The Center for Visual and Performing Arts in Munster will bring on the laughs next week.

This season's Comedy Night at the CVPA kicks off Jan. 12 with the comic talents of Ross Bennett. Other shows are scheduled for February and April.

"This is our fifth year bringing the comedy shows to the center," said Nick Gaza, who is the Comedy Night series host.

Gaza, a native of East Chicago, spent time honing his comedy career in Los Angeles and appeared on various shows including "Malcolm in the Middle," "Dharma and Greg" and others.

"In 2007, I moved back to the Region," Gaza said. He said he realized at that time that there weren't many platforms for comedy entertainment in the area.

Gaza said Munster's Center for Visual and Performing Arts/Theatre at the Center has been a perfect place to present the comedic shows featuring a variety of comics from around the country.

"It's a beautiful theater," he said, about TATC.

When Gaza chooses acts to bring to Comedy Night, he said he looks for variety. And he often looks to his pool of funny acquaintances.

"I'm lucky enough that a lot of them are my friends," Gaza said.

The comedy host said local comedy fans have given him positive feedback about the series.

"It's become very popular with the community," he said, adding that people also like the fact there's a meal option available as well.

The Comedy Night series features three shows in the winter and three shows in the fall.

The first performer to star on the roster will be Ross Bennett, who is a veteran comedian. In 2013, he appeared on "The Late Show with David Letterman." He is also a star on Sirius XM Comedy Channels, as well a recurring guest on "The Bob and Tom Show."

The Comedy Night shows feature different meal menus for each designated performance. The Jan. 12 Comedy Night menu stars tossed garden salad with assorted dressings, pasta salad, olives, and cole slaw, rolls, butter, cheese tray, fresh vegetable tray, fried chicken, fluffy white rice, Cajun chicken gumbo, roasted Italian sausage, farfalle with marinara sauce, baked dill tilapia, assorted grilled garden vegetables, sour cream chive mashed potatoes, glazed baby carrots and pineapple whipped cream cake.

Other comedians appearing on the series roster are Dwight Slade on Feb. 9 and Dave Landau on April 20. Slade is the winner of the Boston Comedy Festival and is in the movie "Rid of Me," currently streaming on Amazon. Landau was a finalist on season 8 of "Last Comic Standing." He was honored as one of the top 21 contemporary club comics on HBO's Las Vegas Comedy Festival.

Gaza said he's always looking for performers who are simply "really funny."So much of the comedy  today, he said, can be "preachy and message-driven."

"I want people to come out to have a great meal and laugh," Gaza said.

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