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James Gregory performs here Thursday

James Gregory performs here Thursday

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The ‘Funniest Man in America’ is coming to Opelika.

Veteran comedian James Gregory will perform at the Event Center Downtown in Opelika on Thursday. Gregory has performed for more than three decades across the country, using what is described as “rib-tickling reflections on life from the front porch” to entertain sold-out crowds.

Event Center Downtown Director Lisa Ditchkoff said that Gregory has become one of the most anticipated acts in the center’s history.

“A lot of people were shocked when they found out he was going to perform. Just a couple days ago, we had a guy tell his wife that James was coming here, and she couldn’t believe it, even after she saw it on our website,” Ditchkoff said. “When she checked (Gregory’s) website and saw it, they purchased their tickets right then. This is a really big thing, not only for Opelika, but for this entire area.”

A native of Georgia, Gregory is a regular in the state of Alabama, having performed shows in the state since 1983.

In addition, he’s earned quite the following thanks to his work on stage and his regular appearances on syndicated radio shows like “The Rick and Bubba Show,” “The John Boy and Billy Big Show” and “The Bob and Tom Show.”

“Most people in the state of Alabama, whether they’ve seen my act or not, have probably heard of me just cause I’ve been around so long,” Gregory said. “I’ve been to every big city and small town in Alabama, and I don’t know why I never got to come to Opelika, but we’re going to do it now. Alabama is like a second home to me.”

According to the comedian’s website, Gregory’s shows are highlighted by storytelling that members of the audience can relate to. In addition, Gregory manages to toe the line of being politically incorrect while maintaining an absence of vulgarity during his performances.

“This is a family-friendly show. A lot of people have never seen live comedy because with cable TV, sometimes stand-up comedians get a bad rap for their acts,” he said. “But that’s not what I do. It’s based on real-life, and I do things that people can relate to. I’ve had a lot of people come up to me after the show and say, ‘I swear it’s like I’m back on my front porch’ or ‘I swear you must know somebody that knows me.’ That’s just what I do.”

Ditchkoff said those who attend can expect a night filled with laughs.

“He’s hilarious. I’ve never seen him live, but I’ve seen a lot of his videos. It’s a clean show – not churchy clean, but it’s suitable for all ages,” Ditchkoff said. “It’ll be a 90-minute show, and that’s a very long show for a stand-up comedian. We’ve got an hour and a half of great material to look forward to.”

“When you go see a movie, the average movie lasts about a hour and a half, or a hour and 45 minutes,” Gregory said of his planned set. “It’s not as long as you think when you’re having a great time, and I’m having a great time. It’s almost like it ends too quick.”

Tickets are still available for the event, which begins at 7:30 p.m. General admission tickets are $25 each in advance or $30 each on the night of the show. Tables for 10 are also available at $350.

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