Flamboyance, energy
make ‘Gay Jewish’
comic a smash

Jason Stuart in "My Big Gay Jewish Comedy Tour" continues 8 p.m. today through Wednesday at the Laugh Factory, Queen Kapiolani Hotel. Admission is $25, with a two-drink minimum (special rates for students, military and kamaainas). Call 931-4490.

Review by John Berger

Jason Stuart had the audience where he wanted it just seconds after he took the stage Thursday night to open the show he calls "My Big Gay Jewish Comedy Tour" for a one-week run at the Laugh Factory. The club, still a relatively unknown venue, offers a "laugh guarantee," and Stuart made good on behalf of the management that night.

"MBGJCT" includes much of the best material heard on Stuart's excellent album, "Gay Comedy Without a Dress" (available at the club and through his Web site, Although the opening-night crowd did not look particularly primed for "gay comedy" of any type, Stuart connected with everyone.

He opened strong and flamboyant with a hearty "Welcome to Gay Night" and maintained the energy and momentum throughout. As promised, he flirted a bit with a few of the men in the room, but never to the point of suggesting he was serious, and always with the skill and finesse of a top comic. Two young "local" men, seated with that required empty seat between then, were good-natured recipients of several comic compliments and inquiries regarding their interests and experiences.

Stuart also hit with quick and timely comments about "Joe Millionaire," Anna Nicole Smith, Robert Blake, the Bush family, Whitney Houston, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Tipper Gore.

The crowd included a 60-something couple from Canada whom Stuart had apparently met in the elevator earlier that day, a man of perhaps similar vintage with a visibly younger wife, a Jewish woman from England, several guys with military-style haircuts and several groups of "local" folks. Stuart succeeded in involving all these disparate character types in what he was doing, and in incorporating their comments into the show.

Not all performers are as good live as they are on an album, video or DVD, but Stuart lived up to expectations.

His closing number, an impression of an "American Idol" contestant overemoting through "Over the Rainbow," was a hilarious finale to a great performance.

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