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James Johann

As part of a test market, professional comedy has arrived in Sedalia through a promotional company out of Galveston, Texas.

Randy Dinwiddie, owner of The Laughing Class Entertainment Group, said by phone Tuesday the first show with Steve Kramer was presented last Friday at Hampton Inn. The second show, which needs to sell at least 60 tickets, will be Saturday night with James Johann, who has performed with Jeff Foxworthy and the Blue Collar Comedy Tour.

“He toured with Larry the Cable Guy and he has also been on several late-night television shows,” Dinwiddie said. “He’s just an old country guy from Kansas, but he’s really, really funny. He can make his real-life situations relate to a lot of different people. That’s why everybody likes him so much.

“He is a pro comedian and he does what he has to do to make it work,” he continued. “We’ve had him at a lot of our venues and people keep coming back for him.”

Dinwiddie said besides the Sedalia venue, the group also has pro comedy performances scheduled for Jefferson City and the Lake of the Ozarks area, plus they are working on some shows for southern Missouri.

“The thing about pro comedy is it’s just so expensive,” Dinwiddie said. “Being a promoter, when we go into a new town, the reason why we give these test shows is pretty simple. It’s to see if the town is interested in the shows or not.

“We can’t be a $5 or $10 show, because the cost of the entertainment is just too high,” he continued. “The way our group works is we work off 100% of the ticket sales. We don’t make any money on food and beverage. And, we share the wealth with the local venue that makes money off their food and beverage…”

Dinwiddie added that the performers are professional touring comedians who sometimes travel up to 2,500 miles to present a show. That translates into costs for not only promotional fees but for travel, motels and food.

He cited several reasons why he chose Sedalia as a test market for pro comedy.

“Sedalia is a college town, Sedalia is growing and Sedalia has really good people,” he explained. “And, I think there’s a lot of blue-collar workers there. Those blue-collar workers, they work hard during the week and … they have to have a reset button at the end of the week.

“They can come (to the show) and they can have a great time and laugh,” he continued. “And, laugh off whatever’s happened during the week. It’s a lot easier to face the next week …”

Johann will perform at 8 p.m. Saturday at Hampton Inn, 3909 W. Ninth St. Tickets may be purchased at laughingclasscomedy.ticketleap.com. Tickets cost $15 if purchased online and $20 at the door.

Arts & Entertainment Reporter

Faith Bemiss is a reporter for the Sedalia Democrat, covering general assignment, arts, food and entertainment stories. She can be reached at 660-530-0289.

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