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Comedy at the course: Vassar Golf Club hosts show

(Photo by John Cook)
Melissa Hager, a comedian from Arbela Township in southern Tuscola County, appears in a comedy show she’ll also host from8 to 10 p.m. Friday at Grill 19 inside the Vassar Golf Club at M-46 and Kirk Road. Comedian Rob Little, formerly of the Pinconning area, headlines the show.

Melissa Hager loves making Thumb-area residents laugh – and struggle for air, even – whether she or another comedian causes the disruption.

Friday’s comedy show from 8 to 10 p.m. at Grill 19 at the Vassar Golf Club, 3509 Kirk Road at M-46, could be that kind of event, said Hager, a comedian from Tuscola County’s Arbela Township who hosts and appears in the show.

“This will be an excellent show,” Hager said. “When you get done laughing so hard you forget to breathe sometimes, it feels so good – the endorphins that you have, it just feels so good.”

A ticket for the show costs $15, and buyers can purchase them at the golf club or online at: www.frankenmuthcomedy.eventbrite.com.

Rob Little, formerly of the Pinconning area, headlines the Friday show, which also features Detroit-area comedian Tonya Murray in addition to Hager. Another comedy show is planned June 9 at Vassar Golf Club, headlined by Mike Stanley, a top-notch Chicago comedian, Hager said.

Josh Whalen, Vassar Golf Club general manager, said Hager herself received praise from the audience following a show featuring about seven comedians on New Year’s Eve at the club.

“I had more comments about her that night than any of the other performers,” Whalen said.

Hager, 34, a 2001 Millington High School graduate and daughter of Darwin Hecht and Susan Kelly, also organizes comedy shows, such as the Friday event near Vassar.

“I started this company just because I really wanted to do comedy, and there’s nothing around here, so I thought that if I put on my own shows, I have a stage and it’s so good for everybody,” Hager said. “I’m actually the low-end person in the show. I bring in these big fancy headliners, and they’re so funny.”

Rob Little, starring Friday at Grill 19, “typically charges about three to four times what I can afford to pay my average headliner, but he happened to have an off week this week where he wasn’t working, and he was coming home to see his mom, and he said ‘Hey, can you put me in a show somewhere? I’ll give you a little bit of a break,’” Hager said.

Hager also has set up a three-show event May 12 and 13 – which she appears in – at Fischer Hall in Frankenmuth, headlined by Dave Landau and also featuring Matt Holt. Shows take place from 8 to 10 p.m. on May 12, and from 5 to 7 p.m., and 8 to 10 p.m., on May 13.

Customers may obtain tickets from the same online location of www.frankenmuthcomedy.eventbrite.com.

Landau “is pretty famous in the comedy world, but other headliners I’ve had are passing the word around about our shows up here, how fun they are, and they sell out, and the crowd’s nice, and then (the comedians) contact me,” Hager said.

Hager, who sold real estate for about 14 years, addresses topics such as her love of gluten when onstage.

“I like gluten – I want gluten. I have to have it,” said Hager, noting she doesn’t shy away from speaking in front of crowds.

“I was the class president because I put on good parties and, at graduation, only three students get the microphone – the salutatorian, valedictorian and the class president – and I wasn’t going to be one of the other two,” Hager said.

Hager has operated her company for almost two years since she made her debut as a comedian in 2015.

“My very first show sold out in November of 2015, at the Cass River Yacht Club (in Saginaw County),” Hager said. “A friend of mine dared me to do a comedy show. She said ‘You’re funny, you should just do a show,’ and I said ‘Well how are we going to get people there?’

“She said ‘Well, let’s just put it on Facebook.’ I agreed, and we charged $10 admission, and in four days, all the tickets were sold, and there were about 130 people there. I got up there with about four ‘Jagerbombs’ in my belly. I was, like, ‘I don’t know how to tell jokes.’ … If it wasn’t fun, people would have just booed me, but I rambled on for about an hour and everybody had fun, and they made me keep going.

“Then my friends were, like, ‘You should start doing shows.’ I thought ‘Well, I don’t want the pressure anymore of having to do the whole hour,’ so now I bring in other people, and I don’t have to drink all that Jagermeister all the time.”

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