Page 13 - MidWeek - Jan 12, 2022
P. 13

              Hot on the heels of three sold-out shows at the Blaisdell, Tumua Tuinei remains a rising star in local comedy with aspirations to tackle more milestones in the new year.
W hat happens when a University of Hawaiʻi at Mā- noa football player enrolls in a stand-up comedy class for an “easy A”? For one, dozens of his big-bodied teammates dominate the front row of a local comedy club — that’s
ways: a smash or flop. Lucky for him, it was a total touch- down as he not only saved himself from relentless ridi- cule at the hands of his beefy peers, but also set the trajec- tory of a fruitful career in the comedy industry.
very little free time he had as a Rainbow Warrior and full- time college student.
ater from UH. When it came to his post-college plans, the Punahou School grad relin- quished his lifelong dream of playing in the NFL like his 6-foot-4 dad, Tom, a former Warrior who suited up for the Detroit Lions as well as the CFL’s Edmonton Eskimos, and 6-foot-5 uncle, Mark, an All-Pro offensive tackle with the Dallas Cowboys.
his oyster, and it was then that he decided comedy was his pearl.
me and that’s when I realized that I really want to do this.
It was just five years ago
“One of the promoters saw me there and they kept invit- ing me back and inviting me back — and I haven’t stopped since,” says Tuinei.
“We would start at 6 in the morning for practice, have workouts after that and meet- ings and school and meetings again,” he explains. “We would finish the day around 7:30 p.m. Then, I would go to Anna O’Brien’s right after that and finish around 10 or 11, go to sleep and go again.”
While working at Hawaiʻi Stevedores during the day, Tuinei could be found at a number of comedy clubs at night. His stage time started at just 10 minutes, then 20, and, before he knew it, he was headlining shows for a full hour.
“In the beginning of a big show, similar to a big game, you’re very nervous and you’re jittery until you make that first hit or that first tack- le, then the jitters go away. It’s the same with comedy. As soon as I make that first joke and hear that first laugh, then it kind of eases the nerves and I ride the waves of laughs from there.”
when Tumua Tuinei was seen sweating under the bright lights of Anna O’Brien’s stage. His 10-minute act could’ ve gone one of two
Doing stand-up started off as just a hobby for Tui- nei, something he did in the
Tuinei went on to graduate with a degree in communi- cology and a minor in the-
“I just never get their height,” says the 5-foot-9 funny guy, laughing.
“Three hundred people showed up,” he recalls of his first headliner. “At that time, that was the biggest show for
So, really, the world was

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