by Jeff Rusnak

Despite an abundance of brick walls that could serve as backdrop to scores of comedy clubs, Plantation has never been considered a breeding ground for comedians. Maybe the well-shaded suburb should be now that two of its own -- Jeff Garlin and Flip Schultz -- have achieved varying degrees of show business success.

Garlin and Schultz grew up in Plantation and got their first laugh and heckle in a local club, Garlin at the old Comic Strip in Fort Lauderdale and Schultz at Uncle Funny's in Davie. Both have long since moved to Hollywood, where Garlin's career is peaking while Schultz's is steadily ascending.

Thanks largely to their being home for the holidays, the two are performing at Uncle Funny's tonight and Saturday.

Despite their connection to the same native soil, Garlin and Schultz had never met until they worked the same club last month in Tampa. A 12-year age difference -- Garlin is 41 and Schultz is 29 (26 in Hollywood years, he says) meant they never ran in the same social circle, though they would have if they weren't nearly a generation apart.

"It turns we went to the same temple and had the same rabbi," Schultz says.

"We both went to BCC and had one of the same [theater] professors [Joe Capello]."

If Schultz has his way, he'll share even more with Garlin.

Garlin is an executive producer and co-star on Larry David's HBO hit Curb Your Enthusiasm, which begins its fourth season Sunday night. He was also Eddie Murphy's sidekick in Daddy Day Care and has signed on to do the sequel this year. And, he's set to star, direct and produce his self-penned film I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With this spring.

Between here and Hollywood, Garlin spent some time in Chicago (where he was born) with the famed Second City improv troupe. He says it all started, though, with the laughs he got as a student at Nova High School.

"I thanked everybody at my 20th high school reunion for naming me class clown," says Garlin, who later attended the University of Miami. "I was very popular at Nova. I don't know if I would be as successful today if it wasn't for them really making me think I was funny."

Schultz might not go so far as to sell his soul to reach Garlin's plateau, but he says he'd "be willing to rent it." Even before he was barely out of high school, Schultz was something of a club rat, hanging out at Uncle Funny's and taking whatever stage time he could get.

He moved to Hollywood four years ago and has since produced two CDs, Flippin' Through the Channels (1999) and Ribbed For Your Pleasure, Extra Jewbricated (2001). Flippin' was recently adapted as a weekly live sketch parody about television that Schultz performed last fall at Second City in Los Angeles. He says he'll begin hosting that show again in February, and hopes to take it to television eventually.

Schultz told The Calgary Herald earlier this summer that he already considers himself a success because he's able to perform comedy for a living. He's also made it by high school reunion standards, since the kids who thought he was a nerd at Plantation High now come and see him perform at Uncle Funny's.

"It's every high school geek's fantasy come true," he says. "Suddenly, I'm very popular."

Showtimes are 8:30 and 10:30 tonight, 7 and 9 p.m. on Saturday at 9160 State Road 84, Davie. Tickets are $20, plus a two-drink minimum. Call 954-474-5653.