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ORANGE COUNTY NEWSWATCH / A SPECIAL REPORT: COMEDY

September 27, 1993|Dennis McLellan

LAUGH TRACK: With umpteen stand-up comedy shows on TV and the "comedy boom" more than a decade old, Orange County clubs are scrambling to retain jaded patrons by offering something besides the usual three-comic format. The trend? More one-man shows, sketch comedy and variety acts. The Improv in Brea has been redesigned to accommodate backdrops for sketches, and the same is planned for the Irvine Improv. "Television has definitely oversaturated the market with stand-up," says Robert Hartman, manager of the two Improvs. "We're trying to come up with a different twist."

CRAZY FOR YOU: Orange County Crazies, the county's longest-running improvisational comedy group which targets everything from the Mighty Ducks to "Coto de Caucasian," will present its next show Oct. 16 in the Pacific Symphony Center in Santa Ana. The 14-member Crazies cast does three productions a year, and this time they'll take aim at the recession, the Nixon Library and the Department of Motor Vehicles in Westminster. "Nothing is sacred to us," says Cherie Kerr, founder and artistic director of the nonprofit, volunteer group. They do it, she says, "for the love of comedy. It's a great showcase for material and their talents."

HOME BASE: One of the county's latest comedic imports is Rocky LaPorte, who moved from Chicago to Fullerton. LaPorte finds fertile ground here for humor: "Most big cities have drive-by shootings; Newport Beach has drive-by insults. There's guys driving around in Rolls-Royces (scoffing), 'Hey, you got a little boat, and your kids go to public school.' "

CLASS CLOWNS: Think you're funny? Find out by signing up for Maggi Bass-Jackson's Performing Stand-Up Comedy class at Orange Coast College. The former stand-up comic has been conducting her six-week workshops for four years. . . . Most beginners need a lot of work, she says, but occasionally "there is that jewel that comes through" who is extremely talented and charismatic. But there's usually one problem: "They don't have perseverance. They aren't willing to make the sacrifices."

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