Author Archives: Rodney

Giving Mom an Edge

Plans for Mother's Day Eve? Didn't think so.

Well, here's something you didn't get your mom (or the mother of your children) last year. It's one-size-fits-all. And you can enjoy it too.

Allen Edge is a nationally featured comedian based in Milwaukee, a recognizable performer in films, TV and on stage. And he's delivering his 90-minute comedy special "The Edge of Sanity with Allen D. Edge" at 8 p.m., Saturday, May 10, at the Arcade Theatre, 161 W. Wisconsin Ave., lower level.

From Facebook:

"Allen has performed his special brand of humor at Zanies in Chicago, Barrel of Laughs, All Jokes Aside, Jokes & Notes in Chicago, U Got Jokes Chicago, Comedy Central's "Comic Justice", The Comedy Café in Milwaukee, The Apollo Theatre in New York, and as the opening act for Pattie La Belle, Aretha Franklin, Smokey Robinson, and The O'Jays. Allen's stand-up is always clean and fresh."

So the night before your siblings trot out their sorry old greeting cards or wilting floral bouquets, treat your mother to an evening of laughter with a Milwaukee treasure. Tickets are $15 – but only $10 if you have an AARP card. Click here for more information.

Hurry now to take an acting workshop with Allen Edge on developing character: 2-6 p.m., Sunday, May 4. Click here.

Comedy Fest applications due May 15

Funny people! We know how you are with deadlines. That's why it's worth reminding you that time is running out to apply to perform in the 2014 Milwaukee Comedy Festival, which runs Aug. 7-10, at the Next Act Theatre space.

The festival features standup, improv and sketch comedy acts from all over the country (including Canada, which might as well be the 51st state) and showcases some of the best homegrown Milwaukee comedy performers as well. The fest provides a big stage for local talent and lets them rub elbows and swap notes with fellow travelers. But you have to pipe up and signal that you're interested.

Milwaukee Comedy Fest Applications are online. It couldn't be easier. You just have to answer some questions, provide a link to video of you performing and pony up the entry fee – $25 for standups, $30 for sketch or improv groups.

Comedy Fest applications have been streaming in since February. The last ones are allowed May 15. That bears repeating:

Milwaukee Comedy Fest applications Due May 15.


Caste of Killers rides again

So what do you do after four solid years of standup comedy in Milwaukee, of talking your way into new venues, of organizing open mics, of encouraging others – some who have never performed standup before – to join you, of running sometimes four or five shows in a week? What's next? 

Well, if you're Milwaukee's Caste of Killers Comedy Collective, obviously, you keep on joking.

Exhibit A: The Caste of Killers' Comedy Showcase, at 8:30 p.m., Friday, May 2, at Karma Bar, 600 E. Ogden Ave. From Facebook:

It's been peer reviewed and verified through stringent scientific experimentation: Karma Bar and Grill is home to Milwaukee's best underground comedy showcase. This comedian-run, independently-produced comedy show that started with a couple of funny guys and a microphone has grown into a full-fledged professional comedy extravaganza. The Caste of Killers showcase only the freshest and brightest comedy acts. From new, local, up-and-coming comics to nationally-touring headliners. The Milwaukee Stand-Up Comedy Showcase is the hidden jewel and the cornerstone of the Milwaukee comedy scene.

Here's this month's lineup:

Steve Breese 
Tony Broncatti
Abby Stassen 
Leanne Linsky
Mikey Manker 

Caste of Killers Showcase tickets are $5; $10 for VIP seating. And you can get them right here.

Greg Bach and a new podcast

Milwaukee is home to a lot of talented, hard-working comedians. Then there's Greg Bach. We suspect he's got a doppelganger or a time machine or a support staff of other comedians helping him accomplish all he's doing.

Check out his website,, if you don't believe us. Just some of the highlights include his work on The Good Night Milwaukee Show with Jake Kornely and Tyler Menz! his Uniform Snowflakes podcast and his studies at Second City Training Center.

An accomplished performer of improv and sketch, Greg Bach has been more prominent lately as a standup comedian. In the coming week alone, you can see him at such spots as:  

​And now Greg (or his double or his staff) is launching a whole new venture: The Milwaukee Comedy Podcast. Because he doesn't have enough to do. That's why.

Greg has already recorded the inaugural episode, and Milwaukee Comedy will be hosting a web page for the podcast as well as making it available on iTunes. We'll let you know as soon as it's available.

Meanwhile, catch Greg Bach at one of his many appearances and suggest why you would be a good subject for his podcast. Yeah, like he hasn't heard that before.

Milwaukee Comedy on YouTube

You probably already know this, but it bears reminding that Milwaukee Comedy sports more than 100 videos on its YouTube channel.

That includes promos, interviews, show recordings and introductory trailers for the plethora of Milwaukee comedy talent performing in Milwaukee Comedy events, such as the Milwaukee Comedy Festival.

Recently released videos on the Milwaukee Comedy YouTube channel feature sketches from last summer's Sketch 22 show. If you were involved – as a writer, director or performer – here's your chance to see how it looked. If you were in the sold-out audience for the semi-annual all-original production, you can replay your favorites (One of our many favorites is displayed above as an example.). And, if you've never seen Sketch 22, these YouTube videos are enticements.

Likewise, the Milwaukee Comedy YouTube channel can catch you up on other happenings and artists in the Milwaukee area.

Check it out. Click the Subscribe button so you don't miss the frequent updates.

Variety Hour (dance party)

Talk about burying the lead! The Variety Hour Happy Hour is launching a comedy show with a party afterward, but you wouldn't know it unless you read their promotion to the very end.

For the last year, the Variety Hour has been performing old-timey type vintage-TV-style shows with comedy sketches, live music, special guests, interviews, games and fabulous prizes. The shows have something for everybody – from zany to thoughtful. Because it's a variety show. That's why.

At 8 p.m., Friday, May 2, (May the 2nd be better!) the Variety Hour is having what it is eloquently calling "Variety Hour Happy Hour Anniverseganza II: The Varieting." From Facebook:

"…see a night of sketches, songs, and laughs, and maybe you'll just find your true purpose in life, we don't know, we're not your psychiatrist, we can't help you with that! But we can help you with the funny! Cuz that's how we do!"

As always, the show is in the Arcade Theatre of the Underground Collaborative, 161 W. Wisconsin Ave., lower level. 

Tickets are $15 at the door and $10 in advance. And the show is promising a "Super Secret Special Guest!"

But here's the kicker: Not until the last line of the Facebook post, do we learn that this celebration show also turns into a dance party. So now we've told you. You're welcome. Bear that in mind as you're dressing for the show. Wear appropriate shoes. And for the love of Pete, put on some deodorant.

Allen Edge is out there

Allen Edge is a Milwaukee treasurer. He's a nationally touring comedian, a character actor appearing in such feature films as "Barbershop 2: Back in Business" and "Meet the Browns," and he calls Milwaukee home.

We've seen him participate in Milwaukee open mics and Erik Koconis's Comedy Conclave, which tells you:

  1. Allen Edge is a professional who keeps working at his craft. 
  2. Allen Edge gives back to the community by involving himself in the development of other performers.

On Sunday, May 4, Allen Edge is running an acting workshop on developing character. From Facebook:

"Get Character in this comprehensive workshop on Character Development for the actor. You'll explore the foundations of your instrument (you) as well as the techniques of Stanislavski and Meisner. Character development is the foundation of the craft of acting. This workshop is for the seasoned actor as well as the beginner."

The workshop runs from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Underground Collaborative, 161 W. Wisconsin Ave., lower level.

It costs $60, and space is limited. Please click here to sign up and more information.

And don't miss Allen in a live show "The Edge of Sanity with Allen D. Edge," at 8 p.m., Saturday, May 10, also at the Arcade Theatre, 161 W. Wisconsin Ave., lower level. Click here for $15 tickets.


Short notice for Tall Boys

You've seen them together at the Milwaukee Comedy Festival fundraiser earlier this month, at the Comedy Arcade Show last month, raising funds for Milwaukee's Tamarack Waldorf School, at the Down & Over Pub in Bay View, at the Riverwest Public House Cooperative, at the Arcade Theatre in the Underground Collaborative, and elsewhere.

Individually, Erik Koconis, Robby McGhee, James Boland and Lee Rowley are delivering comedy all over the Milwaukee area on any given night at stand-up venues, ComedySportz shows, as part of The Improvised Musical (T.I.M.), Sketch Marks comedy, the Milwaukee Comedy Festival, No Dice improvised games, Busy Bar improv. assorted theater and more.

At 8 p.m. Friday, April 25, Erik, Robby, James and Lee improvise again as Tall Boys at 420 S. 1st St.

From Facebook:

Fresh off their hilarious set in the Milwaukee Comedy Festival Fundraiser, Tall Boys improv comedy returns for a special show at the ComedySportz Garage. Join the boys as they crack open a new show based on a single audience suggestion. 

Boys can't have all the fun. Opening for the Talls Boys will be Milwaukee's very own stand-up comedian Chastity Washington! (emphasis and links added)

Admission is $5. Do the math. That's only $1 per performer.

Recycling jokes

Supposedly, the British author and cleric Charles Caleb Colton is the one who said "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery." We think he stole it from someone else (and hope they thanked him for it).

Anyway, that's the sentiment behind this Tuesday night's weekly open mic at the Down and Over Pub, 2535 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., in Milwaukee's Bay View.

Christopher Schmidt, a connoisseur of comedy, and co-host Tom Grimm are turning the free forum for stand-ups into a used-joke session, a humor swap night, an opportunity to blatantly share some other artists' material without any pretense of making it their own.

From the Facebook event, Joke Thief Night at the Down and Over Comedy Open Mic:

"Stealing jokes is one of the most despicable crimes a comedian can commit. But sometimes you hear those jokes that you really wish you'd written, and maybe you feel a little tempted. Well, here's your chance to embrace that envy. For one night only (at the Tuesday 4/15 mic), it will be completely okay to pilfer each others' joke books. Here are the rules:

-This is an open mic event, anyone can sign up to do up to five minutes of material. Sign up will be at 8:30, the show will start at 9:00.
-That material must not be your own, but you can "borrow" from any source material you'd like: local comics, famous comics (yes, you may finally bust out some Mitch Hedberg Jokes), street jokes, etc…It's all fair game.
-You may draw from as many different sources as you'd like during your set; it isn't necessary to only tell one comic's jokes.
-Repeats will probably happen. That's okay.
-This is a tribute to our fellow comics, so be respectful. The intention is to have fun, not to mock or ridicule."

Because that was better said and eaiser than putting it in our own words. That's why.

The open mic starts at 9 p.m., Tuesday, April 15. And it's free.

Improvised musical review

Often, we use critical reviews as consumer guides, helping us decide which movie or TV show or theatrical production to see. They give us a professional perspective on what is worthwhile or what suits our mood or complements our taste.

But reviews also serve as historical records, documenting what happened only once and never can be experienced again.

Last month, Russ Bickerstaff, from the Shepherd Express, reviewed the March performance of the monthly show T.I.M., The Improvised Musical. Because the musical is improvised, it's one-and-done. It's never the same. There's no going back.

Yet, the review specifies insights into the spontaneous, toe-tapping, heart-pumping creativity that audiences have found at T.I.M. shows since 2011. From Mr. Bickerstaff's review of the show "Book of Ninja," suggested by the audience (emphasis added):  

"Now in its third year, the show regularly sells out. This month’s show was no exception with an enthusiastic crowd enjoying the presentation. A very charming Amanda Carson played the central heroine, a timid young woman studying to become a ninja. The cheesy action-musical plot played traditional journey-of-the-hero themes that were manipulated with some considerable efficiency by a group of students and a sassy spirit played by Mara McGhee as they followed the heroine to her triumphant finale."

So it won't be the same. A review is not a preview. But the next T.I.M. is at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, April 17. It's at ComedySportz, which will have its bar and restaurant service open for the show. The address is 420 S. 1st St. And it's only $5 cash.

You can wait for someone to review the show afterward. But by then you'll have missed it. You can reserve seats by calling weekdays at (414) 272-8888.

  • 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!


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