Standup comedy returns to Danville


Back by popular demand is a standup comedy show at Pioneer Playhouse, set for Friday and Saturday.

Holly Henson, who says she'll be doing more hosting and less comedy this year, said attendance at last year's standup comedy gig was good. So she decided to bring back the special event this year.

The feature act of the show is Dominic Dierkes, who Henson hooked up with through a long-time Louisville comedy agent.

"He believes he'll be the next biggest thing, the next big star," she says.

Henson, whose credits includes being first runner up in the 2002 Twin Cities Laff Off, serving as host of "The Big Bad Movie," and who is a veteran of more than 250 hours of prime time television, has known Jimmy Brogan, a former "Tonight Show" veteran, since her days doing standup in Los Angeles.

"We were best buds in L.A.," Henson explains. "I don't quite know how that happened. He was so far beyond my level. He was established and I was just starting out.


"In the 1970s, he had been the star of a sitcom on ABC. He befriended me and I didn't have five jokes to my name. He treated me so well, and introduced me around, no matter who was there. ... That was a big deal. Most (comedians) of Jimmy's level wouldn't talk to an open-miker."

Brogan and Henson have stayed in touch over the years, she says.

"We've stayed really good friends for 15 years now," Henson notes. "He was my first choice (for the standup show this year). The people of Danville want a comedy show, and I asked him if would be willing to do it. He had heard so many stories about the Pioneer Playhouse and Danville over the years - he's doing it because he wants to see Pioneer Playhouse and Danville."

He is known for his folksy, G-rated comedy

Brogan has a style that is popular with audiences, she adds. He is known for his folksy, G-rated comedy and for turning audience reactions into a hilarious part of the show.

"The thing that is cool about Jimmy is he is a comedy legend," Henson explains. "He is not well known in regular circles, but in comedy circles, everybody knows who he is. He is a master at interacting with audiences. ... He is a comic's comic.

"Jimmy is completely gentle, clean and hilarious, which is really a rarity amongst comics. He started comedy with Jerry Seinfeld and Jay Leno, and he is best friends with those guys."

Brogan and Leno collaborated on "The Tonight Show" for more than 10 years, she adds.

"Even before Jay had the show, Jimmy was there helping him write the monologue. He has been a part of 'The Tonight Show' since Jay first started."

Brogan has been away from "The Tonight Show" for one or two years, Henson notes. He has been focusing on writing screenplays as well as working with Yakov Smirnoff on a one-man show that played on Broadway.

"He's been kinda footloose and fancy free," Henson says.

And now he's coming to Danville.

"Normally, he's at a TV studio," Henson muses. "Now he's going to be on our little stage with the crickets and the stars. That'll probably be a big change from what he's used to."

Brogan also has appeared on "The Merv Griffin Show," "Late Night with David Letterman," "Evening at the Improv," "Comic Strip Live" and Jerry Seinfeld and Billy Crystal comedy specials.

Dinner will not be served before the shows, but the concession stand will be open.

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