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For Many, Kiawah Comedy Weekend An Affordable, Funny January Getaway



Seven Stand Ups Over Two Nights, Saturday Coffee w/ Comics,, & A Host of Daytime Amenities

By: Jeff Walker, Entertainment Writer

While the winters are generally mild along the southeast coast of the United States, including greater Charleston, many resort communities combat slower accommodations by offering up unique weekend getaways. Kiawah Island Golf Resort, known for its golf, tennis, and family summer beach vacations, is no different.

With January and February among their slowest times, the resort schedules one of a kind weekend packages to attract visitors from the palmetto state and around the region looking for a fun couple of days. This past weekend (Jan 24-26) Kiawah Island Golf Resort hosted their sixth annual Kiawah Comedy Weekend with overwhelming success.

Although the two night show and Saturday morning ‘Coffee w/ Comics’ roundtable is marketed for an 18 and older crowd, it is surprisingly a family friendly event. What that means is couples can bring their adult children and the kids grandparents to the PG rated show, with very little controversy and chance of hearing an ‘F-bomb’. The end result if more straight ahead comedy bang for your buck.

Comprised of seven touring comedians with one acting as the show’s emcee both nights, the Comedy Weekend presents three stand up comics each night over a two hour period. First presented back in 2015, the Kiawah Comedy Weekend has grown each and every year, with 2020 becoming a sold-out event.

Perhaps there is no better setting on Kiawah to present the nightly shows than inside a grand ballroom at the majestic 5-star Sanctuary Hotel. With the show taking place from 8-10pm nightly, that allows guests to partake in a variety of amenities Kiawah Island has to offer during the day. Men, women, couples, and groups can enjoy world class golf, tennis, shopping, dining, nature walks, cycling, and strolls on the beach.

8-10pm Friday and Saturday night were reserved for laughter. 40 year veteran stand up comic Jeff Jena, a regular at conventions and on cruise ships acted as the hilarious emcee both nights. Jena has been hosting the show since its debut and his eclectic mix of jokes and observations during four decades of comedy, make him the ideal host.

Each night features three main comedians, with Jena commenting that the role of opening the show was the toughest, until the middle comic took stage and he said that was the roughest spot in the rotation. Of course he added the third comic, usually the headliner was placed in the difficult position of being as funny as the two stand ups who preceded him or her.

On the bill Friday was Hawaii native and current Seattle resident Kermit Apio who has touring the country now for nearly 30 years and was the 2009 winner in the Great American Comedy Festival. As his website declares ‘comedy is his only skill’. Apio added that being named Kermit which he called ‘American for frog’ made his life interesting in grade school. Laughing at yourself is incredibly funny.

Apio was followed by late bloomer Julie Scoggins who dipped her toe into the comedy pool at age 37, some 23 years ago. She asks that you not do the math. The 6’2″ former Charlotte native and charm school graduate, worked as a trucker, cab driver, baseball mascot, pooper-scooper, and Frito Lay salesperson, which all entitles her to a life full of comedy miscues and bizarre stories.

Moody McCarthy closed out Friday’s show with 45 minutes of side splitting material. A past guest on David Letterman, Jimmy Kimmel, NBC’s Last Comic Standing, combined with numerous performances at the famed Caroline’s Comedy Club and Gotham Comedy Club make McCarthy one of the most in demand stand up comedians working today.

The Saturday morning Coffee w/ Comics (10-11am) Q&A was a delightful early treat, allowing guests to pick the brains of the comics, often times becoming the straight person for the comedians response. Seeing comics on late night TV or perform in clubs around the country, it is nice to be able to enjoy more personable time with them.
Among the things those attending coffee hour discovered, is that Jena didn’t realize when he was booked to perform for ‘naturalists’, he had no idea it meant a nudist colony.

Even the nine foot wall didn’t give Jena a clue until he made his way inside. He realized that old out of shape nude people do not live up to any man’s fantasy of nudist camps. From Scoggins we found out she’s performed several times at a Hell’s Angels biker rally. Trust me, the ensuing jokes write themselves.

Saturday night was just another two hours of phenomenal non-stop laughter. After Jena set the tone, Matthew Broussard the winner of Houston’s Funniest Person in 2012 took the stage. Broussard who also was New Face runner up at the 2015 Montreal Just For Laughs Comedy Festival has a fresh take on life, and a youthful comedic exuberance.

Funny ladies sandwiched the male comedians each night, with Howard University and New Jersey native Erin Jackson taking the second spot Saturday. A semi-finalist on Last Comic Standing, with gigs on ‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show’ and ‘Live At Gotham’, Jackson is a regular at the comedy clubs in New York City. Her tell it to you straight girlfriend delivery was insane, especially when talking about finding a future husband and opening a ‘Grudgery’ business, whereas she’ll hold a grudge for anyone who will pay her to do so. Extremely funny!

As Jackson exited, the stage was set for Ryan Conner, the final comic in the two night line-up. Who better to close out a family friendly comedy than a 39 year old comic with 11 brothers. To say Conner’s family is diverse is an understatement. His mom and stepdad have been together since he was four. His stepdad is black. He has two black step-brothers, and four adopted brothers who are black. Conner has two Vietnamese brothers, one Chinese brother and two white brothers.

Conner sums up his family this way. “Picture a college brochure. That’s the basic look of it”, adding, “we look like a cult that’s on a field trip”. If any comic is more skilled to make fun of multi-cultural families, than I haven’t heard them. Conner is funny times eleven, and with his parents thrown in the mix, maybe it’s funny times 13.

With rates starting at $183 per person to stay in a well equipped one bedroom villa, that presents as an upscale apartment, a two night, three day stay during the Kiawah Comedy Weekend is hilariously inexpensive. And yes the show tickets were included. No doubt more affordable than most people imagine given the luxurious images Kiawah Island conjure up.

Drop three large bills per person and stay where it all takes place, at the Forbes Five Star rated Sanctuary, home to exquisite dining, shops, and a relaxing spa. Live a little. Both the Sanctuary and the many nearby villas are within minutes of the half dozen golf courses surrounding Kiawah Island. You’re basically in the heart and soul of Kiawah Island.

Comedy weekends, golf packages, and special events don’t just happen by themselves. The fine management staff at Kiawah Island Golf Resort including Heidi Nowak Director of Sales & Marketing, Bryan Hunter Director of Public Relations, Natalie Payne Director of Leisure Sales & Special Events, and Jessica Turner Social Media & Digital Marketing Coordinator, combine to ensure weekend events go smoothly. Customer service is key.

And without the vision and passion of Jack Case Director of Marketing Communications, partnering with emcee Jeff Jena, the Kiawah Comedy Weekend would not have materialized. After six years Case is turning over the reins of the event to Natalie, who has assured me and regular attendees it will continue in all its comedic glory.  The entire team at Kiawah do their utmost best to promote the Comedy Weekend, and ensure guests have the best time while staying out on the island.

Hey Charleston residents who love to laugh, play golf, have a romantic getaway, or maybe enjoy an all ladies or all men’s weekend, than I suggest you mark the Kiawah Comedy Weekend on your calendar for January 2021. Of course Kiawah Island Golf Resort offers many exciting weekend and week long packages including summer beach vacations that have something for everyone in your party.

During the off season golf packages are surprisingly affordable. Less than 45 minutes from just about anywhere in the low country, Kiawah Island Golf Resort is a nice affordable destination location. Considering you don’t need to pay for airline tickets vacationing or spending a special events weekend on Kiawah is a smart choice. For more visit their website at,

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