WHAT: NA ALI’I HAWAII KINGS OF COMEDY
WHEN: AUGUST 2, 2012 – 8PM
WHERE: STANDUP LIVE – 50 W. JEFFERSON ST., PHOENIX, ARIZONA
Frank Delima: “We all will do our individual acts… everyone has to behave,” said DeLima of Na Alii. He is a devout Catholic who has no tolerance for raunchy comedy and is especially keen on Portuguese jokes and punchlines. And he sings parodies. “I’ll dress on stage,” said DeLima about slipping in and out of costumes of a couple of his notable characters, including his sumotori, but his music will be via a CD recorded by his usual Na Kolohe duo, Bobby Nishida and David Kauahikaua. It’s an economic decision. DeLima is happy and busy, because he constantly is in front of a crowd thanks to his frequent outings on the road with Augie. By day, DeLima continues to do his tours of public and private schools, sharing his message of a drug-free lifestyle and the resolve to study hard. For the past year, he’s toured with Augie here and on the Mainland, in modest venues, so he’s quite accustomed to partnering on stage. “I’m not sure if I’ll have new material; I’ve been listening to some new songs (for parodies he and his song composer buddy Patrick Downes have been doing for decades), but we only have 20 minutes apiece. And the people want to hear the old favorites.”
Andy Bumatai: “I’ve been some doing standup (a Thursday run at Che Pasta downtown), to tune up and memorize segues that connects the material,” said Bumatai. “When you’re on the road ? ve nights a week, it’s bang bang bang, easy; but when you’re only on once a week, it’s a little more challenging.” Bumatai has been one of Hawaii’s successful and ambitious stand-ups, mixing a Waikiki career with television specials early on, and attempting a talk-show series the last decade. He still has faith in local-style comedy and its generally low overhead vs. a musical act. Stand-ups are a solution to a bad economy, he said. “Very cheap. You hire a comic, you provide a mike, and there’s only one plane fare and hotel room, thank you. That’s why comedy is thriving again,” he said. “That’s why I’m looking (to operate) a small club, with a good stage, a spotlight, designed for comedy.” Also a “clean” act traditionally playing for families, he’s eager to see how Na Alii plays out. “What’s good about this tour is that everyone gets to see us old guys who don’t swear,” said Bumatai. “Being old and ugly can be a plus — look at Mel,” he joked.
Mel Cabang: Serving time in a Nevada prison for illegal gambling convictions made Mel Cabang a changed man. “I’ve been comedian for 41 years — exclusive of the three years I served my time,” he said. “I went in (the facility at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas), and I can’t forget it. They took so much out of me; my property, everything except my home in Vegas. It’s hard not to forget.” He said he was imprisoned from 1998 to 2001. But it wasn’t wasted time, because he “did comedy while doing time; it was a captive audience,” he said. So how has he changed? “Mostly, clean,” he said of his routine — now suitable for families and nightclubs. “In all the shows I do, I’m PG, a little on the edge. But mostly clean. I no longer enjoy doing the dirty stuff. That was when I was young and brash; didn’t care.” At 70, he is ? tness conscious, so works out when in Honolulu, where he rents a room with a friend. “I’m still heavy, but with muscle. So I feel so much better.”
Ed Kaahea: Because of his theatrical roots (doing plays) and experience with Booga Booga, Ed Kaahea is “intrigued, not apprehensive,” about coming aboard with his comedy peers. “It’s a collection of bodies of work that cover a period in our entertainment history for which I have a lot of affection,” he said. But, Kaahea added, “my entire life is ? ashing by, being together with balding, older comics; we’ll either be politically correct, or the laughing stock.” He’s a vegetarian and somewhat of a new man because he’s now an ordained pastor with the Gateway Ministries of Hawaii. “Because I was brought up in a religious family — my grandfather was a pastor in a family of pastors — and I had a moment of epiphany in the late ‘90s, when Jimmy died (James Grant Benton, who, with Rap Reiplinger and Kaahea, were Booga icons) and I became a pastor.” He previously operated Ed Kaahea’s Kalapahi Comedy Club, at the Marriott on Kauai. And he does a religious radio show on KESU on Kauai. But he’ll soon move to Hilo, to be with his moopuna (grandchildren), and plans to form the Hawaii Actors Repertory Company, at the Palace Theatre, with colleagues Arnold Hiura, David Farmer and Scott Johnson, to reboot his stage roots.
Augie T: The entrepreneurial stand-up comedian, knows the value of solidarity and unity for stand-up comics especially in a time of economic challenges. A big fan of the laugh-makers who preceded him, Augie ? gured the time was ripe for a gathering of the giants. So he formed Na Alii of Comedy, a collaborative tour with the Island comics he used to admire and mimic as a kid, inviting four “royalty” of the laugh brigade to hop on the bandwagon: Frank DeLima (with whom he has regularly toured in the past two years), Andy Bumatai, Mel Cabang and Edward Kaahea. Together, the vets have amassed more than 100 years of comedy experience over the past four-plus decades. But with time, landing individual bookings has become an issue, since there has been a lack of venues and a shortage of interest among talent-buyers. Nonetheless, Augie has been able to unite the veterans — to shed off the dust and return to the spotlight —starting this weekend. Together, of course. “It’s hard to ? nd sponsorships to do shows,” said Tulba, the prevailing comedy favorite of his generation of concert-goers. “But when you work together, you help each other, and the ultimate goal is to put on a successful show.”