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Posted April 2, 2009 | Copyright © The Northern Virginia Daily
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Comedian plans shows at ZeroPak

Justin Kincaid
Justin Kincaid, 34, is bringing his comedy act to ZeroPak LIVE! on North Cameron Street in Winchester in April. Photos by Rich Cooley/Daily

Kincaid plans to bring in nationally and internationally known comics for a monthly showcase.

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By Elizabeth Wilkerson - ewilkerson@nvdaily.com

WINCHESTER -- Comedian Justin Kincaid's prescription for those suffering from the Wall Street willies or bailout blues is simple: Listen. Laugh. Repeat.

"I really think, in this economy, laughter is the best medicine," said Kincaid, who is set to produce a monthly comedy showcase and a twice-monthly comedy open-mic night at ZeroPak LIVE!

For the monthly showcase, Comedy Comes to ZeroPak, Kincaid will bring in national and international comics he's worked with, he said, many of whom have had specials on HBO, Comedy Central and Showtime.

"I really wanted to try to get people to come out and see a live show," he said. "I'm not in it out here for the money, so much as to try to put on a good show where I'm based."

Kincaid said he wanted the showcase to be an affordable alternative to the bar-and-band scene that dominates the area. Tickets to the showcase will be $12 in advance, and $15 at the door, he said.

"I think it's a great opportunity for the Winchester/Front Royal area," he said, and it seems like there "absolutely is" a demand for such entertainment in the valley.

Aaron Lynch, the event manager and coordinator for ZeroPak LIVE!, said the response was good when he questioned patrons and others about the prospect of bringing comedy shows to the venue.

"Laughter's contagious," Lynch said. Coming to a live comedy show will make all of those cable comedy specials "a thousand times better," Kincaid said. Also, Lynch said, at a live show fans often have the opportunity to meet the comics.

The next showcase will take place on April 17, Kincaid said. Comedian Gene Gallo will serve as the evening's master of ceremonies, and the showcase will feature Jim Pate, who was Maryland's Comic of the Year in 2008, Kincaid and Adam Dodd.

The showcase will "definitely be adult-oriented," he said, but it will have a good mix of comedians and material that will appeal to a variety of age groups.

"I am bringing out comedians that I like to see, that I know people laugh at," he said.

Beginning April 6, ZeroPak LIVE! will also host an open-mic comedy night on the first and third Mondays of each month.

"I would say do it," Kincaid said, when asked his advice for people considering taking the stage at an open-mic night. "The only way is by trying.

"All the comedians I know are all fantastic people, and we all started out the same way, trying to labor through three minutes. ... Your first time on stage, three minutes is an eternity."

The main thing, he said, is to get on stage, have a good time and not take yourself too seriously.

Kincaid, who's originally from Falls Church, moved to the Shenandoah Valley about 10 years ago. After doing comedy for years for small groups and friends, he decided to start hitting all the open-mic nights in the Washington area, he said.

"The D.C. area's not known as a comedy behemoth, if you will," he said. The D.C. Improv Comedy Club is the only well-known venue, "so it was really hard to make any headway just in the D.C. area," he said.

So, Kincaid approached Jaxx Concert Hall and Nightclub in Springfield, asking whether the venue was interested in hosting a comedy showcase. About six months ago, with the economic downturn, the club called, he said, and Jaxx now hosts a comedy night every first and third Thursday.

In doing the Jaxx shows, he said, he's seen how cross-promotion -- promoting the comedy showcase at concerts and vice versa -- has worked out well for the venue.

"It's worked well for Jaxx so far, and I'm sure it will be a success here at ZeroPak LIVE!," he said.

Getting the word out about the venue, which houses a restaurant and bar and offers shows by national and regional acts from a variety of musical genres, has been difficult, Lynch said. It's just going to take some time for people to have an awareness that the venue is there, Kincaid said.

Kincaid is setting off on a national tour this summer, he said. Much of his material centers around the family dynamic -- the 34-year-old comic is married with four children, ages 15, 9, 8 and 4.

"And my lovely wife has put up with me and my jokes for a very long time now," he said. Some of his jokes are also about growing up, he said, and he likes to find the humor in life around him.

"There's humor to be found in everything in life," he said.

Tickets to the Comedy Comes to ZeroPak will be available at the venue, at 580 N. Cameron St., and at Sakura Tattoo, located at 505 S. Cameron St., Kincaid said.

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