I started at Mac’s Famous Bar in Daytona Beach, Florida. He was a famous race driver who died in some skullduggery and it became a comedy club. I was a bartender and went up onstage at an open mic night for a dare to do a striptease and danced and won $50. Orlando had a bunch of comedy clubs and I started there with people like Larry the Cable Guy and Carrot Top, Billy Gardell from Mike & Molly – we were all open mickers. You get five minutes where you go up and try to be funny and all of them have done great except for me. Talking of Larry, or as I know him, Dan Whitney, he is the nicest guy in the world outside of his character by the way. I was on the road a lot, travelling and living in the car. I’ve opened for Ellen DeGeneres, Andrew Dice Clay, Paula Poundstone, Bill Hicks and a bunch more. But nobody takes any notice of the opening guy, regardless. They don’t think you’re worth anything; you’re like the cartoons before the movie. The only way to beat that is to be so funny you can’t be ignored. You almost have to be a problem, be so funny that the guy who comes after you does not like you and asks not to be booked with you. You have to talk yourself out of a job then you jump to headline or feature act. These days you almost have to have TV. Now you can’t swing a cat without hitting a comic. Comedians are everywhere. It’s like lawyers at a plane crash.
Vegas or bacon?
Billy Gardell and I were two fat guys, we didn’t know anybody. He said, ‘Let’s go to Los Angeles’ but I had an offer of a free room, pay cheque and all the free bacon I could eat every day at Holiday Inn here in Cayman. There was just no way I could leave that. Come on, I had a bar tab, buffet dinner, sit on the beach all day – it was just too good of a gig.
Of course, I love Cayman; if you look around the world lots of people have got it way worse than us like just north in Cuba. Cienfuegos, Santiago and Holgin Province were devastated by Sandy so we got it good and we should not forget that.
So my column in Weekender over the months will be all about how wonderful and ridiculous the world is. We need to laugh more; it reduces your blood pressure, people live longer when we laugh. We live here in paradise, people come here for the holiday of a lifetime and I hope I can bring some mirth and joy in my small way.
You can catch me at Laughter Lounge in The Strand on Friday, 30 November.
Biography: The Big Kahuna still dreams of opening his own comedy club. He’s worked on dialogue for several films including a Susan Sarandon movie that bombed so badly it was not even counterfeited in the Cayman Islands. He is working on dialogue for director John Stockwell of Top Gun fame. You can contact him on [email protected]