Laughing It Up And Knocking ‘Em Dead

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From left: Eric Skjeveland, Sallie O’Neill and Tony Walker in the studio for their radio show. (Photo courtesy of Tony Walker)

It’s nothing but laughs in the Governor’s Comedy Club radio booth in Levittown as Tony Walker, Eric Skjeveland and Sallie O’Neill host their Knock ‘Em Dead Comedy (KDC) radio show. The trio, who also perform in the Knock ‘Em Dead Comedy murder mystery troupe, sends sarcastic remarks flying and their deadpan delivery makes it all the more hysterical.
Aired live Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., the show has gained momentum since its premiere in March. With special guests and discussions of everything from A to Z, the show sees anywhere between a couple of hundred and a couple of thousand listeners tuning in live each day—a true testament to the hosts’ entertaining humor, considering they took the opportunity to host their own show on a whim after noticing Governor’s had a radio booth while backstage during a show.

“We really had no radio experience. I said to Tony, ‘We sit there and talk on the phone about business for two hours, and most of it is just trying to make each other laugh, so why don’t we do it on the radio,’” said Skjeveland, a Hicksville resident. With guests like martial arts instructors, a psychic, nutritionists, musicians and, of course, comedians, “It’s been a very seamless transition, and it just keeps growing and growing.”
It was as simple to start their radio show as it was to become a part of Governor’s to begin with. Skjeveland, who enjoys hockey as a side-hobby, happened to be on a team with one of the owners of the comedy club. Upon asking, the KDC troupe was able to book a show and now they’re Governor’s regulars.

Outside of their performances in the club, KDC, with a roster of about 15 actors, host murder mystery parties year-round for events ranging from fundraisers and weddings to corporate parties and family gatherings at home. They also do kid-friendly shows, game shows and scavenger hunts.

“We’ve done catering for 400 people, we’ve done living rooms for 10 people and everything in between,” said Walker, a Hicksville native who got his start acting during his time in Hicksville High School.

Tony Walker is a cast member of the Knock ‘Em Dead Comedy group and co-host of the radio show of the same name. (Photo courtesy of Tony Walker)

Walker lost his right leg to cancer when he was just 35, but having a prosthetic has not stopped him from having a good time. In fact, losing his leg was the catalyst to seriously pursuing his comedy career.

“It was just a fun hobby, and then after I lost my leg I lost my job, so I just felt it was a good time to get into [comedy],” he said. “I just felt after cancer I wanted to do something more fun with my life.”

Thirteen years later, Walker is a full-time comedian. Now, the comedian writes, directs and performs for KDC. The shows come in a variety of themes like redneck wedding, luau, a mafia party and a decade-themed high school reunion. With music, dancing and outrageous characters, the murder mysteries aren’t meant to be serious.

“We go off the script constantly. We’ll play some silly party games in the middle of the show to keep the good energy. It’s not a real sleuth thing, it’s comedy,” Walker said. “We don’t need a stage. We walk around, we mingle, we joke with people as we’re doing the show. Us reacting to something the audience is doing and them reacting to us is very key to what we do. Everything we do is audience participation, we try to personalize it.”
Skjeveland added, “Sometimes people come to the shows and they dress up in the theme of the show, and that’s a lot of fun too because you know that people are ready and really into it and ready to have a good time.”

Immediately letting the audience know they’re in for a wild and fun time are the over-the-top characters that the actors portray.

“We tell our actors if they feel that they’re going too over-the-top with their characters, then they’re probably doing it right,” Walker said. “It’s a high-energy show, so it’s got to be that level of silly.”

O’Neill and Skjeveland agreed that the best part of doing KDC performances is the energy and camaraderie that comes with it. Skjeveland added that he believes part of their success comes from the troupe genuinely enjoying each other’s company and having full confidence in one another. O’Neill further explained that Walker is the one whole holds everyone together.

“He’s genuinely a great person. I feel like I’m a better person after watching him do his thing,” she said. “People know him around town because he’s great.”

To learn more about Knock ‘Em Dead Comedy or to book a show, visit www.knockemdeadcomedy.com. To listen to the KDC radio show, visit www.govsradio.com.

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