Headliner Justin Leon made his return to Goonie’s Comedy Club on June 12.
Originally from Kansas City, Mo., Leon moved for a time to L.A. and has “traveled all over the world performing for the troops,” he said.
Leon is back living in Kansas City and is proud of his roots there.
“We have a strong lineage of comics out of Kansas City, like Chris Porter (from “Last Comic Standing” and Comedy Central, and he has a special on Netflix), Mike Smith and James Johan.”
“We all started at a club in Kansas City, and the owner was pretty ‘shystie’ and it was one of those things where if you can learn the business and succeed under their tutelage, then you get the opportunity to be strong in comedy no matter where you go,” he said.
Leon’s style combines a realistic perspective yet laid-back attitude. When talking about his interracial marriage, he says, “I have a different responsibility to my wife than most men have with their wives. I have to make sure that nothing happens to my wife — all the time. Because if something happens to her, I’m suspect No. 1. Every time we go jogging, it looks like a brother is chasing a white girl.”
Among his other credits, Leon appears in “Fake Advice for New Comics: The N Word” on the website Funny or Die. He also has worked with Bob Saget, Tracy Morgan, Kathleen Madigan and Lewis Black.
Feature comic John Russell got his start in stand-up comedy at Goonie’s. Russell was a Rochester radio personality for many years as well as a national radio personality. He recently moved to the Minneapolis area for more stand-up opportunities. Russell was also a voice over artist and is the host of RadioIO’s Comedy Channel.
Russell’s early comedic influences came via a small transistor radio.
“When I was a little kid at night, I used to stick the little transistor radio under my pillow because I wasn’t supposed to be listening to it,” he said. “I still have it, and I still have to listen to the radio to fall asleep.”
Before radio, Russell was a regional sales director for Mrs. Gerry’s salad company. “I sold over a million pounds of salad a year, so suck on that,” he says.
His voice-over talent comes through with his dead-on impersonations. Russell also likes to joke about being a father who turned the tables and moved in with his son.
Some of the comedians Russell has worked with include Moshe Kasher, Josh Blue, Costaki Economopoulos, Gilbert Gottfried, and truTV’s “Impractical Jokers.”
He recently appeared on “Pauly Shore Stands Alone” on Showtime.