A return to the city where it all started, even though some of the places and of course the names have changed over time.
For Michigan comedian, Kevin Kramis, he will be taking a semi-trip down memory lane, as he crosses the border to Windsor for his shows this weekend (May 10 and May 11) at Haddon’s Comedy Club.
Kramis, shared how he got his start in stand-up comedy from a trip with friends to Windsor in the mid-1980s. These friends were a few years older than him and savvy enough to be able to sneak Kramis into Leo Dufour’s Komedy Korner on Riverside Drive W. in downtown Windsor, as he was underage at the time.
“I was hooked from as soon as the lights went on that night at the comedy club,” Kramis said. “After the show was over I approached Leo (Dufour) and introduced myself. Looking back, I was all excited at the time. Leo, was gracious and gave me his phone number on the back of a match pack. He told me when I was ready to go on stage to give him a call.”
For Kramis, he placed that call almost a year later in 1986 and went on stage for his first time. He also became a bar-back at the club handling all sorts of duties on a show night.
“I did a little bit of everything from getting beers for the headliners to running out in a pinch, to buy batteries for the wireless microphones,” Kramis said.
From watching the styles of the other comedians and working under Leo Dufour, Kramis credited Dufour with helping him get started in the business.
When asked to describe his own style, Kramis explains his own stage show, is an even split down the mix of things. His comedy routine ranges from a slice of life, as an average guy from the Metro Detroit area to the other half interaction with the audience with subjects that are topical and non-political.
Besides telling jokes, Kramis is a professional public announcer. He is the official voice of Wayne State Athletics, some Eastern Michigan University sports and the voice at the State Fair Grounds, at the original Michigan State Fair for the last ten years they were open.
Due to mispronunciations of his last name, he was labelled by other friends in the comedy industry, as ‘Famous Kramis’ since it rhymed and made it easier to pronounce when being introduced for his stand-up set.
Last year Kramis was contacted by the United Service Organizations to assist with “Comics on Duty Tour” for the US military troops overseas with stops in Bahrain, Djbouti and Greece.
“It was quite satisfying to go over to the Middle East and entertain the troops,” Kramis said. “It was a great way to distract the kids and let them have some fun. It was overwhelming to meet the troops and to witness how appreciative they were.”
Before he started doing stand-up comedy, Kramis was a fan of Eddie Murphy, Robin Williams and Richard Pryor. Recently, Kramis said he can’t get enough of Brian Regan’s work and holds a special place for Leo Dufour, since that is how he got his start in the business.
For aspiring comedians looking to improve at their comedic craft, Kramis encourages them to get ‘their reps’ on stage.
“Now there are comedy schools and different ways to get started in comedy,” Kramis said. “Like anything else practice makes perfect. You can take all the classes you want, but you still have to be able to make the audience laugh when the lights go on.”
Ready, to see Kevin Kramis hit the stage this weekend? He will be headlining at Haddon’s Comedy Club in Windsor, ON May 10 and 11, with $15 tickets available at the door (cash only) or online at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/haddons-comedy-club-presents-kevin-kramis-tickets-60966614786