Bringing funny back to Long Island, one college at a time

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New Year’s resolutions to drop a few pounds and make regular visits to the gym might already be going by the wayside, but lovers of the humorous will get a chance to exercise their laugh muscles next weekend as the first-ever “Long Island College Comedy Tour” arrives at Stony Brook Southampton on February 6.

Paul Anthony, a comic who is also the producer of the tour, said in a telephone interview last week that he takes the business of comedy very seriously, and noted that this tour will draw on the same pool of comic talent and format as the Long Island Comedy Festival, which he also produces.

Mr. Anthony said audiences should expect the same comic gold standard that made the original comedy tour a success.

“The concept for the college tour is the same,” he said. “Our primary objective is to promote the art of good stand-up comedy and bring the art form back into relevance.”

The Stony Brook Southampton date at the Avram Theater will kick off the tour, which will stop at other local colleges through April. Mr. Anthony noted that aside from seeing the best working comics in the tri-state area before anyone else, East End audiences will also have the benefit of seeing five talented comedians at a great price. Tickets to the 90-minute show are $10, or $5 for SBS students.

“This is a great chance for people to get out and experience some of the best local talent for a very reasonable price,” Mr. Anthony said. “I challenge you to find this caliber of comedians on one stage; you’d be hard-pressed to see this much talent even on the New York club stages.”

Mr. Anthony will host the show, welcoming comics TJ Garafolo, Daren Dillon, Leighann Lord, Chris Monty and passing the microphone to emcee Bob DiBuono. Each comic, including Mr. DiBuono, will present a 15- to 20-minute set, according to Mr. Anthony.

Contacted on Friday to discuss the upcoming show, Mr. DiBuono, who has appeared on the “Opie and Anthony” radio show, “Good Day New York,” and various MTV and E! Entertainment programs, said that ticket holders can expect to see a “high energy, animated, wacky” set from him.

“I do a lot of expressions and physical comedy, but I also do everyday observational stuff too,” Mr. DiBuono said. “Everybody will definitely get their money’s worth with this show.”

The other comics on the tour are all seasoned performers, according to Mr. Anthony, who said he expected the Stony Brook Southampton show to sell out. “These five are really incredible and all have great reputations,” he said.

A 10-year regional theater veteran, Mr. Garafolo has performed at the Gotham Comedy Club and Comic Strip Live in Manhattan. Mr. Dillon is known for his scathing social and political commentary. Mr. Monty, who is from Long Island, has written for the Joan Rivers radio show and is a regular performer at the Borgata Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City. He has also appeared in numerous television commercials, including local ads for P.C. Richard and Son.

Perhaps the most recognizable comic who will perform next Friday is Leighann Lord, who has appeared on ABC’s “The View,” NBC’s “Comedy Showcase,” VH1’s “Stand-Up Spotlight,” HBO’s “Def Comedy All-Star Jam,” and “Tough Crowd” with Colin Quinn. Known for her quick wit as well as her jokes, Ms. Lord was voted “The Most Thought-Provoking Black Female Comic” at the fourth annual “New York City Black Comedy Awards.”

Mr. Anthony said that it’s his hope to put Long Island back on the comedy club map and return Long Island to the comedy heyday of the late 1980s and early 1990s.

“This place was a breeding ground for comedy back in the day,” he said, citing such Long Island talent as Kevin James, Ray Romano and Rosie O’Donnell. “We are going to bring that back … So come on out to see the show and laugh your head off for 90 minutes.”

The Long Island College Comedy Tour will stop at the Avram Theater on the Stony Brook Southampton campus on Friday, February 6, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10, or $5 for Stony Brook Southampton students, and can be purchased by calling (631) COMEDY-FEST or (631) 632-5132, or by visiting www.stonybrook.edu/sb/Southampton/comedy.

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