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Comedian Jeff Blanchard Recording DVD at Big Dog Theater Saturday

The comedian recently became a partner at the theater with owner Don Mitri and will record his new DVD "Live Persuasion" at the historic Centrum Theater.

Comedian Jeff Blanchard doesn’t use a script for his stand-up performances.

So he’s not sure why he’d do things differently this Saturday when at will be recorded to create his new DVD, “Live Persuasion.”

His only plan is to scan the audience, monitor how they respond to his jokes and start a conversation.

“When I get out on stage, I see where the crowd is. I feel them out and see where their head is at. I have no idea what is going to be on this DVD,” Blanchard said. “People say you shouldn’t talk to the audience, but why not? They’re there. I never understood the comics who got up and did their act regardless of who the audience was.”

Blanchard, who lives in Chagrin Falls, recently became a partner at Big Dog Theater with owner Don Mitri. That’s one of the reasons he chose the venue to record his live show. But there are others.

“Donnie’s been my best friend for I don’t know how long,” said Blanchard, 45. “Besides that, I love the look of (Centrum Theater.) I like that it’s got the old-style theater feel to it. My idea was to shoot in a theater setting — I didn’t want to do it in just a club.”

Blanchard said he does brainstorm a few topics he may touch on before his shows.

“I like to pull back the curtain on things. For example we have a so-called ‘War on Drugs,’ but if you watch television, every other commercial is a drug commercial. We can’t say we’re against drug use when we have to have a drug for everything you do,” he said.

For example, Blanchard said he simply used common sense to drop 115 pounds, not a miracle pill.

“If it didn’t come out of a cigarette, Guinness bottle or a buffet, I wouldn’t know what to do with it (back then),” Blanchard said. “You just got to control your portions and walk. We spend so much money on everything other than just using your head.”

Blanchard said people may know him from “The Scott & Jeff Show” on WNCX 98.5 or “The Cleveland Guy” on Channel 19. If they've seen his comedy acts, they may know he doesn’t use a script, perhaps paying homage to his start in improv.

But Blanchard has a big role with the Cleveland Orchestra. He’s played Santa Claus for the past eight years at the orchestra’s holiday show.

“They cannot wrap their head around the fact that I’m Santa. They’ve seen me, they just don’t know it’s me.”

Jeff Blanchard at Big Dog Theater. Saturday, June 23 at 8 p.m. 2781 Euclid Heights Blvd., Cleveland Heights, http://bigdogtheater.com/index.html. Tickets $10 cash only, and can be bought at the door the day of the show and reserved online or by phone at 216-472-3636. 

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