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.
Milwaukee’s four-man improv team known as Homegrown Electric Circus has announced a special half-off show.
Because Saturday, July 20, they’re performing a two-man show, that’s why.
It’ll be a first for Scott Heaton and Josh Barto, to do a whole comedy show with just the two of them. But it’s improv. Every performance is a first.
You can witness their debut for only $5 at 7 p.m. at ComedySportz, 420 S. 1st St.
For years, Patrick Schmitz has made a reputation for himself in Milwaukee teaching improvisational comedy at such venues as ComedySportz and First Stage children’s theater. Now, he’s making a living for himself teaching drama at Brown Deer High School, which he discusses in the YouTube video above.
But, as most teachers, Patrick Schmitz is more than a teacher. He’s a performer. He’s a mentor. And he’s a presenter.
Because at 7 p.m. on Saturday, July 13, Patrick Schmitz presents the 11th edition of his Sketch 22 show.
That’s the one where Milwaukee’s top comedy and theater talent get together and within a 22-hour period create a show featuring 10 genuinely original comedy sketches. Do the math. That’s less than a day.
Sketch 22 unfolds at ComedySportz, 420 S. 1st St. Bring $10 (or a friend with $20) so you can join in the fun. Don’t bring children younger than 14.
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.
So here’s where it would literally pay to have friends.
Because ComedySportz is having a weekend deal. That’s why.
If you go to one of the evening shows (7:30 p.m. or 10 p.m.) Friday, June 21, or Saturday, June 22, your friend gets in for nothing. (Or you get in for nothing, if you get your friend to take you.)
And that includes the show we previously mentioned at 10 p.m. Friday, with the ComedySportz Rec League champions playing a professional ComedySportz team.
If you don’t know what we’re talking about, ComedySportz is a game-oriented improvisational comedy show that’s all-age appropriate and never the same twice.
So try finding some friends and asking if they’re free this weekend. At ComedySportz, they are.
Here’s the trick: Click here for tickets or reserve them at (414) 272-8888 or just show up at 420 S. 1st St. and use the code word: Howie.
With two shows each Friday and three every Saturday, ComedySportz is a prolific provider of comedy in Milwaukee. And because it’s improv, no two are the same – like snowflakes. So ComedySportz is like a snowmaking machine shooting out snowflakes every weekend.
Almost 30 years old, ComedySportz also has cranked out a lot of talent, training thousands of individuals through workshops, high school leagues and a Sunday afternoon recreational league.
Champions of the recreational league not only get their name on a plaque in the ComedySportz lobby. They also get a chance to perform in a prime-time professional ComedySportz match.
And that’s what you’ll see at 10 p.m., Friday, June 21. The Spasmodic Dinosaurs, winners of the 17th rec league season this spring, will take on a professional team in the arena at ComedySportz, 420 S. 1st St.
The Spasmodic Dinosaurs – including Victoria Feltz Shaw, Eric Wertzler, Pam Zorko, Ben Scharf and Aaron Kohlbeck – also won the fall rec league. So they’re sort of pros at playing with the pros.
Tickets are $5 at the door.
The last time we called for reservations for The Improvised Musical (aka T.I.M.), Mary Baird told us she usually doesn’t get many reservations. But that’s been changing.
Because this monthly show – on the third Thursday of each month – has become a hot spot. That’s why.
And guess what. Thursday, June 20, is the third Thursday of the month. So it’s time to go to T.I.M. That’s what.
For almost two full years, T.I.M. has been wowing Milwaukee audiences with Broadway-style musicals composed, choreographed and performed on the spot by the seat of their pants.
The troupe includes seven cast members, a four-piece band and a lighting designer, all of whom collaborate to improvise an hour-long musical based only on a suggested title from the audience.
Readers of the Shepherd Express voted T.I.M. among Milwaukee’s top theater companies. In the last year, T.I.M. has taken its show on the road, traveling to other Midwestern venues and teaching workshops and college classes. T.I.M. also is planning a return appearance in the Milwaukee Comedy Festival, which runs Aug. 1-4 at Next Act Theatre, 255 S. Water St.
As usual, T.I.M. starts at 7:30 p.m., at 420 S. 1st St. And it’s only $5 cash, so you’ll have money to burn on food and drinks at the show.
And if you don’t want to take the chance of being turned away, reserve your tickets by calling (414) 272-8888. Say hi to Mary.
Just a few months ago, Homegrown Electric Circus had to cancel an improv show on account of a blizzard.
Now, that storied Milwaukee quartet is playing the weather card again to promote its latest spontaneously divined comedy.
Check out this Facebook submission: “Hey everyone, it’s summer and the weather outside is fantastic. I know. I’m scared too. This is Wisconsin. Why aren’t we wearing six layers of clothes and shoveling snow?
“Let Homegrown Electric Circus protect you from the frightening unknown that is a gorgeous summer night by entertaining you with some improv at ComedySportz.”
The flexibility demanded of Wisconsin weather has helped train the troupe of Evan Koepnick, Josh Barto, Mike Walker and Scott Heaton to be adept improvisers of side-splitting and often poignant drama.
Their show is at 7 p.m., Saturday, June 15, at 420 S. 1st St. Admission is only $5. And you’ll have access to the bar and food service of ComedySportz to boot.
No rain date.
Milwaukee is a hotbed of improvisational comedy. Not only is it the home of ComedySportz, which started here nearly 30 years ago and has spread internationally. But it is also where Patrick Schmitz is based.
Among Patrick’s accomplishments is assembling and coaching Organized Chaos, a team of more than 100 schoolchildren at the renowned First Stage childen’s theater. Patrick has performed and taught improv at ComedySportz, trained in improv at Second City and IO in Chicago and facilitated open-improv jams and workshops for adults.
But enough about Patrick (although there’s more). Now about an opportunity to study with him.
Every Tuesday night for six weeks, from June 18 to July 23, Patrick is teaching a workshop called “Improvisational One-Act Play.”
Classes meet from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Underground Collaborative, 161 W. Wisconsin Ave., lower level. The fee is $50 for the entire six weeks or $10 per class.
According to Patrick, the workshop centers on the monomyth formula that maps out the archetypal storyline running through ancient myths, world religions, classic literature and blockbuster movies.
Patrick says via email that class work includes “creative rapid-fire responses and spontaneous dialogue/role play. Students learn to act out interesting and effective stories on the spot by listening, reacting, and supporting each other on stage.”
The workshop also emphasizes all the basic of of improv, such as character work, story telling and acting spontaneously.
Email Patrick by Friday, June 14, to let him know you’re interested. Spots are limited.
They’re at it again in Racine, those funny people standing there at the envi lounge, 316 W. Main St.
The Comedy Xtravaganza, that’s what!
To start with, it’s free. But you should go mostly because it’s funny.
Here’s the lineup, with descriptions furnished via Facebook, so you know it’s so:
Sarah Connor‘s sarcastic, tomboy candor cuts to the heart of the trials and tribulations of the modern single lady. Drunk audience members have described her as both a “sexy Lewis Black” and a “dirty Vonnegut.”
Chris Lay was raised fast and hard in the mean southern streets of Charlotte, North Carolina before moving mid-westward to Madison, Wisconsin where he’s been deeply involved with the fast-emerging local comedy and podcast scenes.
Nate Bjork’s comedic style has been described as “smart-stupid.” His comedy is observational only insofar as the world he observes is all in his head.
Greg Bach will be your MC for the evening. He has been performing improv, standup and sketch comedy since 2007. He has performed at Sherman Perk, Karma Lounge, ComedySportz and the Alchemist Theatre.
The show starts at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 22. Like I said, it’s free and funny, so you shouldn’t have any reservations. But you should make reservations because seating is limited and it’s free and it’s funny. Call 262-770-4297.