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What does one do the night before Thanksgiving? Prepare your food, meet with family or head down to the Punch Line Comedy Club and watch five nationally featured comedians make you laugh out loud? Option three was what happened Wednesday night at the Punch Line Comedy club in Sacramento. Kevin Munroe, Bryan Yang, Ray Molina, Keith Lowell Jensen and Ngaio Bealum performed as the ‘Sacramento Comedy All Stars’ and what a show it was.
To start the evening Kevin Munroe jumped on stage and told the audience he was from Trinidad – a country so small that the 100 meter dash has a left turn. He continued with what he was told when he first moved here, “we are taking you to the land of opportunity – East Oakland.” Kevin’s style was very audience oriented; not only would he get them involved he would bring them into his world. His jokes centered on much of his life in the states and the problems he has encountered. Kevin then continued to be the MC for the night and introduced the next comedian, Bryan Yang.
Brian’s style was quick yet direct humor, much of it ethnic based. His direct style had the audience laughing and was a great follow-up from Kevin. At one point Bryan talked about staying within your own race (referencing where you live). He described how he is a 5'4” 180 pound Asian and in the Asian community that makes him Brad Pitt; whereas in the mixed crowd of the club he is average at best. Later in his set he started talking about his past and being overweight (fat as he puts it). He misses being fat because people used to just talk behind his back; now that he lost 50 pounds they have no problem talking the same crap right to his face. Bryan amply warmed-up the audience in preparation for the next comedian: Ray Molina.
Ray jumped on stage and started off immediately with his dry and methodical type humor; the type of humor that makes you think twice before laughing yet you almost always do. One of his funniest bits was when he referenced how a friend of his told him that comedy was the hardest job to do. He continued with how if there were any doctors or lawyers in the audience you got off easy. Most of the jokes Ray tells are from his past and are heavily based in reality; this reality helps him pull off the slow talking laid-back style. Ray had the audience in stitches when he referred to being a child and wanting walkie talkies for Christmas but did not get them. However, when his birthday came around he finally received them. Then, he did not want anything for the next five years except for another friend to play with on the walkie talkies.
Keith Lowell Jensen, the fourth comedian of the night, was a quick witted comedian that pulled many local topics for his humor. When discussing why California wanted to pass Proposition 19 (legalizing marijuana) he referenced that it was only because the state was broke – “Hey, we can’t pay our bills – lets sell some weed.” One of his funniest bits was when he discussed the town of Winnemucca, Nevada. He described how the towns economy is based on four things: casinos, legal prostitution, speeding tickets and Walmart. He proceeded to say he supported three of the four while in town – “screw Walmart.” Another funny moment was when he discussed the signs leaving California and entering Nevada and vice-versa. The California sign reads, “Welcome to California.” The Nevada sign reads, “Please report people shooting from vehicles.” He continued with, “seriously, I come from California, a magical place that does not need a sign telling me to report someone shooting from a vehicle – we just see it and say to ourselves, call the police.”
The last comedian of the night, and by far the audience favorite, was Ngaio Bealum. Ngaio performed earlier in the month with Doug Benson at the Punch Line and again brought his fast-paced comedy style to the stage. Many of Ngaio’s jokes are centered around the use of marijuana and his belief that it should be legalized. However, he also touches on almost every other possible subject matter – never missing a beat and never letting the audience down.
When Ngaio stepped on stage he started with, “I am not afraid of anyone here – I have been to Montana by myself.” One of his funnier marijuana pieces was, “I love weed, it makes me a better parent. I never hit my kids, just talk to them for hours – they probably wish I would hit them though.” When referencing Proposition 19 he stated that he had gone door to door to convince people to vote yes, he said he was, “like a weedhovahwitness - I have some news to share with you.”
The Punch Line put out an amazing show with the ‘Sacramento Comedy All Stars;” a show that clearly had the audience laughing and enjoying their pre-thanksgiving fun. If and when they put it on again it would be well worth your time to put it on your calendar.
Photo of Ngaio by Tiberon Tramblie - off of Ngaios My Space Page.
Marc McLaughlin is a Contributing Writer and Photographer with Sacramento Press