Arts Chris James Fabio Rabin Gary Wolf New San Diego World Comedy Jam Steven Garza Zoltan Kaszas

Wolf in Do-Gooder’s Clothing Plots International Comedy Festival for San Diego

Comedians (from left) set for San Diego World Comedy Jam are Steven Garza, Fábio Rabin, Chris James and Zoltan Kaszas.
Share This Article:Comedians set for San Diego World Comedy Jam are (from left) Steven Garza, Fabio Rabin, Chris James and Zoltan Kaszas.

A Brazilian Jew, a San Diego substitute instructor and a black British ex-model stroll right into a bar.

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What do you get?

If drinks are served on the WorldBeat Cultural Middle in Balboa Park, it’s the inaugural San Diego World Comedy Jam.

Set for Oct. 12-14, the worldwide yuckfest (“Bringing the world together through comedy”) is the brainchild of Gary Wolf, a stand-up comedian himself who belongs to be in our opening joke — as a South African who got here to San Diego in 2008 and by no means left.

Gary Wolf, a San Diegan via South Africa, will perform at his debut World Comedy Jam in October.Gary Wolf, a San Diegan by way of South Africa, will carry out at his debut World Comedy Jam in October. Photograph by way of Gary WolfWolf recruited fellow Jew Fábio Rabin (the Brazilian), former San Diego Comic of the Yr Steven Garza (the instructor), Chris James (the UK native) and Hungarian-born Zoltan Kaszas, a winner of San Diego’s Funniest Individual Contest.

The standard objective is “establishing the San Diego World Comedy Jam at a comedic level on par with such giants as The Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the Montreal International Comedy Festival and the Melbourne International Comedy Festival,” says Wolf, CEO of Gary Wolf Leisure LLC.

“The truth is, San Diego has everything necessary to become the fulcrum of the international comedy circuit,” he says. “San Diego has great weather, beautiful beaches, an international airport and, of course, a highly efficient border crossing.”

He jests (concerning the border crossing).

However Wolf says he’s “dumbfounded” america has no main worldwide comedy pageant (though regional occasions are widespread.)

“The time has come for the greatest and most socially diverse country in the world to have the greatest and most diverse comedy festival in the world,” he stated in a press release.

So is Gary crying Wolf? Who he?

Born 45 years in the past in Johannesburg, South Africa, Wolf graduated from the College of the Witwatersrand, with a bachelor of commerce diploma (with majors in accounting, advertising and knowledge techniques).

He first got here to America in 1995 as a vacationer.

For six months, he explored North America, starting with a two-month stint in Mexico then as much as California, Arizona, Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York State, Maryland, D.C., Connecticut, Vermont after which Canada.

“It gave me a deeper understanding of American subcultures and better understanding of why people choose not travel by Greyhound bus,” Wolf stated in a current interview.

The College City Middle resident says he’d been doing comedy in South Africa for 10 years and felt he had hit a ceiling there, “so coming to the States was the next logical step. After leaving South Africa, I traveled [to] Southeast Asia and China for a few months and then arrived in July 2008.”

In July 2008, he got here to San Diego for a household wedding ceremony and had an opportunity to remain.

“San Diego definitely was the best city weather-wise and it has a large South African community,” he says.

His comedy roots?

Whereas dwelling in Israel, Wolf taught English at a Berlitz school — however says he discovered the curriculum so boring that he determined to infuse the teachings with humor.

“I got fired,” he says. “So I decided to just to the real thing. I started doing comedy professionally in Johannesburg and have done tours in South Africa and the UK. I have also done some shows in L.A.”

He produced two comedy exhibits in San Diego: “No … I’m not Australian” in 2013 and “Surf and Turf — Best of San Diego Comedy” in 2017.

Wolf is single with no youngsters, however his uncle has been in the world for 30 years and his mom for 12.

“I also have cousins here, which means we should have a minimum of at least 10 ticket sales,” he says. “I don’t have any [pets], but I do like to visit the San Diego Wild animal retirement home (by South African standards).”

Wolf was interviewed by way of e-mail earlier this month.

Occasions of San Diego: Do you belong to an area temple?  

Gary Wolf: I belong to the Jewish Chabad synagogue downtown. However to be clear, I’m solely in it for the meals. Critically although, I’ve all the time had a secular religious orientation, and three particular experiences formed my view of the neutrality of faith. 1) I lived in Israel for a yr, 2) I taught English at an Islamic faculty in Indonesia and three) I labored as a volunteer driver for the Christian group Meals on Wheels in Johannesburg.

I consider our lack of connection and separation is what causes worry and suspicion. The extra we will join and study each other’s cultures and backgrounds, the extra the world will transfer to a state of concord.

How did you get the thought for SDWCJ? Who helps you on the venture?

Journey and leisure are my passions. So I’m combining the 2 with this venture. I consider this nation is suffocating from nationalism and parochialism and will use a wholesome dose of ongoing publicity to world cultures by means of comedy.  I’ve a assist from an in depth member of the family right here in San Diego who has enterprise and advertising expertise and supplies me with logistical and planning help.

Why did you decide WorldBeat Middle for the venue?

We’ve got the identical social objectives. Their essential agenda is to create unity inside variety. We search to do the identical by elevating cultural consciousness by means of the medium of comedic arts.
What number of comedians anticipated at WCJ? 5 in the event you determine I’m humorous. In any other case, simply 4.

We reviewed quite a few feminine comedians. Truthfully, these whose materials we actually appreciated have been both too pricey to deliver over or weren’t obtainable throughout our occasion dates.  Having a balanced gender ratio is a serious precedence for subsequent yr’s Jam.

We don’t have any Israeli comedians this yr, however we now have two in thoughts for subsequent yr. We might love suggestions for subsequent yr.  Actually, we encourage anybody with suggestions to submit them on our Fb web page e mail information@sdworldcomedyjam.com, or tweet them to @san_comedy.

Any risk of touchdown one of many America’s Received Expertise comedians, corresponding to Oceanside’s Vicki Barbolak?

I did catch considered one of Vicki’s exhibits in Hillcrest; she was hilarious. Subsequent yr we shall be having an area stage and I might like to have her on the invoice.


Most of your marketed comedians look like millennials. Any older or youthful comedians booked?

We did a variety of analysis on this.  In line with the newest U.S. Census knowledge, San Diego has the third-largest focus of millennials of any main inhabitants middle in america behind Windfall, Connecticut, and Austin, Texas. Whenever you add ages 32-36, we now have a gaggle representing over over 40 % of the county’s inhabitants. For a profitable kickoff occasion we felt it was necessary to attraction to them at the start. As we develop, it’s clear we might want to broaden our array of artists.

Besides for Fábio, your comedians look like the “clean” type? Will you’ve gotten different R-rated comedians — those that use “bad” language?

I favor to work with clear comedians. I really feel that when selling cultural tolerance, obscenity and profanity can result in contradictions in our objectives. That being stated, we all know we’ve got to be versatile as we develop.


Have you ever had any contact with South African Trevor Noah? Did you see his Del Mar present in June 2017? 

Sure. I did see his present final yr, and he was sensible. I had talks together with his agent, however he’s out of our present finances. Ought to we expertise the expansion anticipate, we consider we’ll appeal to comedians of his stature.

How do you fee the standard of KAABOO Del Mar comedians? Any of these coming to your pageant?

KAABOO places on an excellent occasion and have a strong mannequin for a pageant environment. They’ve some massive high quality names however just one out of their 14 comedians [was] overseas, that being Craig Ferguson. Nevertheless, they’re clearly concentrating on a extra prosperous and older demographic. Furthermore, whereas there’s a comedy element, KAABOO is understood extra for a music pageant.


Your pageant comes at peak of marketing campaign season. How may this have an effect on the comedy and the viewers numbers?

I don’t see any situation with this. It might encourage some social aid. And if it helps convey some consciousness to social tolerance amongst potential voters, that’s definitely one thing we might be completely satisfied about.

How did you select the dates of the pageant?

With main worldwide comedy festivals already established in the Spring and Summer time (Montreal, Edinburgh, Melbourne), it appeared like this might be the right ending level of an annual comedic circuit.

Have you ever been to different worldwide comedy festivals — as a spectator or participant?

Sure. In South Africa, we had a big Smirnoff Comedy Festival, which had South African, Australian, British and American comedians.

Have you ever been to different American comedy festivals? Which of them?

I’ve not. And there definitely isn’t any type of International Comedy Festival in america to rival these in Canada, Scotland and Australia. So hopefully, we’ll turn out to be the hub for that right here in the U.S.



You’ve got an indiegogo website. How are you utilizing crowd-funding for the pageant?

We began there, however we discovered some personal financing so haven’t been pushing that strategy.

What’s your technique for advertising the pageant?

Social media, press, TV, radio, fliers and phrase of mouth. We’re constructing a social media following on Fb, Instagram and Twitter and dealing with our artists to leverage their followers as nicely.

Some other well-known San Diego-based comedians in your pageant?

Zoltan Kaszas is our headliner. He has twice been voted San Diego’s funniest comic of the yr. He additionally has a podcast (This Week in Zoltan) and a robust native following.

How will WorldBeat Middle be arrange? One comedian at a time, or a number of areas? How lengthy are their units? Will they seem greater than as soon as?

For this yr, we’ll simply have one conventional format present, repeated 4 occasions. Every present options all of the comedians and lasts two hours.

Will the $35 ticket pay for all three days? Or is it $35 per day?

The worth is $35 per present. If individuals like the fabric a lot they need to see it once more, they’re welcome to buy tickets for one other present.  Present occasions are Friday, Oct. 12, from eight to 10 p.m., two exhibits on Saturday, Oct. 13, from 6 to eight p.m., and from 9 to 11 p.m. Then our final present on Sunday, Oct. 14 from 5 to 7 p.m. We may also have meals and drinks, together with a DJ previous to all exhibits.



Will pageant be live-streamed?  Have you ever bought TV or different broadcast rights? (Will any acts be taped for YouTube or Vimeo, and so on.?)

We’ve had talks with a manufacturing firm who works with Netflix however have determined to see how this yr goes earlier than taping or streaming the entire present. The Saturday 9 to 11 p.m. present might be filmed however solely for our promotional video subsequent yr.

Is Metropolis of San Diego serving to with promotion, or any native company or chamber?

The San Diego Tourism Authority is giving us some advertising help, which we very a lot recognize. We’re exploring different avenues of native help as properly.

Will you carry out? In that case, what sorts of jokes will you inform?

Sure, I will probably be internet hosting all of the exhibits. A mixture of latest and established materials.

Will any comedians do their acts in languages aside from English?

All performances will probably be given in English.

What is going to decide whether or not you have got a second annual SDWCJ?

If we’ve got a constructive response and favorable suggestions, we’ll produce a much bigger occasion with extra comedians subsequent yr. In fact, a lot of our plans rely upon our means to generate enough curiosity inside the enterprise capital group. We’re engaged on these plans already.


Anything readers ought to know?

We consider that by way of comedy, the San Diego World Comedy Jam will help restore social tolerance, understanding and respect by humorizing the absurdity of widespread stereotypes and cultural distortions.

Wolf in Do-Gooder’s Clothing Plots International Comedy Festival for San Diego was final modified: September 18th, 2018 by Ken Stone

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