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. waits for no one

Milwaukee’s ComedySportz arena is still humming from the World Championship and 30th anniversary festivities there last weekend.

On Thursday, June 26, The Improvised Musical (T.I.M.) channels that momentum into a full-blown song-and-dance story that’s never been sung or danced before.

Yeah. We know. T.I.M. always performs on the third Thursday of the month. Well, never say always. Because the ComedySportz World Championship and 30th anniversary festivities occupied the arena last Thursday. That’s why.

Anyway, the show goes on – just a week later – at 7 p.m. Thursday at ComedySportz, 420 S. 1st St.

Admission is a cheap $5, for which you get a one-hour improvised musical with intermission and all the fine food and refreshing beverage you can pay for.

Yes, it’s NBA draft night, and the Milwaukee Bucks have the No. 2 pick. OK, it’s Summerfest, and Lady Gaga is playing. You can read about all that after the fact. T.I.M. is one-and-done live musical theater, made up on the spot and never shown again. And it has sold out in the past. To reserve tickets, call 414-272-8888.

 

Stand-Up Cinema and the Laugh Crusade

You, the audience, are allowed to be seated for Stand-Up Cinema. The standups are the Milwaukee comedians who enhance your movie-going experience.

At 10 pm., Friday, June 20, Stand-Up Cinema presents “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” the 1981 Steven Spielberg (director) – George Lucas (writer) film starring the pride and joy of Ripon College, Harrison Ford.

But the real action is the hilarious interjections of Milwaukee comedy performers. From the Interweb:

What is Stand-Up Cinema? Ryan Lowe and his team of stand-up and improv comedians take your favorite movies and show them to you in a way they were never meant to be seen, “enhancing” a classic movie that was perfectly fine to begin with. Expect the unexpected as they provide live commentary during the film, replace movie scenes with live-action substitutes, and even insert pre-taped segments into the film itself!

Join the fun at the Times Cinema, 5906 W. Vliet St.

Tickets are $10 at the door, or you could click here.

 

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!

ComedySportz: 30 Rocks

Out-of-town participants are landing and anticipation is taking off for the 30th anniversary celebration of ComedySportz, which involves the ComedySportz World Championships, Thursday, June 19, through Saturday, June 21. The extravaganza includes about ComedySportz improvisers from some of the 24 ComedySportz franchises across the country and Europe. Matches begin at 7 p.m. Thursday and culminate in the championship at 10:30 p.m. Saturday.

From Facebook:

In 1984 Dick Chudnow, Bob Orvis, Brian Green, and many more talented comedians formed the phenomenon that is ComedySportz. This week, over 200 players from across the Earth are coming home for the World Championships to celebrate.

From Jim Higgins, of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Under its earlier name, TheaterSportz, the group began performing here in 1984 in the reception room of the old Kalt’s Restaurant on the east side. Now, in a true sign of Milwaukee success, ComedySportz has its own parking lot — and the building that goes with it — at 420 S. 1st St.

ComedySportz is the mother lode of Milwaukee comedy, not only providing family-friendly entertainment several times a week for all these decades, but also inspiring, training and facilitating a couple generations of comedians who have gone on to perform in Milwaukee and beyond – in sketch, stand-up and improv. But that’s just the backdrop. The proof of the pudding is in the shows.

Click here for more information on the schedule and how to get tickets, which range from $8.50 (for the Saturday matinee) to $17 (the championship).

Except for the championship, each show includes two matches.

CHUDNOW

 

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!

Two improvisers one-manning it

As birthdays go, No. 30 is up there as a monumental occasion. And with ComedySportz turning 30 this year, the anticipated events are forming a sort of family reunion for comedy improvisers.

For instance, Alex Grindeland, who practically grew up at Milwaukee-based ComedySportz, moved to Seattle a couple of years ago to start and manage the ComedySportz franchise there. Now, Alex is back home, and while he’s here, he’s reviving Al and Jim’s One-Man Show, with fellow improviser James Boland (pictured).

From Facebook:

“Witness as Alex Grindeland and James Boland attempt the impossible (or rather…very very difficult). These two improv virtuosos will use audience suggestions to create completely improvised scenes. Alex and James will individually compose separate worlds in which they play every character. Then the men will work together to combine the dual narratives, creating one hilarious, epic tale.”

The show is getting bigger by the day. Because not only can you see Al and Jim’s One-Man Show, but also standup comedians Erik Koconis and Jessie Mahne will perform as well as the other two-man improv team, Busy Bar, featuring Lee Rowley and Vince Figueroa. (And don’t be surprised if you see James Boland appear in Busy Bar too.)

All this is yours for the low price of $10. Just be at ComedySportz, 420 S. 1st St., at 8 p.m., Friday, June 13.

Speaking again of ComedySportz, learn more about the world championships at the franchises’ mother ship June19-21.

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!

Tall Boys in, School's out

Just seven months after raising funds for a high school initiative for Milwaukee’s Tamarack Waldorf School, Milwaukee’s vertical virtuosos of comedic improv are staging a celebration.

Tall Boys

The improv troupe aka James Boland, Erik Koconis, Robby McGhee and Lee Rowley is performing at the Tamarack Grant Celebration Party.

And get this: It’s free!

The show starts at 7 p.m., Saturday, June 7, at the Redstar Cocktail Club, 1758 N. Water St.

It features standout Milwaukee standups Tyler Menz and Sammy Arechar.

From Facebook:

“Join us for an evening of comedy with The Tall Boys! Enjoy a cocktail. Bust a gut. Fete the end of the school year… And kick up your heels because we got the grant and we’re celebrating!”

And in case you were dozing off there, this shindig is free.

Comic See, Comic Do - Advice from the Café

Shortly after the 1980s comedy boom, Milwaukee’s Lower East Side brought a wave of laughter that has rippled throughout the city for the last 26 years. Milwaukee’s Comedy Café, fashioned on the intersection of Water and Brady streets, provides live professional standup comedy and a venue for amateur comedians to reach for the stars. Milwaukee Comedy had the chance to speak with Chris Alburg, general manager and an employee of the Comedy Café for 21 years, about comedy as a career and Milwaukee’s comedy scene.

Comedy has gone through numerous changes over the years, but today’s trends seem to have “a more lackadaisical appearance” compared to the heyday of comedy in Milwaukee, according to Alburg.

“There’s been a more relaxed feel to the stage,” says the club manager, in a suit and tie. “Comedians don’t dress the part as a comedian. There’s no indication. They look like an average person in everyday clothing talking about everyday things.”

The appearance of comedy has changed – a sea of plaid, facial hair and sarcastic views of personal insecurities. Comedy still has its fair share of poop and dick jokes; however, today’s typical audiences want more intelligent humor and crave to be challenged for their laughs. Most people want comedians to walk them up to controversial lines, sharp and fast wit or offer unique perceptions of ordinary outlooks on life. Audiences today have heard it all, and comedy thrives on breaking molds. This is achieved by recycling similar styles and structure through a more modern and relevant point of view.

Alburg has taken pleasure in appreciating these changes toward a “more intelligent, well thought out humor with a good solid punch line. Comedians like Drew Michael, Nate Abshire, and Darryl Lenox” are examples of up-and-coming performers developing a path for more performers to follow in their footsteps.

The stage has always been “a privilege to be on”, Alburg says.  “Comedians have to capture them (the audience) and keep them entertained for the entire show.” The club manager’s advice insinuates that comedians require creating a consistent flow of strong material in order to develop into strong performers. Basically, try to build up each joke into its most mature and strongest version.

Although, there has been some drift from the traditional methods of comedy, Alburg mentions, “Not all the comedians’ jokes have to work. And when a joke doesn’t work, then they will try the next one…Where comedians used to make every joke work.” However, today’s comedians are developing more material than those of the past because they live in an industry that thrives on social media – a tool that helps express people’s thoughts freely. So comedians are in constant struggle to develop an original idea. Though, an original idea or concept is not necessarily the top priority for young comedians. Rather, open mic comedians are developing their voice more than their material.

Alburg has been observing local comedy talent grow and often challenges local comedians to push themselves to pursue their careers on the professional stage.

“Milwaukee is beginning to pump talented comedians” and the scene has been “growing outrageously good,” Alburg says. “More local comedians are taking these opportunities to commit to their careers. Milwaukee’s scene is only getting bigger and better.”

And that’s true. The local comedy scene has been metamorphosing into a slight boom in the comedy world – thanks to contributors such as Caste of Killers, Milwaukee Comedy, Comedy Show Comedy Show, and the many others pushing the scene forward. Although the scene is definitely growing, its main growth has been to accommodate the comedians’ needs to get stage time with open mics and small showcases vs. getting in front of real audiences.
Alburg states:

“Open mic crowds are different than show crowds because the clientele is different. Open mic crowds are filled with performers’ family members and friends, making the laughter not completely accurate in most open mic rooms. Even the level of talent the performer is displaying is not an accurate portrayal because the comfort level is different…Milwaukee audiences are open to all kinds of comedy. It makes it comfortable for a comedian to develop their voice, but a performer needs to show a level of confidence to prove themselves.”

Each month, the Comedy Café opens its stage on the last Wednesday for an open mic-showcase night. This opportunity helps prepare young comedians for working in a club atmosphere with larger audiences.

Confidence is often something most comedians ‘supposedly’ lack in the early stages of their careers. It’s definitely a characteristic most performers try to develop a level of comfort with to accurately portray their material and stage presence. Attributes such as confidence, stage presence and strong material definitely capture the attention of club managers and booking agents, since they often look for individuals who do not get rattled on stage. “Confidence is something that continues to grow as the performer becomes better on stage,” Alburg says. “It’s a lot of give-and-take between performer and audience members.”

The level of a performer’s confidence can determine the audience’s experience. The key challenge is creating a fun atmosphere for your audience and yourself to enjoy.

Alburg reminds young comedians to watch professional comedians performing at the Comedy Café. It will allow them to analyze how professional comedians perform. “It speaks volumes when it comes down to figuring out how to develop an act,” Alburg says.

Heading to the weekend shows at the Comedy Café will also give young performers more opportunities to establish themselves within the club scene. This will help them with being recognized by management, possibly obtaining guest sets and creating a social relationship with people in the business. Commitment is a key factor, according to Alburg. He’ll typically ask young performers how serious they are about their career. “You’ve got to show you are committed to the career,” Alburg says, before laying down some solid truths. “The stage, the low pay, the no pay and the time to collect experience and information…Find the opportunities to pick the brains of the people who have some success on the stage.” Young comedians have so many easily accessible methods to speak with their professional colleagues about careers in comedy. Today, a young, eager student of comedy could send a tweet or message to their favorite comedians for advice, but there’s absolutely no substitute for catching a live performance and getting first-hand advice from headliners, feature acts, club employees and audience members.

The Comedy Café has comedy shows every week (Thursday through Saturday). Follow them on Facebook and Twitter for special offers and event information. Also, visit them on their website Milwaukeescomedycafe.com or call 271-JOKE for ticket and show information. Take advantage of their office party special offers, College ID night, and SIN nights every Thursday. And as a quick reminder, there’s always a two-drink minimum per guest. And remember to always tip your wait staff. 
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