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Local comedians open for Ty Barnett of ‘Last Comic Standing’

Tristan Johnson, Michael Calvin, E. Clark, Ty Barnett

Old Sacramento’s Laughs Unlimited packed a full house for stand-up headliner Tyrone (Ty) Barnett and all for a good cause. Hosted by Sacramento-based “Correctional Workers Who Care,” all of Thursday’s proceeds went to the organization’s holiday party for children. The holiday party will include a wrapped gift and a picture with the legendary Santa Claus. With openings from Sacramento comic veterans E. Clark, Tristan Johnson and an even goofier Michael Calvin acting as Master of Ceremonies, the hysteria was absolutely inevitable.

Although the venue was at capacity, empty seats scattered the front couple rows, with patrons crowding the outer perimeter instead. Only the brave sat front and center. Stand-up comedians are known for picking on the audience and this event was no exception.

Race, religion, stereotypes, relationships and sex are all fair game on the comic’s stage, and there is no room for sensitivity.

With correctional officers in full attendance, Clark played on a common stereotype of this particular crowd. Making references to lesbian women, specifically correctional officers having better taper fades, and stealing all the size 34 men’s jeans hit right at home with the audience. The female officers erupted in laughter. A frequent performer at Laughs Unlimited and around the greater Sacramento area, Clarke hit home again, claiming that black people smell like coco butter and fried chicken and if it smells like black people you must be in Oak Park. We were all weak with laughter.

Johnson, another familiar face in Sacramento, pleaded with the officers, exclaiming that he couldn’t go to jail because he had his momma’s hips. He wasn’t exaggerating, and the potential danger those hips and coke-shaped body could cause sent us into an uproar. A comedian who can make a few jokes about himself is always refreshing.

After a few drinks and two great openers Barnett took the stage with an undeniable poise and confidence about him. Known for his appearances on “Last Comic Standing,” “The Tonight Show” and Comedy Central, Barnett’s experience showed through his presence. He was more comfortable, more confident, and quicker with the jokes. Barnett’s main focus was relationships and children. He claimed he would rather join a gang than a relationship, stating that there are too many games involved.

Barnett had a clever way of turning aspects of everyday life into a joke. He presented himself as an optimistic individual who is able to find the humor in events that could perhaps be interpreted otherwise. His character also showed through in his explanation that he has two children, who he does take care of, and both by the same baby-mama! By the time I was done cackling I felt like I had done a hundred sit-ups. I literally laughed my abs off.

The show closed with awards given out to the audience from Correctional Workers Who Care. Among the gifts raffled were a year supply of Panera Bread, a $150 cash reward and a countertop rotisserie oven. In addition, the emcee happily announced that the Black Engineering Association donated a box of toys for the CWWC’s holiday party.

After the show officially came to a close everyone seeped out of the performance room and into the bar. More drinks were ordered, and audience members and comedians alike mingled convivially. I personally got a chance to meet the three performers, all of which were extremely personable and down to earth.

It will be exciting to see more of what Laughs Unlimited has in store. If you are feeling like getting a six pack without going to the gym, I would definitely recommend digging deeper into the Sacramento comedy scene for a night full of laughter.


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