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by Cyndi Lieske | cyndi@revuewm.com COMEDY


Felipe Esparza Gets Metaphorical Big Check


F


ELIPE ESPARZA DREAMED of winning NBC’s “Last Comic Standing” and its $250K grand prize. He won the contest, but so far, the money part hasn’t


exactly worked out like the 34-year-old comic from East Los Angeles thought it would.


“I have to wait 90 days,” he said. “I thought that (host) Craig


Robinson was going to come out with a big check like Publisher’s Clearinghouse, or the check was going to come down and knock (competitor) Tommy (Johnagin) over and then I’d grab it.” Instead, Esparza, who plans to


NBC’S LAST COMIC STANDING TOUR Miller Auditorium, Kalamazoo Jan. 22, 8 p.m. $35.00, $25.00, $15.00 millerauditorium.com, (269) 387-2300


donate a portion of his winnings to the non-profit organization, Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles, is waiting for the cash. “You know what it feels like? It feels


like that guy in the neighborhood wait- ing for the settlement check,” he said with a chuckle. His appearance was on the seventh season of “Last Comic Standing” –


hosted by Craig Robinson (NBC’s “The Office”) – and aired this summer on NBC. As with previous seasons, talent scouts in Los Angeles and New York watched performances from aspiring and professional comedians to find the contestants. Each week, viewers voted for their favorites until there was one left. In addition to the $200,000 cash prize, Esparza has a $50,000,


one-year development deal with NBC to either come up with his own show or develop a character on an existing show. “We have until June 30, 2011 to come up for a show for me or


some kind of vehicle that is going to take me to an NBC show,” he said. “It’s probably the best deal I have, besides the money.” In September, it was announced that “Last Comic Standing” Judge


Greg Giraldo had passed away from a drug overdose. Esparza said learning of Giraldo’s death made for a “really tough week.”


FELIPE ESPARZA At the time of the interview, he was trying to come up with a way to hon-


or Giraldo. Throughout the competition, Giraldo championed Esparza. “Through every step he was loving it,” Esparza said. “He was really


keeping me going. (Judge) Natasha Leggaro would say negative stuff about my comedy, but then he would totally say something opposite of what she said and make the crowd like me even more.” The 65-city tour also features Tommy Johnagin, Roy Wood, Jr., Myq Kaplan and Mike DeStefano. n


PETE LEE January 6 - 8


At The B.O.B. Grand Rapids, MI 616.356.2000


www.thebob.com


STEVE BYRNE January 13 - 15


MARK VIERA January 20 - 22


Other Comedy Events | by Lauren Folkes


Pete Lee Dr. Grins, Grand Rapids


Jan. 6-8, show times at 8, 9 and 10:30 p.m. thebob.com, (616) 356-2000


Comedian Pete Lee is a staple on The Bob and Tom show, Comedy Central, and the XM radio stations rotating his current comedy CD, Gasmoney. More of an underdog-type who uses self-belittling tactics onstage, he pairs that with impressive and jarring punch lines. Lee compares his passive-aggressive self to that of a sports mascot. He says they appear silly and happy-go-lucky, but always harbor a secret, just like him. With on-point set-ups, the climax of


each joke packs a real punch. As a comic, Lee succeeds in various demographics, for example, he won Country Music Television’s “Next Big Comic” and recently earned a spot on the new NFL network show called “After Further Review.” To get a feel for this dude’s personality before the show, follow him on Twitter or listen to Gasmoney.


Brew Ha Ha DeltaPlex Arena, Grand Rapids Jan. 14, 3-11 p.m. and Jan. 15, 12-11p.m. $17 advance, $22 day of event, 21+ deltaplex.com, (616) 364-9000


The Third Annual Great Fox 101.3 Brew Ha Ha unites two sweet forces that are fun enough in their own right; comedy and beer. This perfect combo will complete your weekend in the New Year by satisfying your taste-buds and provoking laughter. One room will contain Michigan craft beers, another will feature domestic and international craft beers, around 200 total. Multiple national comedians will perform their routines each night while you get tipsy and tipsier. If music is more your thing, local rock bands will entertain throughout the evenings as well. Find out more at 101thefoxrocks.com and www.deltaplex.com.


JON CAPARULO January 27 - 29


THEGILMORECOLLECTION.COM REVUEWM.COM | JANUARY 2011 | 43


SCENE | SOUNDS |SIGHTS


DIING | SCHEDULE


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