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Kevin Pollak Kicks off Bay Street’s Comedy Showcase Series

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Comedian Kevin Pollak performs at Bay Street Theatre on Monday, June 2 at 8 p.m. Photo courtesy Bay Street Theatre.

 

By Mara Certic

The Comedy Showcase returns for its fourth year this Monday, June 2, at Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor. This year’s summer-long series kicks off with a performance by stand-up comedian and actor Kevin Pollak.

“We’re really excited that we were finally able to get him this year,” said Gary Hygom, Bay Street’s managing production director. “The kind of the cool thing about him is that he’s one of the few comedians who have had a huge dramatic career. Few people know that he started out as a comic.”

Known for dramatic roles in “A Few Good Men,” “Casino” and “The Usual Suspects,” Mr. Pollak started performing stand-up comedy in 1967 when he was just 10 years old. In his late teens, he started performing professionally and, after taping his first solo HBO comedy performance, Mr. Pollak was cast in “Willow,” a 1988 film directed by Ron Howard.

Mr. Pollak is known for his solid celebrity impressions, particularly his Christopher Walken, Peter Falk and William Shatner shticks.

Five years ago Mr. Pollak began “Kevin Pollak’s Chat Show,” an online talk show aired once a week. Guests such as Matthew Perry and Dana Carvey have been invited on air to play games like “The Larry King Game” –during which guests complete a series of tasks all while doing a bad Larry King impression—and “Who Tweeted”—in which guests guess the celebrity authors of embarrassing tweets.

Steve Rannazzisi will take to the Bay Street stage a few weeks later, on Monday, June 30. Mr. Rannazzisi is known for his role as Kevin on the FX show, “The League.” Mr. Rannazzisi got his break on MTV’s “Punk’d”: Ashton Kutcher’s practical joke reality television show. He has since become known for work on the comedy stage, on television and on the silver screen.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing Steve perform,” said Mr. Hygom of Mr. Rannazzisi. “I’ve never seen him live, but I’ve heard he’s just unbelievable.”

A newcomer to the showcase will be writer and comedian Heather McDonald who will continue the series the following week with a July 7 performance. Ms. McDonald has been celebrated for her writing for the late-night comedy talk show, “Chelsea Lately,” and her collaboration with the Wayans brothers on two of their feature films.

Ms. McDonald has been featured on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” and has guest-starred on several prime time shows. Her 2010 book, “You’ll Never Blue Ball in This Town Again,” spent seven weeks on The New York Times best-seller list.

After his sold-out show at Bay Street last year, Bobby Collins returns to its stage on July 14. Mr. Collins performs upward of 200 stand-up bits every year and is well known for his work on VH1′s “Stand Up Spotlight.” Mr. Collins has been the warm-up act for artists such as Frank Sinatra, Dolly Parton and Cher.

Mr. Collins’s career in observational stand-up comedy began over 20 years ago, when he gave up a well-paying job at Calvin Klein to pursue his dream to make people laugh.

“I don’t like to have comedians come back and do the same material,” Mr. Hygom said. “But Bobby has such a huge repertoire, his shows always change. Everything is always new and fresh”

Maine-native Bob Marley—not to be confused with the Wailer—will perform the first of August’s comedy showcases on August 11. Mr. Marley is one of few who have performed on the entire late night talk show circuit. He has had roles in cult film favorites, such as the “Boondock Saints.”

Last in the series, Grammy- and Tony-award nominee Robert Klein returns to Bay Street on August 18 for what is expected to be another sold-out performance. Mr. Klein has received recognition for his comedy and also for his musical work on Broadway.

With over 100 appearances on “The Tonight Show and Late Show with David Letterman” to his credit, Mr. Klein got his start in comedy when he auditioned for the improvisational troupe, Second City.

Mr. Klein has released several successful comedy albums, one of which is said to have influenced comedy great Bill Crystal—who on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” admitted to have, in his youth, decorated his apartment wall with a poster of Mr. Klein.

Bay Street Theatre will present up-and-coming comedy stars when the All-Star Comedy Showcase also returns this summer. Hosted by Joseph Vecsey, the June 9 show will also feature comics recognizable from appearances on Comedy Central, MTV and PBS.

The Comedy Showcase performances are at 8 p.m. on most Mondays throughout the summer season. Bay Street Theatre is located at 1 Bay Street in Sag Harbor. For more information, or to purchase tickets visit baystreet.org or call (631) 725-9500.