Comedy right at home

Jeff Dye returns to Kent to perform with a festival lineup of laughter at ShoWare

Nationally known comedian, actor and host Jeff Dye, who was raised in Kent, joins friends for the Uncanny Comedy Festival on Saturday, March 23 at the accesso ShoWare Center. COURTESY PHOTO

Nationally known comedian, actor and host Jeff Dye, who was raised in Kent, joins friends for the Uncanny Comedy Festival on Saturday, March 23 at the accesso ShoWare Center. COURTESY PHOTO

Comedy has taken Jeff Dye near and far.

Name the place and stage – perhaps that hole-in-the-wall hangout, that cozy corner club, that tucked-away campus hall or modest community theater – and Dye probably has performed there.

The whirlwind profession, Dye said, has taken him to a different city every weekend for the past 13 years.

The tour never ends, and that’s just fine with Dye, who grew up in Kent before launching a successful career as a nationally-recognized comedian, actor, host and prankster. Single and living in Los Angeles today, Dye remains passionately devoted to bringing love and positivity through laughter to everyone he encounters.

“I think it’s very easy,” Dye said of his demanding work schedule, “and there’s nothing I’d rather be doing. I love it.”

While Dye has delivered punchlines in nearly every major U.S. city market, he has never performed in his hometown.

That changes next Saturday, March 23, when Dye and friends appear for the Uncanny Comedy Festival at the accesso ShoWare Center in Kent. The show starts at 8 p.m.

Dye joins the comedic lineup of headliner Hannibal Buress, with Jubal Fresh, Jessimae Peluso, Chris Porter and Manny Martin. Each brings a unique style to the stage.

“Never been in the same room with them, but I know them individually. I’d vouch for every single one of those comics,” Dye said. “I’m excited. It’s going to be wild. It’s going to be interesting because we are all very different.”

Dye is by no means different, just funny, a class clown.

Dye was 5 when his family moved to Kent. He attended Crestwood Elementary, Mattson Junior High and Kentwood High School. His family still lives in the Kent area.

“Somewhere in the middle of that, (Kent) turned into Covington,” Dye said of his youth. “We didn’t move, but they changed the (school district) boundaries.

“Sometimes people are like, ‘You’re not from Kent, you’re from Covington.’ Yeah, but Covington used to be a place I rode my bike to get lunch. It wasn’t a whole city, but now it’s changed,” he said. “It was a good place to grow up, in my opinion. I know people like to make fun of Kent, but I thought it was cool.”

Right out of high school, Dye began to perform stand-up at area clubs, including Giggles Comedy Club in Seattle. He was first nationally recognized on NBC’s “Last Comic Standing,” in which a third-place finish in the competition opened doors to his celebrity.

He eventually took his act on the road, gaining popularity from headlining hundreds of stand-up comedy shows around the country. He performed and hosted national network comedy series and specials and starred on numerous TV shows, among them, MTV’s “Money from Strangers” and “Girl Code,” ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” and NBC’s “I Can Do That.”

Recently, he co-starred on NBC’s comedy adventure series, “Better Late Than Never,” which follows the globe-trotting exploits of actors Henry Winkler and William Shatner, NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Terry Bradshaw and former world heavyweight boxing champion George Foreman.

Dye, 36, has enjoyed being the sidekick, the young tour guide who shares adventures and insights with an older traveling troupe of legendary personalities.

“It’s kind of like a blessing. I feel I have four new parents,” Dye said of the cast. “I’m not starstruck by them, like maybe the older generation is. … My parents watched them growing up. I didn’t watch them necessarily growing up. I knew who they were, out of respect, and just how big their star shines. … I have these great men who were wildly successful, rich, and rich with wisdom, too. They are really good dudes.”

As NBC decides whether to shoot Season 3 of “Better Late Than Never,” Dye stays busy working on other projects for the network.

Dye has found his place in comedy, with his observational, clean but edgy style.

“I’m also a very happy guy,” he said. “A lot of my comedy comes from a place of happiness.”

COMEDY IN KENT

Uncanny Comedy Festival: 8 p.m., Saturday, March 23, accesso ShoWare Center, Kent. Lineup: Hannibal Buress, Jeff Dye, Jubal Fresh, Jessimae Peluso, Chris Porter and Manny Martin. Tickets: $90, $75, $60, $50 and $35. Purchase at accessoshowarecenter.com or the ShoWare Center Box Office, 625 W. James St. Doors open at 7 p.m. The show is for ages 21 and older.

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