By Ernest Kearney — From the first mention of this Fringe Festival spin of the classic Tonight Show format with Alex Enriquez as its “Johnny Carson,” I thought it was a brilliant idea, and what do you know. I was right!

As directed by Kate Frisbee and produced by Katierose Donohue Enriquez, Rich Mckie and Stephanie Seiple,  Fringe! Tonite Alive! is a perfect model of the late-night format of monologue,  guests and musical numbers right down to “Josh Brown and The Hollywood Sound.”

The night I attended Aaron Caponigro and Bill Chott were on hand to discuss their roles: Mel Brooks and Alfred Hitchcock from Pure Cinema; Brett Moore amazed the audience with his encyclopedic knowledge of baseball which is the basis of his show Batter Up: Double Play; The cast of Bigfoot! The Musical performed two numbers from their “Fringe favorite” production.  There was also some additional sketch-foolery and the babbling of some guy who spends far too much time staring at the blank white of his screen’s “text area.”

All in all, it was a great serving of “Fringe” offerings in tasty bite-sized pieces.

And at the center of it all was Alex Enriquez who proves himself worthy (along with Steve Allen, Jack Paar and the mighty Carson himself) of entry to the Valhalla of Late-Night hosts.

What is needed, is somehow extending this wonderfully conceived and realized celebration of all things Hollywood Fringe to larger audiences — between movie show times at AMC Theatres, over Facebook, via TVs at local bars and restaurants, playing on a loop outside Fringe Central and other avenues which I’ll to the more social media savvy— but Enriquez and crew have presented the Hollywood Fringe with a great tool for spreading the word and increasing its impact.

They just have to use it.


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Ernest Kearney - author
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An award-winning L.A. playwright and rabble-rouser of note who has hoisted glasses with Orson Welles, been arrested on three continents and once beat up Charlie Manson. His first play, "Among the Vipers" was a semi-finalist in the Julie Harris Playwriting Competition and was featured in the Carnegie-Mellon Showcase of New Plays. It was produced at the NPT Theater in Ashland, Oregon and Los Angeles’ celebrated Odyssey Ensemble Theatre. His following play, “The Little Boy Who Loved Monsters” was produced at The Hollywood Actors Theater, where he earned praise from the Los Angeles Times for his “…inordinately creative writing.” The play went on to numerous other productions including Berlin’s The Black Theatre under the direction of Rainer Fassbinder who wrote in his program notes of Kearney, “He is a skilled playwright, but more importantly he is a dangerous one.” Ernest Kearney has worked as literary manager or as dramaturge for among others The Hudson Theater Guild, Nova Diem and the Odyssey Ensemble Theatre, where he still serves on the play selection committee. He has been the recipient of two Dramalogue Awards and a finalist or semi-finalist, three times, in the Julie Harris Playwriting Competition. His work has been performed by Michael Dunn, Sandra Tsing Loh, Jack Colvin and Billy Bob Thornton, and to date, either as playwright or director, he has upwards of a hundred and thirty productions under his belt, including a few at the Bob Baker Marionette Theater as puppeteer. Kearney remains focused on his writing, as well as living happily ever after with his lovely wife Marlene. His stage reviews and social essays can be found at and Follow him on Facebook.

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