By JOHN BURNETT
Tribune-Herald staff writer
If you missed last year’s Na Ali‘i of Comedy Tour, it’s not too late to catch the historic yukfest featuring five Hawaii comedy legends.
“Na Ali‘i of Comedy: The Movie,” with Andy Bumatai, Mel Cabang, Frank De Lima, Ed Ka‘ahea and Augie T will have four screenings at the Palace Theater in downtown Hilo. Show times are Saturday, Monday and Tuesday at 7 p.m. with a 2:30 p.m. Sunday matinee. Standard Palace movie admission prices apply. The run caps off a Father’s Day Comedy Weekend at the Palace which starts tonight at 7 p.m. with a live performance by De Lima.
The film, a local version of the iconic performance film “The Kings of Comedy,” chronicles an unprecedented statewide tour of the five comics in March 2012. It includes footage from a live show at the Palace as well as the tour’s grand finale at Honolulu’s Blaisdell Concert Hall, said the film’s director, Gerard Elmore.
“Most of the film is from the performance at the Blaisdell, and that performance is after all the shows on the Neighbor Islands,” he said. “The neighbor island shows were them getting into their groove and the Blaisdell show was pretty epic. That’s pretty much the definitive performance. And it’s interspersed with little interviews with the guys about how they approach comedy and how they view it.”
The 33-year-old Elmore has some insight into the art form. He’s done stand-up, and works with Augie T on his K5 television show “Augie TV.” He also organizes the ‘Ohina Short Film Showcase on Oahu. The Kapolei, Oahu, resident is the father of a baby girl born earlier this month and an alumnus of Campbell High School and the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
“I actually majored in business and I always did film on the side as kind of a hobby,” he said. “I made some short films and got into film festivals and now, I do it full time, making commercials and TV shows. I do the whole shebang — shoot, edit, direct.”
This is Elmore’s second feature film as a director. His first was the 2007 romantic comedy “All for Melissa,” which he wrote, directed and appeared in a dual role. “Na Ali‘i of Comedy: The Movie,” which was released on April 26, has been playing at Consolidated Theaters on Oahu.
“The initial version, which was shown on Pay Per View, was a quick turnaround,” he said. “I had to edit that in a week. But the refined version, the one we’ve been showing in theaters, has a little more finesse. For the whole thing, it was still a quick turnaround, about a month from start to finish.” He said that despite the short editing time, he was pleased with the final product.
Elmore said his approach to the interview segments was to “ask honest questions and get honest answers.”
“When you ask them the serious questions, you’d be surprised at how serious they are,” he said. “You’ll see a little bit of that in the movie. … But I kept it pretty light, because at the end of the movie, you want people to walk away happy, enjoy it, and most of all, laugh.”
He said that he went unannounced to an Oahu screening and the audience reaction was what he had envisioned.
“Augie went in with me,” Elmore said. “He went in when it was completely dark, so (the audience) didn’t know he was there. He sat through the whole movie, and they were laughing throughout the whole thing. Some people were singing along to the Frank De Lima stuff. They were totally into it.”
Elmore said “Na Ali‘i of Comedy: The Movie” is “not like a traditional narrative or a traditional documentary.”
“It’s a performance,” he said. “But you’ll feel like you got a little bit more than if you just went to the comedy show. This is a historical document, the movie, because this is the first time these guys have all been together, and we don’t know if they will be again. It will be one of those ‘in the library’ movies. Twenty years from now or so, this will be one of those ‘do you remember these guys’ sort of thing.”
Email John Burnett at firstname.lastname@example.org.