You might not think it to watch them from the audience, but comedians generally are very collegial. Individually, they work hard crafting and delivering very personal thoughts in a very public setting – something that the vast majority of people dread. But it’s a nonconformist pursuit that they share with fellow comedians, it’s an unconventional passion that binds them together as they see one another night after night at open mics and showcases and clubs.
Still, threaded into that comedic camaraderie stirs a sense of competition – to win more laughs, to be more popular, to garner more kudos from one’s peers. That’s a dynamic to consider in standup contests: Birds of a feather in cage matches.
And so it is with the 3rd Annual Battle Royale Stand-Up Comedy Competition, presented by Milwaukee’s Caste of Killers Comedy Collective.
Dozens of comedians have registered to match wits for cash, exposure and bragging rights. Mark your calendars for the scheduled bouts:
- Saturday, Sept. 7, Arcade Theatre, in the Underground Collaborative, 161 W. Wisconsin Ave., lower level.
- Tuesday, Sept. 10, Down & Over Pub, 2535 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.
- Wednesday, Sept. 18, Milwaukee’s Comedy Café, 615 E. Brady St.
- Culminating in the finals, Saturday, Sept. 28, at the Karma Bar & Grill, 600 E. Ogden Ave.
See the lineups here. Murphy Row won the inaugural contest in 2011. Lara Beitz was the 2012 champion, with Ryan Mason (in a Milwaukee Comedy interview below) as runner-up.
It’s the last Wednesday of the month, which means it’s time for the open mic contest at Milwaukee’s Comedy Café.
That’s where eight standup comedians perform five-minute sets, and the audience votes on its favorite. The winner goes home with a $25 prize, a guest spot at an upcoming regular Thursday night show, plus a berth in the Milwaukee’s Funniest Open Mic comedian competition in December. Click here for all the details.
The August contest begins at 8 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 28, at 615 E. Brady St. There’s a two-drink minimum. Anyway, you should be keeping yourself hydrated in this heat.
Speaking of contests, stay tuned to MilwaukeeComedy.com for details of a Milwaukee-wide competition sponsored by our friends at the Caste of Killers Comedy Collective that starts in September.
Also, on Thursday, Aug. 29, catch Jake Kornely and friends showcasing more Milwaukee comedy talent at the fifth Comedy Show Comedy Show.
That starts at 9:30 p.m. at Linneman’s River West Inn, 1001 E. Locust St. Admission is $6, and the lineup includes Ryan Mason, Gary Zajackowski and Tom Grimm.
From Facebook: “Seating fills up fast, so make sure you get there early!”
The Comedy Show Comedy Show open mic is at 8 p.m., Monday, Sept. 2, at the Bremen Café, 901 E. Clarke St. That’s free.
You know that the 8th annual Milwaukee Comedy Festival starts Thursday, Aug. 1 and runs through Sunday, Aug. 4.
That is the largest comedy event in Wisconsin – all year, if not ever. But, hey, Milwaukee is a big and busy enough comedy community that plenty of other funny stuff is happening at the same time.
In fact, out-of-town visitors to the Comedy Fest are welcome to see what else Milwaukee has going on. Including:
- Monday, July 29 – 7:30 p.m. Trivia Stew at the Sherbrooke, 6713 W. North Ave., Wauwatosa. The same whacky, game-showy Trivia Stew format that’s a Sunday night favorite at Lee’s Luxury Lounge, in Bay View. Hosted by Dave Nelsen of ComedySportz. Teams of six. Fabulous prizes.
- Tuesday, July 30 – 9 p.m., Open Mic Comedy at the Down & Over Pub, 2535 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. Hosted by Matty Field.
- Wednesday, July 31 – 8 p.m., Comedy Café Open Mic Competition, 615 E. Brady St. It’s a monthly contest. Click here for details.
- Thursday, Aug. 1 – 8:30 p.m., Comedy & Music Night at Sugar Maple, 441 E. Lincoln Ave. With stand up from Tom Grimm, Greg Bach, Jessie Mahne, Erik Koconis, a guest set from Chao Feng. Hosted by Ryan Holman. Music by The Gazettiers. $5.
- Thursday, Aug. 1 – 9:30 p.m., Premier of Moby Dick, the feature-length all-puppet film written and directed by Milwaukee comedy genius Ryan Lowe, including an array of Milwaukee musicians, comedians and actors. At the Rosebud Theater, 6823 W. North Ave. $10. Also showing at 10 a.m., Saturday, Aug. 3, and 10 a.m., Sunday, Aug. 4. Click here to learn more.
Wednesday, June 26, marks the onset of Milwaukee’s Summerfest, which is beloved and renowned as the world’s largest music festival.
But it’s also the place where comedy history took place, playing a pivotal role in the career of George Carlin, as Michael Prigge recently reminded us in the Shepherd Express.
This year’s lineup includes the volcanic Lewis Black on Friday, July 5. Although, as the Journal Sentinel’s Piet Levy reminded us last month, Black won’t be accompanied by a cavalcade of comedy headliners.
If you’re seeking comedic interludes during the Big Gig, you’ll have plenty of hometown options, including opening night of Summerfest, Wednesday, June 26:
- 7 p.m. - Comedy Xtravaganza, a free showcase, at the envi lounge, 316 Main St., Racine.
- 7 p.m. – Open Improv, a two-hour $3 jam welcoming newbies and veteran improvisers, at the Arcade Theatre, 161 W. Wisconsin Ave., lower level.
- 8 p.m. – Open Mic Night & Showcase, a monthly competition, free with a two-drink minimum, at the Milwaukee Comedy Cafe, 615 E. Brady St.
The opening weekend of Summerfest also coincides with another Retro Comedy Night on Friday, June 28. But you knew that already.
Milwaukee comedy has been getting so big that it’s spilling over to greater metropolitan area. For months now, Greg Bach has been showcasing some of the region’s funniest standup comedians in Racine.
And he’s doing it again at 7 p.m., Wednesday, June 26, at the envi lounge, 316 Main St., Racine.
Greg calls the show Comedy Xtravaganza. And it’s free.
Here’s the lineup, descriptions courtesy of Greg:
Tyler Menz has been described as a handsome man and Mr. Rogers-esque. Most of his comedy comes from his mundane and ordinary life. Look for him buying kale at a farmers market near you.
Sammy Arechar is a fresh face with luxurious jokes. His sense of humor and his stage presence has landed him gigs opening for nationally touring comedians such as Michael Kosta, Dave Waite, Tom Clark and Ari Shaffir. His hobbies, along with telling jokes on stage, are looking handsome, seeing what’s on TV, and seeing what’s in the fridge.
Nate Seek has been called “The Kennedy of Comedy,” a freshly shorn comedian. Nathan Seek will delight and amuse audiences with anecdotes about what it’s like to be a privileged white man in America. Hilarity. He’s had the pleasure to work with comedians like Ian Edwards (SNL), Tom Clark, Kevin Williams, and many more. He is a club regular at Milwaukee’s Comedy Café and Madison’s Comedy Club on State.
Greg will be the emcee. He’s a versatile performer including improv, standup and sketch comedy in his repertoire since 2007. Among the places you may have seen him is Sherman Perk, Karma Bar & Grill, ComedySportz and the Alchemist Theatre.
Again, the Comedy Xtravaganza is free. But seating is limited. So make reservations by calling 262-770-4297.
One of the purposes of the Comedy Arcade shows at downtown Milwaukee’s Arcade Theatre is to showcase Milwaukee comedy talent.
The main purpose is to entertain Milwaukee audiences.
This sneak peek at one of the newest Comedy Arcade performers, Josh Balew, should help fill both purposes.
Josh is performing along with Jake Kornely and Kenny DeForest.
Plus, you’ll see the improvisational comedy of Busy Bar, featuring Vince Figueroa and Lee Rowley.
The show is at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, June 20, at the Arcade Theatre (with its new ceiling), 161 W. Wisconsin Ave., lower level.
Get your $10 tickets here http://
Besides Milwaukee Comedy’s Open Improv every Wednesday night, Milwaukee’s Caste of Killers Comedy Collective has an open mic for standup comedians.
On the last Wednesday of the month, that open mic is at Comedy Cafe, 615 E. Brady St. The show starts at 8 p.m., and it’s free (with a two-drink minimum).
It’s not your run-of-the-mill open mics, either. This one showcases some established comics from the Milwaukee area and sometimes from farther afield. And it’s competitive. From Facebook:
“8 comics go head to head to prove they’ve got the right stuff. The audience chooses their favorite and that person is crowned the night’s top comic, wins some cash, and is invited back for a guest spot on a regular weekend show.”
There you go. Comedy people with something to prove. That ought to be worth a couple of drinks. Plus, it’s hosted by Ryan Holman.
If you want the mic, be there to sign up at 8:30 p.m.