Wednesday, 30 July 2014 11:03

"Sullivan & Son" Goes from the Small Screen to the Stage

Written by  Peter Chhum
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Steve Byrne, Owen Benjamin, Roy Wood Jr. and Ahmed Ahmed Steve Byrne, Owen Benjamin, Roy Wood Jr. and Ahmed Ahmed Courtesy Photo

 Sullivan & Sons Comedy Tour
Dr. Grins, Grand Rapids
Aug. 4, 7:30 p.m.
$20, (616) 356-2000

Steve Byrne, Owen Benjamin, Roy Wood Jr. and Ahmed Ahmed have momentarily left the beer steins at the bar to embark on the "Sullivan & Son Comedy Tour."

 The tour features comedians from the TBS original series, "Sullivan & Son," which draws comparisons to a modern-day "Cheers."

All four of us are stand-up comics by nature and it just makes sense," Byrne said of the tour. "Instead of us doing our own thing, we decided to form this comedy coalition and get the most exposure for all of us. We look at it similarly to the groundwork done to get elected. This is us going to fundraisers, shaking hands and kissing babies.”

The series just kicked off its third season and centers around Steve Sullivan, (played by Byrne) a half-Irish, half-Korean corporate attorney. Sullivan leaves his life in New York City to return home to a working-class neighborhood in Pittsburgh to run the family bar his parents were ready to sell. The plot then opens the door to some lively bar regulars, which include Sullivan’s friends, played by the fellow comedians on tour.

The tour is in its third consecutive year and, similar to the show, it has picked up more and more fans each time.

It’s a little more rewarding year after year because you see the fan base grow more and more," Byrne said. "It’s really redeeming after busting our backs filming the show, then moving on to do the tour. It’s great to see more and more people come out to see us”.

While the four play friends on screen, the friendship extends beyond filming, as they all share a genuine bond. Their on and off screen camaraderie, is what Byrne credits to their tours success, their own material as well as a key motivator as to why people will enjoy it.

All four of us are stand up comics by nature, and it just makes sense instead of doing our own thing, to form this comedy coalition and get the most exposure for all of us," Byrne said. "What people will see are four very distinct voices. It’s always inspiring. We all spark each other to write great material, write new bits and everyone gets their moment to shine. Collectively, people get to see us all do our best work.”

The show is split with individual time catered to each performer before the four come together at the end. After three years, Byrne believes the show has only improved and has become much more enjoyable for audiences.

I think this is one of the best stand-up tours that I’ve seen and have been a part of," he said. "If I were going to go see a comedy show, this is the show I’d go see. We give the show a rat-pack kind of vibe and we’re very proud of the tour we’ve put together. People aren’t going to think they’ve wasted their money, they’re going to leave extremely happy and satisfied that they made it out.”

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