As much as any KC comic in recent years, A.J. Finney has moved into the "making it" group…
AJ was just signed by Parallel Management in Los Angeles. It’s a top notch management team that reps Larry The Cable Guy, Jeff Foxworthy and Lisa Lampanelli. It’s a tough agency to get into and they only have a few clients, most of whom are stars in the industry. Lisa for example was at the Uptown last weekend.
And all of the above names have been Stanford’s regulars over the years.
AJ started with Stanford’s doing open mic work in the early 2000’s. He moved up the food chain quickly. He was also the comedy morning guy with Max, Tanna and Moffitt on KY for a couple years before they were taken off the air.
AJ’s career took off a couple years back when he won an HBO national contest, called HBO 21 in Las Vegas. He also placed in the San Francisco Comedy Fest (where Robin Williams got his break) and landed a national CD deal. The new CD is often played on comedy radio today, and landed in the iTunes Top 10. The CD is titled "My Brain Ain’t Workin." And AJ was kind enough to give Stanford’s and my brother and I a nice write up inside the CD jacket. Loyal guy.
Finney is moving out to LA so he can attack more options and continue advancing his career. Finney worked this past weekend at Stanford’s and was a joy to work with, a pro, and one of the kindest people I’ve had the pleasure to see move to the top of his game.
It’s always an inner joy to see one of your guys careers take off. It doesn’t happen often, trust me. Even Johnny Dare has become a fan and we did his show last week.
Sadly, I didn’t get to work with AJ after late last week because I was in Las Vegas. I was in the air when KU thumped NC State. Damn it.
My trip was both business and believe it or not a slight rest. I’m in Vegas often so I don’t really gamble too much. I work out, hit the pool and catch some sun. Nice thing is I will be a guest of Kevin Hart‘s at Mandalay Bay Theater. Kevin also started early on with Stanford’s.
Hart worked our Westport club several times on his way up and has since become THE guy of black performers in comedy. Hart was recently in KC for a sold out theater show. The room he has in Vegas seats 8,000 and is sold out. Kevin is best known for his many films, like Soul Plane and his ABC TV series The Big House. He has replaced Katt Williams as the new No. 1 comedy man of color.
It’s also nice to see out-of-town comics you helped on the way to the top, like Kevin. Hart, like AJ, was a pleasure to work with back in the early 2000’s. He hasn’t let money and fame change him much. And yes, I will drop in on old pals Jimmy Walker and maybe David Brenner. Both live in Vegas.
It took AJ eight years to finally get a shot at money and stardom.
I really hope it all continues to come his way. I have so many young comics tell me, "I’m ready to headline, Craig!" This after about two years as an opener or feature act. As with AJ it usually takes 8-10 years to find your voice in this tough game.
AJ is a thinking man’s comic. You should check him out.
P.S. Yes I am taking the OVER on the Kansas City Royals.
As of yesterday that number was 78 1/2 games. Meaning I am betting they win more than that number. So yes – once again – I’m believing in our local team. If you win you have to wait until October to get paid – baseball is a long season.