Labor of laughs

Labor Day weekend is a time to reflect on all the good folk who have worked hard and sacrificed to make our lives easier.

And while that’s a bit of a down note at a time when most of us are grilling sausages and toasting the completion of summer, it’s also a reason to find a little levity this weekend.

Besides the 110th anniversary party of Harley-Davidson roaring into Milwaukee, there’s something of a har-har fest scheduled at the Marcus Center for Performing Arts. It’s called “Laughter is Good Medicine” at 8 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 31, at 929 N. Water St. (Doors open at 7 p.m.)

The show features the standup comedy of R. Michael Gull, Chastity Washington and Marlin Hill. Tickets are $30 and are available online. 

And remember, comedians are working hard to make your life better too.


60 Minutes of Various Comedy

So they’ve changed the name of the comedy show “Variety Hour Half-Hour” to just “Variety Hour Happy Hour.” Because apparently some Milwaukee comedy enthusiasts were confused, that’s why.

Some thought the monthly shows at the Arcade Theatre were just 30 minutes long. However, the shows are 60 minutes – one hour – live. And then half of the show is presented via edited videotape on YouTube.

I thought “Variety Hour Half-Hour” was catchy. More importantly, I thought the shows have been funny. They offer a live comedy-oriented mixture of standup, sketch and improvised hilarity showcasing top Milwaukee talent. The shows even include an interview segment with a local comedian.

The next show is at 8 p.m., Friday, Aug. 30, at 161 W. Wisconsin Ave., lower level. It features a guest appearance by Sally Arenberg as well as James Boland performing his interactive Dungeons & Dragons-inspired improv game “No Dice.”

Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door.

The “Happy Hour” part of the new title emphasizes both that the show is 60 minutes long and that your face is going to smile. It also suggests alcohol is permitted. It’s BYOB. Or maybe they need to spell that out too.

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