Standup Comedy Special 40th Anniversary Show “The Godfather of Comedy” George Wallace

August 7th of 1980, I opened the doors of Laughs Unlimited for the first time. The first ever act on my stage was Garry Shandling, then feature act Magician Peter DePaula, and the first headliner was George Wallace. George was a name comic already with many TV appearances, and was a wonderful way to start Laughs and my life in the comedy business. This show has an interview with Dr Wallace, and a comedy set of his from 1983. Enjoy a little Comedy history!

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Podcast Transcript:

Announcer: 

This is another episode of stand up comedy, your host and emcee, celebrating 40 plus years on the fringe of show business, stories, interviews and comedy sets from the famous and not so famous. Here’s your host and emcee Scott and words.

Scott Edwards: 

Hey, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to this week’s show. It’s a special anniversary edition. That’s right, August 7 of 1980. I first opened my doors of laughs Unlimited, my comedy club chain. And we were so lucky at the time to have our very first headliner be the godfather of comedy. We have him here on line today, ladies and gentlemen, let’s hear for George Wallace. Hey, George,

George Wallace: 

good evening. Good afternoon. Good morning, wherever you might be. It is 2020. And we started back some time ago at the world famous laughs unlimited though.

Scott Edwards: 

It was laughs unlimited. And we were in the basement of a restaurant in old Sacramento. The opening act was Garry Shandling. And then we had comment magician Peter DePaula in the middle. And then our first headliner was you sir Mr. George Wallace.

George Wallace: 

And now that has changed good Dr. George Wallace, because I know what I’m doing now. But most importantly, thank you for having me back in the day to be your opening headliner. What a wonderful time what a wonderful audience. What a wonderful city. It was to become to Sacramento and company was very hot, and very new. And you may not remember this, but it was very sold out every show if we did not add. I think we did three shows on a Saturday. It was crazy. But it was fun. We were all new. And I just can’t imagine. Most importantly, I was just watching a photo yesterday. Made with my good friend, Gary Shandling. Gary shelling what a great friend, great guy to have a photo of us traveling to Sacramento together, getting on a vehicle. And me pickpocketing him taking his notes out of his pocket. Or he’s promised to your club to do your club. The most important thing is that we were new. We were kids. We were excited. The club owner Scott It was totally excited. And it was like it was like heaven being in the club. No seats open everything sold out. Food. He just couldn’t ask for a better moment making people happy. And and walking get hurry and walking. Now, Gary, let’s make one thing perfectly clear. Okay. Jeremy had an opening the show but here was also at same time.

Scott Edwards: 

Oh, yeah. No. Yeah, that’s, that’s true. He was actually already starting to headline but it was his first show. If you I don’t know if you knew this, George. It was the first show out of his hometown Phoenix, Arizona that he had done. And he was so good already that even though you were the headline of the first week in the grand opening of the laughs unlimited chain. He was the headliner the second week, he stayed through and headline the next week by Gary Shandling was definitely one of the best. And

George Wallace: 

so wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute. Now you’re telling me that the first week I hit mine, and then the second week, he was better than me. So you thought you’d bring him back the second week? The headline? No, no, I’m just finding this information now. May be the right thing to have done. Because Gary sharing was certainly and still today. He’s not brother, but man, as a good friend of mine was a great comedian. We’ve always been friends since day one of the day department.

Scott Edwards: 

Yeah, he was an amazing guy. And I don’t know, just to give everybody an idea that’s listening. You had already been doing comedy for three or four years. And got your start in New York City with Mark Schiff, Larry Miller and Seinfeld, people like that, right.

George Wallace: 

That was Seinfeld and I of course, people know that. A lot of people don’t know that. I’m actually the real George on science. So people don’t know I’m the one that was easy to make the 14 years. People don’t know that. I’m the best man at Seinfeld’s wedding. And a lot of people don’t know that I’m even the father of Santos kids. So, so yes, I started off with these guys, Mark shift and all of the younger comedians that you mentioned earlier, and to be able to come up to second on what do you got the gear and I grew up together and to be able to get He was, and, and being staying in hotels, motels, you were one of the very few people to put us up in an apartment or something of the sort. Yeah, I don’t know where to go to and, and we, we live together. And the club, the city of Sacramento, the people were so great with the people feel great. And just being able to do the jokes and, and having people walk out of the club with another line waiting to get in.

Scott Edwards: 

Yeah, it was. There was a real excitement about stand up comedy at the time. I feel like I was really blessed to get into the business at that time. And just to give you a little history, George, the reason we’re the way I met you was that I had initially hooked up with Dave Kuya, and Bob Saget. And they were giving me a lot of advice on how to open the club. And it was actually Bob Saget. They introduced me to you and said, Man, you got to have this guy be your first headliner.

George Wallace: 

Bob Saget is still an idiot. Let me tell you another day, he has always been an idiot. He always will be an idiot. And it’s amazing that we’re talking 14 years here, and we’re still kids. No kids, today. Oh, my God, you’re talking about some kind of camaraderie that was established back in the day. And you put up second name. And we all still love each other. Just like Scott. And we got together today we talk about each other like adults, we have no, I don’t know what it is. We just love each other. We’re in the comedy world is different to a fraternity that not many people can do today. Just knowing fagot back in the day, and he I’ll go ahead and thank him for referring me to you. And I was the crazy guy. I guess I was one of the new guys at the time. And that’s why I said, use me.

Scott Edwards: 

Well, you were so you were so funny. George, you were moved moving up through the ranks and doing TV shots ahead of some of these other guys. I mean, they’re all famous now. And they all have a reputation. I mean, Seinfeld Sagat, Larry Miller, Dave Kuya, you can’t top these names. But at the time, everybody was an unknown. But you George was already starting to get some TV spots and doing some of those early drop in

George Wallace: 

everything before they were I had yours on them, you know?

Scott Edwards: 

Right. Right. And I think that was we were just lucky to get in on that. Now, besides opening the club in 1980, you did work for me several times in the early 80s. You did have a really strong career path because you were opening up for in concert for people like Diana Ross and Smokey Robinson, you were doing a lot of big shows.

George Wallace: 

Come Joan, you name it. My ultimate goal was to my ultimate goal has always been to work Las Vegas and headlining Las Vegas, I was never the guy that wanted to do TV shows or do movies or anything like that. All I wanted to do was go out and do a PA personal appearance in front of live audiences. And when your Club opened, it was displayed for me. I don’t know these people. And they’ve lined up to see me. And we all we have a lot of fun. And what my personality I handle my personality is about having fun. And loving everybody. I just love everybody. And at the time you had a great, which wasn’t happening at the time. I’m actually one of the the eyes, and certainly the first black guy to hit your club. That was not that many black comedians in America that

Scott Edwards: 

Oh, that’s true. That’s very true. You were one of the few black entertainers making the circuit at the time. I of course picked up a lot down the road a little bit. But you were in at the time. But you You were so good at not. You know, you were the one of the first people. It’s interesting, because there’s other comics that made a career all about race. And I think one of the reasons, one of the reasons of your early success was race never was involved in your conversation. Never Never. You were just funny.

George Wallace: 

That’s all. That’s what it’s all about. You know, it wasn’t right them and now I talk about anything and everything now. Like I say my audience to date. Right now. I’m based in Las Vegas, Nevada, where I always wanted to be with I went to Las Vegas to mingle back in 2004. And the 30 days and I was blown up staying there for 10 years at the Domingo. I did not work for the hotels. I actually own my room inside the hotel. I broke records. I’ve worked Las Vegas longer than any African American entertainer in the history of Las Vegas. Talk later horn, then the data Jr. I own the room. I did all of the marketing I did. They called me the new Mr. Vegas. So I achieved my goal at an early age. And everybody my audience, young, white, black, old hip hop was gangbangers and still to this day, that’s who my audience is. So I love to dance. And I loved it at the time going to your club, and I’m still working after 45 years.

Scott Edwards: 

It’s amazing. George, you’ve had a great career. So let’s catch the audience up in the 80s. You were doing a lot of clubs on the road, which is a hard way to live. But then you succeeded in getting a lot of television. spots. Like you mentioned, the Tonight Show, The Letterman Show, and many, many others. You were doing a show that was that did Oprah your name, right? And then you were opening up for big names like George Benson, as we mentioned. And then you also did a lot of drop ins and movies. I mean, haven’t you made some sort of appearance in 10 or 12? Movies?

George Wallace: 

Well, I think it’s more like 3536 No, really that many? Anywhere from India. You look start looking back and go holy cow, man, Bert, big bigger pool. A good friend of mine just died, called Run. He had a movie. He wanted me to come in and do a few lines of bigger food. We got oh my gosh, you can just start naming George Carlin work and trash with George Carlin and Ben Stiller.

Scott Edwards: 

Wow, Ben Stiller and George Carlin. That’s a great combo.

George Wallace: 

We could just keep going. And I could just name everybody and just finishing up a movie right now with Adam Sandler. He’ll be Halloween and did a movie with the I’ve done so many movies.

Scott Edwards: 

That’s a good thing, George.

George Wallace: 

About the one with the guy that I’ve never like never, never ever, like get rid of a guy called Morgan Freeman.

Scott Edwards: 

Oh, yeah. Morgan Freeman.

George Wallace: 

And Morgan. Connelly family Jones. Gonna move with them two years ago. And I met modern feminists in the mother, George Wallace don’t like you. I don’t like why you don’t like the jaw. Because I because every role you played, I think I should have gotten that role. But we talked to him. And because he said about glory many years ago, Morgan Freeman. We did a movie called just getting started last year, but he totally Jones. We may do so quite a few people. What a great guy, the greatest guy in the world. I love the Morgan famous. And he talks about my mum. And I’d say there’s nothing but fun. And to this day, every time I see him, I always tell people I hated him because he took all my roles. Even job in his days as a deacon depart. Carol, I live in Atlanta. I know more about Atlanta than he does. Why didn’t I get the part but working with him? Everybody just I can’t even start with the movies, man. But if you go and line up quite a few things I’ve done and had some fun.

Scott Edwards: 

And I was doing a little research getting ready for today and everybody listening out there. There is a great George Wallace website that has his history, some videos, some audio, there’s some CDs you can get. So make sure you check it out. George Wallace, just Google it. But I want to take you back a few years. And I want to ask you a question. You remember I know you remember that your catchphrase in your early career was? It’s a crazy world.

George Wallace: 

It’s a crazy world. Jay Leno gets mad about that all the time. And it’s coming back. It’s a great idea back in the day is coming back. I’m not sure when I worked for you that I wasn’t doing the Reverend George Wallace when I put on a roll. Oh, and I became a preacher. And I had a bookcase with my Bible in the briefcase. And the Bible was a Yellow Page telephone book. It was called Book a bell. But good book, a film, whatever. You look it up in the book, you’re walking shoes. It’s in the book. Back in the day. I don’t know what that was doing doing that. But that’s how I started because I was marking preachers in the back

Scott Edwards: 

that it’s a crazy world was a catchphrase you did for many years. But I know I was able to see you and visit you in Vegas at the Flamingo a few times. And I know that that kind of faded off. It wasn’t the same. You weren’t using that catchphrase later in the late 90s and into the 2000s. But for about 10 years. It’s a crazy world was your catchphrase and you made that kind of famous

George Wallace: 

at the end it was only tonight Q and everywhere. And the name of my company the company that I worked for and that I own is called crazy world, Inc.

Scott Edwards: 

didn’t really, that’s perfect.

George Wallace: 

If you go to my website, it’s crazy dw, that my website all of my stationery crazy will.

Scott Edwards: 

So it’s still out there. That’s good because I always thought that was a really good way to bring everybody. And again, it speaks to the quality of your comedy and how inclusive it was. Everybody was involved. And when you would talk about what a crazy world and then do a joke. It was something everybody could relate to.

George Wallace: 

It’s a crazy world no matter what it was, then it changed over to sick. I think I’m sick. It’s sick, I don’t know. But typically, for the last 1015 years, I’ll be thinking, I’ll be thinking I’ll be thinking about my thinking. And so, but that’s the world crazy world was number one. Yeah. You remember that? That’s good.

Scott Edwards: 

Oh, we we have great fond memories of you, George and not only from

George Wallace: 

back then, I wish we were video more more back then. But we didn’t have the cell phones. And we didn’t have the video. As much as we do. Now. We had our little, little picture. We were carried out a carry around with us remember, the new record, you sit on a tape deck and you go home, run it back and listen to it. But being able to be at your club man and I came up with quite a few songs for you. And always wonderful at your club. You because I don’t work with bad people. Okay.

Scott Edwards: 

Well, I appreciate that. It was something that I took a lot of pride in. In fact, it was ingrained in me by Cody and Saget and people like Seinfeld that you if you want to succeed in stand up comedy treat the comics well, and respect. And I did that from the beginning. I was a real young kid at the time. But I went into it eyes open and learned and listen from everybody I could tried to bring that through. And I thank you for saying so. I have had several comics say that going to laughs unlimited was always a pleasure because of the way they were treated where they stayed. Everything was done, right?

George Wallace: 

Well, you gotta admit that comedian. People don’t know. But the entertainment will always get a better club owner. Because we don’t like club owners.

Scott Edwards: 

Yeah, we are kind of the opposite end of the business. Yeah, you know, being your job

George Wallace: 

is to make as much money as you can. And our job is to think that we’re taking all the money they can from them. But But we always remember. And they got a big ball. I’m talking to you. Right? Yes. Way. out of 44 years of comedy to still less than 10. Good coming across.

Scott Edwards: 

It’s It’s incredible to be included in that. Thank you.

George Wallace: 

I didn’t say you were given to me, but people only do sleep now you got me. I’m at home now. But if I could just man, you don’t feel right now if I could be in the middle right now to meet you at the club and have people to come out to the club. And listen to us do this. Oh, man, it’d be good to just have you on stage talking about it. And oh my god, if we have fun just sitting on stage, not necessarily a set man. But it will become a set. It will become a great little all night in Sacramento. Sacramento. Nice TV show. Oh, my God.

Scott Edwards: 

A lot of fun. And George, you would be the perfect guest because you have a world of experience, from live stage to television to movies. There’s not an area of entertainment you haven’t touched and I think that’s where the term the godfather of comedy comes from. You really have done it all and been there and been a good guy the whole time. And that’s rare

George Wallace: 

to know. Now you said something. And you don’t have to tell me that I’m a good guy. I know I’m a good guy from day one has nothing to do with me. We’re the best parents in the world. I come from a community in Atlanta, Georgia is totally respect. And had nothing to do with race, color. Gender. I just love people. I just love happy people. When I see happy people. It makes me it makes me happy here. It was so good. I have the best job in the world. And I got on stage right now. I believe the people right now. How blessed I am. Donna has been so good to me because I just bought it and I got you know understand a walk out on stage and all I do is lie and make up shit. I just lie, and I tell the people, all I want to do. And I prayed to God, all the greatest effort in the world. That’s all I ever wanted to be, I want to be the greatest in the world. Well, this is all about having fun. It’s all about having fun. And certainly doing today doing a job on honoring your essence. So many people don’t get an opportunity to do what they’d like, you know, and like I say, 44 years. And if I could go on stage tonight, I’d be walking everywhere don’t even visit. someone’s doing a concert in town. I’m walking. I don’t know. It’s amazing. Yeah, making people laugh is so good. And you’re part of my history.

Scott Edwards: 

Well, I always thought what was amazing about stand up comedy, two quick points, is I think we’re both blessed with being able to make a living, it’s something we really love doing. And then to was stand up comedy is really the only art form or entertainment form, where it’s just you in your thoughts. There’s no prompts. There’s no band,

George Wallace: 

a band and make a wrong note, I got that band and look back and say, was that fun? Is it me? Right? On me? Yeah.

Scott Edwards: 

And that’s, that’s really not an easy thing to do. But once you have it, and you have it, it really can be special. And to have you be our first opening act in 1980 was the really, I can’t tell you how much it meant to me to have the right start to my comedy. History. Now. It’s been history. But in the beginning, oh, we filled out

George Wallace: 

all of those likes, just because you promote in the club. And me being on all that the TV show tonight show and a young guy coming up. And comedy was the new thing to do. People heard about the communist club, everybody. We got to grow. We got food, we got drinks. We got we got laughter It was totally new form of entertainment. It was totally new, because people think on the cost before but it was a resurgence.

Scott Edwards: 

Let’s put it like that. Well, it changed. Yeah, it changed from being a side gig at a jazz club to being. I mean, I was when I opened George. It was the eighth full time comedy club in the entire country. There was there weren’t that many.

George Wallace: 

Yeah. Improv. You had to kind of ship in New York, the Comedy Store at the Comedy Store. And you have maybe, what was that? Like was the punch line in San Francisco at the time?

Scott Edwards: 

Yes, the punch line opened just before me in San Francisco. And then they came into Sacramento about 10 years after me. Todd wasn’t even there. No, no. Comedy Castle, all those places as a nice all opened up after, but it was it was the right start. And you are the right guy. And I just wanted to celebrate that. This the 40th anniversary of laughs unlimited. Thank you, George. What I’m going to do is play a set that I have from back in about 1983. And let the my audience hear you entertain on stage. But I wanted to take one last minute and just say thank you so much for taking time out of your valuable day to be with me on this podcast and be able to connect with you. And you mentioned it earlier. It’s like a family. You and I probably have not spoken probably well, I visited the flamingo a couple times. But it’s probably been at least 20 years. And yet talking to you today is like I saw you last week. I mean, it’s incredible.

George Wallace: 

That’s what it’s like that’s what a real fan was like, like if I were to call Bob Saget right now. And people don’t know a

Scott Edwards: 

lot of people don’t know.

George Wallace: 

Call me names right now that God bless his family. So I hope you got something funny on there. Oh, yeah. Okay.

Scott Edwards: 

You’re always funny, George, and we appreciate you. And I know you’re in Atlanta, and you’re going to be back there for a while. But when you get back out in the west coast or get back to Vegas, we’ll hopefully get a chance to hook up.

George Wallace: 

What about Sacramento and Sacramento?

Scott Edwards: 

Well, we I still do some fundraisers and concerts occasionally. But I’m retired from comedy full time in back in 2001. And now I just do it for fun.

George Wallace: 

2000 years ago, 20 years ago.

Scott Edwards: 

I know it’s crazy, isn’t it? We don’t want to say how old we’ve gotten. But you and I are about the same age and it’s been a great run and comedy.

George Wallace: 

And why do you so much younger than me?

Scott Edwards: 

I think it’s just audio tricks.

George Wallace: 

Is that? Is that what it is? Oh my god. So we’ll be good get together and do. I hope we can do something a revival of the

Scott Edwards: 

hour. That would be a great idea we should do, like a special show. And get you in some of the guys. Oh, that would be a blast

George Wallace: 

with my friend Jay Jay. j delta

Scott Edwards: 

J. He’s still around

George Wallace: 

a puppet. It was a monkey. That was a monkey joke. There’s a monkey joke. He gets the freaking out, you know?

Scott Edwards: 

Oh, I didn’t know that.

George Wallace: 

I could not feel my luck. It would drive me crazy. Yeah, we’re laughing.

Scott Edwards: 

We met Jay Johnson through our friend Harry Anderson and Jay worked for us for many years. In fact, I did a short television pilot with him. And he’s a great guy. And the monkey joke was one of his best bits. And it’s great that you remember that? All right, George.

George Wallace: 

Okay, man, I talk a lot. Okay. Oh, no. We’ll be doing a whole show. Just talking on the phone.

Scott Edwards: 

Well, I’m going to shifted over to some stand up right now I want to say thank you so much for doing this. It’s been a real honor and a pleasure to talk to you after all these years. And thank you, you’re always very hospitable to my wife and I when we visited you and at the Flamingo that was a really successful 10 year run for you. And I just know that you’re going to continue successful. And let’s see if we can put together that reunion concert that would be

George Wallace: 

let’s make it clear. I am still in Las Vegas. I headlined at the West Gate for four years now. I’m still doing television and doing a project with Jamie Foxx and Netflix. Also working with a great Norman Lear Norman Lear. His birthday was yesterday. It’s a brand new show with George Wallace. And the burden cops. Normally it’s going great. It’s a version of Stephen and son. If you know the Brian Cox, he’s a changed person. And it’s a version of Stephen and son. He was my son. When he left. He went to New York to do his thing. He came back. He knocked on the door. My son is now a sheet that we’re still working with still out there. And if you come to Las Vegas, live at the Westgate casino, I’m still they call me the new Mr. Vegas. I’m still there.

Scott Edwards: 

That’s great news. We’ll come out and see you. And so we’ll definitely get a chance to hook up George. Thanks so much. That’s great information. Everybody. Go see him at the West West Gate, right?

George Wallace: 

Work gate are not allowed to.

Scott Edwards: 

Say that again. Sir.

George Wallace: 

Am I gonna hear the clip that video of me doing that back home?

Scott Edwards: 

It’s gonna be it’s an audio clip, and I’ll edit it in I’m sorry, George. I don’t have it right here.

George Wallace: 

I don’t even get to do all of those. For me, I get to do those jokes over now.

Scott Edwards: 

That’s true. Well, I’ll make sure you get a copy of this when we release it. And you’ll get a chance to hear it and revamp your material.

George Wallace: 

No, I’m serious. Because I always tried to write Gary Schelling and I always talked about trying to write evergreen material. You can go back somebody can come tell me today that I heard you do a job 20 years ago, and I put it back in the act is still new. And the kids that come to the company today. They were not even born when we started.

Scott Edwards: 

Oh, I know. It’s crazy. It’s a crazy world.

George Wallace: 

I love you and there’s absolutely nothing we can do about it. Because anybody that’s up to date will be zooming in you will be seeing me sitting in my underwear talking to you.

Scott Edwards: 

Well, maybe that’s why I don’t do zoom. That’s great. Well, yeah. And you know, you mentioned something that was interesting. One of the reasons I’m doing this podcast is that to me, funny is funny, it doesn’t matter if it’s five minutes older. 25 years old, and you were funny. And it’s gonna be it’s just as funny hearing it today as it was back in 1983. Well, thank you so much. Looking forward to it. Hey, ladies and gentlemen, we want to thank George for being on the podcast today. Stay tuned. We’re going to hear a set from him in 1943 George Wallace,

George Wallace: 

George Wallace. Gentlemen, George Wallace.

Scott Edwards: 

Alright folks, sit back, relax and enjoy some great comedy from the godfather. comedy. That’s right. George Wallace. Here we go.

George Wallace: 

Dr. George Wallace DC Doctor prominent. Better.

Scott Edwards: 

Alright, here we go.

George Wallace: 

Don’t find nobody I say that every year and always wind up spending 10 or $15 I went to Bloomingdale’s and I bought some underwear for nine out that’s what I paid $9 Because now I know you’re saying for $9 If I take my pants off there’s nothing here but a tattoo that says okay but when I get excited to save Oklahoma you wonder why we have birth control pills but I did I bought her underwear for Bloomingdale’s. Nine hours gone. I know he was like she said, I shouldn’t be wearing them outside my pants. Right? Can you imagine going home with your girlfriend? She wants to make love? You want me to take these off? No, maybe we got to do something else. I paid $9 believe only for you it’s a crazy room. You got some got a lot of hookers here tonight but that’s why I’m different than those comedians I’m different. I like to joke sometimes to get a little blue or something like that those systems. So I do so right now. Why don’t everybody come on give me a real good booth. Go fuck yourself that’s right. Comedians, come on here they talk to establish a rapport with you ask you questions like Where are you from? Where you from? Where are you from? could give a shit what you we’re not concerned with what we’re from. We’re concerned that we’re here tonight to have a good time. Right. All right. I’d rather be here than to be in the best hospital in town. How about you? This man is just as happy as if he were in his right mind. It’s a crazy world. Yes, it is. Alright, I’m uptown. Okay. So I just got going on so many airplanes in the last few months. I tell you the truth. I have even come in here. I had trouble I had to come from San Francisco. I was up there in the Bay Area. I mean, Barry. San Francisco right now stay at this black hotel called the show nothing.

Scott Edwards: 

Well, that was George Wallace live on stage from back in 1983. I’m sure you enjoyed that set. And we really appreciate George taking the time to come on this podcast on this special anniversary edition. Celebrating August 7 of 19 at the grand opening of laughs unlimited my comedy club, and what led me into a really important period of my life. And I’m so happy that I’ve been able to share it with you, the listening audience on this podcast. I know you enjoyed it all. Thank you so much for listening. Be sure to tell your friends share it, and we’ll be back on every Sunday with a new edition. Alright, that’s it for this week’s special edition. Take care be sure to rate and listen and share. Bye.

Announcer: 

We hope you enjoyed this episode of Stand Up Comedy your hosting MC. For information on the show merchandise and our sponsors or to send comments to Scott. Visit our website at WWW dot stand up your host and emcee.com Look for more episode soon and enjoy the world of stand up comedy. Visit a comedy show room near you.

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