by Brad Goins

For a guy like me, who always struggled in vain to approach the general vicinity of normal, the concept of being "fairly normal" is pretty attractive. Hence it's no small thing to me to learn that the Fairly Normal Comedy Tour is set to show up at the L.C. Civic Center two day after this column hits the stand.

The tour features three comedians: Josh Wolf, Flip Schultz and Theo Von. The topics they cover are said to include marriage, kids, dysfunctional families, the absurdity of Paris Hiton and reality shows. While Paris Hilton is certainly absurd, I don't see why her particular absurdity should be given status in preference to the millions of other absurdities that make up our poplular culture. That notwithstanding, the list of topics does seem to have a bit more substance than the usual stuff of standup, such as why it's so difficult to get the shrink-wrap off a CD.

Press material indictates this group gravitates more than some comedians to topics that have to do with the really significant aspects of the human experience (whatever these may be). For example, the press release states that Josh Wolf, father of three, "says on stage what every parent wishes he or she could say out loud about raising children." If that's true, his comments will probably bring about some major stress reduction in the audience.

We're told Wolf "attacks life, marriage and family" and does so with honesty. To "attack" these off-limit subjects takes guts; to do so with honesty would take double guts. The press release says audiences can relate to Wolf's honesty. That may be. But you've got to recognize something before you can relate to it. Honesty's so rare it's going to be a question of whether the audience recognizes it when they hear it.

Wolf has worked with the "Last Comic Standing" show and Comedy Store. He's won accolades for a one-man show, "Fairly Normal." In addition to having done all this, the lucky stiff has my dream job: writing scripts for sitcoms. I've often drooled about how dearly I'd love to have a chance to write a sitcom script that was funny.

The claim that the second comedian in the tour, Flip Schultz, does "social satire" also holds out the hope one can expect something better than standard comedic fare. I'm impressed that he's worked with some comedians I really admire: George Carlin, Bobcat Goldthwait and Damon Wayans - guys who manage to say something and be funny at the same time.

The tour's third member, Theo Von, is a Louisiana native. He's appeared on the mother of all television mediocrities, MTV's Real World. But I won't hold that against him. After all, he has the guts to do stand-up and I don't. He does a college night show at the Laugh Factory in Hollywood. This feller may be a hard hitter! His topics apparently include "growing up in the South." Remember, feeling uncomfortable is never a polite excuse for sneaking out before the show's over.