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Talk show host Kole kicked out of St. Regis

Aspen Times Staff Report

Local television talk show host Andrew Kole was kicked out of the St. Regis hotel Saturday over a dispute with an official of the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival.

According to Kole, the hotel management and the Aspen Police Department, the incident was pretty low-key.

“From our point of view … it was kind of a non-event. It wasn’t like it was heated or anything like that,” said hotel manager Peter Serena.

He pointed out that Kole was not the only one asked to leave the hotel at the behest of Comedy Fest guests.

“There were storm troopers from `Star Wars’ trying to get in touch with George Lucas, and he asked for them to be removed, too,” Serena said, explaining that several men dressed as characters from Lucas’ movie had to be escorted from the hotel at the director’s request.

Kole, who hosts a show on Grassroots Television five days a week, said Monday that he was thrown out of the hotel at the behest of Judy Brown, talent coordinator for Comedy Fest and an agent for comedienne Debi Gutierrez.

Kole said the dispute arose after he interviewed Gutierrez for his television show about a movie playing at Comedy Fest. The movie is a porn spoof titled “Big Time,” which, according to a complaint by the movie’s producers, was being “censored” by the sponsor of the comedy fest, HBO.

But the censorship complaint, unknown to Gutierrez, was simply a promotional gag by the movie’s producers.

When Gutierrez learned it was all a stunt, Kole said, “she felt she was embarrassed, I think.” She asked that the show not be aired as scheduled on Friday, a request that was honored by Grassroots director Damian Panetta.

Kole said the next day he went to the St. Regis to catch Gutierrez’s comedy act, explaining, “I was just trying to be nice” and smooth over any hard feelings that might exist.

But, he said, he was stopped at the door by Gutierrez’ agent, Judy Brown, who also is the talent coordinator for the festival. She apparently told him he could not get into the show.

“Judy Brown felt I ambushed her [Gutierrez] to try to make her look foolish,” Kole said. “Why would I ambush her? What would be the point?”

Nevertheless, he said, on Saturday night Brown barred him from the show, saying it was “because of what you did to my client.” A moment later, he said, she told him she wanted him to leave the hotel.

“I said, `Did you buy this hotel? I’m not leaving,'” Kole recalled.

But hotel security guards escorted him out the door, and the police were called but did not get involved. Kole ultimately did leave, but not before attempting to get the head of security to sign a written statement explaining the circumstances.

“They wouldn’t sign it,” he said, but they did explain they were ejecting him because he was “harassing one of our guests.”

Kole said that he planned to call the hotel manager to discuss the situation, and that he would be talking about it on his show.

“The weirdest part of the whole thing is, the show she was on, but which did not air, was about censorship. We did a show about censorship, and then we got censored,” he said.

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