Laughs will be plentiful as a trio of funny-men take the stage during the Melonville Comedy Festival.
The annual comedy show features co-headliners Kermet Apio and Derek Richards. Cory Michaelis will open the show.
The 21-and-older event is Saturday, Jan. 27 at 8 p.m. (doors open at 7 p.m.) at the Hermiston Conference Center, 415 S. Highway 395. Tickets are $35 each. Midway Bar & Grill will offer a no-host bar. In addition, athletes and coaches from the local Special Olympics team will sell food to raise money for expenses.
Apio, a Hawaiian native now based in Seattle, was working for United Airlines when a co-worker introduced him to open mic nights at the Comedy Underground in Seattle. After attending a few times, Apio’s buddy signed him up. He’s been doing stand-up comedy full-time since quitting his day job in May 1990.
“It’s such a unique job,” Apio said. “There is nothing like it. It’s such a fun thing to make people laugh.”
Apio has found success doing stand-up, performing in nearly every state as well as several Canadian provinces. He’s a past winner of the Seattle Comedy Competition and was a semi-finalist in San Francisco. He works at clubs, corporate events and cruise lines.
“It’s a good thing to have that diversity,” he said. “When one market slows, there’s always another to fall back on.”
Richards, who is originally from Detroit, now calls Las Vegas home. Prior to launching his career in comedy, he performed on-air radio work.
He eased into the comedy scene at a club in Kalamazoo, Michigan. As the show’s host, the club’s owner gave Richards the latitude to do a few minutes or more while introducing the evening’s comics.
“It was a great way to be brought into the business,” he said.
Among Richards’ favorite gigs are USO shows at Guantanamo Bay, as well as U.S. bases in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait. He said it was nice to be able to provide a release valve for soldiers.
“I don’t care how bad your day is, you’re not getting shot at,” Richards said about typical jobs. “It feels really good to go out and do these shows for our troops.”
Michaelis brought comedy to Snohomish County in Washington with the Everett Comedy Night, which has sold out its monthly shows for more than five years. Initially thinking comedy would be a one-time gig, Michaelis taught high school history for 12 years before ditching his day job.
While he still substitute teaches, Michaelis enjoys the flexibility of managing his own schedule. He said there are too many restrictions in many 9-to-5 jobs.
“I like the freedom with stand-up,” Michaelis said. “I talk about my life and make it funny — absurd things turn into funny comedy.”
Melonville Comedy Festival began in the early 1990s as a fundraiser for the Umatilla County Fair. After the fair board discontinued the event, Warren Smith decided to take it on to continue bringing national acts to Hermiston.
Tickets are available at www.melonvillecomedyfestival.com, the Hermiston Chamber of Commerce, located in the Cornerstone Plaza at 1055 S. Highway 395 Suite 111, by calling 541-567-6151 and by contacting Smith at 541-561-7488 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, search Facebook for “Melonville Comedy Festival.”
Contact Community Editor Tammy Malgesini at email@example.com or 541-564-4539