Comedy News

All the local comedy news you need to know about in and around Milwaukee!

Milwaukee Comedy supports the local comedy scene in Milwaukee, WI and surrounding areas with this comedy news blog, offering incite on the local comedy scene, info on area comedy shows, the Milwaukee Comedy Festival, special offers and ticket giveaways and more.Something missing?  Tell us about a local comedy event!

Check out more comedy in Milwaukee with our Comedy Event Calendar!

T.I.M. - The Improvised Moneyraiser

Congratulations to Milwaukee’s T.I.M. (The Improvised Musical) for being selected to perform in The New York Musical Improv Festival (T.N.Y.M.I.F).

How does T.I.M. get there, you ask? Well, it’s going to take more than practice.

That’s why T.I.M. has started a fundraising campaign to send its cast and band and instruments to the 6th annual musical improv event, Oct. 16-19 at the Magnet Theater.

T.I.M., which for three years has been running every third Thursday of the month at ComedySportz, has amassed a loyal local following. In fact, it has been selling out shows lately. Now, as it says on its fundraising page, T.I.M. “could not be more excited to represent the Brew City out in NYC! “

And more:

“Milwaukee isn’t known worldwide for our comedy scene. However, if you’ve been to an improv show, a sketch show, a stand up set you know that we have so much talent here right in our hometown. Representing Milwaukee in New York City is such a huge honor for T.I.M. (The Improvised Musical). We plan to make Milwaukee as proud as we can!”

So, as it does with the title for its improvised musical each month, T.I.M. is seeking help from – you, the audience.

Click here to send T.I.M. to perform in New York.

The goal is $3,000. The campaign ends Sept. 13.

Milwaukee Comedy Fest intro: Teen Comedy Day

The Milwaukee Comedy Festival is not just about putting on four days of shows, featuring a variety of comedy styles and acts both local and out-of-state for Milwaukee audiences.

From its beginning in 2006, the Milwaukee Comedy Festival has sought to foster development in the Milwaukee comedy. For many of the Milwaukee performers in the nine shows (including the kickoff event), the 9th annual Milwaukee Comedy Festival will be their first on stage.

Part of developing talent and appreciation for comedy is encouraging young performers.

Once again, the Milwaukee Comedy Festival is scheduling Teen Comedy Day. In past festivals, the teen days have provided some of the best-received comedy of the event, with inspired performances and enthusiastic audiences.

Performers for Teen Comedy Day include:

Organized Chaos (improv) – First Stage Theater Academy has a 7-year-old advanced improv comedy training program. Students work together for a full year on such areas as spontaneity, integrity and leadership.

Brown Deer High School Improv – Students can study improv at Brown Deer with the school’s drama teacher, Patrick Schmitz, who also is the organizer and instructor of Organized Chaos, founder of Sketch 22 and a co-producer of the Milwaukee Comedy Festival.

4 Guys, 1 Mic (sketch) – Sketches stem from characters the four guys have created. “We are a young group and we pride ourselves on our age and we use it for comedy we combine some sketch and improv stuff to create comedy. “

Teen Comedy Day is at 2 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 10.

Get your $15 tickets by clicking here, or pay $20 at the door. (To see multiple shows in the Milwaukee Comedy Festival, Aug. 7-10, consider an All-Access Pass for $50.)

All the shows are at Next Act Theatre, 255 S. Water St.

Milwaukee Comedy Fest intro: Kickoff

The Milwaukee Comedy Festival runs from Thursday, Aug. 7 through Sunday, Aug. 10. But it really starts at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 6.

Because the kickoff event will be just as worth seeing as the other nine shows. That’s why.

Unlike the other nine shows, the kickoff features only local talent, instead of a mix of local and out-of-towners. It’s called the Milwaukee Comedy Showcase.

And here’s who’s scheduled to appear:

After School Special, improv – Here’s a bunch of Milwaukee-reared comedians who studied improv through First Stage’s Organized Chaos and now are a few years past high school, so therefore odder and wiser. Joel Boyd, Kevin Gerrity, Nevin Langhus and Anna Wolfe have continued to practice their funny stuff away in the interim. Their reunion should be a real treat.

Crouch Comedy, sketch – These clowns also met through improv workshops and liked performing together so much they decided to form a sketch group. You probably recognize some of them from professional ComedySportz matches. The Crouch cast includes Laura Bialek, Bradley Colmerauer, Carly Malison, Evan Schroeder, Morgan Tremper, Jon Waldbauer and Pami Zorko. Their slogan: “Crouch Comedy doesn’t take comedy sitting down, or standing up!”

The Goodnight Milwaukee Show, sketch and standup – Standup comedians Jake Kornely and Tyler Menz perform a Milwaukee-centered live, late-night talk show with guests and gags and games and jokes. It’s just like Conan, Jimmy or Jimmy except it’s got two heads.

We’ll say this about the kickoff show: It’s the best bargain of the fest.

Click here to get $8 kickoff tickets, or pay $10 at the door.

The kickoff and the whole Milwaukee Comedy Festival are at Next Act Theatre, 255 S. Water St.

International Comedy Festival in Milwaukee

The Milwaukee Comedy Festival, which runs from Thursday, Aug. 7 through Sunday, Aug. 10 is drawing comedy performers from across the country and even Canada. That means that once again the 9th annual festival is an international event.

The Canadian representatives bringing the international distinction to the fest are the six-person comedy sketch team of Cash Grab. The troupe from Toronto is returning from last year’s festival and performing in the 8 p.m. show Saturday, Aug. 9.

The Milwaukee Comedy Festival started in 2006 as a way to showcase local comedy talent by staging Milwaukee-area comedians with out-of-town acts in order to develop a more diverse comedy community both for Milwaukee audiences and performers. 

To secure tickets for the international Milwaukee Comedy Festival, click here.

Tickets are $20 at the door, or $15 in advance. An all-access pass costs $50 for all nine shows and other privileges. The Miilwaukee Comedy Festival is at the Next Act Theatre, 255 S. Water St.

Jimbo Jameson: Man, Myth and Mustache

This is how rumors get started.

A caption on a photo accompanying an article on WisconsinGazette.com might suggest that Matt Kemple is the same person as Jimbo Jameson.

In the article, Matthew Reddin reports on the 9th annual Milwaukee Comedy Festival, Aug. 7-10. He writes:

“What’s the funniest event in Milwaukee?

Most comedy aficionados would say that’s an easy question to answer: the Milwaukee Comedy Festival.”

Following his recent article for the Shepherd Express on comedy workshops in Milwaukee, Reddin wrote for the Gazette that Kemple anticipates a breakout year for the 2014 comedy fest, said to be the largest comedy event in Wisconsin. The article described how the festival’s nine shows are set up to showcase a variety of styles of comedy from both local performers and acts as far away as Los Angeles and Toronto.

To tell the truth, we have long suspected that Jimbo was just Kemple in disguise. They have certain undeniably similar features. Plus, we never saw the two of them together.

That is, not until the 2013 Milwaukee Comedy Festival, when Jimbo and Kemple once shared the stage briefly between acts.

We are not about to challenge the Gazette’s credibility. Indeed, we rely on it as a reliable and well-presented source of news. Let us just say we shall wait for more substantiation on Jimbo’s identity.

Click here for Milwaukee Comedy Festival tickets.

At the door, they’re $20 or $15 in advance and $50 for an all-access pass. The festival is at Next Act Theatre, 255 S. Water St.

Milwaukee Comedy Fest intro: Cash Grab

Back again to make the Milwaukee Comedy Festival a truly international comedy festival is Cash Grab – a sketch comedy troupe based in Toronto.

Members include Steve Gignac, Kyle McParland, Ashley Moffatt, Bruno Seiler, Ron Sider and Kyle Woolven. Ashley is the only woman. We just point that out because Ashley can be a man’s name, too.

More, from Cash Grab’s website:

“Cash Grab represents a new (and growing) generation of Canadian comedy – comedians that actually studied comedy in college. The troupe met while enrolled in Humber College’s Comedy: Writing and Performance program and have been performing together ever since.

Since graduating in the spring of 2012, the Cash Grabbers have seen their success take off. They were nominated for the prestigious Tim Sims Encouragement Fund Award and were selected to compete in the Fresh Meat competition at The Second City. Highlights for Cash Grab in 2013 were appearances in the Montreal Sketch Comedy Festival, Milwaukee Comedy Festival, and advancing to the final round of Toronto's Sketch ComAgeddon competition.”

Enjoy Cash Grab in the 8 p.m. show on Saturday, Aug. 9, along with

Tickets are $15 in advance by clicking here or $20 at the door. For $50, you can get an All-Access Pass admitting you to each and every one of the nine Milwaukee Comedy Festival shows, Aug. 7-10, at Next Act Theatre, 255 S. Water St.

History of the Milwaukee Comedy Festival

The year was 2006.

  • The 140-character Internet messaging service Twitter is launched.
  • President George W. Bush signs a law renewing the anti-terrorist Patriot Act and includes a statement to Congress that he does not have to tell them how the law is being used.
  • After singing about it for 48 years, finally, Paul McCartney is 64.
  • Unfettered by any voter ID laws, Wisconsin citizens turn out (some more than once) to approve a constitutional ban against same-sex marriage.
  • Wildlife enthusiast and international television celebrity Steve Irwin, better known as the Crocodile Hunter, is killed by a fish.
  • After four years of marriage, Heather Mills announces her divorce, finally, from Paul McCartney, age 64.

Also making history in 2006, the Milwaukee Comedy Festival began. Learn more about the origin story of Wisconsin's largest comedy event through the mini-documentary above, thanks to Milwaukee comedians Ryan Lowe and Jeff Lampton.

Among the first acts to perform at the first Milwaukee Comedy Festival was a new local all-female sketch comedy group calling itself broadminded. The “broads*” have performed in every Milwaukee Comedy Festival since.

See broadminded comedy perform in the 8 p.m. show, Thursday, Aug. 7 along with:

  • Matt Griffo, musical standup, from Chicago
  • Geofrey Asmus, standup, from Madison

Tickets are $15 in advance by clicking here or $20 at the door. For $50, you can get an All-Access Pass admitting you to each and every one of the nine Milwaukee Comedy Festival shows, Aug. 7-10, at Next Act Theatre, 255 S. Water St.

 

* They can call themselves that. You can't.

Milwaukee Comedy Fest Intro: Mary Zee

Mary Zee has an endearing, self-reflective approach to standup comedy. She boasts about resembling former SNL comedian Molly Shannon and has a huge following on LinkedIn.

Her Twitter profile (@Zemidas_Touch) describes the resident of Chicago’s Logan Square as a comedian, writer and time thief. A recent tweet gives us a peek at the thoughtfulness and wit of Mary Zee (pronounced Zed in her European tour):

“No trash cans on this stretch of road so I am holding a banana peel as I walk to a comedy open mic. In the biz, we call that brainstorming.”

We’re grateful she didn’t drop that peel and slip on it (funny as that might be). Because we’re looking forward to seeing Mary Zee at the 9th Annual Milwaukee Comedy Festival. That’s why.

Catch Mary Zee in the 8 p.m. show on Friday, Aug. 8, along with

  • Sketch Marks, sketch comedy, Milwaukee, including Kristin Althoff, Joel Dresang, Amanda Eaton, Scott Heaton, Lee Rowley*, Becca Segal and Lindsey Walcott
  • and our good friends Tall Boys improv, also from Milwaukee, including James Boland, Erik Koconis, Robbie McGhee, and Lee Rowley*, and coached by Jared Stepp

Tickets are $15 in advance by clicking here or $20 at the door. For $50, you can get an All-Access Pass admitting you to each and every one of the nine Milwaukee Comedy Festival shows, Aug. 7-10, at Next Act Theatre, 255 S. Water St.

*You can also see Lee Rowley in the 6 p.m. show, Saturday, Aug. 9, with Vince Figueroa and James Boland in Busy Bar improv.

Milwaukee Comedy Fest Intro: Matt Griffo

Matt Griffo loves cookie dough, apparently. But decidedly, Milwaukee Comedy Festival goers love Matt Griffo.

The nerdy, endearing musical comedian originally from Rochester, N.Y., has a knack of taking uncomfortable subjects, such as his grandfather’s racism, and putting them to clever lyrics in catchy tunes.

Son of a musician, Matt initially taught himself to play piano. He migrated to Chicago, where he pursued comedy through Second City and eventually combined his musical ear with his funny bone. From his website:

Matt Griffo is an up and coming Chicago based musician, actor, and comedian. He’s been performing at festivals across the country since 2008, has opened for Reggie Watts and is the composer for the Chicago smash hit: Jersey Shore The Musical. He has songs about the environment, racism, love, and zombies. He’s joined on stage by his piano, ukulele, and unique brand of witty and off the wall comedy.

See Matt Griffo in the 8 p.m. show, Thursday, Aug. 7 along with:

  • Geofrey Asmus, standup, from Madison
  • and our good friends broadminded, sketch comedy, Milwaukee, who have been in every fest since it started in 2006

Tickets are $15 in advance by clicking here or $20 at the door. For $50, you can get an All-Access Pass admitting you to each and every one of the nine Milwaukee Comedy Festival shows, Aug. 7-10, at Next Act Theatre, 255 S. Water St.

Wednesday: Free Open Improv

It’s that time of the every-other-week again when members of Sketch Marks comedy host a Free Open Improv at Milwaukee Comedy’s Arcade Theatre.

The first Free Open Improv session drew a fun mix of veteran and novice improvisers who engaged in an hour of free-flowing impromptu acting. With your participation, the second session, Wednesday, July 30, could be even better.

The Free Open Improv begins at 7 p.m., in the Underground Collaborative, 161 W. Wisconsin Ave., lower level. Just go downstairs from T.J. Maxx at the Grand Avenue Mall.

See Sketch Marks in the Milwaukee Comedy Festival:

They’re in the 8 p.m. show, Friday, Aug. 8, along with:

Tickets: $15 in advance; $20 at the door; $50 for an All-Access Pass admitting you to each of the nine shows at the Milwaukee Comedy Festival, Aug. 7-10, at Next Act Theatre, 255 S. Water St.

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