If you see a defensive tackle chuckling at the line of scrimmage, he is probably lined up across from Husson College offensive tackle Louis Avent.
That’s because Avent is a part-time comedian who hopes to pursue it full time after he graduates next spring. Avent took last year off to spend more time with his daughter, Erica, in his native New Haven, Conn. and launch his comedy career.
But he has returned to Husson to finish his degree. He will also anchor their offensive line.
He goes by “Big Lue” on stage and is a member of X-Treme Comedy, a 100-plus-member troupe that puts on shows across the northeast.
He has opened for such comedians as Rick Shapiro, who starred on the HBO show “Lucky Louie,” and Craig Gass, who has done guest spots on “Law and Order,” “Las Vegas,” “Sex and the City,” and “King of Queens,” along with Donny Salvo, Geno Bisconte and Jonny Benson. Benson is also his booking agent.
Avent said performing is “definitely a rush. I love it.”
He describes his humor as “kind of raw, a little explicit.”
He said he has sought advice from fellow comedians and they have supplied him with plenty of helpful tips.
“Geno Bisconte gave me the best advice. He told me not to hold anything back. He said it was better to bomb doing the stuff you want to do rather than doing stuff just to try to make people laugh.”
So how does Avent come up with his material?
“I go for long walks with a tape recorder and record whatever I’m thinking. Then I go home and write it down,” said Avent.
He has played rooms across the northeast including the Laugh Lounge and Comic Strip Live in New York City. Jerry Seinfeld and Chris Rock got their starts at Comic Strip Live.
“The people at Comic Strip Live are great. They work with you,” said Avent.
He has always been a funny kid and, as a youngster, he used to entertain his family on their back porch.
When he got older, he would go to open auditions and talent contests whenever he could.
“I was trying to get experience and exposure,” he said.
He earned his first comedy paycheck a year ago at the Hard Hat Cafe in North Haven, Conn.
“I made $50. It was the best money I ever made,” he grinned.
Avent considers the Comedy Connection in Portland as one of his favorite venues and hopes to land a few gigs there.
For the time being, he is doing maintenance work at Husson and spending a lot of time in the weight room in preparation for next season.
His 5-year-old daughter will live with him this year and his sister, Sade, will move up from New Haven to help out.
“I missed being here last year. I didn’t think I would but I did,” said Avent, a three-year starter and sports management major.
“I missed being around the team, the road trips, the practices and all that stuff,” said the 25-year-old Avent.
He is optimistic about the season.
“I think it will be the best team we’ve ever had here. I expect big things,” said Avent.
He has made comedy DVDs and said his teammates have enjoyed them and encouraged him make more.
He also left DVDs for coach Gabby Price and assistant Nat Clark.
“But they’re still on their desks. I think they’re scared to watch them,” said Avent with a huge grin. “Coach Clark has [small] kids. He may not want to keep his.”
Larry Mahoney can be reached at 990-8231, 1-800-310-8600 or by email at lmahoney@bangor