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Karel brings his comedy show "Karel Stands Up" to Planet Gemini on Friday. (Stephen Underhill Photography)

MONTEREY >> Charles Karel Bouley II is coming to town to entertain us.

One might ask, "Who is that?" He is better known as Karel, host of "The Karel Show" on AM radio station KGO 810. Karel has been with KGO since 2004 with, as he says, "two years off for bad behavior." He will bring his comedy show "Karel Stands Up" to Planet Gemini in Monterey on Friday.

Karel is an entertainer, and many have used the phrase "Renaissance man" to describe him and his talents. "That word has been used on me so many times," Karel said. "I sing, I do comedy, I do video, I'm an entertainer. I'm not of the school that if when you're an entertainer you do one thing. I think when you're an artist you do as much as you can because you're an artist. A painter often sculpts and can often do photography because they are visual artists. I am a communicator, that's what I do."

In the 1990s, Karel used music to entertain. He had his own record label and made the album "Dance ... Or Else," which sold 100,000 units. He later signed to Jellybean Benitiz's label. But Karel had to have a day job, so he wrote for The Advocate, Billboard and other publications. One day he was promoting a record at a dance radio station, and on the way home his partner, Andrew Howard, told him they were going to ask him back.

Karel was asked back 16 times.

"I started doing a weekend radio show on KYPA radio here in Los Angeles," Karel said. "Andrew would come with me because I was intensely jealous and was not going to leave him home on a Friday and Saturday night by himself. ... About six months into the show it became obvious that he had to be the co-host because he was the only person who could shut me up without me killing them."


Later Karel started doing a project for Triangle Broadcasting. "They wanted to do a gay network so we started morning radio for them from our home in Long Beach, 'Good Morning Gay America.'"

From the radio shows, Karel made a five-minute casette with his best moments and sent it to KFI Los Angeles. Within six months of submitting the tape, Karel & Andrew were filling in for major hosts. Within a year they were handed afternoon drive.

"This made us the first openly gay male couple, that's a couple on and off the air, to ever have an afternoon drive show in radio," Karel said. "The media caught on and suddenly Karel & Andrew were everywhere and we had a fun, fun time."

Andrew died suddenly in 2001. "KFI did not know what to do with me. They were like, 'What are we going to do. He's part of a duo and now that person is suddenly gone.'" Karel was later fired. "It was a troubling time."

Karel's journey into radio was accidental. He was doing outside projects in film, stage and TV. "I was never supposed to be in radio, I never even thought of radio as a career. I never knew talk radio existed until we started doing it."

There was a list of eight radio stations that would take Karel's type of show. Upon recommendation, he had an Integrated Services Digital Network line installed so he could broadcast from home. Karel called San Francisco-based KGO, which knew of him from previous radio shows. One weekend, KGO's Shawn Nix was out sick and the station called Karel to fill in. He began filling in more and more. Eventually KGO gave him Nix's show.

"In 2008 things were going well," he said.

But things changed the Sunday prior to Barack Obama's election after Karel made an expletive-filled statement about Joe the Plumber that was not supposed to go out over the air. "The engineer told me the mic was down," Karel said. "They knew I talk in my chatroom during the break. They always made sure my mic was down. I wouldn't turn my microphone off in the studio. Dumb mistake. The engineer was new, he was young and leaves his board and leaves me up." Within 15 minutes the incident was on the Internet and soon made national news. As a result, Karel was fired that November.

Karel still had something to say. He called the Razz Room in San Francisco. "I did what anyone would do," Karel said. "I stood back up and got back out on stage in December to address the firing and to fulfill a dream. When I would do the singing shows Andrew would always say, 'You know your talking is as great as your music. You should know that you can do both.'"

Hal Ginsburg called in March 2009 from KRXA in Sand City and said he wanted Karel's show. Ginsburg and Karel worked it out to get a show on at 9 p.m. and started syndicating the show on KRXA until the station's recent change to online only.

Early on, Andrew recognized Karel's talents and gave him a push at the Comedy Store in Los Angeles. "Pauley Shore had asked me down when we were on KFI," Karel said. "I didn't want to go up and do a set because I am not a stand-up comic and I don't do jokes. Andrew literally pushed me up on stage and I did 15 minutes about talk radio and he says, 'Honey, this is something you can do.' But I never took time to do it."

The audience can expect a variety of entertainment at Friday's performance. "I do parody songs," Karel said. "I have all kinds of parody songs. I am going to open this one in Monterey about walking your dog done to Lady Gaga's 'Applause.'"

Eventually KGO forgave Karel and he was re-hired in March 2011. His show can currently be heard on weekends.

When asked about his most memorable performance, Karel was appreciative. "You know its so cliche. It is. I hate to be the one on this side saying it because it sounds totally stupid, but there hasn't been one that hasn't been memorable. It is such a gift to be backstage. I get to wear fabulous clothing, sing, dance, do some comedy, sign autographs, hug people and take photos with people and be treated like nothing but wonderful.

"Every time I open that mic it's for all the marbles because it is such a blessing to have a voice."

Friday's performance will be Karel's fifth show in Monterey. "I love coming to Monterey," Karel said. "Even if there are only five people at Plant Gemini they will get a show because they took the time to plop down money and drive somewhere to see me, and they deserve it because that's what I do."

Karel is not showing any signs of slowing down. "When I'm 70 years old I plan on having at least 11 farewell tours," he said.

Clark Coleman can be reached at 646-4356.

If you go

What: 'Karel Stands Up' comedy show; comic Maureen Langan opens

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Where: Planet Gemini, 2110 N. Fremont St., Monterey

Tickets/information: $27.50,