FAIRFIELD — Comic Rocky LaPorte isn’t crazy about competition, but he’s happy to be among the top eight comics on NBC’s “Last Comic Standing.”
The field was narrowed from 100 hopefuls.
Even if he doesn’t take the top spot, the Chicago resident can call himself a winner: About 5 million people watch the show each week.
“I’m getting corporate gigs and new fans,” LaPorte said. “It’s a great career boost.”
LaPorte, a former truck driver and dock worker, started doing comedy about 25 years ago. The comic, who has worked with Drew Carey and Tim Allen, stops by the Empress Theatre next week. He’s been there before and is excited to take the stage again at the historic venue.
“I have a nice steady fan base in the area,” LaPorte said.
So steady that some of his fans bring along family and friends. Sometimes, cannoli, too, he said in jest.
He hopes to draw in some new fans, too, because of his appearances on “Last Comic Standing.”
LaPorte can’t share much about the TV show. Weekly eliminations were to begin Thursday and a couple of episodes have already been taped.
The father of four and grandfather of 10 keeps his comedy clean. He feels fewer comics are going that route today.
“A lot of the new guys are kind of dirty,” he said.
Success in the business favors the clean comic, LaPorte said. For every dirty comedian, he said one can easily find 50 clean comics that made it.
His advice to up-and-coming comics is to stay clean.
“It gets you out of the clubs,” he said, and into nice theaters like the Empress. It also makes it easier to get on TV, which leads to gigs on cruise ships and corporate events.
LaPorte gets his chuckles from Greg Hahn, a former buyer for Lockheed-turned comic.
“He’s out of his mind,” LaPorte said. “He’s really funny.”
Paul D’Angelo, Kathleen Madigan, Bill Cosby and Louie Anderson are other favorites.
A gift from his children accompanies him on the road. It’s a small Buddha statue he puts on his night stand.
His children and their friends enjoy watching him on “Last Comic Standing.”
“They’re on the ride with me,” LaPorte said. “They get as excited as I do. It’s never everyone being on the train.”
While LaPorte grew up making people laugh, and as a result, getting in trouble at school, he was 29 when he realized comedy could be a career.
Reach Amy Maginnis-Honey at 427-6957 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/amaginnisdr.