Friday, 09 December 2022

Lake County Profiles: Comedy takes Marc Yaffee around the world

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Funny man Marc Yaffee in action on the stage. Photo by Harold LaBonte.



KELSEYVILLE – I have no doubt that just about everyone reading this has held at least one job that for whatever reason caused him or her to exclaim, “This job is a joke!”


Those of us who have made this claim did so out of frustration and anger and most found good reason to re-think our path to future prosperity. For one Lake County resident, a joke was just the beginning. In fact for him it was the beginning, the middle and may last right up to the end.


Driving-instructor-turned-comedian Marc Yaffee of Kelseyville is one person who chose to reevaluate his path to prosperity decades later than most. After spending several years with the Department of Motor Vehicles, Yaffee and his wife began a driver education/traffic school as well as a driving instruction school.


Both businesses did well and he was able to support his family, a wife and two daughters, horses and several purebred dogs. The Yaffees could afford to buy a home and were able to enjoy their share of the American dream, Lake County style.


Then for some strange reason, just three years before reaching the age of 40, Yaffee entered into the very competitive field of live, stand up comedy.


He didn’t jump in headfirst. He tested the waters at comedy competitions throughout the Bay Area and east to Sacramento. It went slowly at first, as he needed to develop an act.


Where does a driving instructor get the idea he may be funny at all?


“I remember my fifth grade teacher, she let us put on a little show ... I think we were about 10 or 11 years old, we lived in Van Nuys, California,” recalled Yaffee. “I never forgot the feelings inside when I made a bunch of grownups laugh, I think it’s still in me today.”


Where the DMV and driving schools didn’t take him comedy has: 100,000 miles a year in the sky and easily 30,000 in rental cars alone, reported Yaffee. He replaced his personal transportation – not the family car – every 18 months.


Bahrain, Germany, Japan, Korea, Singapore and the island of Guam are just a handful of the “out-of-town gigs” he hits each year since he went full-time as a stand up comedian two years ago. Toss in 130 nights in the USA and the frequent flier miles pile up quickly.


Is he doing well? “Well, enough to go full time,” said the former state employee with a Cheshire cat like grin.


But he quickly added that without the support and encouragement of his wife Lindsey for the past 18.8 years, his dream of headlining a big room in Las Vegas, which may not be that far off, would never had a chance.


Yaffee, a self-described comedian and court jester, just recently returned from the semifinals of the world renowned San Francisco Comedy Competition. He's awaiting the results of several of the other comics’ performances before he knows his eventual standing in the semifinals.


Initially, 300 amateur and touring comedians audition tapes were accepted out of thousands of entries. The field has been reduced through several levels of live performances held in various venues.


Yaffee waits for no single audience and promotes himself and a few of his fellow comics in various manners. The Trail of Laughs POW WOW Comedy Jam, a group of four, multi-ethnic comics tours upwards of 30 major Native American casinos each of the past two years.


His television credits include Comics Unleashed, Ci TVs Latino Festival, specials on Gala Vision’s Que Locos and coming in 2008 a special on PBS titled, “Crossing the Line,” a look at multi-ethnic comics working in America.


Yaffee wraps up his view of live comedy in America in these words: “In a world gone crazy, as it may be, the beauty of stand up comedy is that we can confront and comment on the most controversial topics, we can share with the audience our concerns in such a manner that at the end of the night only those to blame should feel insulted.”


Marc Yaffee’s Web site can be found at www.trailoflaughs.com.


E-mail Harold LaBonte at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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