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Valley Life | laughs

Good Clean Funny

October 27, 2000|ROSEMARY CLANDOS | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

For comedy rated G and F--good and funny--Robert G. Lee is one of Hollywood's best.

He will take his "Good and Funny" show Sunday to Calvary Community Church in Westlake Village to film his fifth comedy video. A quick-witted comic, Lee specializes in clean humor. As a warmup comedian for TV sitcoms such as "Becker," Lee has honed the skill of keeping folks laughing and in their seats for as long as five hours during taping. "He's the best I've ever seen," said Marsh McCall, executive producer of "Just Shoot Me," who has worked with Lee for four years. "He's not one of these angry or bitter stand-up comedians."

"The audience loves him, the writers and crew love him," said Deborah Oppenheimer, producer of "The Drew Carey Show" and president of Mohawk Productions. "Being a warmup requires a certain lack of self-preoccupation because you're serving the show, and Robert is willing to do that."

For Lee, comedy was always his first choice. "When I was 5 years old, I saw Bill Cosby on TV and told my parents that's what I want to be," said Lee, who was raised in Indianapolis.

While studying film writing at Ohio University, Lee wrote and performed on the college radio station. In the late 1980s, he performed in comedy clubs. But after four years, he said, he realized it was a bad fit. "The language [in the clubs] had gotten so filthy," said Lee, who studied at the American Film Institute in Los Angeles. "I was selling Kool-Aid in Margaritaville."

Lee, of West Hills, said he decided early in his career to focus on clean comedy because he did not want to say anything in his act that he would not want his mother or his daughter to hear.

When he is not warming up TV audiences, he performs in churches. Next to TV work, he said, that's where the money is.

"It comes down to supply and demand--nobody else is doing it," said Lee. "There are hundreds of thousands of people who want clean comedy and it's not provided anywhere. So churches bring me in."

BE THERE

"Good and Funny" with Robert G. Lee, Sunday at 6 p.m. at Calvary Community Church, 5495 Via Rocas, Westlake Village. Admission: $8 general, $6 for children 6 to 13; tickets available at the door. Call (818) 575-2222.

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