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People Top 5
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- April 12, 1982
- Vol. 17
- No. 14
Andrew Jackson Bumatai, 28, has been selling Hawaii to tourists for seven years. First he hawked coconuts in the country, then leis at Honolulu Airport. Since 1976 he's been merchandising humor as the 50th state's best-known stand-up comic. The son of a Hawaiian-Filipino soldier who married his French-German wife while based in Europe, Bumatai became an ace office copier salesman by the age of 21. He wore spiffy three-piece suits and drove his two Mercedeses on alternate days. But while touring Waikiki nightspots with clients, Andy noticed "there were no stand-up comedians in town, just guys who did jokes between singing The Hawaiian Wedding Song and Beyond the Reef. I knew I could fill the void." He chucked his job, supported himself as an airport peddler and made an amateur-night comic debut in a pizzeria: "I was hooked off the stage, but not before I got my first laugh." Thus inspired, Andy honed his act in small clubs, delighting audiences by lampooning Hawaii's multiethnic makeup. Now, with five comedy albums and two local TV specials behind him, he has a six-figure salary and a five-year contract at the showcase Royal Hawaiian Hotel. Next month he hopes to go national, hosting a live syndicated series, Viewer's Choice Beauty Pageant, in which call-in voters select weekly winners in swimsuit and personality competitions.
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