Comedy Night V
Emerald Lakes’ Community Center played host to Comedy Night V on Saturday, May 3. This year our host, Buz Whelan, brought us two old friends, Tommy Gooch and Johnny Watson, as well as a surprise set from newbie Michael Burlew. The doors opened at 7 and ELA residents and friends poured in, ready for the fun.
The center opened this year with a cash bar for early arriving guests, thus eliminating much of the delay that other shows here have had in getting the initial order of drinks out to the patrons. Chef Todd also set up an auxiliary bar in the corner of the dining room for folks to purchase beer and wine. Once the show began, servers were delivering drinks to the floor. The tables were set in long rows across with seats only on the side facing the stage, so everyone had a forward view and there was room to get in and out without interrupting the comedians. These tweaks helped the evening to go smoothly and allowed the show to be the center of attention, just the way any good venue should.
Buz began the evening by teaching us a few classic bar bets that we could all use on those who didn’t make it to the show. With ELA’s own Bob Leon pressed into service as a volunteer, we learned how to win a bet with only a barstool and a $50 bill, and with the help of a married couple from the audience we learned that a straight line is not always the fastest path between two points. Between the featured acts, Buz kept us all in stitches with his own brand of comedy and insight.
First up was newcomer Michael Burlew. Michael was brought along at the last minute and only had 5 minutes to make an impression. His self-deprecating humor prompted laughter and groans from the audience and was a pleasant, although short, addition to this evening’s line-up.
Next up was our old friend Tommy Gooch, whose experience here in Emerald Lakes brought a personal touch to his comedy. He clearly remembered several of the audience members as he stepped into the crowd with clever greetings and observations. The servers kept as far as possible from the stage while Gooch was on when he reminded us and them of how he was not above dragging them into the spotlight for a joke. No one was safe from his barbs and, judging by the laughter, everyone enjoyed the set. As an older parent of a toddler, Tommy’s stories about his family had many in the audience holding their sides with glee. For those of you who missed the show, Gooch has shows coming up at the Borgata in Atlantic City and in many other cities too. (Click here for more information) Emerald Lakes is very lucky to have Tommy return year after year, and we look forward to seeing him again.
The final act of Comedy Night V was Johnny Watson, returning to ELA for the second year in a row. Johnny took his turn at the audience and then, in spite of the obvious charm and good-looks that earned him more than a passing glance from the ladies in the audience, much of his act was about his troubles with women. His take on divorce, marriage and dating had us all rolling in the aisles. Johnny continues to perform his weekly radio show, “Watson and Watson” and will be performing at Giggles comedy club next week. (Click here for more on Johnny Watson.)
The Comedy Night tradition has become one of ELA’s best nights of the year. I can’t wait to see what Comedy Night VI (that’s six, Buz) brings. Thanks to Buz, Todd and the staff for all their work to bring this seamless and exciting event to our community.