By Carole Grosch | Reporter
Sounds of laughter spilled out of the lounge at DiCicco’s Italian Restaurant Saturday evening as Slice of Comedy made its debut in Old Town. An inviting venue for stand up comedy, it is here customers can forget their cares, savor good food and drinks. And laugh. A lot.
Each week, the comedy show, which previously operated out of Mother Mary’s Italian Kitchen for six years, will showcase a variety of comedians at DiCicco’s.
Saturday night drew a sell out crowd.
Host and popular local comedian, Danny Minch, says the Central Valley is a good location to tap the wealth of comedians that are based in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Minch is a regular at the Hollywood Improv, Brea Improv, the Ice House, the Comedy Store and the John Lovitz Comedy Club. Along with his nationwide touring, he has opened for comedians such as Brad Garrett, Jim Jefferies, Rudy Moreno, and Jeff Garcia.
“I’ve met so many really funny comedians,” he says. “I like stuff that makes you think – clever humor.”
Headlining Saturday’s show was Quincy Johnson II. Johnson is also an actor and has appeared in the film, “C’mon Man,” ABC’s “Black-ish,” VH-1’s”Walk of Shame,” and BET’s “Real Husbands of Hollywood.” He is a nationally touring comedian doing stand up for over nine years.
“I love it, I love making people laugh, there’s something about stand up that draws me to it,” he says. “The first time I did an open mic, I was terrible … and fell in love with stand up. You have to be able to communicate with the audience, who are strangers, get them to go along with you on this journey.
“The first four years of doing stand up, I was always nervous. I want to make people laugh and was anxious to get to the part of being funny. But you can’t be afraid to fail. Every audience, every show is different.”
Also performing Saturday night were talented comedians, Andres Taboada, Leah Kayajanian, Ellie Rodriguez, Aaron Pita, Jenn Anastasia Felix, and John Fahy. They each had their individual stories of getting into stand up comedy; common ground was writing their own material and agreeing Open Mic events are important to success.
“Open Mic is like going to the gym … to try out new material,” says Pita, “I like to raise to the audience what might be uncomfortable points.”
Taboada, originally from Peru, uses his experiences as a teacher in Thailand and India for comedy material.
“Here I was, teaching English with a Spanish accent,” he says.
“I like the control of stand up,” says Fahy. “You are responsible for your failure or success, it’s up to you. It can be a struggle, but don’t stop. Do it until it works.”
Kayajanian thought, “I can do this,” after attending an Open Mic event. “I’ve always wanted to be a comedian, but was scared at first, until I got up and just did it,” she says.
Kayajanian strongly suggests preparation in advance of the Open Mic experience. “This is not the time to just get up and talk,” she says.
Next Slice of Comedy attractions at DiCicco’s
Keith Carey, Saturday, March 11, 8 p.m.
Keith Carey is a Long Beach-based comedian who performs all over the country, sharing his thoughts on comic books, homophobia, racism, the joys of crystal meth and other hard-hitting topics. Carey is a regular at the Comedy Store’s popular Roast Battle, which he also performed on at 2016’s RIOT Alternative Comedy Festival in LA. He produces a monthly show in Los Angeles called Warp Zone that has seen performances from Aziz Ansari, Maria Bamford , Pete Holmes, and many more. Carey also co-hosts the Mean Boys Podcast.
Henry Phillips, Saturday, March 25, 9 p.m.
Henry Phillips has been seen and heard performing his twisted songs and stories on ‘Comedy Central Presents’, ABC’s ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’, and is a regular on the Bob and Tom Show. His critically acclaimed comedy albums earned him mention in Billboard Magazine’s ‘Critic’s Choice.’ He has also made acting appearances on HBO’s “Silicon Valley” (four episodes) and Comedy Central’s “Drunk History.”
For more future Slice of Comedy show information and ticket prices, visit livemusiccity.com/shows