Lance's Journal: Pat Hazell's Wonder Bread Years, Jan. 17, 2014

The Showtime TV Network once declared Pat Hazell one of the five funniest people in America. Although he now resides in Austin, Texas, Hazell's humor was honed right here in Nebraska.

Pat graduated from Burke High School in 1979. After a decade of doing stand-up in Omaha and Lincoln, Pat was poised for his big break. And as fate would have it, his big break came on national TV, just two days before his 10-year class reunion.

Pat proudly returned to Omaha to tell his classmates that he had just appeared on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.

His life would never be the same. Pat says, "Once you get Johnny's OK, it just really builds up that approval rating and it's enough to take out to clubs or corporate events or so forth, so I think that was one of the first big doors that opened."

His 25 years of experience as a writer, producer, director and magician have made him a go-to-guy for new American theatre.

Pat is one of the original writers for the "Seinfeld" sitcom and a critically acclaimed playwright and a contributing commentator to National Public Radio. His is recognized for his genuinely funny Americana humor and his salute to nostalgia.

Pat's production of "The Wonder Bread Years," was one of 6 productions presented this season by the Merryman Performing Arts Center in Kearney.