Comedian Dwight Slade performs Friday night at Ground Zero in Medford. - Photo by Brian McDonnell

The weekend comedy lineup

Comedian Dwight Slade is becoming an international household name. He's just returned from two weeks of performing in Israel, and he toured Afghanistan in May 2006.

"It's all part of my 'Let's Visit all of the Hot Spots of the World' tour," Slade says. Well, with a military presence anyway.

"The last thing I thought I would ever do is stand on a stage and ask 'How's everyone doin' in Jerusalem tonight?" he says.

Slade will perform at 9 p.m. Friday, July 20, at Ground Zero, 123 S. Front St., Medford. Comedian Dale Swanson will be the show's opening act.

Slade's shows in Israel were to raise money for a charity that helps English-speaking runaway teens and were presented primarily to American-born Jews living in Israel, he says.

In Afghanistan, Slade performed for U.S. troops.

"I had to verify that fact for my father," Slade says. "There was some confusion as to whether or not I would be performing for the Taliban."

It was an inspiring trip, and it strengthened him as a performer, he says.

"But it was weird for me because I'm anti-war. But I'm pro-violence."

Slade also did a run of 50 shows in 24 days at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2006, the largest arts festival in the world.

Slade began his career in comedy at age 13. He was enamored with comedians on Johnny Carson's "The Tonight Show" and began writing jokes to try out on friends. During high school, he landed small gigs in improv theaters, including the Comedy Workshop in Houston. Later, he worked as a stand-up in Los Angeles.

He relocated to Portland in 1983 and, in the early '90s, he became a talk radio personality for KXL-AM. The station billed him as "The Northwest's Most Dangerous Mind."

He's made appearances on television, in films and at comedy festivals around the country. The most recent was a segment on "Comics Unleashed" with Byron Allen.

Slade has more than one tie to Southern Oregon. "I was the first comedian to ever perform at Ground Zero; it was way back when the venue was called the Manhattan Rose. It's a great room," he says.

He was also raised in Klamath Falls, and his mother lives in Brookings. Admission to the show at Ground Zero is $5. Call 779-4827.

Del Van Dyke and Shane Murphy take the stage at 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, July 20-21, at Chadwick's Pub, 2300 Biddle Road, Medford. Admission its $5. Call 282-2122.

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