Comedian John Olson

Despite never personally visiting Hawaii before, comedian John Olson assumes you'll have plenty of opportunities to get a lei and a pineapple in America's 50th state. The Sioux City-based stand-up will be hosting a Mele Kalikimaka party from 2 to 10 p.m. Sunday at The Marquee. 

Jim Lee, Sioux City Journal

Sioux City-based stand-up comic John Olson wants to wish everyone a very Mele Kalikimaka.

Wait, a Meli Kaliki-what?!? Based on an old-timey Bing Crosby song, this is simply a Hawaiian term meaning "Merry Christmas."

It's also the theme that Olson has chosen for a holiday fundraiser from 2 - 10 p.m. Sunday at The Marquee, 1225 Fourth St.

"Nobody else would do a Hawaiian-theme party in Sioux City in the middle of December," he explained. "I decided to be the one to break the ice."

The party, which is slated to include karaoke, a charity raffle and stand-up comedy, is a fundraiser for Cancer Sux-CSCR Inc., a 501c3 nonprofit organization that provides financial assistance to individuals and families battling cancer.

Comedian John Olson

Most men couldn't pull off wearing a crown made of island flowers. However, John Olson isn't like any other man. The founder pf Sioux City's annual Cancer Sux Comedy Rox fundraisers, Olson will be hosting a holiday-theme Mele Kalikimaka fundraiser, in which the proceeds will go towards individuals and families facing financial difficulties due to cancer. 

Dedicating it to his dad Kenny, who died from cancer in 2011, Olson began organizing the annual Cancer Sux Comedy Rox six years ago. 

"Since I was also the founder and president of Cancer Sux-CSCR Inc., my involvement with the annual shows had been strictly behind the scenes," he admitted. "The Mele Kalikimaka party will mark the first time I've performed stand-up at a Cancer Sux Comedy Rox event in more than three years." 

In addition to Olson, local comics Drake Strong, Matt Hattorf and Miranda Vint will lend some yuks for the fundraiser.

Keeping up with the 50th state theme, Olson said an Ugly Hawaiian shirt contest will be held at the party.

"I've always joked that everyone who is married has a father-in-law who has a few ugly Hawaiian shirts," Olson suggested. "Grab one of his, make it even uglier, then try to enter our contest."

Don't think you'll make your mark as a fashion plate? How about entering a contest where something else is served on a plate?

"We'll be having a milk and cookie-eating contest, in which the person who eats the most in three minutes wins," Olson said.

Comedian John Olson

Pineapple? Check. Lei? Check. Zombie mask? Well, that might be pushing it. But these may be some pf the props used by comic John Olson at a Christmas theme Mele Kalikimaka Party, from 2 - 10 p.m. Sunday at The Marquee. In addition to Olson's stand-up, expect plenty of karaoke, an ugly Hawaiian shirt contest, a milk and cooking eating competition and, even, a visit from Santa Claus, himself.

Those wanting something beyond cookies and milk will be able to partake in some Island-appropriate hors' devours. 

"Personally, I've never been to Hawaii before but I'm assuming a lot of their food is served is served in Teriyaki sauce and that pineapples and coconut might be involved," Olson said. "However, if I have anything to do with the food, this will be an event without Spam. I draw the line at Spam."

Thankfully, Olson won't be drawing the line for a certain North Pole inhabitant.

"Yes, Santa Claus will be coming to The Marquee," he said. "More importantly, he'll have a gift for everyone."

Which is pretty nice for a Mele Kalikimaka party in which the price for admission is just 25 cents.

"I wanted the admission to be an amount that everyone could afford," Olson reasoned. "If people want to give more than 25 cents, that's even better."

Comedian John Olson

Bah humbug, you say? Chances are humbugs wont be allowed in at Cancer Sux Comedy Rox's Mele Kalikimaka party, being held from 2 - 10 p.m. Sunday at The Marquee, 1225 Fourth St. In addition to family-friendly entertainment, an Xbox OneX will be one of the items that will be available for a raffle. 

Indeed, Olson said he'd like to devote more time to his comedy.

"I'm getting close to my 10th anniversary in stand-up," he remarked. "For the first few years, everything I wrote was something solid. After a while, coming up with strong stuff became more challenging."

"It's only been recently that I've been changing things up a bit, doing more storytelling as opposed to one liners, non sequitur."

Can this mean that Olson is growing up a bit? Well, maybe just a little. After all, the guy is wearing an ugly shirt, a tribal mask and a whole lotta leis.

"Honestly, I'd like to see our Mele Kalikimaka party turn into an annual event," Olson said. 

Or, perhaps, he can keep it going for an entire week? Wonder how Hawaiians say Happy New Year, anyway?


Food and Lifestyles reporter

Load comments