Christmas lives in comedian's mind

12/18/2009 3:33 AM

Randy Riggle believes in yesterday.

The 48-year-old comedian and Lone Pine resident has been drawing inspiration from the past for the last couple of years with his touring one-man show, "Nostalgia," and now he's putting a Yuletide touch on yesteryear with his new production, "A Nostalgic Christmas."

Having unveiled it in September in 80-degree weather in Augusta, Ga., it's premiering in this region today at 7:30 p.m. at Trinity High School. Mostly reflecting on life and popular culture from the 1950s to the 1980s, "A Nostalgic Christmas," looks fondly on everything from Elmer Fudd and Elvis Presley to Bob Dylan and Bob Hope's Christmas specials.

"I've been in the Christmas spirit since July, since I started writing the show," Riggle explained.

Everyone always talks about the best Christmas they ever had, whether it was based on some event or some gift, Riggle explained, and "A Nostalgic Christmas" tries to summon those memories. The comedian uses impersonations to evoke the famous and not-so-famous, and also dances, pays tribute to veterans and is backed by a multimedia slide presentation.

Riggle's favorite Christmas memory? He has a couple: His father taking him up the street from his house on Christmas Eve to look at lights and "missing" Santa Claus' visit to his house; and, later on, his father taking him to downtown Washington, giving him $5 and trusting him to meet him back at a certain spot in a few hours. He spent the $5 on baseball cards.

"That's the best Christmas I ever had," Riggle said.

Having launched his career at an open-mic night in Pittsburgh 27 years ago, Riggle has appeared many times in Las Vegas and tours extensively, appearing at a variety of public and private events. He's opened for Jerry Seinfeld and Ellen Degeneres, among others, and has written for Jay Leno and Joan Rivers.

After the Trinity High School performance, Riggle will taking "A Nostalgic Christmas" to Miami. He might dust it off for a "Christmas in July" run over the summer in between performances of his regular "Nostalgia" show. He's also working on a book and cooking up a "Vintage Vegas" show built around Las Vegas's "Rat Pack" glory days. Copyright Observer Publishing Co.