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December 22nd, 2008
Comedy comes back to the Triple Crown

Tom Hester, internationally recognized comedian and performer, headlined the Triple Crown Comedy Show here in San Marcos Friday night. Talented local comedians like Jake Flores, Nick Aluotto, and Jay White Cotton performed sets between the boisterous emcee comedians the Goons On the Loose.Named “Austin’s Funniest Person” in 1991, and winner of Austin Chronicle’s “Critic Choice Award,” Hester’s name is often associated with Bill Hicks and the Outlaw Comics of the ’90s. Hicks’ early influence on Hester played a part in the formation of the artist he is today. When asked about his influences Hester replied; “I like Hicks, I like Hedberg, and I like Lewis Black a lot. I like Richard Pryor of course, who doesn’t?”

Hester started his comedy career at the age of 16. “I’m originally from Houston, Texas. I went to the Comedy Workshop, like the Outlaw Comics and stuff. [Bill] Hicks and [Sam] Kinison and those guys,” said Hester, “I was part of that group. Hicks and I kind of bonded when we were kids.”

“Ever since I was a kid I always wanted to be a comedian. I was with this band when I was a kid called Rapid Transit, and we used to do all the talent contests. We got in trouble one time with my parents so we had to break up the band,” said Hester.

“I was there at the Buffalo High School talent competition, I showed up with my guitar and everything and I didn’t have anything to do, so I just told some jokes. I told them not to say the name of the band, just say Tom Hester. I walked on to the stage when I was 16 and just told some jokes and had a good set and won the thing and that was it.”

“I was underage to work in the clubs, so you had to sign a thing. I didn’t take it to my parents because they wouldn’t let me work in the clubs, no way,” said Hester, “so I signed their names and we got to work, Hicks did the same thing.”

Hester has lent his time and energy to entertaining troops around the world since 2001. He has played shows in Germany, South Korea, Japan, Italy, and Bahrain. Part of his set Friday night included comments on the incessant heat of Bahrain. “I figured out the answer to world peace, you know what it is? Drop an air conditioner on a motherf***er, and a bottle of water!”

“I really like the Funny Bone in Boise, Idaho,” said Hester. “I also like the Paramount here in Austin, I love the Paramount, also the Salina Theater in Corpus Christi. I just open those gigs, I’m not a ‘headliner’ there. The crowds are always really really good there. One of my favorite places used to be Comedy Texas in Beaumont, which was this really funky little mall club. That’s a great club, I really like that club. It was really laid back, Slade Ham was one of the owners of it.”

In the style of Bill Hicks and the other Outlaw Comics, Hester’s show is peppered with a healthy dose of cursing and controversy, covers a broad spectrum of topics, and some audiences are not very receptive to that kind of comedy. “Meetings are bad,” said Hester. “They’ll pay me like $500 to play ten minutes at a meeting and I’m like, ‘do you know who you’re booking?’ They’ll say ‘oh yeah I saw you on the Internet, just don’t use the N word,’ and I’m like, ‘o.k. I won’t’ but some people like it at the meeting and some people don’t.”

For more information on Tom Hester visit www.tomhester.com

by Sarah Stevens
Correspondent

Goons on the Loose

Tom Hester

Comedian Jay White Cotton

Photos by Christina Zambrano

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