Frazier is finding her niche in comedy rather than art

March 11, 1994|By Steve McKerrow | Steve McKerrow,Sun Staff Writer

Lani Frazier says she got into comedy because "I got sick of welding."

Uh, come again? Is that an obscure punch line?

Just the truth, the comic relates. She hastens to explain that she earned a degree in sculpture from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, for which she learned welding.

But Ms. Frazier, a graduate of Towson Senior High School, soon tired of art. One night, she says, she ventured on stage at the Richmond Comedy Club to try a five-minute routine.

"I did it on my own personal dare," she says. "They said I was very funny, but I should have used the microphone. Apparently, I sort of stood there and didn't know it existed."

Regardless, she began to refine her material and has been PTC pursuing comedy ever since. Tonight, she co-stars with Paul Rodriguez and Jeff Marder, another local comedian, in "Comedy Care '94." A benefit for Health Care for the Homeless, the evening of stand-up comedy will take place at 8:30 p.m. at Goucher College's Kraushaar Auditorium.

Mr. Rodriguez, known for his sharp observations on Hispanic-American themes, is the nationally known headliner. Mr. Marder, who grew up in Pikesville, now lives in California and gained a national spotlight for an act that contrasts the two sides of the human brain.

Ms. Frazier makes her home in Crownsville, in Anne Arundel County. She is making her third appearance in the annual fund-raiser for Health Care for the Homeless.

She previously appeared in "Comedy Care" with Henny Youngman, Ellen DeGeneres, George Wallace and Dennis Wolfberg. She has headlined shows at Baltimore's Slapstix club and the Annapolis Comedy Club and travels the national comedy club and college performance circuit.

"You know, people say it's hard to get work, but I've been working steadily since the beginning," she observes.

Ask her to describe that first five-minute routine in Richmond, however, and she draws a blank.

"I know I memorized it for that night, but I couldn't tell you one joke now," she says with a laugh.

Ms. Frazier says her humor is topical commentary and, in a club setting, often springs from interaction with her audiences.

"I believe if I don't listen to them, why should they listen to me?" she notes. But she expects tonight's Goucher gig is likely to be less interactive than a club setting.

"Comedy Care '94"

Who: Paul Rodriguez, Jeff Marder and Lani Frazier

When: 8:30 tonight

Where: Kraushaar Auditorium, Goucher College

Tickets: $25

Information: (410) 837-5533, Ext. 329

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