Laughs For Lucy

The Lucille Ball Comedy Festival went out with a bang Saturday night as five up-and-coming comedians took the stage in the Tropicana Room for Comedy Late?Night.

The event, which was recorded for what will eventually become a CD of the best material from the three nights that Comedy Late Night presented, brought comics from around the country to the stage to share their unique brands of humor with the audience.

Kelly Collette, a 2012 finalist on CMT’s Next Big Comic has performed on stages including the San Francisco Sketchfest and The Laughing Skull Festival in Atlanta, Ga. She’s also involved in the sketch/improv group The Underbelly, which was named best comedy show in Cincinnati in 2009.

“My favorite store is still Abercrombie & Fitch because I still don’t know what it is that they actually sell.”

“It’s just a billboard of a naked man outside of their store,” Collette continued. “Every time I walk by, I’m like, ‘Excuse me…do you have that in black? Maybe an extra large?'”

Josh Gondelman, a writer and comedian who got his start in Boston before moving to New York City, pulled much of his comedy from his experiences as a pre-school teacher. Gondelman has performed in several comedy festivals including the Laughing Skull Comedy Festival in Atlanta, Ga., Rooftop Comedy Festival in Aspen, Colo. and Laugh Your Asheville Off Festival in Asheville, N.C.

“I grew up in Massachusetts, but I’ve lived in New York for a couple of years. The last time I voted in Boston, though, I got to vote in favor of medical marijuana and assisted suicide. The ballot was like a listing of Black Sabbath’s greatest hits. Now, I don’t smoke pot because I think it would increase my existing addiction to cupcakes and Netflix, but I think it’s a useful drug. The problem is, we put the biggest potheads in charge of getting that legislation through, and stoners aren’t traditionally great with political arguments. They’re good at a lot of things, but stringing sentences together – not one of them. The greatest pothead literary achievement of all time was combining the words ‘fun’ and ‘onion’ into the worst snack food in the world.”

Jim Tews, who began his comedy career in Cleveland, has since relocated to New York City, as well. In 2007, he was a finalist in the Boston Comedy Festival, in 2008 he created the web series “The Opener” for HBO’s new media division and in 2010 he was the winner of the New York Comedy Contest.

“My last serious girlfriend was British, and I dumped her on Fourth of July. I was going to do it like two weeks into June, but I figured if I stuck it out, I’d have a funny story … for one of us. So that’s what I did. I told her we had to talk, and she was like, ‘What?’, and I went, ‘I declare my independence from you!’… and then I gave her this piece of paper with all of my friends’ signatures on it. After that, I moved in with a Native American girl and sectioned her off in a tiny corner of her own apartment. It was cool, though, because I gave her a casino.”

Calise Hawkins, a comic who has honed her performance on outlets like Lewis Black’s “The Root of All Evil” on Comedy Central and BETJ’s “My Two Cents”, has also been a semi-finalist in the New York Comedy Festival and was featured on NBC’s “Last Comic Standing.”

“People don’t get excited when you say you’re almost somebody’s girlfriend … they get excited when they say you’re almost somebody’s wife. What’s the name for that? Fiance? There’s no name when you’re almost someone’s girlfriend, though, and I need somebody to come up with one. I’m tired of everybody just calling me his stalker. I’ve been seeing this guy for several months now, so when I spend the night at his apartment I’ll wear his t-shirt home. He thinks it’s so cute. He doesn’t realize I’m just trying to move him into my apartment one sock at a time.”

Andy Sandford, the final act of the evening, got his comedic start in Atlanta, Ga. before moving to New York City. He has portrayed himself on Adult Swim’s “Aqua Teen Hunger Force,” is a founding member of the comedy tour “The Beards of Comedy” and has had his stand up regularly featured on SiriusXM Satellite Radio.

“The national debt is over $16 trillion. That’s more money than I make in a year. Considerably more. I’m not really sweating it or anything. It doesn’t really feel like my problem. It’s hard for me to care about the nation’s debt when I don’t even care about my own … at all. For example, I have Crohn’s disease and I go to the hospital two or three times a year. I have paid zero medical bills and I have no remorse. I’m part of the problem, and I have to tell you guys, it’s pretty great. Not a lot of people realize that we already have free medical care in this country…as long as you don’t care about your credit score, and I don’t really know what that is. They can go ahead and just score me down for a half, because I plan on keeping this tab open. It’s a pretty sweet arrangement, however you’re going to get a few phone calls. I get a call from a bill collector once a day, sometimes more. They say the same thing every time. They call me and go, ‘Mr. Sandford, you owe $12,000 in medical bills. Would you like to pay this today?’ It’s cute that they ask. I always say the same thing, and go, ‘Oh … not today. I’m going to need time to move some things around.’ That’s when they explain to me that I don’t have to pay the bill all at once, but that I can make a payment on the bill. But that’s when I explain to them that I could afford to give them $40, which is nothing to them, but everything to me. So I say, “I tell you what I’ll do, I’m just going to go ahead and give you nothing, then I’m going to go celebrate because I just saved $40.'”

For more information about the acts that performed at this years Lucille Ball Comedy Festival, visit www.lucycomedyfest.com or call the Lucy Desi Center for Comedy at 484-0800.