Little did comedian Jamie Lissow know that when he came to Alaska for a gig 12 years ago, it would become such a permanent part of his life.
Lissow, who performs comedy nationally and recently starred in the television comedy series “Real Rob” with Rob Schneider, made the trip to perform at Kodiak Jack’s in Fairbanks over a decade ago. A year after that show, he married the owner’s daughter, Jessica.
Lissow will join magician Joseph Réohm for the next installment of the Kenai Peninsula College Showcase Series on Friday. Though he and his family bought a home in Fairbanks last year to be closer to his in-laws, this will be Lissow’s first time on the Kenai Peninsula.
“You can raise kids in LA, but I don’t hate my kids,” he joked. “I hope I’m going to live in Alaska as long as I possibly can, like until they force me to move to LA.”
The two men will perform back-to-back, beginning at 7 p.m. at the college.
KPC Showcase Coordinator Dave Atcheson said the college strives to bring in national acts when it can.
“I think having a magician is kind of neat,” he said. “In the past we had a guy that was a mentalist and then we had a hypnotist before, but we’ve never had a magician, at least not recently.”
Réohm, too, has ties to the Last Frontier. When he first visited three years ago to see an aunt who lives in Juneau, he said he was taken with his surroundings.
“We just hit it off and I was like, ‘Wow, I’d really like to start doing shows up here,” Réohm said.
In the years since, he has performed multiple times in Anchorage.
“I was born and raised in Seattle, Washington, so I love the Northwest,” Réohm said, adding that Alaska “was like Washington on steroids.”
Attracted to magic at an early age, Réohm currently lives in Hollywood, California and travels around the country and internationally to perform. Réohm and magician Naathan Phan won the finale episode of the first season of “Wizard Wars,” a magic competition show on the Syfy channel.
As a young boy, Réohm was introduced to magic by a family friend, describing the trade as a “bug” he got and never let go.
“I started when I was 5 years old, and that is when I realized that I wasted the first five years of my life,” he joked.
Both men said they alter or tweak their performances based on the types of venues in which they perform. For example, Réohm said he sometimes incorporates doves into his shows, but that becomes difficult when he travels great distances. In the absence of some of his aids, the audience becomes his largest prop, he said.
“I have a very particular show that just uses a lot of fun music and it’s just interactive,” Réohm said.
Lissow described himself as an observational comedian. He has been working to tailor some of his material to local audiences since making the state his home base.
“I’ve got some Alaska jokes I’m trying out that I’ve been developing over the last six months,” he said.
Lissow, too, felt the urge to perform at a young age, becoming interested in comedy when he was 9. He began going to law school while working on his standup comedy, only to get his first paid gig a week into the semester, after which he pursued comedy full-time.
“I literally wanted to be a comedian from such a young age,” Lissow said. “Literally, it was the only job that was real.”
Tickets will cost $5 for students and $15 for the general public. The show is open to those aged 17 and older.
Reach Megan Pacer at email@example.com.