Comedy Central talent brings laughs on tour

BY DOUGLAS WERNERT
DAILY ARTS WRITER

Published October 16, 2003

"I feel like the youth of America needs to be educated, and I'm
the man to do it," said Ed Helms, the 29-year-old comedian and one
of the stars of the "Comedy Central No Class Tour," which will roll
into the University this weekend. Helms, a correspondent on the
Emmy-winning "The Daily Show," teams with Doug Stanhope ("The Man
Show") and Christian Finnegan ("Premium Blend") for a night of
laughs at the Michigan Theater.

John Becic
Courtesy of Comedy Central

A Georgia native, Helms admits he "was kind of a nerd" during
his college days at Oberlin College. While performing stand-up in
New York, he also began doing voiceovers for advertisements,
ranging from "Say What Karaoke" to product commercials for
Efferdent, Tums and Doritos. His favorite, however, was being the
voice of an animatronic lobster in a Snuggles commercial. "I named
him Smuggly," he fondly recalls.

Now, still living what he calls "the crazy bachelor lifestyle,"
Helms admits, "I couldn't be happier (to work for "The Daily
Show")." Calling colleagues Jon Stewart, Steven Colbert and Rob
Corddry "damn funny," Helms has great respect for his fellow
comedians, naming Jerry Seinfeld and David Cross as some of his
favorites.

Doug Stanhope, one of Helms' counterparts, has enjoyed much
success as well. Releasing his third live CD last year, Stanhope
has been called one of the Top Ten Comedians to Watch by The
Hollywood Reporter. Despite his brutally honest and uninhibited
material, he is widely adored, making appearances on many comedy
shows. Last summer, he wrote and produced "Invasion of the Hidden
Cameras" on FOX, and now, with his new gig on "The Man Show,"
Stanhope looks to be a steady performer for years to come.

Christian Finnegan has had his share of experience in comedy.
With countless appearances on programs such as "The Chappelle
Show," Finnegan brings a cutting-edge style to his comedy. His
status as a mainstay on VH1's "Movie Obsession" can only mean
bigger and better things for this New York City native.

When Helms' clever, cynical observations are mixed with
Stanhope's brashness and vulgarity and Finnegan's savvy and
experience, the end result will be a fun night of comedy for all
who attend. "College kids are such an awesome audience," says
Helms. "It couldn't be more fun to perform at colleges."