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Monday, May 27, 2024

Fritz Coleman Returns to Standup

Retired weatherman Fritz Coleman is coming to the El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood with a stand-up routine about growing older.

Coleman, a San Fernando Valley resident, was eager to get back to a “regular” comedy routine after two years of pandemic-era entertainment, according to a press release. 

Based on his Tubi show “Unassisted Living,” the show at the El Portal’s Monroe Forum is called “Unassisted Residency,” as it takes place one Sunday a month (except for December) from Oct. 15 through March 24. All shows start at 3 p.m.

“This one is about getting older,” Coleman said in a statement, “and, as always, it’s just the truth of my life lately.”

Coleman retired in June 2020 after nearly 40 years as a broadcaster in Los Angeles, where he was best known as the weather reporter for NBC4, the West Coast flagship station of the NBCUniversal-owned television stations. Coleman has long maintained a visible presence in the Valley and regularly emceed events for the Valley Industry and Commerce Association, for example.

Coleman continues to co-host the Media Path Podcast with Louise Palanker, trading observations on pop culture with a variety of guests, from Pat Boone to Henry “The Fonz” Winkler to Congressman Adam Schiff (D-Burbank).

The hour-long podcast is recorded each Tuesday and then made available for free on Thursday on YouTube, Apple podcasts and Deezer, as well as at the MediaPath.com website

But Coleman was ready to get back to performing comedy before a live audience, even when nightclubs were still closed due to the pandemic.

Fortunately, his age and peer demographic began to work for him, the release said.

“Most baby boomers don’t really go to comedy clubs anymore, but I started to get invited to speak at a lot of lunches and dinners as Covid wound down,” Coleman said. “That gave me a chance to really work on some material in front of good audiences, so it’s been almost two years’ worth of developing this show.”  

Coleman and his production team on “Unassisted Living” found inspiration for the El Portal shows in the HBO series “Hacks,” starring Jean Smart.

Delighted by the episode where Deborah Vance (Smart) “revives” her tired act in a small nightclub, they sought out the same venue – the Marilyn Monroe Forum room at the El Portal Theatre – as a location.

“It was a great cabaret-style setting, about 80 people, and we staged it the same way, lit it the same way, because it was perfect for the act,” Coleman said.

In “Unassisted Residency,” an hour-long routine about dealing with aging in the era of social distancing and social media, Coleman caters to his loyal demographic in their current frame of mind, the release said. 

His audience is largely the same generation of comedy fans who grew up with the extended riffs of George Carlin, Robert Klein, and Richard Pryor – but Coleman delivers with a gentler touch developed over years of working on local television news, the release added.

“Because of the way it was when I was on TV in the 1970s and 1980s, I’ve always worked very clean,” Coleman said. “You had to have a squeaky-clean act to get on ‘The Tonight Show.’ That’s perfect for my audience because they don’t want to be assaulted by comedy or feel uncomfortable with it.” 

Tickets for “Unassisted Residency” can be purchased for $35 for general admission, or for $45 for the cocktail table seating, which requires the purchase of two tickets.

Hannah Madans Welk
Hannah Madans Welk
Hannah Madans Welk is a managing editor at the Los Angeles Business Journal and the San Fernando Valley Business Journal. She previously covered real estate for the Los Angeles Business Journal. She has done work with publications including The Orange County Register, The Real Deal and doityourself.com.

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