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Homecoming Dance

A graduate of Boca Raton High School, Mike Vecchione drew upon the city for material that walked some down memory lane during Friday's Mizner Park show.

by Chuck king
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BOCA RATON – Mike Vecchione didn’t have to do any research to weave knowledge about this city into his act.

He’d lived it.

And there were some moments during Vecchione’s Friday night performance at the Mizner Park Amphitheater that felt as much like a high school reunion as they did a comedy show.

“I’m very touched that a lot of people came out,” said Vecchione, a graduate of Boca Raton High School. “It’s very sweet.”

Vecchione spent much of the hour before the show hugging audience members and catching up with friends. He ducked away with one buddy to smoke a cigar. Vechionne’s mother, Gilda, settled in to see her son perform live for the first time in half a decade.

Now a New York resident and a veteran of numerous Tonight Show and other late night talk show appearances, Vecchione launched the show with several Boca-centric remarks, highlighted by one that everyone who came of age in Boca Raton understood and appreciated – underage drinking at Dirty Moe’s.

Surrounded by what he termed “the attractives” Vecchione poked a little fun at graduates of rival local high school Spanish River, referenced the oddly placed Ruby Tuesday’s restaurant in ritzy Mizner Park, and noted that the amphitheater itself looked so nice that he felt like he was performing at a charter school.

Headlining the third and final 2021 show of the Comedy on the Green series, Vecchione kept the audience laughing for nearly an hour, but most of the time he wasn’t certain his jokes were landing.

With the closest audience members seated some 15-feet away from the stage, and with no roof to hold in the sound, Vecchione couldn’t hear the 300-or-so in attendance enjoying the show.

Complicating matters a little more, Mizner’s ambient sound also posed a challenge. Late in the show the sounds from a rock band performance originating somewhere within Mizner crept into the amphitheater, wrestling with the soft-spoken Vecchione’s routine.

He made the most of the distraction.

“The band is really kickin’,” Vecchione observed from the stage.

While the lack of immediate audience feedback admittedly threw Vecchione a couple times, the audience didn’t seem to mind. Seated in beach chairs, on blankets and on folding chairs, the crowd enjoyed a night of comedy on a clear, breezy, mid-70s South Florida night.

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“What comedy clubs can’t bring to you, that’s what we’re tying to bring in Boca,” said Dave Siegel, event co-producer and the night’s feature comic. “It’s a beautiful venue, outside under the stars. For people to just be able to come here for a relaxing evening, it’s a different experience.”

Despite the inherent challenges that accompany performing stand-up comedy outdoors, Vecchione enjoyed the homecoming.

“Hopefully I can come back and do more,” he said.

Local South Florida comic Jennifer Hellman served as the night’s host.

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