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COMEDY : Poking Fun at Life and Other Frivolities

July 25, 1991|DENNIS McLELLAN | Dennis McLellan is a Times staff writer who covers comedy regularly for O.C. Live!

Comedian Evan Davis is glad the Gulf War is over.

He's glad, he says, "because my wife wouldn't quit eating chocolate, she was so stressed. She was glued to CNN. Every time it got intense she started eating more chocolate. I was trying to block her. I was like Operation Dessert Shield. I was throwing Patriot pillows at her, trying to knock Twix bars from her hand."

Davis, who is at the Brea Improv through Sunday, is a former actor who has a mobile face and a broad grin, which, like his frequent laugh, sets the tone for his funny, oftentimes silly material--like his bit on kids' toys.

"They have Transformers now," he says. "These will mess a kid up: 'I'm a boy, I'm a truck; I'm a boy , I'm a truck. ' He's going to grow up and have a job: 'I am Jan-i-tor.' "

And how did Barbie get the money to pay for that Ferrari? "Ken don't work. I think she's taking G.I. Joes to the Dream House."

The Reader's Guide, a Los Angeles entertainment weekly, described Davis' act as "a playful, feel-good, spontaneous show that lightheartedly emphasizes social awareness. He accurately portrays many of society's insecurities and gently reveals fresh insight into the world."

Speaking by phone from his hotel room in the Bay Area, where he was appearing last week, Davis, 34, said his philosophy of life is "if you can't laugh, you are not letting go of the details. It's sort of, 'Don't sweat the small stuff. One day we'll all look back on this moment--and plow into a parked car.' "

As for his comedy style, he said, "I'm trying to come up with emotional alternatives for the future shock we seem to be in. Things just happen too fast, and there's too much of it. I talk about how to morally deal with these everyday things. Like freeway shootings--I think it was great we came up with a seven-day waiting period to get on the freeway. . . .

"Porsche has a car out now--zero to 60 in 3 1/2 seconds. Who's this for? Single mom on the go? 'Put your helmets on, we're going to day care!' "

And there are, he observed, self-help groups for everything. "My wife said I talk too much. I've had to join a self-help program called On and On and On. . . . The meetings last forever."

An 11-year comedy veteran, Davis has appeared frequently on "Evening at the Improv" and "Comic Strip Live." He's also a former "Star Search" finalist who came thisclose to winning the $100,000 grand prize for comedy in 1986.

Exactly how close was that?

"They passed the check to the woman right in front of me. They handed it to her and not me. That's how close I came. I came within inches," said Davis, who, while not bitter about losing, did have to play the gracious loser on camera.

"That's what's cool about it," he said. "I'm an underdog for the rest of my life. I could have used the cash, but I don't mind the status."

Davis said he tries to do as much topical material in his act as he can "so it's fresh and fun for me and the audience."

He's even thinking of doing a bit about his personal crisis of the day before: The airline, which flew him from Burbank to Oakland, lost his suitcase.

"How do you lose a suitcase between Burbank and Oakland? I could have paid a guy to drive it," he said. "I was the only guy on the flight who checked a bag, too. So I took it real personal. . . .

"They tell me it could be anywhere, and I'm like, 'How many flights go out of Burbank to Fiji?' "

Davis spent the day looking for new clothes to wear on stage that night. As he said, "you just don't want to literally smell bad on stage. I kept looking for any of my clothes on the audience. I mean, maybe a baggage handler stepped out to see the show."

Who: Evan Davis.

When: Thursday, July 25, and Sunday, July 28, at 8:30 p.m.; Friday, July 26, at 8:30 and 10:30 p.m.; Saturday, July 27, at 8 and 10:30 p.m.

Where: The Improv, 945 E. Birch St., Brea.

Whereabouts: Take the Lambert Road exit off the Orange Freeway and go west. Turn left on State College Boulevard and right on Birch Street. The Improv is in the Brea Marketplace, across from the Brea Mall.

Wherewithal: $7 and $10.

Where to Call: (714) 529-7878.

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