Can I make a confession? I’m really looking forward to doing the shows on Maui and Oahu this week. Of course, it means coming back home to Hawaii and seeing friends and family. But on a comedy level, it’s really much more important than that.
When I was a kid, growing up in Hawaii, there weren’t any stand-up comics. I would only see them on The Tonight Show or on HBO. We had comedians, to be sure. Some very funny guys, such as the comedy genius Rap Reiplinger. But no stand-up comics in the classic sense.
Then one day, a guy named Andy Bumatai came around and changed all that. He blazed a trail for all future Hawaii stand-up comics, going from telling jokes in bars to headlining his own regular show in the biggest showroom in Waikiki. I bought all his albums when I was a kid, and even asked Santa for them at Christmas. I listened to them over and over.
Years later, after I began doing stand-up, Andy took me under his wing, taught me a lot about the art of comedy and brought me along to open shows for him. One of my favorite things written about me (cue Carly Simon song) was in a piece in Honolulu Magazine, The Funniest People in Hawaii, where they say, “The Hawaii funny person genealogy wiggles down from Sterling Mossman to Don Ho, to Bumatai, to Paul Ogata, who has become one of Hawaii’s top comics.” He was like the Obi Wan to my Anakin, except he never used a lightsaber to chop off my legs and arm, leaving me for dead on the slopes of a lava river. And even though these days I am more machine now than man, twisted and evil, none of it is his fault.
This all leads back to this weekend in Hawaii. It’s a homecoming, yes, but I will enjoy it all the more because I’ll be doing shows with my friend and mentor, comedy legend Andy Bumatai, on Maui and Oahu. Earlier this year, I was back in the islands and did an episode of Andy’s fun TV show, In The Car. But this time we’ll be back together in the classroom, the comedy stage. It’s going to be all Bruce Lee and Ip Man. It’s going to be all Ludwig van Beethoven and Antonio Salieri. It’s going to be all Bane and Ra’s al Ghul. It’s going to be fierce, beautiful mayhem. And I would love for you all to be there.
And here are the details:
Friday, Dec 21, 7:30 pm: Maui Beach Hotel (with Andy Bumatai, Jose Dynamite & Chino La Forge)
Saturday, Dec 22, 7:30 pm: Ala Moana Hotel (with Andy Bumatai, Jose Dynamite & James Mane)
Tickets are $25 in advance. Get them at:
• Honolulu Chocolate Co. – Ward Center (808) 591-2997
• Honolulu Chocolate Co. – Sheraton Waikiki (808) 931-8937
• South Seas Cycles – Nimitz (808) 836-1144
• South Seas Cycles – Waipahu (808) 671-6711
• Podium Raceway – Kapolei (808) 682-7223