TJ Del Reno
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TJ Del Reno

New York City, New York, United States | SELF | AFTRA

New York City, New York, United States | SELF | AFTRA
Band Comedy Comedy





Asbury Park Press (Neptune, NJ)
December 7, 2007
Author: Asbury Park Press
Section: Entertainment
Estimated printed pages: 3
Article Text:

When comedians and comic aficionados think of festivals, visions of enviable showcase opportunities in Montreal, Aspen and Las Vegas may pop into their minds. Most humorists don't think of the New Jersey Comedy Festival. Well, at least not yet.
But give the New Jersey Comedy Festival time. The event makes its debut Saturday at Monmouth University in West Long Branch. The festival involves 12 of the Garden State's funniest college students vying for the title of King (or Queen) of New Jersey Campus Comedy. Festival founder and executive producer Dennis Hedlund came up with the concept in August.
"If we started this well before then, it would have been bigger, but that's all right," Hedlund said while calling from his Red Bank home. "It's going to be a blast. People who come out will see some very funny young comedians."
Hedlund selected the dozen New Jersey colleges, including Monmouth, Montclair and Rutgers universities, for comedic talent. Three students emerged from each institution and will be given five minutes to impress a troika of judges, including Barry Dougherty, author of "The Art of Standup," Marc Sinodinos, 2006 winner of Canada's College Campus Comedy Competition and Michele Balan, fourth-place contestant in NBC's "Last Comic Standing" last summer. The students selected for the New Jersey Comedy Festival finals will be judged on stage presence, originality and material. Audience reaction also will be taken into consideration.
"This should be fun," Balan said. "But I'm going to try to talk them into staying in school so there's more work for me. But really, I'll explain to them that they can make much more money as an orthodontist than as a comedian."
Among the finalists are James R. Allinder, Hassan Bundu-Kamara and Paul Stuart Wichansky, all of Rutgers; Rachel Cofer and Michael Lizza, of Monmouth University; and Jason Cantor, Adam Maqsood Mamawala and Daniel Alan Neyman of the College of New Jersey.
Hedlund, a senior member of the Friar's Club, could have come up with a different kind of festival for Monmouth University, but he chose comedy.
"(Monmouth University) President (Paul) Gaffney asked me to develop something unique to Monmouth University, and I thought this idea was perfect for college students. Comedy helps kids think fast on their feet. It's public speaking. It's an art. It's something that you be can be very original in and help you in the real world."
TJ Del Reno will be the emcee.
"That's what he's been doing at all 12 schools and he's worth checking out," Hedlund said. "He's very funny."
Hedlund is already looking forward to the comedy festival's sophomore session.
"I would love to take the next step," Hedlund said. "Robert Klein was going to come in and Jackie Mason was going to accept an award, but they couldn't make it. But we're already working on next year. We already have a tentative date. We'll make some interesting things happen."

- Asbury Park Press (Neptune, NJ)


TJ Del Reno: Loud and Hairy



This NYC based comedian was the voice of Ricky the greaser bicycle mechanic in the video game BULLY by ROCKSTAR GAMES. He was featured in the NY Comedy Festival Funniest Stand Up and has opened for Dave Chappelle, Chris Rock, Jim Norton, and D.C. Benny. His voice can be heard all over the nation on television and radio commercials. He is the voice of the Capri Sun tag line “Respect the Pouch!” and lends his voice as one of the many adorable Tidy Cats on TV. He talks about Legends of the Hidden Temple, Transformers, dating, and growing up in his act.