Cranston Native to be Honored in July at The Comedy Park at the RI Comedy Hall of Fame
Al Ducharme is a comedy powerhouse deemed “very funny” by Simon Cowell and “one of my favorite comedians” by Heidi Klum on NBC’s America’s Got Talent. His story telling style is one of a kind and his hilarious, relatable characters will draw you in and leave you wanting more. In fact, one of his stage characters inspired the creators of Bill Burr’s Netflix cult hit “F is For Family” to bring Ducharme on board as a series regular playing the wildly popular character Anthony. Other TV credits include “Gotham Comedy Live”, “Comics Unleashed”, NBC’s “Today Show”, hosting “Mission Organization” on HGTV and a long list of commercials.
“My first departure from the safety of my Rhode Island nest was in the summer of 1986. I moved to The Big Apple (New York City) to further pursue a comedy and acting career. My first bout with NYC lasted 4 years before moving to Boston in 1990 and then back to New York City in 1998 to 2011. I now reside with my lovely and talented comedian wife, Bernadette Pauley on the “wrong” coast (West Coast) Los Angeles, California. We literally have traveled the globe performing stand-up comedy together and separately. Including throughout the Middle East and mainland China and Hong Kong.”
Joe Hebert, Comedian and Founder of the RI Comedy Hall of fame had this to say about the forthcoming iduction:
“Im very excited. I haven’t seen Al in years, and I’m looking forward to his homecoming. His induction is long overdue. Al has an extremely impressive resume and is a full time comedian working in LA. That alone is quite an achievement for a kid from Cranston. It’s going to by be an amazing evening. I encourage everyone, (especially you younger comics,) to attend this show and see exactly what you can achieve with a lot of hard work, and talent.”
Cranston Native, Al Ducharme returns to Rhode Island for his induction into the RI Comedy Hall of Fame at the Comedy Park, 848 Park Avenue Cranston, RI on Saturday, July 23, 2022. Performing with Al, is his wife, Bernadette Pauley and host for the event, Charlie Hall.
If you were at the Park Theater and Events Center, 848 Park Avenue, Cranston, RI, on Friday April 29, 2022, you witnessed something no comedy club in the country has ever attempted before. A comedy hall of fame for comedians who started it all in their state, city, or town.
RI Comedy Hall of Fame
The RI Comedy Hall of Fame was created by RI Comic Joe Hebert in 2011. Not having a physical location to hang portraits of those who came before him, Joe took his project to the web, (the site you’re on now,) where it’s served as a tribute to those comedians who have made significant contributions to the Ocean State.
Charlie Hall, (The Ocean State Follies, Drink and Dabble, Aging Disgracefully) was the first comedian to be inducted into the HOF at the former Catch a Rising Star at Twin River Casino.
Charlie is about as OG as you can get when it comes to RI Comedy. With friend, Frank O’Donnell, (also a RICHOF member), he did a few comedy shows at the former Periwinkles Comedy Club, (located in the Providence Arcade Building) and owner, Mike Kent, asked them to do it again, and again, and again. Kent is responsible for opening the first comedy club in the state. Many of the HOF members first took the stage in that little hole in the wall.
Other Inductions for comedians, John Perrotta, Frank O’Donnell, Doreen Collins, Ace Aceto, Tom Cotter, Bobby Braciola, Funny 4 Funds, followed, and were held at various places in the state. Ruth Buzzi’s induction was virtual. The retired comedian resides in Texas.
The Comedy Hall of Fame Promise
On November 6, 2016, Bill Simas and Mike Murray, founders of Funny4Funds.com were inducted into the Hall in front of a sold out show of 400 people at the Odeum Theater in East Greenwich, RI. At the end of the event, Simas promised he would find a permanent home for the RI Comedy Hall of Fame. On April 29, 2022, Bill Simas delivered. In fact, Simas over-delivered. With the help of Charlie Hall, he not only got us a HOF, but a Comedy Club to put it inside of inside the Park Theater and Events Center. The owners, Ed Brady and Jeff Quinlan were immediately open to the idea. They love local.
The First Show at the Comedy Park
Seven members of the RI Comedy Hall of Fame performed for a sold out show on April 29, 2022. Frank O’Donnell, Tom Cotter and Ruth Buzzi were unable to attend.
The RI Comedy Hall of Fame is Powered by Bananagrams
Visit the RI Comedy Hall of Fame
The RI Comedy Hall of Fame is open whenever the Comedy Park is. Visit TheComedyPark.com for their current schedule.
MORE Photos Coming Soon
If you have have photos you’ve taken of the RI Comedy Hall of Fame wall or at the Comedy Park, please email them to the RI Comedy Hall of Fame.
Be a Part of the First Audience at the Comedy Park.
So excited to announce the Grand Opening of the RI Comedy Hall of Fame on Friday, April 29, 2022, at 7:30PM (Doors at 6:30PM) with a comedy show performed by the members of the RI Comedy Hall of Fame. Appearing will be, Charlie Hall (who did the artwork for the Hall of Fame), Rockin’ Joe Hebert,John Perrotta, Doreen Collins, Ace Aceto, Bobby Braciola & Bill Simas.
Tickets are $25 and are available online, only.
We expect this show to sell out, so we encourage you to purchase early.
Do not miss this historic event! See you on the 29th!
Inducted into the RI Comedy Hall of Fame February 28, 2022
Ruth Buzzi, (RI’s First Lady of Comedy,) was born in Westerly, RI on July 24, 1936. She was raised just over the state line in Stonington, CT, where her dad ran a monument business.
Nothing against Connecticut, but fortunately, Ruth’s parents made it across the line in time so the Ocean State could claim her as its own. Locally, the town of Westerly has honored her with a park bench, she holds a spot in the RI Heritage Hall of Fame and now holds the highest of honors in the Rhode Island Comedy Hall of Fame.
Personally? I think it’s not enough.
How about a Ruth Buzzi Day, Rhode Island? What do you say, Governor McKee? How about you, Rep. Cicilline? Senator Reed? Sen. Whitehouse and Congressman Langevin? I’m more than willing to do whatever it takes to make that happen. I think it’s time to give this living legend a much deserved day of honor.
Laugh-In and Gladys Ormphby
My earliest memory of Ruth Buzzi was as her character Gladys Ormphby on Laugh-In. ( I called her the Bench Lady) at the time. My parents were big fans of Buzzi and Laugh-In, though they thought I was way too young to watch the show, considering the adult jokes, a bikini clad Goldie Hawn and the fact that no one knew what Dick Martin or Dan Rowan were about to say next. I was under 10 years old. My parents made the right decision. However, even they couldn’t stop me from sneaking downstairs on Laugh-In night, where I’d hide out under the dining room table, with a direct view of our RCA color set (complete with rotating antenna,) where Gladys would sit on a bench, minding her own business, while a lust-filled Arte Johnson attempted to hit on her in a public park.
Gladys however, was always on the ready to prevent Tyrone’s advances. Her weapon of choice? Her purse. She would use it to defend herself, not only when she felt threatened, but whenever someone insulted her. This is where Buzzi went in for the big laugh-and never failed to get it. Her audience knew what was coming in advance, but they cracked up anyway. Why? Buzzi knew what her fans expected and delivered it flawlessly every single time. Every major celebrity took Gladys’ bag in the head at some point during their careers. Even Dean Martin.
Speaking of which….
The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts
Gladys Ormphby Goes on a Rant with Dean Martin and Don Rickles
I’m going to go out on a limb, and if you disagree with me, that’s ok. But, of all the stars who have shared the stage with Ruth Buzzi, I believe she had the best comedy chemistry with Dean Martin. Whether she was appearing on a Dean Martin Celebrity Roast, or one of his Comedy Specials, Ruth Buzzi and Dean Martin shared a comedy presence unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Sure, their lines were written in advance, but back then, (and especially on the Dean Martin Roasts,) going off-script was always part of the fun. Buzzi is a master of comic timing, and Dean Martin? Well, he was Dean Martin.
Gladys Assaults Dan Haggerty
According to Lee Hale, the Associate Producer of the Dean Martin Roasts, Gladys’s appearance on the Roast of Dan Haggerty was her biggest roast appearance laugh. During the video, you’ll get to see for yourself what a quick witted Buzzi does when she is presented with the opportunity to go for the much larger (and completely unscripted and unrehearsed) laugh.
Welcome to the RI Comedy Hall of Fame, Ruth Buzzi
About 5 or 6 years ago, I read on Twitter that Ruth had retired to Texas. I gave up all hope of having her accept an invitation to the RI Comedy Hall of Fame. In November of 2021, John Perrotta sent a Facebook message to Ruth via her Facebook Page asking her to become a member. He received a reply from Ruth’s husband and manager, Kent Perkins. Kent and Ruth talked it over and Ruth was more than happy to take part. Due to the virus, we knew it would be impossible to get Ruth to come home, so we had a plaque made and put together a few videos from some Hall of Fame members.
John Perrotta: Owner of John Perrotta’s Comedy Factory since 1991. John was inducted into the RI Comedy Hall of Fame in October 2012.
Doreen Collins: Star of Rhode Bytes, The Ocean State Follies, The Ladies Room, and Co-Star of Aging Disgracefully. Doreen was the first female to be inducted into the RI Comedy Hall of Fame in 2015
Tom Cotter: America’s Got Talent Runner Up, The Tonight Show, Conan, Last Comic Standing. Inducted into the RI Comedy Hall of Fame in 2014.
Bobby Braciola: Sony Recording Artist: Chooch to Gooch, Everyone’s Italian on Christmas Eve. Inducted into the RI Comedy Hall of Fame in 2021.
Bill Simas: Co-Founder of Funny 4 Funds, Owner, and owner of the Comedy Park, Cranston, RI. F4F was inducted into the RI Comedy Hall of Fame in 2017.
Dana Nathanson: Senior Director of the RI Comedy Hall of Fame, welcomes Ruth Buzzi into the group.
Ruth Buzzi: February 2022, proudly displaying her RI Comedy Hall of Fame plaque.
The Park Theater is the NEW HOME of the RI Comedy Hall of Fame
(Photo Compliments of RI Monthly)
The RI Comedy Hall of Fame began as an idea I had in August of 2011.
It was one of the hottest stickiest nights I can remember.
I was watching television trying to beat the heat and saw a commercial for an upcoming awards show. That was my Eureka moment.
I’d had been doing stand up comedy for 25 years at that point and suddenly realized there were no honors, or accolades for local comedians. Hey Joe, Why not change that?
After writing down some ideas, I called Frank O’Donnell, (a long time friend and mentor,) and brought it to his attention. We spoke for twenty minutes. At the end of our chat, plans were in place for a comedy roast to take place the following year. The first inductee into the Hall? Charlie Hall, of course. That decision was a no-brainer.
I met Charlie in 1985 at the former Periwinkles Comedy Club, which was located in the Arcade Building in Downtown Providence. He was running Charlie Hall’s Talent Night on Wednesday nights. The cover charge was a dollar.
I stand by my belief, that Charlie Hall was the state’s first, and is still the best comedian in RI. No one was more deserving. Charlie would tell you that, himself.
The First RI Comedy Hall of Fame Event
Over 20 comedians and local celebs and politicians and a sold out audience of 300 showed up to pay homage to Charlie, (Creator of the Ocean State Follies, Aging Disgracefully and the author of the state song, RI-It’s for Me,) with a comedy roast in his honor. It was an amazing and highly successful event.
Other comedians followed through the years, each one having provided RI with significant and meaningful contributions to the art.
More RI Comedy Hall of Fame Inductees
John Perrotta, Frank O’Donnell, Ace Aceto, Doreen Collins, Tom Cotter, Bobby Braciola, The Funny 4 Funds Co., and though not officially announced at the time of this article, Ruth Buzzi, of Laugh In fame, who was born in Westerly RI in 1936. Ruth has graciously accepted the honor.
The Hall Grows
Dana Nathanson consented become an officer in the Hall in early 2013.
Dana, a former manager at the Comedy Connection for 20 years, brought a great deal to the table. She’s now my Senior Director and booking agent. Nathanson had been of major assistance to me during my early career, and once again has become extremely valuable to the local comedy scene.
The Home of the RI Comedy Hall of Fame
Until this week, The RI Comedy Hall of Fame had a digital home on the internet. Now, as Ed Brady and Jeff Quinlan resuscitate the historic Park Theater into an entertainment complex, unlike anything the state has seen before. As Brady said in his official press statement on February 22, 2022, “You’re going to see Hollywood magic happening right here in Rhode Island.”
Five Years ago at his company’s induction into the RI Comedy Hall of Fame, Simas made a promise in front of 400 people in East Greenwich to find a permanent home for the Hall.
Simas kept his word.
Bill was instrumental in getting the Hall of Fame into the Park Theater. Brady and Quinlan saw the merits of having the Hall in their venue, and now future RI standups will have a place to see and pay homage to those who paved the way for them.
Sure, thank me for founding the Hall of Fame, but thank Bill Simas, Ed Brady and Jeff Quinlan for giving it a home.
The RI Comedy Hall of Fame is scheduled to open on April 29, 2022.
As seen on America’s Got Talent, the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and much more! The hysterical Tom Cotter will be headlining at Savini’s Pomodoro Italian Kitchen and Bar in Woonsocket RI on Wednesday November 10th in a Special Veterans Day Eve Comedy Show!
8:30pm. $25pp. For reservations call the Comedy Factory at 401-639-7726! Don’t miss this rare local appearance by RI Comedy Hall of Famer, Tom Cotter
The $200 Comedy Course returns to Warwick, RI on September 20, 2021. If you’ve always wanted to try stand-up comedy, but not sure how to begin, the $200 Comedy Course is for you.
Rhode Island’s Own Coleen Galvin is your main instructor for your stand-up journey. Coleen is a first-class teacher, with over 30 years of experience and knows the business of stand-up comedy inside and out. She’ll teach you how to discover the type of comedian you are, the #1 formula for constructing jokes, and how to conduct yourself in front of a crowd. The founders, Rockin Joe Hebert and John Perrotta will be on hand to answer your questions and share real-life experiences to help you avoid pitfalls and unexpected circumstances. You wouldn’t drive across the country without a GPS-Don’t walk onto a comedy stage, unprepared.
Sign Up Now
The course is expected to fill quickly, so early signup is encouraged. Call John Perrotta today at (401) 639-7726.
The $200 Comedy Course takes COVID-19 seriously. We’ll be employing the latest guidelines from the RI Department of Health during your classes and graduation show. (Check back in September for any COVID-19 related updates.)
Cranston, RI native (and Sony recording artist) Bobby Braciola will be inducted into the RI Comedy Hall of Fame on Saturday, November 13, 2021. Braciola is being honored for his outstanding contributions to comedy in the Ocean State.
Braciola, responsible for such hits as Chooch to Gooch , I’m a Spaccone, and Everyone’s Italian on Christmas Eve will be the headlining performer, along with host, John Perrotta and specialty act, The Prince of Mystery.
The event will be held at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 475 Sandy Lane, Warwick, RI on 11/13/21. The event begins at 7pm (Doors open at 6pm) with limited seating.
Tickets cost $25 and can be purchased by calling John Perrotta at 401-639-7726.
All tickets must be purchased in advance. NO TICKETS WILL BE HELD OR AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE AT THE DOOR.
Don’t be a Chooch! Do not miss this once in a lifetime performance.