By the time you read this, you’ll know that Ian Bagg, one of the finalists in the popular NBC show “Last Comic Standing,” did not win . . . a fact that he’s been sharing on his Twitter feed for some time now. But it doesn’t matter, because along with Michael Palascak, Dominique, Andy Erikson and Clayton English, Mr. Bagg has made it onto the Last Comic Standing tour that pulls into Chumash Casino Resort on Thursday.
It’s part of a whopping 78-date, 90-day tour that ends just before New Years, and will introduce these already seasoned comics to a much wider audience.
Comedian Craig Robinson was a guest on Ebro’s Morning Show on Hot 97 earlier this year and the DJ introduced him thus: “You were always the black guy I never saw before. I was like yo, where did this guy come from? And why is he getting all the big white comedies?” It wasn’t that eloquent a statement, but it does describe the sideways trip Mr. Robinson – who plays Thursday night at the Chumash Casino – took into popular culture.
TV viewers best know him as Darryl Philbin on “The Office,” and that successful role led him into the Judd Apatow repertory company, starting with “Knocked Up.” From there he got roles in “Walk Hard,” “Pineapple Express,” “Zach and Mimi Make a Porno,” “This Is The End” and “Hot Tub Time Machine” and its sequel. But he also did a solid turn as James Brown’s put-upon partner Maceo Parker in “Get on Up” from last year and ran from CGI dragons in the South Korean action film “D-Wars.”
Here’s the open secret about the “Queen of Mean,” comedian Lisa Lampanelli: she’s a sweet person, really. Although her stand-up career has been filled with more swearwords than an entire seaboard of dockworkers, more vitriol and insults than a traffic jam filled with cab drivers, she’s accommodating and friendly in interview. (However, when this writer made a mistake with one question, she let me have it.) As her fans will tell you, it’s a delight to be insulted. They’ll get that chance this Thursday when she comes to the Chumash Casino Resort for an evening of no-holds-barred comedy that is not for the sensitive.
The biggest change in Ms. Lampanelli’s recent stand-up routine is not the subject matter, but her waistline. Without sounding too much like a Cosmopolitan article, Ms. Lampanelli lost just over 100 pounds through gastric stapling surgery in April 2012, with her husband, Jimmy Cannizzaro, following suit in June.
For comedian Kathleen Madigan, coming to the Chumash Casino Resort this Thursday, you can take the woman out of the Midwest (and move her to Los Angeles), but you can’t take the Midwest out of the woman. She’s been in Los Angeles for 20 years and still doesn’t feel like a West Coaster.
“I don’t hate L.A. like most of my New York comedy friends,” she says. “I understand how they think. New York is like being on cocaine. Los Angeles is like being hungover on the couch.”
“It’s been like a college around there,” says Emilio Castillo, creator, leader and sax player, about his four decades bringing the funk to audiences worldwide. With five original members still at the core, the group sees many others come and go. “Musicians join us, hang out and mature. They’re good when they get here and they’re great when they leave. Then they go on to do great things, and it looks good on the résumé.”
Castillo also has an impressive résumé. Born in Detroit, but an Oakland resident since his 11th birthday, he picked up the sax at 14 and has never stopped playing. At 16, he and the first incarnation of Tower of Power were sneaking into East Bay clubs and laying down an irresistible dance beat. This Thursday, the band stops by the Chumash Casino Resort to remind the fans that Power cannot be stopped.