Corvettes Along the Columbia: Comedians perform June 6 in Richland

Dori O'Neal, Tri-City HeraldJune 4, 2014 

Put four comics on a stage together who are friends and there's bound to be chaos. Funny, hilarious chaos.

Comedians Brad Upton, Auggie Smith, Dwight Slade and Kermet Apio will pool their humor in a show called Laughfest at 8 p.m. June 6 at the Red Lion Hotel in Richland.

It's part of the three-day Corvettes Along the Columbia festival, which also includes a June 7 outdoor concert featuring Groove City Band at 7:30 p.m. June 7 at the Red Lion and an autocross event June 8 at the racetrack in West Richland.

Admission is $10 for the comedy show. The concert is $15 in advance or $20 at the door. Proceeds from the festival events benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which grants wishes to children with terminal illnesses.

Upton, who grew up in Richland, is a former Tri-City teacher who gave up academics 20 years ago to make comedy his livelihood. He lives in the Seattle area.

"I hand-picked my good friends to appear with me for this show," Upton told the Herald. "Each of us will do about 25 minutes. We'll all come out on stage at the end and sit on stools and take questions from the audience and tell stories."

His buddies joke that Upton didn't exactly play fair when he asked them to join him for the fundraiser.

"I am doing this show because Brad has a photo of me eating a Krispy Kreme doughnut three days after starting my gluten-free diet," Slade joked in an email. "He will use it as leverage to show my weak character if I don't do the show."

Slade, from Portland, became friends with Upton at one of his first open-mike shows, he said.

"After stealing a couple of his jokes, I realized we would be great friends," Slade said.

Smith, from Los Angeles, said he would take advantage of any opportunity to entertain Tri-City audiences.

"Tri-Cities is one of my favorite places in America to work," Smith said. "Plus, I'm very happy that proceeds go to fund a great organization like the Make-A-Wish Foundation."

Smith and Slade recoiled in mock shock when asked their ages.

"What is this, a job interview?" Smith challenged.

Slade was more candid -- but still wouldn't reveal his age.

"Let's not make this about age," he quipped. "Let's just say I don't turn the channel when the Cialis commercial comes on."

Slade, Smith and Upton are frequent guests on the popular Bob & Tom Radio show. Apio was last in the Tri-Cities when he opened for internationally-known comedian Brian Regan at the Toyota Center last year.

Corvettes on the Columbia is a joint venture between McCurley Integrity Dealerships and the Local 598 Plumbers & Steamfitters Union, along with PayneWest Insurance and Coca-Cola bottling in the Tri-Cities.

"Our goal is to grant 10 wishes to children fighting life-threatening illnesses," said Matthew Price of McCurley Dealerships. "It costs about $5,500 for each wish, and there are 21 children in Eastern Washington waiting for wishes."

Other festivities planned throughout the two days include a silent auction and more than 230 Corvettes to gawk at from seven states and Canada. The cars start to arrive at 8 a.m. June 7 in Columbia Park in Kennewick. Admission is free.

"The autocross event is for Corvette owners who want to test the performance of their car, as well as their driving skills on a timed course," Price said.

Drivers pay $40 per car for three laps around the track.

Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; doneal@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @dorioneal

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