Author Archives: jimbo

This Festival Features the Funny!

It’s always exciting to see what kind of line up the annual Milwaukee Comedy Festival puts together. This year doesn’t disappoint, with plenty of talent from all over including Milwaukee, Chicago, L.A. and Canada. Wisconsin’s largest comedy event celebrates nine years this year, August 7-10, 2014. The annual event will offer audiences a variety of comedy stylings including professional stand up, improvisation and sketch comedy. You can grab tickets for only $15 right here before it’s too late, or try your luck for $20 day of the show.

Milwaukee Comedy FestivalCan’t get enough comedy? You can grab an All Access Pass and gain access to every show and Kick Off event in the 2014 Milwaukee Comedy Festival. And if that wasn’t good enough, an All Access Pass also snags you a limited edition lanyard, first-choice seating for the shows, and a button or sticker.

All events in the 2014 Milwaukee Comedy Festival will take place at Next Act Theatre, 255 S. Water St., Milwaukee, and things will kick off with a Milwaukee Comedy Showcase on Wednesday, August 6, 2014 at 7:00pm. The evening will feature a Meet & Greet with Performers and Festival Staff and then great Stand up and Sketch Comedy from some of Milwaukee’s top performers with Crouch Comedy and The Goodnight Milwaukee Show.

Here is the complete Milwaukee Comedy Festival Show Line Up:

Thursday, August 7, 2014
6:00pm
Improv Jam
Variety Hour Happy Hour

8:00pm
Geoffrey Asmus – Stand Up, Madison, WI
Matt Griffo – Musical Comedy, Chicago, IL
Broadminded – Sketch, Milwaukee, WI

comedy fest-tall
Friday, August 8, 2014
8:00p
Mary Zee – Stand Up, Chicago, IL
Sketch Marks – Sketch, Milwaukee, WI
Tallboys – Improv, Milwaukee, WI

10pm
Dan Friesen – Stand Up, Chicago, IL
Jack and the Wolf – Improv, Chicago, IL
That Just Happened – Sketch, Chicago, IL

Saturday, August 9, 2014
6:00pm
Mario Robinson – Stand Up, Milwaukee, WI
Busy Bar – Improv, Milwaukee, WI
Divorced Siblings – Sketch

8:00pm
Rob Christensen – Stand Up, Los Angeles, CA
Chairs – Improv, Chicago, IL
Cash Grab – Sketch, Toronto, Canada

10:00pm
Eric Koconis – Stand Up, Milwaukee, WI
Last Action Movie – Improv, Minneapolis, MN
Three to Turn the Stool– Improv, Chicago, IL

Sunday, August 10, 2014
2pm Teen Comedy Show!
Organized Chaos – Improv, Milwaukee, WI
Brown Deer H.S. – Improv, Milwaukee, WI
4 Guys, 1 Mic – Improv, Milwaukee, WI

All Access Comedy Festival Passes Go!

You can finally go out side without a jacket (at least most of this week), Summerfest is in full swing and the smell of beer is in the air! That can mean only one thing, Milwaukee Comedy Festival All Access Passes are now available!

Milwaukee All Access PassWisconsin’s largest comedy event has offered crowds hundreds of hours of laughs over the years. Everything from stand up, improv and sketch comedy from across the country. Seasoned comedy festival goers know the best way to see all that funny is with an All Access Pass! Good for entry to all shows, Kick Off and Special Events, an All Access Pass is the best value, and the best way to experience the Milwaukee Comedy Festival, August 7-10th, 2014.

Each All Access Pass is $50 and includes a cool lanyard that gains you admission to all shows in the 2014 MCF, some fun festival swag, priority seating at shows, and of course all the laughs you can, well, laugh.

And word on the street is (and by street, we mean our office), a limited number of All Access Passes are available, so hurry before they disappear like nice weather in Wisconsin!

You can find you’re All Access Pass right here on the official website.

Comedy Festival

Milwaukee Comedy Podcast - Ep. 3 with Johnny Beehner

podcast

On the third episode of the Milwaukee Comedy Podcast, Greg sits down with local and national comedian Johnny Beehner, talking comedy, an amazing family charity and the perils in working for a company that destroyed America. If you’re an up and coming standup, Johnny gives some tips and talks about his experience with bookers.

Thanks for listening and enjoy!!

We gotta say thanks to the brains and brawn of the podcast: comedian Greg Bach! Check out gregbach.com for his upcoming comedy shenanigans!

Milwaukee Comedy Podcast - Episode 2b with Ryan Lowe

podcastMoving right along into the second recorded podcast for Milwaukee Comedy with host Greg Bach! This one is chock full of fun – so fun it available to you in two parts!

Greg Interviews the Lone Wolf of comedy – Ryan Lowe (Part 2)

 

We gotta say thanks to the brains and brawn of the podcast: comedian Greg Bach! Check out gregbach.com for his upcoming comedy shenanigans!

A Summer Comedy Tour

Summer Boys Do It! Comedy Tour!

After 6 months of winter, it sure does sond like a good idea to start the summer.  What better way than with two of the hottest rising stars in the comedy scene today? Josh Fadem and Johnny Pemberton are making their way into the Cream City on June 21st at The Underground Collaborative for there Summer Boys Do It! Comedy Tour!

Check it out June 21st, show starts at 8pm (Doors at 730pm).
You can buy tickets right here for $10 online or get them for $12 at the door.  But if the level of laughs are any indication, this show will sell out!  So get those tickets while you still can.

These Comedians have been seen on “Just For Laughs” comedy festival stages and they have toured with comedians such as Matt Braunger and member’s of The Whitest Kids U’ Know! YOU may recognize these fella’s from popular television shows like ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’, ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live!’, ’30 Rock’ and various Adult Swim shows. Josh was also named one of Daily Variety’s “10 Comics to Watch”!
Johnny has been in “21 Jump Street”, “The Watch”, “This is 40″, “Aim High” and Armando Ianucci’s Oscar nominated film “In The Loop”.

And you’ve seen Josh in these feature films: Miss March, Small Pond, I Am Comic, “Awful Nice”, “Dear Sidewalk”, and “The Guest.”
Summer Boys Do It! Comedy Tour!
June 21st, show at 8pm, doors at 7:30p
at the Arcade Theatre, in The Underground Collaborative
161 W Wisconsin Ave (inside Grand Ave Mall; lower level under TJMaxx). Parking is available in the structure attached to Grand Ave Mall (corner of Plankinton and Wisconsin)
Free Parking after 6pm on street.  Tickets right here for $10!

Milwaukee Comedy Podcast - Episode 2a with Ryan Lowe

podcastMoving right along into the second recorded podcast for Milwaukee Comedy with host Greg Bach! This one is chock full of fun – so fun it available to you in two parts!

Greg Interviews the Lone Wolf of comedy – Ryan Lowe (Part 1)

 

We gotta say thanks to the brains and brawn of the podcast: comedian Greg Bach! Check out gregbach.com for his upcoming comedy shenanigans!

Introducing the Milwaukee Comedy Podcast!

mc-podcast

Say hello to the all new Milwaukee Comedy Podcast! We won't actually hear you say hello, but, c'mon, it's fun!

In our very first episode (Yippie!) Host Greg Bach interviews Founder and Producer of Milwaukee Comedy and the Milwaukee Comedy Festival, Matt Kemple. Check it out and finally get the answer to hard hitting questions like "What is there to do in the Grand Ave Mall" and "Milwaukee?"

We gotta say thanks to the brains and brawn of the podcast: comedian Greg Bach! Sorry Greg, it took us a few extra days to get the podcast up, (we hope you went to all the shows he plugged) check out gregbach.com for his upcoming comedy shenanigans!

Episode 1: Greg interviews Producer and Personality Matt Kemple!

A Great, Plain Example of the Sense of Success

It’s simple. Do what you love because you love doing it.  Keep doing what you love, even if you’re not making money or gaining fame.  The simple desire to pursue something based on passion and enjoyment can lead you to greater places, but it will always make you feel greater no matter where you end up. 

Kyle Kinane is doing what he enjoys and he’s made his enjoyment into a job. Comedy is a profession of passion because many of the individuals pursuing a career in entertainment will continue to absorb any opportunity—regardless of where it may take someone. It’s better to focus on building the quality of your efforts rather than worrying about success. The reality of success is achieving happiness—and if greater opportunities come forth, well, that’s cool too.

tumblr_n3ssmpGa3U1qznu3co1_1280
This is exactly how Milwaukee Comedy was created and why it continues to exist today. We’re devoted to create a community for comedians and comedy lovers to connect and share a similar passion for comedy. Our interview with Kyle was definitely a refreshing reminder of where we began; where we are; and where we’re going! 
 

Milwaukee Comedy: You’re a comedian that rolls off the tongue of many comedy fans and aspiring young comedians. Lots of people follow your career closely, but what do you do when you’re not on stage? Enjoying an active lifestyle helps generate more to talk about on stage—what are things you’ve done to maintain your creative process?

Kyle Kinane: Oof, the creative process. I don't know what that is. I just try to say "yes" to as many things as possible. It's not a creative process as much as it's just a more interesting way to live life. And if the byproduct happens to be some new material, then that works out. But I don't try to do stuff just for material. I think that cheapens the experience. I try to have the experience for the sake of enrichment, and then worry later if it can work on stage.

(MC): I’ve read you studied creative writing in college. Who are some of your favorite writers? Do you notice any influence they may have on your style of comedy?

(KK): My favorite writer is Poe Ballantine. I don't know if he's influenced my comedy, but his nonfiction writing isn't of any epic tale–just a guy wandering through a mundane existence but communicating his feelings on in beautiful. So I guess that's the influence–any random day can be beautiful, or comedic, or emotional.

(MC): When you’re working on your new material how do you typically go about creating it? Do you write it out; walk around and go other it in your head? Talk to strangers?

(KK): I just take the idea on the stage, ramble around with it, and try to remember which parts people laugh at.

(MC): How much of your off stage time goes into pushing your comedy career to the next level? How would you explain and define the balance between creating new content and the business aspects of comedy?

Kyle Kinkane(KK): Standup is my job. Everything else (voice over, writing, etc) is a bonus side job that came from comedy. But standup brought me to this dance, so that's what I'll fret over more than anything else. The only way I really try to push my "career" is to be as good as I can at standup. I don't stress the business stuff too much. I have agents and managers and various handlers who all get a cut of my income. So it's their business to worry about that stuff. 

(MC): You’re currently on The Great, Plain Tour working some clubs and bars…these short road tours are growing in popularity; they resemble van tours local bands would book. Can you tell us a little bit about this current tour and the influence behind it?

(KK)—The past few years I've been doing driving tours. All the bands I admired did it this way. And I wanted to start playing venues other than just comedy clubs.

(MC): What do you think of the current state of comedy in our culture? Do you think it’s become an art form that more people try to relate with similar to music?

(KK): Bearded white dudes talking about midnight pizza will soon become the rolled up blazer sleeves talking about the in-laws. I see the dirt coming down on my casket soon. But there's still a bunch of people who are doing standup because they want to be good at standup. As long as that's going on, it won't go away.

(MC): You’re originally from Chicago—did you venture into Milwaukee for comedy when you lived in Illinois? Is there anything you are particularly excited to visit or experience when you’re back in Milwaukee?

(KK): I'd been up there once or twice for comedy, yes. I'm sure it's touristy and old hat for the locals, but I always enjoy the Safe House.

(MC): When you decided to head to a bigger comedy market how did you make that decision? Did you plan it out or just go for it with whatever means you had at the time?

(KK): I didn't decide. I just do the jokes. If enough people like the jokes that I need to move to a bigger venue, cool. But I don't seek it out. It's quality control. I just try and to the best job I can and let the market dictate the next move.

(MC): Most people would classify comedy as an unconventional career choice…can you reflect on your experiences of letting people know you were pursuing a career in comedy?

(KK): I was never pursuing it. It was the thing I was going to do, no matter what, because it kept me from sinking into suburban Midwest depression. If I got money from it—great. If I didn't, fine. This has gone farther than I could've ever imagined.

(MC): And for the last, and most typical questions—what sort of advice would you offer a new comedian looking for some advice? Also, what was a piece of advice you received that helped you early in your career?

(KK): When people ask, all I ask is "Do you love standup enough to do it for free forever?" That's it. Because that's what's going to happen. You're going to do it for free for a long time. It's not a career. It's an obsession with a puzzle that can never be completed.

Kyle Kinane will be performing at Shank Hall on Tuesday May 6th at 8pm! Get your tickets right here for The Great, Plain Tour as it makes a stop through the Cream City!

This show will also have local support from comedian and producer of The Goodnight Milwaukee Show–Jake Kornely!

Johnny Beehner on Festivals

Festival season is in steady course for comedians and The Milwaukee Comedy Festival is gearing up for another year of great laughs! We thought it would be a great idea to talk with local great Johnny Beehner about comedy festivals!

Johnny BeehnerJohnny, who recently competed in Gilda’s LaughFest Best in the Midwest Competition and returned to Laughing Skull Comedy Festival, was awesome enough to chat with us about his experiences with comedy festivals and offered some humbling advice for young comedians looking to submit to festivals.

(Milwaukee Comedy) You recently finished Laughfest and Laughing Skull…what were the most enjoyable moments that came from those experiences? What did you learn that you didn’t know before going into these events?

(Johnny) don’t know that I learned a ton that I didn’t know before going into those. I did go to a couple of seminars at the Laughing Skull Comedy Festival on the business of comedy and what industry is looking for. This was my 3rd time doing the Laughing Skull Festival and I love it every time—lots of comics, lots of opportunities to hang with comics, and lots of industry.

LaughFest was great because it is so well put together and a great cause! Gilda’s Club runs and puts on the festival and there are so many shows and it’s just great. The whole city of Grand Rapids gets behind it.

Here’s what I learned doing those festivals and talking to the higher ups: The comics that do the best are one’s that have a unique point of view and are very memorable. There were some comics that killed in their sets and didn’t advance. These judges see over 60 comics and they look for the one’s they will remember weeks after the festival.

Ya got to stick out.


There’s more to these events than winning and performing…can you explain what some of the benefits of participating or just hanging around festivals/contests?

The best part is getting to hang out with comics that you don’t get to see very often.  As comics, we all work at the same time and only 2 or 3 work together on weekend shows, and if you are at the same level as each other, you never get to work together.  That is why festivals are so great. Comics get to hang out and have a week of fun together. 

The networking is really important. If you don’t live in NY or LA, festivals are a great opportunity to get seen and meet people in industry that can help your career. I met very important [individual] at the Laughing Skull Festival the year I didn’t even advance [who] I to this day have a pretty close relationship with.

How do (did) you typically choose which festivals/contests you enter or perform in?

The reputation of the festival based on just talking to other comics. There are a LOT of festivals that pop up that make a lot of money for the person putting it together that don’t really do much for the comics that have to pay to be in them. That’s upsetting, so I am pretty picky.

I’m not saying every festival has to have promises of boosting your career, but it needs to be well organized and provide lots of social opportunities for fun.

Laughing Skull is great about that—they have lots of parties and outings, and a kickball game, etc. I’ve kind of gone through my “submit to every festival” phase and am pretty picky now. If you have to pay to submit AND there are no accommodations included, it’d have to be really GREAT festival for me to give it a shot.b

Sometimes comedians will avoid applying to (or get upset when denied from) certain festivals and contests. What are some suggestions that may help new comedians understand the process of entering these sorts of events from your experiences?

Obviously it sucks getting rejected from a festival, but I think comics just have to understand how it goes.  As long as they don’t look at the roster and feel like it was an obvious game of unfair playing favorites, then I think they understand. I usually put it out of my mind right after I submit to stuff.  Waiting and hoping doesn’t change anything.

What would you say to newer comedian looking to enter contests or festivals to avoid?

Just make sure your submission video is professional and the best stuff you got. It has to have great sound quality AND it has to look great. You can be killing, but if its shot from a cell phone and a guy’s head keeps popping in front of the camera, it’s annoying to watch and nobody will care how well you’re doing. 

Johnny Beehner
What are things to avoid worrying about in contests?

Winning. You can hope to win, but try not to stress and worry. I know that is way easier said than done, but its true. When I feel like I need or want to win so bad, I perform way worse than when I am laid back and relaxed. Comedy is subjective.

The important thing is doing a good show and being you. Most festivals that have a contest aspect to it, the contest doesn’t mean much, it’s more of a gimmick for the audience to get excited about. They feel like they are witnessing a live reality show.

What is the atmosphere like at these events?

Some comics are chill and some are pacing. It’s fun because they are usually GREAT shows. Everyone wants to do their best and is on their game so the audience really gets a great show. 

Is it best to submit with friends or alone or does it matter?

I like both. I have done it both ways. I used to do it alone and took them really seriously and got stressed if someone wanted to do something that prevented me from focusing, but now I try to go with friends. I did Laughing Skull with my good buddy, Mike Merryfield last year and this year. We both have pretty good attitudes about not caring what happens. Last year we both got knocked out right away and had a blast.  This year, Mike didn’t advance and I made it to the finals and it was fine. 

How often are practical jokes played between comedians during these events? What are some you’ve pulled on your fellow comedians?

 

Ha. Not a whole lot of pranks other than farting in someone’s face when they are sleeping and stealing each others phones to post horrible facebook status’s on each other’s fb accounts. This day in age, at these festivals, it’s a lot of incestual podcasting taking place. Everyone has a podcast. In fact, if you wanna hear what happens at comedy festivals, listen to Mike Merryfield’s Irrelevant Radio Podcast. We recorded a bunch this year and last year festivals. Some with industry, and some where we were super drunk and just making each other laugh at 3am.

 

If you’d like to find information for upcoming Johnny Beehner events check www.johnnybeehner.com. You can also grab Johnny’s album ‘Tiny Weiner’ on iTunes! Connect and Follow Johnny on Twitter @johnnycomic.

Don’t forget to check out information on The Milwaukee Comedy Festival!

 

Pony up to Timmy Williams

A camera, an idea, and a method to reach an audience are the basic ingredients for sketch comedy. Success can be an instant or a result of consistently creating quality material for audiences to enjoy and share. So if creating content is an easy task today than how does a group (or an individual) become successful in comedy?

Milwaukee Comedy got the chance to ask some questions to Sketch and Stand up performer Timmy Williams (of The Whitest Kids U’ Know) about the current shape of sketch comedy in today’s culture.  Williams’ provides some great information for sketch groups and/or people looking to start working on building their sketch career!Whitest Kids U Know

(Milwaukee Comedy)—What do you think the current state of the sketch scene in the comedy world?

(Williams)—Sketch comedy is in a great place right now.  Anybody anywhere can come up with an idea and shoot it and upload it to the Internet in a matter of hours.  This has changed the game considerably because Joe Schmo in Buttzville has just has much chance of accruing a million hits as a bunch of celebrities on Funny Or Die. 

The ease of getting your comedy to the masses has also made comedians become jack-of-all-trades; many stand-ups make sketches on the side, and vice versa.

How does a sketch group get noticed? What worked with The Whitest Kids You Know?

If you want to get noticed, you need to make stuff all the time.  With WKUK we were uploading videos online and writing new live sketches constantly for years.  The more quality stuff you can put out there, the more likely someone will see you.

How does a sketch group developed characters? What makes the process fun for the group to write out a sketch? How does a sketch group (or stand up comedians) judge their work before it seen by an audience?

With Whitest Kids we never worried too much about recurring characters.  We focused on our actual personalities and kind of exaggerating those and making those the characters.  That's why we don't really have ‘named characters’ that show up in tons of sketches, but you know that if you see a "Darren Girl" that it will be different than a "Zach Girl" or a "Trevor Girl." 

As far as judging your material, it's easier with sketch writing, because we always had four other people in the room deciding what worked.  We had a general rule that anything we would release had to make all five of us laugh.  That democratic process really helps control the quality.  With stand-up you think you have something but don't know until you get on a stage and throw it out in front of people, so it's a little more dangerous that way.

What characters do you enjoy playing? Do you have any characters or sketches you really like, but never have aired?

We have some stuff that never aired for one reason or another, and a lot of it involved harm coming to children (oops)!  There is one sketch called "Good Cop, Terrible Cop" that didn't air but may have been on a DVD, but I played this cartoonish Italian guy and it was very over-the-top and since I didn't get to do tons of accents on the show I really liked playing that guy.  Other than that, I like playing the dumb innocent characters, which is kind of my niche in the group since it's an exaggerated version of myself.  There are a few times I've gotten to play a jerk or an asshole and really enjoyed that too.

How does sketch writing differ from stand up writing? What's the most challenging difference between performing stand up verse sketch? Does one influence the other and vice versa? What defines a bit verse a sketch–how do they develop?

Timmy WilliamsThe big difference between sketch and stand-up to me is the concept of "safety in numbers."  When you write with a group, you have the other people's ideas and opinions to help shape your material.  When you write stand-up it's all you and anything that doesn't work is your fault.  Same goes for live performance.  If I forget a line onstage in a Whitest Kids show, someone else can say my line or ad-lib something else and keep things moving; if I forget a line in stand-up I just stand there looking stupid.

I think a bit and a sketch develop similarly, at least for me.  They start out with a one-word or one-line idea and blossom from there, and you just hammer it and hammer it until they're perfect-ish.  I have learned to write out my stand-up jokes as more of a sketch script and that has certainly made them better.

What are some of the biggest problems in the writer's room? How do they get resolved?

I have mentioned the many strengths of writing with other people, but the biggest weakness is when someone doesn't agree with something that you just know is funny.  You try and try to convince them but they're just not having it.  In Whitest Kids we rarely put anything through that we didn't all agree with, so sometimes that one person not being convinced has prevented ideas from happening.  And that's fine, because that's why we're a group.  The Whitest Kids is a sum of its parts and if we let everyone push through everything they wanted it would just seem like five separate people doing their own things under a banner.  By letting the group control the quality things are more streamlined and I think our material has a unique voice that only comes from five people's brains coming together instead of fighting for dominance.  There's always time to do your own stuff later.

How would a group get rid of a 'toxic' member?

I don't know how a group would get rid of a toxic member.  If you find out would you let me know?  I'm really sick of Sam.

What sort of advice can you offer individuals looking to put together or join a sketch group?

Just do it.  Get your buddies together some time when you're all free, start writing things down and shooting them and putting them online.  Being "good" takes time but it really is that easy to start.  Perform live!   It's really fun and makes you better.  Chances are you can find somewhere to perform no matter where you live.  The main thing though is to just try it.

You can catch Timmy Williams at Pony’s Bar and Grill (5132 S Packard Ave—Cudahy, WI) on Sunday, April 13th at 830pm. The show is hosted by local comedian Tyler Menz and featuring comedy from Alice Galloway and Zach Peterson.  Tickets can be purchased at Pony’s during business hours (3pm-close) or by calling (414) 975 5556.

  • Tickets Tickets Buy Tickets for upcoming Milwaukee Comedy Events!
  • The Comedy Arcade The Comedy Arcade Milwaukee’s new, collaborative comedy showcase featuring. A little of everything for every comedy enthusiast!
  • Retro Comedy Show Retro Comedy Show A night of new comedy based on old ideas! Standup, improv and a surprise retro 70's, 80's or 90's sitcom live on stage.
  • Variety Hour Happy Hour Variety Hour Happy Hour An all new variety comedy show with live music, special guests and plenty of comedy acts!
  • Featured Comedy Featured Comedy There are plenty of high-quality comedy shows and performers. Here are our favorites!

Archives

Add your Email!