WHS grad ramps up comedy gigs

Mike Bova, right, and “Big Ern” Gelano will host a benefit comedy show April 1 at American Legion Post 904 in Alexandria Bay. Submitted image

ALEXANDRIA BAY — The “Big and Tall Comedy Tour” will perform a fundraiser at 7 p.m., Saturday, April 1 at the American Legion Post 904, 9 Rock St., to benefit the post and Be the One organization.

Be the One is an American Legion platform working to eliminate the stigma related to mental health treatment and to lower the number of veterans who die by suicide.

The number of veterans who die by suicide every day is estimated at between 17 and 22, the Legion says. The American Legion has elevated Be the One to be its top priority, empowering veterans, service members, their family members and civilians to act appropriately when a veteran may be at risk.

The Big & Tall act, which has toured nationally, features headliner Mike Bova, a 1983 graduate of Watertown High School who now lives in the Utica area. Ernesto “Big Ern” Galano of Endicott, Broome County, joins him.

The Big and Tall Comedy Tour regularly toured before the COVID-19 pandemic, and is ready to hit the road again.

“I’ll again be going on tour full-time like I was before COVID,” Mr. Bova said. “Some shows will be with Big Ern on the Big and Tall Comedy Tour and some shows will be me, with an opener from the city I’m performing in. I did that in 2019 when Ern was recovering from an illness and couldn’t go with me out to the Midwest.”

As of late February, shows have been scheduled for New York State, Pennsylvania, Virginia, California, Connecticut and Massachusetts.

“We have a huge comedy show fundraiser coming up at the Hollywood Legion Theater in Los Angeles, on Saturday, April 22,” Mr. Bova said. “Seating capacity is 485 and we are expecting a sold out show.”

Tickets for that show are $100 for general admission and $150 for VIP seating. All proceeds will benefit Homeless Not Toothless.

“HNT has given away over 8 million dollars in free dental work to veterans, foster youth, the impoverished and homeless of LA,” Mr. Bova said. “Sharon Stone, William H. Macy and Dorit Kemsley from ‘The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’ will all be in attendance and they’re donating their time after the show for a meet and greet session.”

Tickets for the Los Angeles show are available at https://hntcomedy.eventbrite.com

Mr. Bova has lived in the greater Utica area since 1994. He began his comedy career in 2012 with a show at Savory Downtown, Watertown. In 2017, he toured the nation with comedian and actor Marc Price, putting on their “Awkward Adult Years” tour. Mr. Price played Skippy on the NBC television show, “Family Ties.” Mike was a big fan of the show.


The details

WHAT: “Big and Tall Comedy Tour” fundraiser at the American Legion Post 904, 9 Rock St., Alexandria Bay.

WHEN: 7 p.m., Saturday, April 1. Doors open at 6.

TO BENEFIT: Legion Post 904 and the nonprofit Be the One.

COST: $25 in advance, $40 day of show. For advance tickets, go to abaycomedy.eventbrite.com

OF NOTE: The show may contain profanity and adult humor. Recommended for ages 21+.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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