By Wayne Harada
Advertiser Entertainment Writer
By Wayne Harada
It's April Fool's Day. Will you be the tricked or the trickster?
"I never did April Fool's jokes," said veteran comedian Mel Cabang.
"Me, I always do them, from high school time," said Kaleo Pilanca, a younger-breed stand-up.
Both Cabang and Pilanca will be on stage tonight, as they gather other comedians for yet another Kanikapila Comedy Show at the Hawaiian Hut.
"Some people wouldn't believe there would be a show on April 1," said Pilanca, who's been mounting periodic comedy showcases for nearly two years; tonight's is the sixth in an ongoing series. "I looked at the calendar a while back and figured this was a good time; it's been planned since last year with Mel and the boys."
Pilanca said he used to get good lickings for pulling April 1 pranks, like calling his parents at 2 a.m. and telling them he had been picked up and jailed by the cops. "They went down to the station, and boy, did I get it," Pilanca recalled.
Cabang, on the other hand, was never the prankster but always the victim. "I was just a regular guy growing up," he said. "I guess people saw in me what I never saw; I never perceived myself (as a comedian) ... Never did the April Fool's stuff."
When he ultimately turned to laughter as means of making moolah, Cabang was considered off-color — that is, his gab and his barbs were not suitable for family audiences because of expletives undeleted.
He's cleaned up his act in recent years, taking Pilanca under his wing when he worked at Brew Moon. From that collaboration, Cabang has become a regular in Pilanca's comedy outings once every four months or so.
"He reminded me of me in my younger days — eager and quick-witted, down-to-earth — but never dirty," said Cabang. "He now reminds me of a Hawaiian Carrot Top (the national comedian). I think we have a good rapport."
Both are able to carve out a living with these infrequent shows, augmented by private gigs.
Pilanca still is on call as a recreation therapist at Shriners Hospital for Children, helping provide laughter for kids before or after a medical procedure. The additional income, he said, is necessary to buy food and diapers for his year-old twins (he has five children), with "Pampers costing more than food." He said he shelved the traditional first-birthday to-do, so he plans a Terrible Twos party next year for toddlers Hazel and Kanalu.
Cabang is a full-time stand-up. "I get a lot of calls but I turn down a lot," he said about picking and choosing engagements. Retirement is not part of his immediate future.
"I think I gotta work the rest of my life, unless I find the hole where I put all my money," he said. "But I can't remember where I put that hole."
Reach Wayne Harada at email@example.com.