Professional comedians to perform KPC show

Posted: Thursday, April 08, 2004

This is a switch. For someone in the central Kenai Peninsula to see a performance by professional stand-up comedians, they usually would have to get on a plane and go to New York, Los Angeles or wherever the performance is.

On Saturday, however, New York and Los Angeles comedians are coming to the central peninsula.

Kenai Peninsula College's Showcase program is sponsoring the event in conjunction with the University of Alaska Anchorage, where the comedians will perform Friday.

KPC held a similar comedy performance last year, also in conjunction with UAA, al-though there are different performers this year.

The show packed a capacity crowd in to KPC's Brockel Building, although some flap arose from some audience members who were not pleased with the comedian's adult material. But overall, the show was a success, said Dave Atcheson, evening and Showcase program coordinator at KPC.

"There was a big response last year," Atcheson said. "Even though some people were offended, even more people said, 'Hey, you need to do it again.' There was a lot more positive than negative."

So KPC is doing it again, and instead of one professional comedian like last year's performance, this year there's two.


Bronx comedian Eric Nieves says he's excited about his first trip to Alaska.

Eric Nieves is a Bronx native and has made a name for himself as a sought-after Latino comic in New York. He started out in stand-up in the mid 1990s by performing in an amateur comedy contest. Though he lost to another performer who turned out to be a ringer he already was a professional comedian the contest promoter liked Nieves and kept hiring him, Nieves said.

"It all steamrolled from there," he said.

Being able to determine his own working schedule is an upshot of being a comedian for Nieves, as is being able to share his take on life.

"(My comedy material) is my opinions on things, my way of seeing life," he said. "I can only speak through my own voice. I just try to lay it out, lay out a picture of where I'm from, what I'm about."

Nieves said he's constantly coming up with material, and since he is not technology savvy, that means he's constantly surrounded by scribbled-on yellow Post-it notes.

"Just little thoughts pop in my head and I think they're funny," he said, adding that, "some of them really suck. They're not all winners."

Nieves did a stint as a comedian, writer and performer with a sketch comedy group called "Nuyorican Rule," and has appeared on "Showtime at the Apollo" and BET channel's "Comic View." He's also had a guest-starring role on "NYPD Blue," although an acting career is not something he aspires to.

"It was bad acting horrible. I'm not an actor. I learned that early on. I'm much better when I can use my own words. If someone tells me they want to give me my own show, I'm not going to say no, but I'm doing what I like to do."

Acting isn't on his list of things he dreams of doing in his career, but performing at a USO show is.

"I would love to entertain troops ... it's something I could offer," Nieves said. "If I'm not going to pick up a gun, I can pick up a mic and cheer up guys who do pick up a gun."

This is Nieves' first trip to Alaska and he said he's happy for the opportunity to come perform.

"I'm really looking forward to seeing that state," he said. "What other reason would a Puerto Rican go to Alaska for? I'm really lucky, I get to just go check out a state I'd never go to otherwise."

Nieves plans to take an extra day to do some sightseeing while he's here. Although breakup in Southcentral Alaska isn't the most scenic time of year to visit, he's hoping to at least see some wildlife.

"I want to see some elk and some big animals you wouldn't see in upstate New York," he said. "... But not a bear. Anything but a bear."

Nieves will be joined by Daniel Tosh, a Los Angeles comedian who has made three appearances on the "Late Show with David Letterman." He performs at more than 100 college campuses a year and also works comedy festivals in to his performance schedule, including the Just For Laughs International Comedy Festival in Montreal, Canada, and Europe's largest comedy festival in Kilkenny, Ireland.

His TV credits include VH1's "The List," Fx's "The Test," "Comedy Central Presents," Comedy Central's "Premium Blend" and NBC's "Late Friday."

Tosh also is interested in acting, hosting, writing, surfing and snowboarding.

The show will be in KPC's Brockel Building at 8 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $12 for students and staff with ID and $15 general admission. The show is expected to sell out so buying tickets in advance is recommended. Tickets are available at the KPC bookstore, River City Books in Soldotna and HiSpeed Gear in Kenai. Atcheson cautions that adult material may be presented and the performance is for mature audiences.

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