The Funniest People in Hawaii


(page 4 of 4)

Paul Ogata's new film has opened in Australia and Germany.

Photo: Sarah Kathleen

“He gave birth to a lot of local talent,” Ogata explains. “He was very generous and supportive. He said, ‘You gotta work clean, don’t use the ‘F’ word.’ I said, ‘Can I say fricking instead of the F word?’ Don said, ‘No, ‘cause those words know each other. You gotta behave your language, boy.’”

Now is the time I start feeling bad about all of the other funniest people in Hawaii I’m not going to be able to get to in any depth. Like all the hilarious radio personalities like Frank B. Shaner, Michael W. Perry, the late, great Hal “Aku” Lewis and Larry Price (usually unintentionally funny, but funny anyway). Great local comedians like Bo Irvine, who I have shared the stage with from time to time. And Mel Cabang, Hawaii’s Don Rickles.

And what about the funny women? Hilo Hattie and her “rascal” hula. Standup comic Cathy Tanaka. Melveen Leed. And Karen Keawehawaii.

Few people know that Keawehawaii got her first laugh on stage when an equipment malfunction made it sound like she had passed gas.

“I just stood there by the microphone, made a little look at my okole and said, ‘Good lunch.’ Everyone laughed. Before I sang a note I knew I had these people in my hand. It pivoted me from just doing music to using comedy to make people feel comfortable.”

And what of  the unlikely comedy genealogy that has offered up a seemingly endless line of really funny people?

Somewhere right now a rambunctious girl or boy is disrupting a high school class or practicing the routines of Paul Ogata or Augie T in front of a mirror using the TV remote control as a microphone. Andy Bumatai told me that, at a recent open-mic night he hosted in a small Kapolei club, he may have seen the future.

“There was this Samoan guy who had never been on stage,” he says. “And he got up and did 10 solid minutes in front of a pretty good crowd. It was the best first-time effort I’ve ever seen.”           

Charles Memminger is a national award-winning humor writer who has been known to perform standup comedy from time to time to the side-splitting befuddlement of Honolulu audiences.  

Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Subscribe to Honolulu

Honolulu Magazine December 2018
Edit ModuleShow Tags



9 Greatest Honolulu Homes

Great Homes

Stunning, historic, extraordinary.


Can the Mainland Do Poke Right? Do We Want Them To?​


Martha Cheng, author of The Poke Cookbook and former line, talks about how a New York City publisher decided Hawai‘i’s favorite pūpū was for everybody.


50 Essential Hawai‘i Books You Should Read in Your Lifetime


The most iconic, trenchant and irresistible island books, as voted by a panel of literary community luminaries.


Everything You Need to Know About Local Fruit in Hawai‘i


Fruits are part of our history and culture, a way for us to feel connected to our community.



A Local’s Guide to Buying Reef-Safe Sunscreen


Five Hawai‘i brands have created reef-safe sunscreens that are safe for your ʻohana and the ocean. 

Edit ModuleShow Tags