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Where There’s Smoke…

Wednesday's second annual Higher Learning Festival at the Boca Black Box celebrates 420 with laughter.

by Chuck king

BOCA RATON – High times are here again.

As fans of both marijuana and calendars almost certainly already know, Wednesday is April 20. The date, written numerically, is 4/20.

In what is increasingly common vernacular, 420 is code for smoking weed. While some say the term originates from a police code for person’s smoking pot, it appears the actual origin may stem from a group of friends from California who, in the early 1970’s would meet after high school at 4:20 p.m. to smoke. It took a while, but the term is now recognized universally. This appears to be proof that anyone can create their own legacy.

Comics – and fans of comedy – have been known to enjoy 420 sessions. On Wednesday, 420 and comedy meet at the Boca Black Box for the Higher Learning Festival.

In its second year, the festival offers two shows, one starting at 7 p.m., the second at 9 p.m. Both feature some of South Florida’s top local comics.

The 7 p.m. show features Mariza Brussolo, Lee Beagleman, Trish, Peggy Ching and Ramon Garcia. It’s hosted by Mike Cintron. The second show begins at 9 p.m. and is hosted by Dane. Drew Illa, Steve Lamm, Ching and Giovani Neal are scheduled to perform that show.

There will be food trucks, prizes, educational material and plenty of smoke in the air. For a large portion of the population, this will be a night they will try to remember.


Nate Bargatze – Broward Center for the Performing Arts, Fort Lauderdale
Fresh off the 2021 release of his highly anticipated second Netflix special, The Greatest Average American, now streaming worldwide on Netflix, Nate Bargatze’s The Raincheck Tour promises all new material. Hailing from Old Hickory, Tennessee, Bargatze is both clean and relatable, as evidenced by his 10 appearances on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.” Ticket prices for the 7 p.m. show begin at $39.75.

Josh Blue – Palm Beach Improv, West Palm Beach
A winner on “Last Comic Standing” and a third place finisher on “America’s Got Talent,” Josh Blue is the road with his As NOT Seen on TV Tour. In the words of the great Howie Mandel, “This is the year of Josh Blue.” After his groundbreaking win on Last Comic Standing in 2006, Josh Blue has risen through the ranks to become a well-established headliner at venues throughout the world. He’ll perform one show on Thursday, and two apiece on Friday and Saturday. Ticket prices are $25.

Mrs. Saigon and Friends – Eat District, Boca Raton
Eat District is usually the site of open mics, but on this night it will be a showcase. Show co-producer Mai LG will headline. Shoshanna Lieberman, Eric Siegel, Diva Placido and Charly Esturiho are also scheduled to perform, with Mariza Brussolo serving as host. The 6 p.m. start time fits nicely for comedy fans who either don’t want to stay out late, or who want to start their Saturday night with some laughs.

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