At 7:30 p.m. on Friday, July 12, Brian Hoffman will perform “Remembering Red – A Tribute to Red Skelton” on the Coolidge Theatre stage in the Deane Center for the Performing Arts at 104 Main St. in Wellsboro.
This family friendly, clean comedy show is for all ages. It is the only tribute endorsed by the Skelton Estate.
Richard Bernard Eheart was called Red Skelton professionally. As Skelton, he was best known for his national radio and television acts between 1937 and 1971, and as host of the television program The Red Skelton Show, which aired from 1951 to 1971. The comedian passed away on Sept. 17, 1997 at the age of 84.
Hoffman’s expert portrayal of Skelton’s famous characters keeps audiences in stitches and reminds them why Skelton was called “America’s favorite clown.” His ability to look, move and sound like Skelton gives audiences the opportunity to laugh with Clem Kadiddlehopper, giggle with Gertrude and Heathcliff and feel the love of Freddy the Freeloader.
Originally from North Dakota, Hoffman remembers watching the Red Skelton Show when he was a little boy. “Red left the airwaves in 1971 when I was 10 years old,” he said.
Hoffman’s career in comedy began when he got on stage at an amateur night at the Hilarities Comedy Club in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. “I had fun and so did the audience,” he said.
His comedy was based on his life experiences. Before becoming a comedian, Hoffman was an over-the-road truck driver, a door-to-door cold call salesman, a used car salesman and finally a service writer at a Dodge dealership.
He began emceeing at Hilarities one week a month for six months, became a featured comedian there and also began headlining shows elsewhere across the states of Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and West Virginia. To satisfy the joy of making people laugh, Hoffman also booked his own gigs with small companies and private organizations.
“One night after a show at Hilarities, one of their regular couples came up to me and said the words that would eventually change me into what I do now. ‘Do you know who you remind us of? Red Skelton.’ Shortly thereafter, I started to end my shows with an impression of Red Skelton doing a Gertrude and Heathcliff joke. People loved it,” he said.
From there Hoffman found as many DVDs and videos of Skelton’s show and comedy routines as he could and began developing his Red Skelton tribute show.
Today, Hoffman has his own theatre in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee next to Dollywood where he performs his tribute show to Skelton. A few weekends each year, he takes his show on the road.
Admission is $25 and $22 for seniors 65 and older. For tickets to the show, call (570) 724-6220 or visit www.deanecenter.com.