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Talented Gross coming to Liberal PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 24 February 2018 10:44

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ELLY GRIMM
• Leader & Times



This year’s Chamber Bash event is just around the corner and one of the highlights of the Chamber Bash evening is the entertainment. 

This year’s entertainment will be provided by magician, comedian and ventriloquist Andy Gross and Gross said he is very excited to be bringing his act to Liberal. 

“This immediate area I think is the first time I’ve performed there, but I have been in Kansas quite a bit with corporate shows and things like that,” Gross said. “I’m looking forward to doing a good show, I’ve heard it’s a pretty good crowd who comes to this every year. I like those types of crowds because they’re small enough to be a little more intimate but also big enough to where there’s still a lot of energy and everyone’s ready for the entertainment. There’s a lot of audience participation, lots of zany comedy, lots of fun. The majority of it is comedy but there are the magic tricks in there with the ventriloquism, I change some things up so no one gets bored. In the past couple years especially there’s been a couple viral videos that have done really well and they’re a lot of fun.”

For more than 20 years, Gross has been touring the world doing comedy, magic and ventriloquism. But as Gross tells it, it was an odd path indeed to get to his present line of work in the entertainment business. 

“I actually started out playing professional racquetball since I grew up in St. Louis and back then racquetball was a huge sport. It was really big for a while and St. Louis, for whatever reason, was the breeding ground for it,” Gross recalled with a laugh. “So my childhood was spent with that sport and then when I was young I saw this movie called ‘Magic’ with Anthony Hopkins and Ann Margaret about a ventriloquist dummy that comes to life and I kind of errantly thought ‘That could come in handy sometime.’ So after seeing that movie I caught a bit of the bug about learning magic and ventriloquism, I went to the library and checked out all the books on the subject, so it was always a hobby when I was young.” 

Eventually, Gross moved to Los Angeles for his racquetball career and then when he was in his mid-20s, racquetball fell out of popularity. 

“When I was about 24 years old, the sport itself just fell out of favor and it just went out, so I wasn’t making a living anymore,” Gross said. “My whole life had been devoted to this and while I was able to make a living from it as a young guy and then it just stopped. So I really didn’t have much choice and then I started thinking ‘What am I going to do now?’ Then obviously the natural progression from professional racquetball is to become a professional ventriloquist and comedian. Since all I knew was the sports and had only had the magic stuff as more of a hobby, I then started going to some open mic nights in Los Angeles doing improv and then the next thing I knew, I was doing a lot of comedy clubs, cruise ships, theaters, corporate shows, that type of thing, and I’ve never looked back. Now with the Internet being so big I was able to get lucky with some of the viral videos of my comedy act. I’ve been to pretty much every state in the U.S. and as far as the more exotic places, I’ve been to Italy, Barcelona, Spain, Paris, Dubai (UAE), just a lot of places. And a lot of that came about because of the Internet popularity  – once the videos took off, I was getting calls from countries I never even knew existed. It’s absolutely amazing and I’ve been really lucky.”

Gross reiterated his excitement for bringing his act to the Chamber Bash and added encouragement for the community to turn out to his show. 

“It’s a very family-friendly show, it’s a mix of comedy, magic and I would also encourage people to look up some of my videos on YouTube and watch them to see what I do,” Gross said. “After that I think it will make people more excited to come. And on a somewhat random note, I’m a collector of old ventriloquist dummies and I say that for a bit of selfish reason because sometimes after I say that someone will say ‘My uncle had one of those!’ and then bring it to the show and show me, so that’s really cool. I actually have several of them dating all the way back from vaudeville.”

 

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The High Plains Daily Leader and Southwest Daily Times are published Sunday through Friday and reaches homes throughout the Liberal, Kansas retail trade zone. The Leader & Times is the official newspaper of Seward County, USD No. 480, USD No. 483 and the cities of Liberal and Kismet.  The Leader & Times is a member of the Liberal Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas Press Association and the Associated Press.

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