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Among Friends

Dan Wilson left New Jersey after more than three decades, finding in Boca Raton a group of kindred performers with similar stories.

by Chuck king
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BOCA RATON – New Jersey-based comic Dan Wilson didn’t expect to find a thriving comedy scene when he moved to Boca Raton a few months ago.

“I’m surprised how many guys are down in Florida, now,” Wilson said.“To come down here and start fresh, I’m glad there are some people I know.”

Wilson spent three decades living in the Toms River area of New Jersey, mining the New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania comedy scenes.

When the COVID-19 pandemic removed his ability to perform, Wilson elected to take seriously his wife’s request to escape the cold and move to Florida.

“If this had not happened, we’d never have been able to move,” Wilson said of the pandemic.

The unexpected sight of familiar faces eased the transition.

“It’s much more comfortable,” Wilson said.

Wilson performed for the first time an more than a half-year on Wednesday as one of five – Five! – nationally known touring comics on the Sadman Speakeasy IV show above Arturo’s Ristorante in his new hometown.

The other four – Don Gavin, Jimmy Shubert, Flip Schultz and Bruce Smirnoff – all recently relocated, too.

Another northeast transplant, Richie Minervini, invited Wilson as a guest to see the previous Sadman Speakeasy show.

David Sadman promptly booked Wilson on Wednesday’s show.

“I think it’s a fabulous show,” Wilson said. “I’m amazed at how many really good guys are here – especially on a Wednesday night. Any one of those guys could be the whole show.”

Wilson told the audience he felt a little rusty after being off the stage for so long, but no one seemed to notice.

“Just watching what I saw in this set, he knows his character; he knows his style, he knows his rhythm, he knows his material,” Schultz said. “He was doing great out there.”

Nadeem Awad and Sadman served as feature comics on Wednesday. Smirnoff volunteered to host.

“This crowd got a great f*cking show tonight,” Schultz said. “I hope they are aware of the heavy hitters that were on the show. I’m thrilled to be part of this night.”

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