Annual comedy festival brings in trio of funny men

By TAMMY MALGESINI

Community Editor

Over the years, nearly 100 comedians have appeared in Hermiston during the annual Melonville Comedy Festival.

“The comics we bring in are some of the top performers in stand-up comedy,” said Warren Smith, the show’s producer.

This year’s event features Greg Hahn as the headliner. Also set to tickle people’s funny bones is Drew Barth, who is making his second appearance on the Melonville stage. And, rounding out the trio of funny men is Travis Nelson, who also will serve as the show’s emcee.

The Melonville Comedy Festival is Saturday, Jan. 30, with the doors opening at 7 p.m. and the laughs starting at 8 p.m. at the Hermiston Conference Center, 415 S. Highway 395. Tickets for the 21-and-over event are $35 each. They are available at the conference center, www.melonvillecomedyfestival.com or by searching Facebook for “Melonville Comedy Festival.”

Hahn and Barth, who have paid their dues in comedy clubs, are now primarily corporate comics, performing for events put together by Fortune 500 companies to entertain their executives, stockholders, clients and employees, Smith said. They perform a “clean” and funny show, he added.

“We have been after Greg (Hahn) for several years, he stays booked up on the corporate circuits,” Smith said.

Hahn, a favorite on the Bob and Tom Radio Show and Mornings on 97 Rock, has appeared on Late Night with Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central and most of the major networks and then some.

After some time in the corporate world, Hahn decided to take work less seriously, pursuing a career in comedy. He landed a gig as the emcee for a theme park show. Shortly thereafter, he was a stunt man in the Wild Wild Wild West Stunt Show at Universal Studios, according to his website’s biography.

“For $20 an hour I’d run out, fall down a few times, then get whacked in the head with a stick — dream job!”

Heading to New York City, Hahn gained more exposure and success before landing in Los Angeles where he currently resides.

Born and raised in Seattle, Barth headed to Los Angeles after making the finals in the Seattle International Comedy Competition. Performing in the top clubs in Los Angeles, Barth later returned to his roots in the Emerald City, where he continues his craft as a comedian, actor and voice-over artist.

Hailing from Hoquiam, Washington, Nelson now resides in Seattle. Described as “cynically sarcastic and uncommonly sincere,” Nelson is an up-and-coming comic who has toured across the United States and Canada.

Producing shows as far back as high school and college, Smith cut his teeth arranging for national acts at the Umatilla County Fair in the late 1980s. He also worked on entertainment for the Umatilla Speedway, as well as outside promotions for KOHU.

The comedy festival started out in 1994 as a fundraiser for the fair. When the fair board discontinued the event, Smith took it on and has continued bringing top comedians to town.

“I guess I’m a junkie without rehab,” Smith said. “My biggest thrill is to stand in a line at Safeway and hear people that I do not know visit with excitement about going to a show that I am working on.”

For more information, contact Smith at For more information, contact Smith at 541-561-7488 or melonvillecomedyfestival@gmail.com.

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