Kermet Apio has known Mountlake Terrace High School senior Michael Hunt since he was 10.
Apio’s son plays baseball with Hunt’s brother and Apio got to know Michael and his family through the years.
Like many in the community, Apio was shocked when he heard that Hunt suffered a severe broken leg during the Hawks’ first football game last September. Hunt spent four days in the hospital and continues to have physical therapy.
“I knew they were going through a lot,” Apio said of Hunt’s family. “I was trying to think of maybe a way I could do something to help. I wanted to help with the costs.”
Apio, a professional comedian, came up with the idea of having a benefit show for the family. He received the go-ahead from the family and on Thursday, Jan. 8, Apio and two of his comedian friends, Mike Coletta and Robert Pidde, will be performing at Laugh Out Loud, a comedy benefit show for the family of Michael Hunt, at Mountlake Terrace High School.
Showtime is 7:30 p.m. and tickets are $20 (adults) and $10 (students, high school age minimum) will be available at the door.
A Mountlake Terrace resident, Apio, is a familiar face on the local comedy scene. He is a past winner of the Seattle Comedy Competition and has appeared on Comedy Central, A&E and National Public Radio. Apio has performed in 47 states and recently completed a 25-city theater tour through western Canada.
Apio, originally from Hawaii, attended the University of Washington where he studied communications and journalism. He dabbled in humor a little bit.
“I was always a big fan of comedy,” Apio said. “In college, if I had a chance to write something humorous I always tried.”
After college, Apio was working at United Airlines and was friends with a co-worker, who performed at some open mic nights at the Comedy Underground and also had an occasional paid gig. Apio watched his co-worker perform a couple of times during open mic night.
The third time Apio’s coworker asked him, “Do you want to sign up?”
Apio thought about it and said yes. Apio was so nervous his first time on stage that he really didn’t hear the laughter from the crowd.
“It was there. There were a few laughs,” Apio said. “That’s why I kept doing it.”
In 1991, two years after his debut on the stage, Apio quit his job at the airline and went into comedy full-time. At the time, he wasn’t looking at comedy as a long term job. But since he was 23, Apio figured he could do it for a couple of years and he would always be able to say that at one time in his life he was a stand-up comedian. In some ways comedy was Apio’s version of when people take off and go backpacking across Europe for a summer.
“I’ll do this while I’m still young and still can,” Apio said. “If you had told me on that day that I’d still be doing it 20-some years later, I would have said no. That’s not really why I set out to do it.”
Apio does a variety of shows, ranging from cruise ships, corporate gigs, casinos and clubs. His biggest comedy influences are David Letterman, Gary Shandling and Brian Regan, who Apio has toured with.
Most of Apio’s material is autobiographical. You can expect to hear about fatherhood (Apio has two children) and what’s it’s like to be in his 40s.
Apio used to do some observational humor but he’s changed a lot in how he approaches his act. Now he’s only feels inspired to write about things that are going on in his life.
For Apio, comedy is a craft he continually works on.
“I’m not sure when a comic thinks they are good, if ever,” Apio said. “Comedy is a work in progress. You try to get better.”
Apio, however, is pretty happy to be where he’s at in his career with a pretty full schedule.
“For whatever difficulties there are, it’s the most enjoyable thing you can do,” Apio said. “There is so much fun to do comedy for a living.”
For more information on Thursday’s Laugh Out Loud Benefit show at Mountlake Terrace High School, check out the event’s Facebook page
– By David Pan