Star-Bulletin Features

"Da Braddahs" Tony J. Silva, left, and James P. Roché yuck it up off camera during taping of a "Hawaii Port of Call" episode at Kahala Beach.

2 wild and
crazy guys!

Tony Silva and James Roché
may look lolo and act lolo, but
they know what they're doing

By John Berger

Some of the characters they play as Da Braddahs are extremely lolo, but catch 'em off-stage or away from the camera and Tony J. Silva (AKA "the Lolo") and James P. Roché ("the other Lolo") become two articulate businessmen with a clear vision of where they're going and what it takes to succeed in the entertainment business.

"You have to be ready," Silva said Monday afternoon. "I teach at Susan Page and Kathy Muller, and one thing I share with the students is that we get very few (opportunities) that come through the islands. When they do, you're either ready or you're not. And (if you're not) that means they bring in people from somewhere else."

"That's what luck is," Roché said. "When people say you're "lucky" it's the combination of preparation and opportunity. If the right situation presents itself and you're ready to lock 'n load and throw in the heat, then the job is yours, brother."

Preparation and opportunity were the reason Silva and Roché were performing on Kahala Beach. They were playing a pair of self-styled local watersports "stars" who never go in the water, and who think of themselves as ladies men but can't get started with beach babes Malia Beter, Lan Deal, Danica Higdon and Kim Nault. The sketch will be seen in the second expisode of "Hawaii Port of Call," a new internationally syndicated television show that debuts in September on 172 stations. Local hunk Kala'i Miller will co-host the show with Amanda Swisten.

"We never planned on this," Silva said. "This is hopefully the second episode in five seasons to come -- 26 per season. We had made some plans on things like this happening, but, right now, (is) a little sooner than we anticipated."

Call it "luck," but Da Braddahs were ready when the show's producers came to town a few months ago. The plan had been to bring in a comedy duo from Australia, but one of the producers got a glimpse of Da Braddahs' TV show on Oceanic 16, and veteran cameraman Mike Rodrigues confirmed that the homegrown comedy duo had plenty of camera experience.

"And you don't have to pay 'em per diem," Roché said.

"What they wanted to showcase was local comedy in Hawaii without having to explain (it), and because we know all the different cultural backgrounds we can play 'em all. That's what we do already," Silva said.

"If we throw in a pidgin word we'll throw in the English word that relates to it," Roché said, "but we want to educate America about what we think is funny. Black humor -- they don't explain themselves, they just do it. It's either funny, you get it, or you don't."

Many of the outside production companies that have worked here have been criticized locally for the way that outsiders choose to portray Hawaii and its people. Silva and Roché say their input has been welcomed.

For now, Braddahs fans can catch their self-produced comedy series, "Da Braddahs & Friends," in its second season, at 8:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays on Oceanic 16, where the duo and friends like Augie & Lanai, Gregg Hammer, and Baba B, join them in working the comic underside of contemporary local living.

"It's grassroots," Roché said. "It's characters that everyone can relate to -- Samoan, Korean, Chinese, haole, popolo, Filipino -- and the combination of any two or any three or any four. That's local humor."

Da Braddahs also perform at Lolo No Ka 'Oi, a local comedy concert at the Sheraton Waikiki tomorrow. Silva and Roché will share the stage with Mel Cabang, Ed Ka'ahea, and Augie T. Lanai will preside as master of ceremonies in the event that will also honor the late James Grant Benton, who was to join former Booga Booga partner Ka'ahea for the performance. Tickets are still available.

Silva and Roché continue to carve out their own niche in local comedy. Although they share roots similar to the other local funny guys, they aren't interested in stand-up comedy or song parodies. They recorded a comedy CD four years ago, "Jus Buckaloose," but video is their medium, and even that's evolving.

"When we first started out we wanted go more structured from scene to scene, and as we went on we played to our strengths by cutting the bits and moving on the next," Silva said. As Braddahs fans know, the premise of an episode can change at any time and, in the tradition of Robert Altman, take off in a new direction with a different set of characters.

Roché says the show contains elements of "Saturday Night Live," "Friends" and "Seinfeld." Silva said they've been surprised by the way that kids and mainlanders relate to some of the characters.

"It's presenting in a manner that they can get it," Roché says of the challenge faced by all local comedians. "Once they get, then it's on. The doors are open."

"More than anything, Tony and I are aspiring filmmakers practicing under the guise of comedy. It's actually the beginning and we're having a lot of fun with it."

Lolo Na Ka 'Oi

Where: Sheraton Waikiki Hawaii Ballroom
When: 7:30 p.m. tomorrow
Tickets: $25 and $18
Call: 922-4422

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