Monday, August 7, 2017

Laughing Stock: So, Would You Call Him a Birthday Clown?

Posted By on Mon, Aug 7, 2017 at 5:30 PM

  • The birthday boy, Monte Benjamin
“They had an open date the day before my birthday, and I thought, ‘I'm going to take that,’ says comedian Monte Benjamin. He had been smitten by a cool 75-seat pop-up theater in Tucson Mall when he opened for a magician there, and decided it would be a great place for a “clean comedy” birthday show.

The date he booked is Saturday, Aug. 12, at 7 p.m. Admission is $10. The bill includes local favorites Nancy Stanley, who co-hosts the popular Estrogen Hour benefits, Matt Ziemak., Rory Monserrat, Cindell Hanson and Charles Ludwig. The theater is next to Macy’s and across from the container store. It’s operated by the Arizona Rose Theatre, which uses the space for kids’ education programs and stage productions.

“I was really impressed by the intimacy of the room,” Benjamin says. "My intention was to see how well it draws a crowd and see if I can continue to do something like every month to give Tucson another spot to go to.”

He sees a model in area shows produced by Randy and Stephanie Jenkins of Marana Laughs Clean Comedy, for whom he’s performed in Safford and Vail as well as Marana. Having produced successful shows in both Tucson and Vail, Benjamin thinks the mall space might be ideal for attracting retirees and families from Tucson’s northern reaches to his brand of clean comedy.

And just what is “clean comedy”? “My definition would be no profanity, no vulgarity or sexual innuendo," Benjamin says. “Material that everybody everyone can be a part of, even kids.”

Benjamin says he’s always been a comedian – a hit as the class clown and in school-sponsored comedy shows in his Miami, FL hometown. But a school employee, who perhaps should have known better, nearly ended the promising comic’s career by taking him to an adult-oriented open mic. “I tried this stuff that I did in high school,” Benjamin says, “and I was heckled and pretty much booed off the stage. I wasn't ready for it and I was, like, ‘I'm done with comedy. I can't do it.”

A year or so later, though, work colleagues got him back up at an open mic. “I did my 5-minute set, I killed and then all of a sudden I got that feeling, like it's a high.” Benjamin says. “I decided to work hard and never let that thing happen to me again because … I have a heart for comedy.”

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Previously in the Range

More by Linda Ray

Today | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon
Burlesque Fitness

Burlesque Fitness @ Floor Polish

Mondays, Wednesdays, 4:30-5:30 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

Staff Pick

@ Mission Garden Saturdays, 8 a.m.-12 p.m. Continues through Nov. 24 Corner of Grande Avenue and Mission Lane.

» More Picks

Submit an Event Listing

Popular Content

  1. Three Great Things to Do in Tucson Today: Monday, August 13 (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  2. ZoSo Brings the Sounds of Zep to Rialto (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  3. Three Great Things to Do in Tucson Today: Tuesday, August 14 (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  4. A Review of David Garcia's Book, "School Choice" (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  5. Sahuarita Dance Team on America’s Got Talent Tomorrow! (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)

© 2018 Tucson Weekly | 7225 Mona Lisa Rd. Ste. 125, Tucson AZ 85741 | (520) 797-4384 | Powered by Foundation