Waves of Laughter: A History of Stand Up Comedy in RI

Waves of Laughter

Waves of Laughter us coming to a screen near you

East Providence comedian, writer, and filmmaker, Dan O’Brien, (along with Jesse Dufault and Tim Lebonte) are currently editing their documentary covering the history of stand-up comedy in Rhode Island.

The RI Comedy Hall of Fame is excited (and proud) to participate in this project with its current (and future) inductees.

To be perfectly honest, we don’t know what’s coming, but if this first cousin to the Farrelly Brothers is involved, don’t expect anything but the best.

Check out the website for more


Danny Smith Inducted into the RI Comedy Hall of Fame

Danny Smith

The Family Guy Writer/Executive Producer’s Induction was Top Secret


The Park Theatre and Event Center in Cranston hosted a show of epic proportions on Saturday, February 11, 2023.

It was a celebration of the 50th anniversary of Steve Smith & The Nakeds, recent inductees to the Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame. Opening the show were Newport’s own The Cowsills and Smith’s younger brother Danny, executive producer of Fox’s Family Guy.

Part of the show was the induction of Danny Smith to the Rhode Island Comedy Hall of Fame for his Outstanding Contributions to Comedy in the Ocean State following his hour-long trip down comedy lane.

The induction was a stealth operation, arranged by SteveEd Brady, owner of the Park Theatre and Event Center, and Joe Hebert, founder of the RI Comedy Hall of Fame. “Steve wanted Danny’s induction to be a complete surprise,” said Hebert. “He was worried about it getting out to the media and spoiling it.”

Hebert called Hall of Fame member, Charlie Hall. He got to work, delivering an amazing portrait of Danny to add to the Hall of Fame Wall next door to the theatre at the Comedy Park. Hall does all the caricatures – including his own.

I asked RICHOF members, Frank O’Donnell (the body model for Family Guy’s Peter Griffin – still in litigation), Ace Aceto, and Charlie Hall to co-present the event,” said Hebert.

Danny was pleased with his induction, but after seeing his portrait quipped, “I’ve got to lose some weight.”

** ** **

You can visit the RI Comedy Hall of Fame, located in the Comedy Park, at the Historic Park Theatre and Event Center, 848 Park Avenue, Cranston, RI.

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Poppy Champlin Tickets are ON SALE Now

Poppy Champlin


Poppy Champlin will be inducted into the RI Comedy Hall of Fame in May

Poppy Champlin tickets for her upcoming RI Comedy Hall of Fame Induction are NOW ON SALE! 

Tickets are $25 and can be purchased by calling John Perrotta at (401) 639-7726 for the May 20, 2023 event at The Comedy Park, 848 Park Ave., Cranston. RI at 7:30pm. (Visa and Mastercard accepted)

Tickets are Limited

There are a limited number of tickets for sale and we expect them to sell out quickly. To avoid disappointment, we encourage you to purchase early.


Poppy Champlin to be Inducted Into the RI Comedy Hall of Fame

Poppy Champlin


It gives me great pleasure to announce that RI’s reigning Queen of South County comedy, will be inducted into the RI Comedy Hall of Fame in 2023

“The first time I saw Poppy Champlin perform was in 1980,” said Joe Hebert, founder, and roastmaster of the RI Comedy Hall of Fame. ” I was 17 years old and was able to sneak into a club in Newport to see a comedy show. So there’s this woman on the show doing this never-ending comedy bit about fish. My first thought was why?  But the material was absolutely hysterical and made me an instant Poppy fan. I don’t know if she’s still doing her fish jokes, but I’m going to request it at her induction. (Be warned, Poppy!)

Entering the stand-up comedy field, five years later, I had the opportunity to work with Poppy numerous times at clubs and parties all over the state. She was not only funny on stage she was a pleasure to work with. I remember her as being one of the nicest people ever.

Fast forward 100 years, I receive a call from Poppy, who asked me to headline her show at the Pump House in Kingston. It had been forever since I’d seen her perform. Not only did she do some hilarious stand-up, but she sang AND danced in her act. The sold-out audience loved her. And so did I. It was that evening I asked her to take her rightful place in the RI Comedy Hall of Fame.  She graciously accepted. Poppy Champlin will be the third woman inducted into the Hall of Fame, along with Rhode Islanders, Ruth Buzzi, and Doreen Collins. Poppy Champlin loves what she does, and it shows.”


Poppy Champlin

Poppy’s Bio

Poppy Champlin is a graduate of the University of Rhode Island with a BFA in Theatre. She went on to the Famed Chicago Second City Training Center in 1988 and from there, Tinsel Town was the obvious next stop on her list. Champlin worked her craft with tenacity and has deep comedic chops.  She has performed for troops in both Japan and Korea, has opened for such great comedians as Bill Maher, Ray Ramano, Denis Leary, Bill Hicks, Rosie O’Donnell, and many more.  Her club appearances range from Gotham and The Comedy Cellar in NYC to The Improv, The Comedy Store, and The Laugh Factory in Los Angeles, and too many to list in between. 

Poppy was crowned America’s Funniest Real Woman on The Joan Rivers Show and then featured on Entertainment Tonight.  Her television appearances include; Showtime, LOGO, Comics UnleashedComedy Central, VH-1, HBO and the ultimate, Oprah Winfrey.  Poppy has without a doubt broken ahead of the pack.

In Los Angeles, she was a staff writer for Fox’s Show Me The Funny and got into the Writers Guild of America.

She is also the producer of her own tour called, The Queer Qomedy Queens, now in its thirteenth year.

Poppy’s observational style of humor tackles tough subjects with ease.  In this comedian’s hands, we can laugh at life’s most formidable perils… and laughter that ravages fear is the best kind of all. Now, residing in Rhode Island, she runs a room in Kingston, RI. at the Pumphouse as well as teaching a 6-week class in stand-up and touring the country with her comedy show.

“Poppy is a freakin’ ball of comedic thunder,” says one fan.

The Induction of Poppy Champlin

Poppy’s induction into the RI Comedy Hall of Fame will take place on Saturday, May 20, 2023, at the Comedy Park, (located inside the Historic Park Theatre), Cranston,  at 7pm. (Doors at 6pm)  Tickets are $25 and ARE ON SALE NOW! Please call 401-639-7726 for tickets and info.  (Visa and Mastercard accepted)

Hosting the event will be RI’s own, Charlie Hall, with special appearances by Doreen Collins and John Perrotta.

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Al Ducharme to be Inducted into the RI Comedy Hall of Fame

Al Ducharme


Al Ducharme
Al Ducharme to be inducted into the RI Comedy Hall of Fame in July

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.

Says Al:

“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.

Show starts at 7pm.

Tickets: $20.00 $25.00 $30.00

Buy Tix Here



The RI Comedy Hall of Fame has Opened

Charlie Hall-RICHOF
RI Comedy Hall of Fame Wall
The RI Comedy Hall of Fame is now on display. (Artwork by Charlie Hall)

The Hall of Fame and Comedy Park are now Open

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.

The Inductions

RI Comedy Hall of Fame Roast
Charlie Hall, the first inductee into the RI Comedy Hall of Fame gets roasted on March 31, 2012

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

bill simas and mike murray-F4F
The RI Comedy Hall of Fame Roast of Bill Simas and Mike Murray (Photo courtesy of RhodyBeat.com)

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.

Doreen Collins-RI Comedy Hall of Fame
Doreen Collins, the first woman to be inducted into the RI Comedy Hall of Fame poses outside the Comedy Park.

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.

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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.

The RI Comedy Hall of Fame to Open at the Park Theater


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!

Purchase Online


Ruth Buzzi: Rhode Island’s First Lady of Comedy

Ruth Buzzi

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.

The Handbag

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 2022

Ruth Buzzi:  February 2022, proudly displaying her RI Comedy Hall of Fame plaque.

Thank you, Ruth!