OKEECHOBEE — Stand up comedy came to Okeechobee on March 18 as Chris Rodriguez brought the Big Lake Comedy Splash to the Stampede nightclub.
The two-hour comedy show was advertised for ages 18 and up, and some of the comedy was “adult,” although not much different from the type of jokes told on the Comedy Central channel in the evening.
The jokes that drew the biggest laughs from the audience were about subjects the crowd, which included parents and grandparents, could easily relate to. The comics told a lot of jokes about marriage, divorce, parenting and the high price of Florida theme park tickets.
The comics were also not shy about poking fun at more sensitive topics such as racial stereotypes.
The show was not politically correct. Those easily offended would probably have been offended.
Luckily, I am not easily offended, and I enjoyed the show. The Big Lake Comedy Splash comics made me laugh and they made me think. Isn’t that what comedy is supposed to do?
Chris Rodriguez, who lives in Seattle, Wash., grew up in Okeechobee. While he is a regular on the Seattle comedy scene, once a year Chris brings a comedy show back to his hometown.
He got things rolling Friday by opening the show with jokes about growing up in a Mexican household, marriage and parenthood.
Okeechobee High School student Kitana Lapp was next to take the mike. At 17, she was technically too young to even be in the nightclub, but explained that she had bribed Chris with a box of Girl Scout cookies.
Kitana did a comic routine at the Okeechobee High School talent show this year, and got such a good response that she was invited to be part of her first professional show. While you probably have to be from Okeechobee to get the jokes about her favorite OHS teacher, the hometown crowd loved her.
Next up were Orlando comics Heather Shaw and Justin Lawson.
Looking around Stampede, I kept thinking this show could have been in a comedy club in a big city. And yet they came to our town to entertain Okeechobee.
Headliners A. Ali Flores and Ken Miller were both well received by the crowd.
I am not going to try to review or explain a comic’s humor. You can look them up on youtube.com to sample their jokes. The audience at the show appeared to be having a good time.
The bad news: A lot of Okeechobee community members who likely would have enjoyed the show simply didn’t know about it, and there were a lot of empty seats in the club. I’m the editor of the newspaper and I didn’t even know about the show until I received an email from Chris. They really need to do a better job advertising this event in the future.
The good news: Now that I do know about the Big Lake Comedy Splash, I can work with them on advertising next year. And instead of reading about it afterwards, the Okeechobee News readers will find out in time to get tickets and form their own opinions on this show.
It’s just a shame that we have to wait a whole year!
Editor Katrina Elsken can be reached at email@example.com