Need a good laugh?
You're in luck — Lamont Ferguson is heading to Baton Rouge.
In addition to opening for the late great George Carlin, Long Beach, California, funnyman Ferguson has also been the warmup for Steve Harvey, George Lopez, Garry Shandling and Larry Miller.
After 35 years in comedy, the 52-year-old married father of four calls himself "cranky," expounding on growing old, women and politics (just for starters) in his 50-minute show.
For his first appearance in Louisiana, Ferguson is headlining Spay Baton Rouge's Raise the Woof - Comedy for a Cause fundraiser at Hartley/Vey Theatres at 7 p.m. Saturday.
The fourth annual event raises funds for the group to continue providing its spay and neuter services to animals at risk of breeding. Last year's event raised close to $7,000.
Ferguson spoke to The Advocate last week from a gig in Toronto, Canada.
How did you get into comedy?
It's something I've always been drawn to. I'm the oldest of four children, so we didn't have a lot of money, and so during the summer, my mom would take us to the library. And I would always check out this same thing: It was a five-album set of radio shows from the 1940s and '50s, and I was just fascinated about it as far as the science of comedy and what it is that made people laugh. Jack Benny, Jimmy Durante, Abbott and Costello, all those guys, just listening to them over and over again. When I was in high school, I was a musician, and the group that I played with said, 'Hey, we think you'd be good as a stand-up comic, so I thought, 'They must know show business'; so that's what it is that kind of pushed me to try it. So, I went down to the Comedy Store at 17. That's where it started.
Do you get your material from everyday life?
Yeah, it is mostly everyday life — it's kind of a mixture of family type of stuff, as well as just observational things, and social commentary. I kind of try to let the audience see life as I view it, which is a little askew.
For someone who's never been to one of your shows, what can they expect?
I tell the truth as I see it. The best description of what people think, and I put it on myself, as well — I'm a little cranky, it's what I am. I've been in this business for 35 years. I'm married, I have four kids, so that happy, peppy, chipper guy — you missed that guy by about 20 years.
You've been fortunate enough to open up for some giants in the industry. How did you manage that?
I have been very fortunate and blessed. I guess I attribute it to the good work I've been able to do. It's been Steve Harvey, George Carlin and George Lopez. The joke that I also say now, and it's actually true — I've opened twice for the artist formerly known as Bill Cosby.
'Raise the Woof — Comedy for a Cause'
Spay Baton Rouge's fourth annual fundraiser
WHEN: 7 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: Hartley/Vey Theatres at the Manship Theatre, 100 Lafayette St., Baton Rouge
FEATURING: Three-comedian show, silent auction, 50/50 raffle, light hors d’oeuvres, live music and a cash bar. The event is recommended for ages 18+.
TICKETS: $28, available at manshiptheatre.org