Two Comics To Perform At Tropicana Room On Saturday

Al Park

Al Park and Bill Lake are two very different comedians in terms of delivery and subject matter, but the most impressive commonality they share is reaching big breaks in their comedy careers years after most typically do in the industry.

Park, a 45-year-old winner of the Boston and Cleveland comedy festivals, and Lake, a 52-year-old former joke writer for “The Late Show with David Letterman” and “Saturday Night Live,” will treat guests to an hour set at the Tropicana Room on Saturday at 7 and 9:30 p.m.

Before they became full-time comedians, life’s trails took them on somewhat unrelated ventures. Lake had worked on the production side in radio by helping to create commercials and programs before he started writing jokes for “The Late, Late Show with Craig Kilborn” in 2004, followed quickly by writing for host Craig Ferguson for the next several years.

Able to impress Letterman, who had co-created the “Late, Late” brand, Lake was brought onto the host’s own “Late Show” and continued to gain notoriety from there.

“It never got old to see David Letterman do one of my jokes because I grew up watching him,” Lake said.

Bill Lake

On the other side of the country, Park was finding his footing after graduating from business college. Originally taking comedy classes because he yearned for some excitement, “it took off from there,” and Park moved through his late 30s as an aspiring comic.

After winning the Boston and Cleveland festivals, Park’s public persona earned a lot more attention. Four years into stand-up, Park had discovered a way to connect with more people than ever before with his self-described self-deprecating humor and relatable observations.

“That put me on the map,” Park said. “I won (the festivals) literally in the same two-week span.”

While Park typically tells long-form stories in his sets, Lake is used to the traditional snappy writing of late night TV. Both types of humor should complement each other’s styles, and Saturday’s show will feature a half-hour of each comedian performing.

“It seems like an amazing venue, and I’m looking forward to just seeing the (National Comedy Center) itself,” Park said.

Having spent three to four hours at the Comedy Center during one visit, that’s another thing Lake can relate to.

He originally met Park during a show at the Syracuse Funny Bone Comedy Club, when Lake was the host and Park was the feature performer.

“I just love his jokes so much,” said Lake, who said he’s happy to work with Park again.

Park said he tries to “make life funny as much as possible.” His slice of life humor, he thinks, will pair well with Lake’s punchlines that Lake said subverts the audience’s expectations.

“Probably the longest joke I have is two minutes,” said Lake, who cited his average joke length as about 20 seconds. “By the end of the joke, I’m probably lying or exaggerating.”

Both comics are playing with the fourth wall more during their sets. Lake said he’s been trying to play with the audience more and poke good fun at sides of the room who catch onto a joke a little later than others. Park said he loves to joke about another joke bombing.

“I think it’s important to acknowledge the process,” Park said. “I think we both come from the same place: try to write smart jokes about regular things. If something happens to me in real life, I try to turn it into a positive.”

Park added that both he and Lake are “good-natured comics” and family-friendly.

“We’re both pretty clean acts,” Lake said.

Follow Eric Zavinski at twitter.com/EZavinski

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