For almost half a century, the Improvisation Comedy Clubs have remained the premiere stages for live comedy in the United States and they are searching for the next great comedy star with their “UP YOURS” online comedy contest and Vegas based comedian Don Barnhart is the winner for the month of December moving him closer to the Grand Prize.
Over the decades, the talent who has played center stage at The Improv represents the Who’s Who of American Comedy, including Richard Pryor, Billy Crystal, Lily Tomlin, Freddie Prinz, Andy Kaufman, Eddie Murphy, Jerry Seinfeld, Tim Allen, Jay Leno, Chris Rock, Dane Cook, Ellen DeGeneres, Jamie Foxx, Adam Sandler, Jeff Dunham, and Dave Chappelle.
Today, the Improv stage continues to be the most important live venue for new comedians and Don Barnhart has a shot at the grand prize by winning the month of December. Barnhart is currently in 2nd place overall and the Grand Prize winner will be chosen at a live show in Las Vegas at The Improv at Harrah’s April 1st, 2012.
Online voting ends February 29th and the winner of the finale will win: Paid gigs at BOTH The Improv Las Vegas and The Improv Lake Tahoe Valued at $25,000 along with meetings with a top agency to help launch the winner’s career.
You may not recognize Barnhart by name but he’s been working the road for years becoming a favorite at the top comedy clubs across the country and Don hopes to change that by being in the contest.
Barnhart has been perfecting and diversifying his craft to be ready when the opportunity calls. He is a graduate of The Second City Conservatory Improv Training Center, the same group that launched the careers of John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, John Candy, Mike Meyers, Bill Murray, Steve Correll, Stephen Colbert and Tiny Fey.
Barnhart’s dreams are many, “My ultimate goal by entering this contest is to build my name recognition, get my own HBO Special, get on Saturday Night Live, branch into feature films and eventually have my own sitcom and then becoming the #1 underwear model for bald men over 40. (Hey, it’s my dream and if any one of those comes true I’ll be thrilled.) The Improv Comedy Club has been the launching pad for almost every comedy star out there and I’m thrilled I’m getting noticed”.
The comedian has already written a sitcom based on his stand up act along with a comedy feature film inspired by his experiences entertaining the troops overseas. In 2010, Barnhart received the Bob Hope Award for continued dedication to producing and performing comedy shows for the military serving around the world.
Since he first started making a living doing stand up, the comedian has been doing shows for USO, Comics On Duty, Armed Forces Entertainment and producing his own shows for the troops. Barnhart was one of the first comedians to go into Afghanistan. “I’m honored and humbled to be able to serve my country in the way I do. It’s kinda like being the water boy on the Superbowl team. Here we are thanking the troops for putting their life on the line and they’re lined up to shake our hands and say thank you to us”.
When he’s not on the road, Barnhart teaches comedy in Las Vegas and stars in the new documentary feature, “Finding The Funny” where he and fellow comedian and director John Bizarre explore the long debated topic of whether or not you can teach someone to be funny. The film follows Barnhart’s comedy class and includes interviews with comedians Brad Garrett, Louie Anderson and Marty Allen.
For more information on Don, please check out his website at www.donbarnhart.com
# # #
Don Barnhart Entertainment is the production company founded by Don and his wife author, fitness expert and actress Linda Vu. They specialize in high quality, independent film and television productions along with live comedy shows and more.