Rico presents intimate
laugh-fest
Posted Oct. 19, 2007
Sheila DelCastillo
A small crowd of about 20 people gathered at Rico Coffee in La Verne for an evening of entertainment from six comedians on Oct. 13. Joey Rockenstein, an Irish Catholic comedian, had the audience laughing and entertained as he joked about his hour and a half drive to La Verne for the show and the topic of marriage and his relationship with his girlfriend.

Music, comedy and food were the main event at Rico Coffee Saturday.

Singer-songwriter Mike Gonzalez was the opening act for the evening.

“I’m still dreaming about being a rock star,” Gonzalez said.

He started with a set of Neil Young songs and followed with a few originals.

Gonzalez played for a little more than an hour and a half for an audience of 12 and as his show wrapped up the crowd grew for the comedy portion of the evening.

The lineup of comedians included host Sharon Ca, Vern James, Dan Barton, Henrietta, Joey Rockenstein, Cole Young and Grace Fraga.

At least two of the comedians are well known for their work.
Barton is a writer for the TV Guide Channel and Grace Fraga has been on VH1.

“It was hysterical,” Tamy Russo, an Alta Loma resident, said. “I needed that, it was a good laugh.”

Russo said she would recommend comedy night.

Russo’s friend Nancy Matarrita said she had been to Rico Coffee two times previously, but she had not known there were shows.

“I would definitely come back,” Matarrita said. “It was good diaphragm exercise.”

“I especially liked the TV Guide comedian,” Matarrita said.

Mike Albers who is a Rico regular and the number one Rico fan according to the comedy show producer’s MySpace page, said he has only missed three shows in the past two years.

“It’s nice to come to a local coffee shop for good dinner and comedy,” Albers said.

The show has been produced for the past few years by Chris Kostolefsky and co-produced by Lisa Sullivan.

“Our big goal is to have a good mix and variety of people,” Sullivan said about the comedians in the show.

Saturday’s show was just that: from jokes about pets to sex and everything in between.

Rockenstein, Barton and Henrietta got the biggest laughs.

Rico Coffee, located minutes from the University of La Verne campus on the corner of White Avenue and Foothill Boulevard, offers special menu items on comedy night. Saturday’s main dish was homemade pot roast with mashed potatoes and vegetables

Rico also features panini sandwiches, coffee drinks and more. They also accept Leo Dollars.

“We just like for people to feel comfortable with family and watch clean comedy,” Rico barista Shela Vanslyke said.

Several comedians of the evening commented on the good quality of food and the coffee shop itself.

Many of the comedians also commented on the differences between La Verne and Los Angeles.

One comedian made a point that he was actually able to find parking in La Verne as opposed to in Los Angeles.

Rico Coffee is the size of other coffee shops and offers several seating areas including a couch, a large study table with lamps and a coffee table.

“That’s one thing I do like...the intimacy,” Matarrita said.

Rico Coffee hosts a comedy night twice a month on Tuesday and one Saturday a month.

More information about Rico Coffee such as the menu offered and upcoming events can be found at www.ricocoffee.com.

Susan Acker can be reached at sacker@ulv.edu.

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