“The beautiful thing about being an artist is that there is no ceiling on what you do.”
An estimated 250 people showed up for the stand-up comedy show featuring comedians James Johann and Dave Nickerson Saturday at the Granada Theatre, 807 Commercial St. Comedian Mike Smith made a return to the Granada to open the show.
“The comedians tonight were awesome,” said Samantha Behm, junior athletic training major. “The best thing about comedy shows here at the Granada is that they’re 18 and up shows.”
Johann, of Paola, has been featured on Comedy Central, CMT and The Blue Collar Comedy Tour. Dubbed “The Rural Genius,” Johann performs nationwide, but said he prefers doing comedy shows “close to home.”
“I’m a Midwest guy,” Johann said. “They get me.”
Johann said George Carlin, Richard Pryor and Robert Hawkins are his biggest comic influences. Nickerson, who hails from Kansas City, Mo., has been featured on HBO and the Howard Stern Show. Nickerson said Sam Kinison, Eddie Murphy, George Carlin and Bill Cosby are some of his biggest influences.
“Those four each have their strength that I’ve tried to hybrid – some family comedy and some edgier comedy,” Nickerson said. “Every creativity is some sort of hybrid.”
Smith said he has enjoyed comparisons to some of his influences, like Bill Maher and Dave Chappelle.
“After a show, one guy said that I was like the black Bill Maher,” Smith said. “I said, ‘Thank you, man.’”
Smith said Chappelle met him after another show to tell him he enjoyed his comedy.
“That really encouraged me,” Smith said. “It’s really a great feeling to get that level of praise in comedy, especially from Dave Chappelle.”
Smith said he usually does gigs “in the Midwest through the east coast,” and that he likes being on the road. He is also currently working on a play, called “The Father the Son and the Holy Truth,” and a rewrite of his book, “Quindaro,” named after the street grew up on in Kansas City, Kan. The book is “very real” and “really gritty,” Smith said.
“I’m trying to do everything,” Smith said. “The beautiful thing about being an artist is that there is no ceiling on what you do.”
Smith said he is “not religious at all,” and in his play, he is mainly aiming to point out “how today, people hurt each other for sake of their religion.”
“I’d like to bring my play to a campus,” Smith said. “It asks what Jesus would say about modern religion.”
The Granada will host a showing of “Casablanca” at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. Feb. 14. Contact the Granada at 342-3342 for more information, including ticket prices.