HomeCommunity NewsDavid Laurell: ‘Mint on Card’ Comedy Celebrates Milestone

David Laurell: ‘Mint on Card’ Comedy Celebrates Milestone

 While actors, dancers and most musicians are used to audiences that are well-mannered and appreciative of their performances, stand-up comedians frequently have to deal with what the late Rodney Dangerfield used to refer to as “a tough crowd.”

Jay Leno has said he also dealt with his share of difficult audiences.

“When I started out, I worked this place in Orlando where you had to do your act from behind chicken wire because people were known to throw bottles at the comedians,” Leno once recalled during an interview with the Burbank Leader.

With inebriated hecklers and bottle-throwers being the bane of what most comedians contend with, this past week saw a group of stand-up pros deftly handle a really rough room in Burbank. With only their microphone between them, the comics were surrounded by all manner of creatures of the night and monstrous mayhem-makers, including an ancient cult of warriors known as the Sith Order, and a blood-thirsty Dilophosaurus, a carnivorous dinosaur of the early Jurassic period.

While this may be a recurring nightmare that some comics wake from in a cold sweat, for those who performed, it was just another second Friday of the month as the “Mint on Card” comedy night took place at Blast From the Past on West Magnolia Boulevard.

In fairness, it wasn’t just another second Friday of the month. It was an evening that marked a milestone of the passing of eight years since the “Mint on Card” comedy shows started taking place at a venue better known as the best place in Burbank to find vintage television and movie collectibles, memorabilia, action figures, comic books and ephemera.

Owned by Larry and Kathy Ross, Blast From the Past has played host to monthly comedy nights since 2016. Co-produced by actor and comedian Jeff May and his partner Lisa Hardin, May said doing the shows at the Ross’ venue was a perfect confluence.

“Larry and Kathy are amazing people who are big comedy fans,” said May. “I developed a friendship with them because of my love for toys and all things nerdy, and when they moved into their new location in Burbank — this spacious building — it was just as we were looking to start the ‘Mint on Card’ comedy shows.”

As for the moniker the comedians perform under, May, a self-proclaimed nerd who is a retired boxer and teacher originally from Massachusetts who now works as a professional comedian, podcaster, performer and panel host at pop culture conventions, said that “Mint on Card” is sort of an esoteric bat-signal to his fellow toy collectors and nerds.

“The term ‘mint on card’ is used by toy collectors and dealers to denote items that are in perfect condition and remain sealed in their original packaging, box or blister card,” May explained. “It means that something is in mint condition — the best version one can get. For your average comedy fan, it’s just a funny name, but for those who are collectors, they get it. It just seemed very synergistic between the location, the quality of the shows, and my own nerdy interests.”

May said his goal was not just to provide audiences with a great evening of comedy, but to also do everything to make the comedians feel good about doing the gigs.

“Our shows are free, open to the public, and accessible to the hard of hearing,” said May. “We do ask those who come to make a donation and then we divide whatever money we make equally among the performers. That has really worked out well, so much so that we’ve now gotten to the point where the free shows we put on in a toy store often pay a comedian more than what they make at comedy clubs.”

Over the past eight years, “Mint on Card” has featured many of the same comedians that perform at Los Angeles’ best-known comedy venues.

“We’ve had ‘America’s Got Talent’ finalists, ‘Saturday Night Live’ cast members and writers, and well-known comics who have done specials on every streaming platform you can imagine,” said May.

During last week’s anniversary show, eight comedians joined May to take up the mike and deliver their humorous takes on subjects such as dating, family life, adoption, going through gender-transitioning during the pandemic, navigating one’s way through Downtown Los Angeles and collecting pop culture items.

Leslie Liao offered her humorous take on dating, marriage and having kids from a Chinese American’s perspective.

The show, which featured comedians with serious comedy chops such as writing for “The Simpsons” and “Beavis and Butthead,” included Dana Gould, Liz Blanc, Herman Wrice, Fifi Dosch, Leslie Liao, Alex Stone, Andy Peters and James Adomian.

“I have a room in my house filled with this kind of stuff,” said Gould as he motioned to the eclectic items that surround him. “Someday, when I’m gone, it will all go to my children. It will give them something to toss into the garbage.”

Blanc, who has a day job as a high school English teacher in which she deals with students who “will respect your pronouns but not you as a person,” was hilarious in her take on what it is like being a teacher in 2024.

“I know a lot of teachers, but not one who wants to be issued a gun,” said Blanc. “Because you just know if we get a school-issued Glock, it will be just like with the markers and pencils, we’ll have to buy our own bullets.”

She also told the assemblage that she finds it incredible that there are misguided people who think today’s teachers are trying to encourage kids to change their sex.

“Really?” said Blanc. “I can’t even get them to change their grammatical errors.”

Just prior to last week’s show, May said that while he is the host and booker of “Mint on Card,” there is no way he could put on these productions without Hardin.

“She does all of the hard work behind the scenes,” said May. “She’s the power and I’m the glory.”

Blast From the Past owners Larry and Kathy Ross have provided the “stage” for free comedy shows for eight years.

Committed to never charging for their shows, May also said he guarantees the quality of every show he and Hardin produce.

“I book the type of show I would personally want to see,” said May. “My responsibility is to my audience, and because I take that seriously, we’ve made ‘Mint on Card’ a nice little show for our neighborhood.”

Blast From the Past is located at 3117 W. Magnolia Blvd. in Burbank. For more information and upcoming show dates, follow Mint on Card Comedy on Facebook or visit blastfromthepast.tv.com.

DAVID LAURELL may be reached by email at dlaurell@aol.com or (818) 563-1007.

Dana Gould, who writes for “The Simpsons,” was one of the comedians who performed at the eighth anniversary of “Mint on Card.”
Comedian Liz Blanc provided insights on teaching Generation Z.
State Sen. Anthony Portantino is a regular at the monthly “Mint on Card” comedy shows.
Herman Wrice provided a comical look at navigating Downton Los Angeles.
Fifi Dosch’s comedy is both autobiographical and hilarious.
At “Mint on Card” there are no hecklers, but performers do need to watch out for the Dilophosaurus.

First published in the January 20 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

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