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White to receive warm welcome, fine for event

Photo by Laura Williams

Photo by Laura Williams

ALBANY -- Recession? What recession?

Even in dire economic times, people love to laugh. Ask Ron White.

The comedian has completely sold out Albany's Municipal Auditorium for his show Friday, city officials say.

"It's quite a feat when you think about it. That in times as tough as these that someone is able to sell out is a good sign," Assistant City Manager Wes Smith said.

And when White leaves the stage Friday -- his trademark cigarette and scotch in hand -- he'll be greeted by hordes of fans and some of Albany finest with a municipal code violation in hand.

Smith said city officials have already spoken with White's people and the Albany Police Department, and they comedian's representatives have agreed to pay the $126.88 fine for smoking in prohibited places.

"It's already pretty much been worked out," Smith said. "He's going to go on stage, do his routine, then come off and, if he lights up, then we'll cite him."

The city of Albany has had a ban on indoor smoking in public buildings since 1998, city officials say. And White, as funny as he may be, isn't above the law.

Civic Center Director and Albany Municipal Auditorium Manager John Mazzola said that more than 950 tickets have been sold for the event, which is a plus for Albany.

"From our perspective, we get a headliner and filled the auditorium, so this is color about the crease for us," Mazzola said.

The White show is the first show in the first quarter of 2010 for Albany. Tyler Perry's new play is set to hit the civic center in early spring.

Perry, who has been in Albany three other times, typically draws 3,000 people to the civic center, and since he's personally going to be in the show this time, Mazzolla expects there to be additional interest.

"We're looking forward to it," Mazzolla said. "He is a good draw for this town, and Albany routinely comes out for him."