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Starry Night

National comics turn out - and perform - during Dean Napolitano's return to Boca Raton at the Sadman Speakeasy above Arturo's Ristorante.

by Chuck king

BOCA RATON – If Dean Napolitano didn’t know better, he might have thought he had entered the hottest comedy club in Los Angeles or New York.

One of the first people Napolitano saw upon entering the Sadman Comedy Speakeasy Lounge was national comic Flip Schultz. Soon, Avi Liberman entered.

“It was really refreshing,” Napolitano said of seeing longtime friends. “It was like a shot of B-12.”

And that was only the start.

Shortly before Napolitano took the stage another national comic, Greg Hahn, quietly slipped into the room and took a seat at a back table.

“I was just about to go up and Greg turns around to me and gives me ‘the point,’” Napolitano said. “I was like, Son of a B*tch!”

Sadman Comedy Productions added Liberman to the show lineup about a week prior. There simply to watch the show and support local comedy, Schultz needed a little persuading before taking the stage for five minutes.

Lurking in the shadows, Hahn didn’t perform in part because his presence wasn’t known until after the show.

“I wish he would have went on,” Napolitano said. “It’s cool because I don’t get to see these guys. A lot of times, because we’re all closing rooms, you don’t work in the same circles so when we see each other it’s fun to reminisce. That was a really fun part of the night.”

A South Florida native, Schultz returned to the Sunshine State to ride out the pandemic. Liberman spent much of the pandemic in Israel, but has been residing in South Florida for the past couple weeks. Hahn, who went to high school in Boca Raton, plays the Boca Black Box on May 29.

Schultz did his five minutes before feature Jay Guy set up Napolitano. New Jersey-area comic Dan Wilson, David Sadman and Los Angelos transplant Chad Ridgely also performed. Bruce Smirnoff, a veteran of both the New York and Los Angeles comedy scenes – as well as a constant performer on cruise ships – hosted the show.

While every comic had their moments, the night experienced a few hiccups. An employee inadvertently turned on a stove burner in the adjacent kitchen, heating the cardboard box sitting on top – ultimately filling the club with a smokey haze for a few minutes during Sadman’s set.

Napolitano also deftly worked around a distracting dinner check drop early into his set.

“Tonight was fun,” Napolitano said. “We had a lot of comics. Everybody was good, I thought. It went good. But it was funny, when I got up I was 10 minutes in and the check dropped. But as a comic you expect that, especially on a long show. You roll with it. I would never try to plow through my material because if they are focused on the bill – and the tip, and the percentage of the tip and they’ve got flash lights and eye readers on – I was like, OK I just need to start ripping on people.”

Now making his home in the Orlando area, Napolitano returns to Palm Beach County a couple times in the coming weeks. He’ll be at the Palm Beach Improv on Wednesday. On June 3, Napolitano headlines Jennifer Hellman’s Lettuce Laugh show at the Farmer’s Table in North Palm Beach that benefits Comics Crushing Cancer. Local South Florida comic Jackie Sanchez features for Napolitano on that show.

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