Teens ready to tickle people’s funny bones at Laugh On comedy night at teen center, June 3

For the second year in a row, the Old Fire House Teen Center (OFH) in Redmond will take a break from its usual musical performances to tickle people's funny bones.

Rob Noteboom

Rob Noteboom

For the second year in a row, the Old Fire House Teen Center (OFH) in Redmond will take a break from its usual musical performances to tickle people’s funny bones.

On June 3 beginning at 8 p.m., the OFH, at 16510 N.E. 79th St., will present Laugh On with Mr. Noteboom!, a comedy night featuring some of the funniest local teens. Admission for the show is $7.

This year’s performers are senior Niko Stathakopoulos, juniors Matt Eisenmann and Josh Shepherd and sophomore Peter Biethan from Redmond High School (RHS); eighth-grader Yotam Ofek from Northstar Junior High School (NJH) in Kirkland; and recent RHS graduate Sam Kanter. Eisenmann and Shepherd are returning comedians from last year but the rest are first timers.

Despite their young age, Rana Shmait, a program assistant for the OFH, said the comedians are professional and as good as anything on TV.

“It’s going to be so funny,” she said, “definitely as good as you would see on ‘Last Comic Standing.'”

Shmait is the adviser for Laugh On, which is produced by students from the Youth Advisory Board and Advocacy (YABA). YABA is the teen center’s on-site youth leadership board, which coordinates and staffs the OFH’s community service projects and events.

Shmait said the idea for Laugh On came when YABA members wanted a way to showcase young local comedians.

In addition to the teens, Laugh On will feature the talents of Rob Noteboom, a social studies, world history and Advanced Placement government teacher at RHS. Noteboom will be hosting the show for the second time and said he became involved by accident last year because he’d been a teacher for several of the student organizers.

“It had nothing to do with talent and more with the fact that I was a warm body and willing,” he said.

Noteboom was flattered to be asked and one of the reasons he jumped to be involved was because the OFH is very supportive of kids in the community and he wanted to give back to the center. He added that it’s also nice to be part of something that highlights the positive in kids.

“So often, what makes the news is the negative,” Noteboom said. “They’re really good kids.”

Notebooom said the comedy night is a different avenue for youth to showcase their talents.

Shmait agreed, saying although OFH is mostly known as a music venue, they do try to offer different opportunities for teens. She added that there are many teen musicians but not many teen comedians. Shmait said part of OFH’s goal is to give aspiring comics — and other artists — a leg up and the opportunity to get in front of a crowd.

Before last year’s show, Noteboom had never performed on a stage, but admits when he was younger, he was the kid in the corner doing Steve Martin impressions. He had never done stand-up comedy, so Noteboom was pretty nervous before he made his stage debut.

“I didn’t want to go up there and not be funny,” he said.

Noteboom is still working on material for next week’s show and is just as nervous as he was last year, but said he’s just the filler in between acts — not who people want to see.

As for the ones people do want to see, audiences can expect to be in stitches.

Noteboom was very impressed with what he saw last year and expects the same caliber of performance for this year’s show. He said while he had no doubt the kids would be funny, he was impressed with how organized and original their acts were — they didn’t remind Noteboom of any well-known comics.

“(The kids) weren’t trying to be other people,” he said. “They were trying to be themselves…and that’s what I think made it surprising and funny.”

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