By Wayne Harada
Don’t get alarmed, but comedian Augie T, an Island favorite on radio and the comedy circuit, has ventured into the home alarm business — as a vice president.
By shelving the radio airwaves that helped solidify his reins in local comedy, Augie is learning the ropes about running a business first-hand as an executive with Hi Alarm (Hawaii Alarm). Not surprisingly, however, Augie and his new-found livelihood are the central focus of a reality show now being shot called “Funny Business.” (Go to www.funnybusiness.tv).
The show, set to bow Oct. 8 on OC16, is intended to depict the day-to-day experiences of a new firm as it builds relationships and meets folks all over the island. Augie and his new boss are introduced, and the show is peppered and flavored with the main ingredient, fun.
Real personnel and actors are involved in "Funny Business."
Even before airing, Hi Alarm is on the road with a fleet of vans that boast Augie’s smiling photo. Haven’t you seen the company’s car around town? Augie has become the face of Hi Alarm, eliciting chuckles and charm.
“A Tennessee businessman approached me, after seeing me in a show at Dot’s in Wahiawa; he wanted to get me involved as the face of his new company,” he said.
Art Miller is the Southerner who had retired (in a security alarm business) on the Mainland and relocated to Honolulu. He set up a home alarm and security business here and serves as its president and quickly tapped Augie to be his vice president.
Smart move; Augie is widely known, not only as a stand-up comic and radio personality, but as a busy and likeable figure on cable TV, plus a number of TV commericals for local products and services.
But it was a first-hand experience with one of the services of Hi Alarm that triggered his split from broadcasting to home alarms.
“Art gave me a medical pendant for my dad, who used it in an emergency,” said Augie. “This thing saved his life.”
He added, “My dad also has (a medical emergency button) in his shower.”
While you may have seen one of Hi Alarm’s can’t-miss vehicles tooling around the island, you won’t find Augie behind the wheels. He tools around in a classier car now.
“I got a Porsche (as part of the deal),” he gasped. And it doesn’t bear Augie’s image.
His new role has brought on new challenges. “Part of me wanted to learn about business side of a business,” he said. “Payroll, marketing, that kind of stuff.”
Part of him wanted to maintain his foot in the comedy door.
So as part of the Hi Alarm crew, Mel Cabang, a frequent partner in Augie’s comedy show tours, also is aboard as a senior marketing adviser.
“Our marketing in Hawaii will be influenced by our comedy careers,” said Augie.
And naturally, Cabang is part of the “Funny Business” enterprise, too, serving as a senior marketing adviser targeting seniors in the community.
Augie revives Na Ali'i of Comedy Tour
The Na Ali’i of Comedy tour launched by Augie earlier this year is rolling out for a fall run on Oahu.
Augie assembled Frank DeLima, Andy Bumatai, Mel Cabang and Ed Kaahea for the Na Ali’i showcase, with these upcoming shows:
• Sept. 7 — Dot’s inWahiawa.
• Sept. 14 — Pagoda Hotel.
• Sept. 21 — Ka’a’ha’aina Café in Waianae.
Curtain time: 8 p.m.
Tickets: $15 advance, $20 door; on sale at venues or call 479-0576.