Hosted by long-time Ocean Beach resident, comedian Jesse Egan and produced by Fale Louis with a cast of 35 volunteers, the program is taped Mondays at the Spreckels Raw Space downtown, with each week’s episode including an opening monologue, guests from a wide range of fields, comedy bits and a musical guest, all with a live studio audience
A native of Arlington, Va., following a brief stay in Clairemont, Egan has lived in Ocean Beach for 16 years.
“I remember visiting a friend in OB and thinking "wow, what a fun place, it's right by the water and there's like 20 bars in a row on this one street, I want to move here!,” he said. "The thing I like about OB is it's got a small-town feel, a lot of the people that work there and live there know each other and say hello - so it's friendly and its a less touristy beach town than some of the other ones in San Diego.”
He credits his family for a life in comedy. “I think I was mostly inspired to be a comedian by them,” he said. “I've always wanted to make my mom laugh, to make her happy. My younger brother is very funny and my father tells a lot of dumb puns, so I think it's a combination of all that.”
A list of Egan’s favorite comedians would include Richard Pryor, Rodney Dangerfield and Dave Chapelle. “I think the first comedy album I ever heard was Mel Brooks’ ‘2000-Year-Old Man,’” he recalled. “I thought it was so funny - it made me want to tape little skits with my brother.” He notes that he was influenced by more than comedy. “I also always loved Dean Martin; he's like my entertainment role model. The guy made everything look like a breeze. He was so talented and funny at everything.”
Egan became host of “Tonight in San Diego” this year, in it’s fourth season, rising up through the ranks of the folks who work on the show.
“I started as a guest, doing stand-up,” he remarked. “After that they had a season with all guest hosts and I did one episode. They liked it and I became I a writer for the show and the co-host for Jeff Krapf who had got the hosting gig.
“We did two seasons together, and when he left they wanted me to stay on as the co-host. They were holding auditions for the host position and some other comics that I knew were going out for it. I really wanted to try out the big chair, so I had a meeting to ask the producer, Fale Luis, if I could audition for the role.
“I think he saw that I'd cut my pony tail off and was serious about this, so he gave me a shot.”
It was the last audition for the host that was held and it was quickly apparent that it went well.
“They showed up later that night at a stand-up show that I had downtown with champagne and signs that said ‘You are the new host!’ It was unbelievable and exciting, and I am truly just so grateful for the opportunity,” he said.
With so much hard work going in to a weekly show, Egan notes how he won’t be able to do much stand-up for the moment – but don’t count him out completely.
“I haven't been booking as much lately just so that I can focus on the show,” he said. “I feel a responsibility to do my absolute best on that show so I maybe neglect doing stand-up as much as I would like. But whenever I have a new joke that I'm excited about I make sure to get out there and try it somewhere.”
With three shows under his belt as host, Egan is clear on his mission for the show. “We want to keep getting the best guests in town and showcasing the amazing personalities and talents of America's Finest City,” he said.
“My goal is to try to bring in as many of my friends and comedians, improv people, musicians, artists and writers to collaborate with us on this show to make this a project that San Diego does together.”
Tonight in San Diego
Where: The Spreckels Raw Space,
923 First Ave.
When: 7:30 p.m. Mondays, all ages.