Todd Wurster was one of the fastest-rising stars on the Michigan comedy club scene in the 1990s, headlining at places like Mark Ridley’s Comedy Castle in Royal Oak and regularly appearing at the Ann Arbor Comedy Showcase and other top clubs.
Kidney disease robbed him of his health and his comedy career, though, and Wurster passed away last November at the age of 52.
This Saturday, Wurster’s comedic spirit will be remembered in Clinton, as the first-annual Todd Wurster’s Classic Comedy Film Festival takes place at the Clinton Theater. Showtime is 3 p.m. Saturday, and admission is $10 for adults, $5 for children, with proceeds benefitting the National Kidney Foundation.
The public is invited. The Clinton Theater is located at 132 W. Michigan Ave. in downtown Clinton.
Featured on the big screen will be a host of classic comedy shorts featuring some of Wurster’s favorites, including the Three Stooges, Laurel and Hardy, Buster Keaton and the Little Rascals.
“Todd loved any kind of comedy, but he especially loved the old-time classic comedies,” said Wurster pal Brian Kruger, who organized the Film Festival. “We thought this would be a great way to remember and honor Todd. For him, the perfect afternoon would be getting together to watch the Three Stooges and Laurel and Hardy, so that’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to laugh a lot, and we’re going to remember a guy who had a world-class sense of humor.”
Growing up in Chelsea, Wurster was a performer from the start. As a youngster in the early 1970s, he had the title role of Oliver in the Chelsea Players’ musical production of “Oliver!” Acting alongside him as Fagin was future film star Jeff Daniels, a longtime friend of Wurster’s.
Wurster later attended Jackson Community College, where he toured the country as part of JCC’s legendary Rosier Players. After college, he launched his comedy career. He was a founding member of the Stunt Johnson Theater comedy group, which was a mainstay at comedy clubs throughout the Midwest in the late 1980s and 1990s.
Wurster later branched off and started a career as a solo stand-up comic. His quirky brand of observational and slapstick humor made him an instant hit, and he became a cult favorite at comedy clubs across the state. He quickly rose from emceeing to headlining at clubs like Mark Ridley’s Comedy Castle.
“He had a lot of friends in the comedy business, but all of them will tell you that Todd Wurster was the funniest one of them all,” said Kruger, who was also part of Stunt Johnson Theater. “It’s great that we’re going to have this opportunity to come together to remember him. He was a legend in every sense of the word.”