Of the chief forms of comedy, the rarest in Milwaukee is sketch.
We’ve got plenty of standup and improv. But sketch shows have been less frequent. There’s been Sketch 22 twice a year, and Broadminded comedy with their latest production, “Jerks!” scheduled for the last two weekends of November.
Of course, sketch comedy is featured in the Milwaukee Comedy Festival and the Variety Hour Happy Hour and Retro Comedy Night.
More recently, Crouch Comedy has emerged, with a debut performance at a Comedy Arcade Show to kick off the 2013 Comedy Fest. Crouch has another show in the works for December.
Earlier this year, Scott Heaton, of Homegrown Electric Circus, better known for its improv, did a sketch show. Now, Sally Arenberg has tapped Scott and his Circus mates Josh Barto and Evan Koepnick as well as broadminded’s Megan McGee to present a whole new show, which Sally is directing, called ”It Was Embarrassing, So Don’t Ask.”
From Facebook: “Are they laughing with you? Or at you? Sometimes it’s hard to tell. You’ll have to find out at an evening of sketch comedy among the talented cast.”
Weeks away from her bachelor’s degree in acting at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Sally acknowledges that her show fills a bit of a void for sketch comedy. It also is a change of pace, she says from the acting program’s focus on classical theater.
“Comedy is also a big challenge for actors. I think it takes a really talented actor to have the ability to make an audience laugh,” Sally says, and adds, “It’s way different directing comedy. But it’s cool to have this opportunity for other actors too.”
Those actors include:
- Alissa Kluever
- Derrion Brown
- Courtney Howe
- Erika Kirkstein-Zastrow
- Kris Anton
- Keiandra Honeysucker and
- Jeremy Berson
The performances are at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 7 through Saturday, Nov. 9, and 2 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 10, at 1925 E. Kenilworth Place.
Allison Mcmahon is the assistant director, and the other writers are Dan Perlstein and Joey Sullivan.
General admission is $10. Click here for tickets.
With the impact ComedySportz has made on training and developing Milwaukee comedytalent over its nearly 30 years, Milwaukee is a hotbed for improv. That’s what makes the weekly Open Improv so unpredictably invigorating. Performers never know who’s going to show up. There can be such a range from novice to pro that everyone learns something from the sessions.
And if you haven’t been in a while, Open Improv has moved from Wednesdays to Tuesdays! It’s only $3 and now runs from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. every Tuesday at the Underground Collaborative, 161 W. Wisconsin Ave., lower level (downstairs from TJ Maxx).
Less regularly, you can watch one of Milwaukee’s longest-running improv troupes perform at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 14. That’s when Homegrown Electric Circus has its latest show at ComedySportz, 420 S. 1st St. As the four guys explain on Facebook, their performances have become rarer:
“Homegrown Electric Circus, that Halley’s comet of improv groups, has had quite the difficult time finding themselves in the same room over the summer. With busy schedules filled with weddings, theatre obligations, weddings, road trips to see Paul McCartney, and weddings (seriously are there any single people left after this summer?) pinning down a time when Josh Barto, Scott Heaton, Evan Koepnick, and Mike Walker could perform some improv comedy has proven to be quite difficult.”
If you didn’t see them at the Milwaukee Comedy Festival last month, or if you’ve missed any of them individually at an Open Improv, Saturday is your chance to catch Homegrown. Hey, even if you’ve seen them before, Saturday’s show will be way different. Because it’s improv, that’s why.
Never in its eight years, has the Milwaukee Comedy Festival had such a buildup.
The final official kick off event is the Milwaukee Comedy Showcase at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, July 31 (aka Comedy Fest Eve). It’s happening at the Next Act Theatre space, the same venue for the fest, 255 S. Water St.
The show is pay-what-you-can with a meet-and-greet and free Transfer pizza.
The multi-dimensional Greg Bach will be the emcee, featuring:
- stand up from Jake Kornely and Jason Hillman with
- improv from Homegrown Electric Circus, including Mike Walker, Evan Koepnick, Josh Barto and Scott Heaton.
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.
For years, Scott Heaton has been improvising quick-witted and thoughtful comedy for Milwaukee audiences, most notably through the group Homegrown Electric Circus.
But now Scott has decided to commit premeditated humor by writing and directing his first sketch comedy show.
He’s being joined by Megan Kaminsky, Andrew Parchman and fellow Homegrowner Evan Koepnick to present “But I’ve Never Written a Sketch Before.”
You can join them too. Just not on stage.
From Scott, via Facebook: ”So come see what a little determination, hard work, and blind optimism can produce. It’s actually pretty funny. And not nearly as scary as you might think.”
Witness Scott’s first-ever at 8 p.m., Friday, May 31, at the Arcade Theatre, 161 W. Wisconsin Ave., lower level. If you can’t make that, his second-ever is at 8 p.m., Saturday, June 1, same place. Tickets are $15 at the door or for $10 right here:
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