The first Gem City Tonight show with guest Don Smith. CONTRIBUTED BY JGR PHOTOGRAPHY & VIDEOGRAPHY

Dayton TV host to get roasted at charity event

The host of Gem City Tonight will get his chance to be in the spotlight this weekend.

The Dayton community is invited to spend an evening with local comedians and Andrew Mitakides on Saturday, July 27. The host will be roasted at Wiley’s Comedy Club.

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As most comedians know, a roast is where comics take shots at the guest of honor as well as other comedians on the show. A roast is all done in good fun, and as Mitakides said, “we roast the ones we love.”

“I’ve always wanted to do something like this. I always loved the Comedy Central roasts and the old Dean Martin roasts,” he said.

The concept for the roast was an amalgamation of ideas from Mitakides, his wife, other local comics and Don Smith, comedian and one of the owners of Wiley’s.

“When Andrew began Gem City Tonight, he had me on as his first guest to promote the club, so it seemed a fitting venue to roast the sucker,” Smith said.

Mitakides said that the roast did happen “on a whim.” However, beyond the fact that it is close to his birthday, it is just a perfect time for the event.

“The show is coming about and I was born and raised in this town. If you look at the list of roasters, it’s just the right group of people at the right time,” he said.

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For one episode, Andrew Mitakides was made up as a clown. CONTRIBUTED BY JGR PHOTOGRAPHY & VIDEOGRAPHY
Photo: Contributing Writer

Mitakides grew up in the Dayton area, but spent many years outside of Dayton voice acting, and performing in musicals and comedies. He has been doing stand-up comedy for 12 years now and has also performed all over the country.

He returned to the area in 2015 and was impressed by all the opportunity that Dayton had to offer. He decided he wanted to feature all things Dayton, and Gem City Tonight was born. Mitakides said that the response to the show has been amazing.

“I have been overwhelmed with how many people have reached out. I was gone for 10 years and then I came back and there are breweries, distilleries and a young art explosion. There is just so much vibrancy and life that has been pumped back into this city and that’s what I wanted to highlight,” he said.

When it comes to being roasted, Mitakides said he has a thick skin. He receives emails from the public that can sometimes equate to being roasted. One email said, “Brendan Fraser called. He wants his acting back.”

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“That’s actually hysterical. I am used to getting fired at. I think it’s a great chance for us as comics to flex that muscle we don’t get to,” he said.

The roasters for the evening include Mike Shea, Jon Ullery, Dusty Harvey, Raymond Jackson, Don Smith, Kevin Ruppert, Jon Morris and Keith Irvin. Courteney Huff will be the host for the evening. She is also co-host of Gem City Tonight.

Mitakides said most aspects of his life are up for grabs. He is fairly certain he will be made fun of for his hair and bracelets. He even called himself a “preppy pirate.”

“We as comics put our material out there and now it’s all fair game. And that’s fine. I can handle it. It’s all in jest,” he said.

Beyond taking shots at the comics, the roast will also raise money for suicide awareness. Part of the ticket sales will go to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and Dayton’s Out of Darkness Walk in October. This cause is one that Mitakides is very connected with.

“That’s always my go-to charity… I suffer from bipolar and depression. I don’t mind saying that in an interview because I like to be a spokesman for it. I even have the semicolon tattoo. It’s something near and dear to my heart,” he said.

Mitakides wants to make it very clear though. This roast is not just about him.

Andrew Mitakides during a monologue. CONTRIBUTED BY JGR PHOTOGRAPHY & VIDEOGRAPHY
Photo: Contributing Writer

“My name may be on it, but it’s not about me. It’s about watching these comedians flex their muscles. It’s about raising money for mental health awareness. It’s for getting people in the door who have never been to Wiley’s. It’s a win for everyone,” he said.

Some comedians may have ulterior motives for the event.

“I’d love to see a packed house full of folks just there to have fun and see if we can make Andrew cry. I think roasts are a way to be a little mean, which we all want to do occasionally, and put all of the dirty jokes out that we can but still have it done in a way that honors a friend,” Smith said.

Gem City Tonight will air its season finale on Sept. 6. They are currently looking for a venue for the finale. For more information about Gem City Tonight, visit their Facebook page or website at www.gemcitytonight.com.

The Roast of Andrew Mitakides is at 8 p.m. Saturday, July 27 at Wiley’s Comedy Club. Tickets are $10 if purchased online in advance. Tickets will be $15 at the door. For more tickets or more information, visit www.wileyscomedy.com.

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