Kasilof is stop on world-record comedy tour

Comedians perform 50 shows in 50 states in 48 days

Most of what they said cannot be repeated in this newspaper, or anywhere remotely family oriented.


However, family values did not stop the three Seattle area comedians on a world-record-setting tour from teaching a baby resting in the back of the crowed bar at the Tustumena Lodge in Kasilof Wednesday night how to cuss like a professional.

Comedians Morgan Preston, Andrew Ouellette and Billy Anderson joined forces to perform their 49th show in the 49th state. All three made a point to say it was an honor to be part of the baby’s developing vocabulary, especially the chance to teach the infant to say @*$%.

Before flying to Alaska Wednesday morning, the trio along with MC and brother of Central Peninsula resident Jenny Walker, Keith Walker drove 17,000 miles zigzag style across the Lower 48 doing gigs at places like The Black Iron Grill in Sioux City, Iowa, the Red Raven Espresso Parlor in Fargo, North Dakota and the Ogden Club in Menominee, Michigan.

On at least one night the troupe played two states by performing their road show in Omaha, Nebraska and Rock Port, Missouri.

Billed as the “fastest comedy tour ever,” this year’s run throughout the states is a second go for Preston and Ouellette. With Preston in lead last year a trio toured the country doing 50 shows in 50 states in 50 days only to find out that comedy was not part of the Guinness 50-50-50 gig record. That was for musicians, Walker said.

“We kinda got shafted,” Preston told KOLO TV News in Reno, NV., just before the kick-off show for this year’s attempt was performed at Catch A Rising Star. “So we have to do it again.”

The 2012 attempt had comedian Kristine Levine in the third spot instead of Anderson. Notably, the Tour or Die crew did a show in Maryland as Hurricane Sandy made landfall.

Walker said that Guinness created a new category for comedy 50-50-50 gigs and told them they had to go out again. So they did, but this year the tour turned in to 50-50-48. With the recording breaking show performed in Honolulu on Friday.

“I have to break my own record,” Preston said.

At a base level, a Guinness record must be measurable, verifiable, breakable and based on a single variable.

“Beyond that, the world of record-breaking is wonderfully diverse and as broad as your imagination,” according to the Guinness website.

To record their attempt at each stop required the crew to have at least two witnesses document the show in writing and two timers document that each comedian performed for at least 15 minutes on a stage that normally hosts entertainment in a venue that sold tickets and was open to the press for critique.

The Kasilof show was packed.

In the few hour prior to the show the comedians got to do some ice fishing with a local man. The experience later became part of a bit on the Alaskan way of life.

In Kasilof, the comedic crew took to the stage under a single shop light that became a centerpiece for Preston’s observational humor honed by more than two decades working as a comedian. However, his Denny-less town joke, which played well in Freeport, Illinois (not far from Peoria) didn’t play as well in Kasilof where the crowd made sure Preston knew there was no need for the national chain on the Kenai Peninsula, just down the road from diner at the Kasilof Mercantile.

Based out of Seattle, all three comedians worked pot jokes in to their routines.

Anderson’s best delivery of his set came with pointing out the irony of people referring to any portion of the Seattle as a ghetto. “A city can’t have a ghetto and have eight dog massage parlors,” he said. Anderson stumbled to outpace the conversation at the bar, which overpowered his amplified voice.

Among the best received jokes from Ouellette was his rewriting of the FOX reality show Hell’s Kitchen into one staffed by Hells Angles as chef Gordon Ramsey yelled at the biker gang. Some of his Bill Hicks rip-offs — essentially odes to the more humanitarian effects of taking psychedelic mushrooms — were well received too.

Ouellette was able to quiet the bar patrons and bring them into the show as active listeners during his 17-minute act before Preston took to the stage and ran the show into the night.

Mixing in with his pre-written routine, Preston took on the best hecklers Kasilof could deliver, from the man who explained Alaskan’s need to wake up and murder something every morning to the woman in the crowd who became smarter that a fifth-grader at the local Boys and Girls Club but couldn’t remember the winning answer.

At one point, Preston played matador to a drunken woman who took to the stage during his T-Shirt bit. He got several jabs in teasing Kasilof for its unique style of heckling, outbursts made while the crowd noise was up but once his attention was had the heckler going quiet and crossing arms defiantly.

With their only day off during the whole tour falling on Thanksgiving, the comedians had dinner in Kasilof.

Once the record is confirmed by Guinness, the trio will join record-holding comedians like Peter Kay, who sold the most tickets ever for a comedy tour— 1.1 million for 113 arena shows — and Cathy Griffith, for having the most televised comedy shows, once her 20th show airs later this month.

The current holder of the record for the most comedy gigs done in one week is Australian Mark Murphy who did 30 shows in 30 venues from Oct. 7 to 14, 2007.

Preston described the emerging style of “underground” comedy performed during the day-in-day-out 48-day run as mostly produced and managed from the Internet. It’s rebellious and independent, the Internet pushes comedy foreword, he said.

“We don’t need a boss,” Preston said.

After nearly two months on the road, the team plans to spend a week on the beach in Hawaii drinking and reveling.

Reach Greg Skinner at greg.skinner@peninsulaclarion.com