Comedian Brad Upton performed his 5,000th career show recently in Vancouver, British Columbia.
This week he's returning to his roots in the Tri-Cities to help raise money for his alma mater.
Upton grew up in the Tri-Cities and graduated from Richland High (called Columbia High in his day) and taught elementary school before he ran off for the footlights of comedy almost 27 years ago.
"I'm doing this because one of my longtime friends who I graduated with came and saw me when I was at Jack Didley's in Kennewick last November," Upton said.
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That longtime friend was Winston McCulley of Richland.
"He told me his daughter was graduating from Richland High this year and he was on the fundraising committee for the class of 2011's senior party," Upton said. "And since I'm an alum, here I am."
The March 6 show starts at 4:30 p.m. in the Battelle Auditorium in Richland. Admission is $30 at the door or by calling 628-3953. Doors open at 3 p.m. A silent auction and snacks also are planned.
Upton, who now lives in Seattle, headed for the Emerald City in the '80s to try his hand at comedy.
Luck was with him because he's made his living as a comic ever since.
He is currently teamed up with another Seattle comic Vince Valenzuela to create The Sip & Giggles Comedy Tour that will make the winery rounds later this year. The first gig is set for the Le Chateau Winery in Walla Walla on June 11.
"Besides occasionally doing the shows ourselves, The Sips & Giggles Comedy Tour will be using the top pros from all around the country, who also happen to be my friends," Upton said.
Through all of Upton's success in the entertainment world, he still loves his roots.
"You know, I've worked with some of the biggest names in show business, been on TV and radio, performed at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas," he said.
"But I remember when I first started in comedy, I thought to myself, 'If I could ever play the Battelle Auditorium in Richland ...."
Well, you didn't expect him to be totally serious, did you?
*Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; email@example.com