, so his interest in comedy was there from the start.
His mother is white, but he was raised by his black father, and he jokes that he looks Mexican. His desire to be on stage was cemented when he saw stand-up comedian Joe Klocek open for Pauly Shore at the Sacramento Punchline, “and I watched this guy work magic with the crowd work and the impromptu comedy, and I was like, I’ve gotta get the ball rolling on this.”
He took an acting class at a club called Laughs Unlimited in 2004, and soon he was doing short series and developing his chops. He has since appeared on Dry bar comedyMarlon Wayans’ TBS reality show funniest winsStarz’ StaannDUP!Kevin Hart’s A microphone standas well as that of Bill Bellamy Who has jokes!
He can work neatly, but as he noted, “I’m a comedian. I do what’s required. There’s a mood. If I’m in a situation and the jokes go a certain way, if I need to drop an F-bomb to get the message across, that’s how it works I read my audience.
FYI, SLOFunny is rated R, and Lewis likes to improvise with the public.
“You make a show out of a conversation,” he said. “I’m going to follow up based on this conversation. I love people and interacting. I love the awkwardness of having a conversation with someone I don’t know. That’s the fun part. Some people are uncomfortable, but for me, talking and relating and having that human interaction is key to my stand-up.”
Four other comedians are on that bill, including Sean Grant, who was named Jimmy Kimmel’s Funniest College Kid in America. Kiran Deol was recently seen starring alongside Kal Penn in the TV series sunny side. Headliner Betty Barnes (formerly Liz Stewart) hit it big in 2017 with her TV special Liz Stewart: I Crown, where she tackles ghosts, drugs and motherhood – filmed when she was 8 1/2 months pregnant. Also starring actor, writer, comedian and activist Nic Novicki, who appeared on SNL, The Sopranos, Boardwalk Empire, and in dozens of other movies and TV shows. He also spoke to new times by telephone.
His comedy career started in school when he was kind of a class clown.
“I’ve been doing comedy since I was a kid. I guess part of it is because I’m a little person,” Novicki, 3-foot-10, explained. “I used comedy to break the ice. It’s something I’ve always done well.”
How does it feel to be on this kind of comedy circuit?
“It’s amazing,” said Novicki, who lives in Los Angeles with his wife and new baby. “You know, I just did a show at [Vina] Robles Amphitheater, where I opened for Nate Bargatze two weeks ago, and it was so cool to be back there. I did the SLO Comedy Festival about five or six years ago, and the crowds there are so amazing. To be on this circuit and to be on this show, people want to laugh, especially coming out of the pandemic. They just want to have a good time.
“Honestly not a bad place to look around too. The scenery? Just awesome. I love San Luis Obispo and the whole area.”
How does he deal with hecklers?
“You just improvise a bit. My number doesn’t really invite hecklers because I’m more of a storyteller. I’m talking about my wife and my baby, so I’m not the guy who picks on people, but when it happens, you have to play the game and have fun with it. If someone starts the party, you have to keep the dance going.
How does he describe his comedy?
“I work clean. I talk about a lot of personal experiences in my life, I talk about family. I’m married and I have a new baby, so that’s where the inspiration for comedy comes from. The comedy is relatable, I hope. I’ve done shows in front of a church and shows in front of Marines on a base.
“The same jokes will usually work anywhere…in theory!” Δ
Contact senior writer Glen Starkey at [email protected]