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Cruise ship comedy teacher headlines Conyers show

Southern comedian Donna Carter shares her humor at the Mixed Nuts Comedy Review in Conyers on March 17.

Southern comedian Donna Carter shares her humor at the Mixed Nuts Comedy Review in Conyers on March 17.

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Comedian Gid Pool gestures to the turf growing on the deck of a cruise ship, during a trip he took as a comedy class instructor. Pool performs in Conyers on March 17.

Gid Pool didn't become a comedian until the age of 61. Before that, he worked as a soldier, writer, real estate agent, fill-in preacher and insurance salesman.

AT 67, he now teaches comedy on cruise ships, and performs gigs from Miami to Vancouver.

"I was a late bloomer," said Pool. "I like to say I have a hard time holding down a job. I get bored after a while. Anytime you find someone with a varied career, they just don't like to work."

A resident of North Port, Fla., Pool is set to share his comedic talents at the Conyers Rockdale Council for the Arts' Center Street Arts black box theater, 910 Center Street, on March 17.

He is the headliner for a night of comedy which also includes Tennessee-based comedian Donna Carter, whose recently released CD is entitled "Fat Girls Don't Wrinkle," and local duo Gary Bridgewater and Neal Lange.

Presenting the show is the Mixed Nuts Comedy Network of Georgia, a newly formed comedy club based in Conyers.

Pool said he understands that Mixed Nuts is still trying to establish itself in the area and he agreed to perform, though it won't benefit him financially. He's not particularly looking forward to flying on Delta, "a greyhound bus on wheels," but he's happy to help the fledgling comedy company.

"Part of it is the older person in me who sees things differently. You've got to give back," said Poole.

A communications expert, Pool worked in the public affairs divisions for the Air Force and the Army as both an enlisted soldier and civilian beginning during the Vietnam War up until 1989.

He earned writing awards for his feature stories in military base newspapers but said getting a job in journalism outside of the military environment proved impossible because he didn't have a college degree.

Pool attended college for a year, but didn't finish.

"I'm a little like Hunter S. Thompson. I don't like the structure," said Pool.

Through the '90s and early 2000s, he supported himself through real estate sales, teaching skiing and selling insurance. He also earned a degree from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1994.

A comedy class he took on a cruise ship in 2006 introduced Pool to a career he had never considered before, much less knew he'd enjoy.

The class led to open mic gigs, and then to an emcee job at a comedy club in Port Charlotte, Fla. where he networked with and learned from the headliners.

At a National Lampoon comedy conference in California, Pool earned a spot as one of top 20 (out of 120) comedians who got their material aired on the radio.

"I thought, if that could happen, maybe I know what I'm doing," said Pool, who then started opening up for headline acts.

He now produces stand-up comedy performances for yacht clubs, country clubs and corporate events.

"I do a lot of my own shows and I book them myself and I hire a comedian to open for me," said Pool, who is set to appear on the Today Show with Jane Pauley on May 8. "It's the circle of life in comedy."

Celebrity Cruise Line also employs him to teach comedy classes to passengers.

"Last year, I spent 67 days on a cruise ship," said Pool, whose travels have taken him to Spain, Italy and the Caribbean.

Pool said much of his material comes from being a senior citizen making observations about the younger generation.

He said parents today are lazy. Case in point is the sale of frozen peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

"It takes longer to thaw them out then it would to make the sandwich," said Pool.

Grandchildren are another topic. He said since he's had grandchildren, he's found out that Prozac is his friend.

"They come to visit, and I give it to them. Then I fill them full of Red Bull and send them home to their parents," said Pool in a deadpan delivery. "A lot of it is what older people are thinking but would never say or do."

The Mixed Nuts Comedy Review presents two performances at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.; tickets are $9 at the door or $12 in advance. To purchase tickets, call 770-922-3143 or visit www.conyersarts.org.

If you go

What: Mixed Nuts Comedy Review

When: 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. on March 17

Where: Center Street Arts, 910 Center St.Cost: Tickets are $9 in advance or $12 at the door and can be purchased by calling 770-922-3143 or visiting www.conyersarts.org.