The producers of the Milwaukee Comedy Festival and Sketch 22 are very creative gentlemen. But they’re no gods. Maybe they’re working on it, but they can’t take a lump of clay or a rib or whatever to create talent. Besides, the talent they’re looking for already exists. They just need to meet it – or be reminded of it.
With that in mind, Matt Kemple and Patrick Schmitz and the producers of Bye Bye Liver: The Milwaukee Drinking Play, are inviting interested comedy performers – stand-ups, sketch actors and improvisers – to audition. They’re welcoming both individuals and groups.
Here are the details:
- 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 15
- Underground Collaborative, 161 W. Wisconsin Ave., lower level
- Fill out this form to secure a time slot.
- Bring a relevant resume and a photo.
- Be prepared to provide a sample of one or more of your abilities: Up to 5 minutes performing a comedy sketch; Up to 5 minutes of original standup material; Up to 5 minutes of improv.
The producers are forming a talent pool to be considered for a variety of Milwaukee-based comedy productions, including such ongoing shows as Retro Comedy Night, Variety Hour Happy Hour, Stand Up Showcase, Sketch 22 and the Milwaukee Comedy Festival.
“We are looking for talented comedy and improv groups as well as individual actors, improvisers, comedians of all kinds and people that are looking to be a part of something fun and exciting!” says a Facebook post on the auditions.
Initial response to a similar post last month was so impressive that the producers added this Dec. 15 date.
A little-known – or maybe just ignored – free comedy event in Milwaukee is the weekly ComedySportz Recreational League. It’s one of the offshoots of Milwaukee-grown ComedySportz, the international improvisational comedy franchise that turns 30 next year.
The Rec League features amateur improvisers – meaning they don’t get paid and they do it for the love of it. They have teams and “compete” in matches with games from the ComedySportz repertoire that are based on suggestions from the audience. Each match is officiated by a professional ComedySportz comedian, usually Dave Bogan or Dave Nelsen.
This Sunday, Dec. 8, the Rec League playoffs begin with matches every hour from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The audience decides which teams win and advance to the semi-final rounds on Sunday, Dec. 15.
The playoffs are free and open to the public at 420 S. 1st St.
One of our favorite Christmas stories – or anytime, really – is the classic “A Christmas Carol,” by Charles Dickens.
Especially in the video form, the tale takes on so many interpretations: Mr. Magoo, Alastair Sim, The Muppets, George C. Scott, Arthur Fonzarelli – and on and on.
It is such an endearing and timeless yarn that anything invoking the name of Dickens gets our attention, which brings us to the Alchemist Theatre, in Milwaukee’s Bay View.
“Kick in the Dickens” is back for another run, with original songs, comedy routines, improvisation and a one-act holiday play based on audience suggestions.
From Facebook: “Some of Milwaukee’s top improvisers, comedic actors, playwrights and songwriters have come together to create this fun filled evening of holiday mayhem!”
Dickens has 14 shows beginning Thursday, Dec. 6, and running through Saturday, Dec. 28. Please click here for more information and to order $19 tickets.
After all your Thanksgiving stuffing and getting fed up with relatives and football and holiday shopping, you deserve some comedy. Milwaukee’s got it for you.
Consider the Black Friday debut of a new long-form improvisational comedy group, The Faculty. It features public school teachers Anna Figlesthaler, Kristin Althoff and Lindsey Walcott.
The Faculty are appearing on the same bill as the improv ensemble of Lee Rowley, Vince Figueroa and James Boland, performing as Busy Bar.
That’s at 7 p.m., Friday, Nov. 29, at the ComedySportz garage venue, 420 S. 1st St. It’s only $5.
You think your Thanksgiving gatherings were humorous? How about the Milwaukee comedy artists cooking up a big mess of giggles and guffaws for you to feast on this weekend! Among your options:
Indulge yourself at the closing weekend of Jerks!, the latest sketch comedy show from Milwaukee’s broadminded Comedy. Check out their interview on WITI-TV. The first two shows sold out, so click here for tickets for 7:30 p.m. shows on Friday, Nov. 29 and Saturday, Nov. 30, at the Arcade Theatre, 161 W. Wisconsin Ave., lower level.
Dig into ComedySportz - just rated as one of the top comedy schools in the country. Click here for more information on ComedySportz’s family-friendly competitive improv shows Friday and Saturday nights as well as Saturday afternoon. They’re all at 420 S. 1st St.
Or you could take a shot at Bye Bye Liver: The Milwaukee Drinking Play, which includes sketch comedy and drinking games. It starts at 9:30 p.m. Saturday, at the ComedySportz garage venue. Click here for more information.
And you can top it off at the Midnite Show, the uncensored adult-only improv event that happens every Saturday night/Sunday morning, also at ComedySportz.
The big weekend at Milwaukee’s Arcade Theatre begins on Thursday with this month’s Comedy Arcade Show. It’s another laugh fest showcasing local standup comedians and some improvised comedy.
The show starts at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 21, at the Arcade Theatre, 161 W. Wisconsin Ave., lower level.
It features stand-ups:
- Josh Balew
- Tom Grimm
- Jason Hillman
It’s $10 at the door, or you can get your tickets online for $7 and a FREE BEER. As always, it’s BYOB – especially if you don’t pre-order your tickets.
And this month’s Comedy Arcade kicks off the latest sketch comedy show from Milwaukee’s broadminded Comedy troupe. Their show, Jerks! starts at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Nov. 22, also at the Arcade Theatre, and runs Saturday, Nov. 23, Friday, Nov. 29, and Saturday, Nov. 30. Click here for more information and a link for tickets.
We’re delighted to announce the debut of a new original Broadway-style musical comedy – and it’s one night only – and only in Milwaukee.
That’s about all we can tell you, though, because we don’t know the name of the musical or what it’s about.
Even the actors, who have been rehearsing for weeks, don’t know anything about the story or the characters. Nor are the five musicians in the in-house band aware of any of the pieces they’ll perform.
Because it’s The Improvised Musical. That’s why. The hour-long monthly singing-dancing-comedy extravaganza that’s made up on the spot, based on a suggestion from the audience.
In its two and a half years of third-Thursday performances, T.I.M. has been adding to its band (The Improvised Band) and growing its cast while its following has been multiplying.
And we can tell you this much, T.I.M. starts at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 21, at ComedySportz, 420 S. 1st St. Admission is only $5 cash. The ComedySportz bar and restaurant will be open for the event.
To make sure you get a seat, you might want to make a reservation by calling 414-272-8888 between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.
The hub of Milwaukee’s improvised comedy is housing a two-day workshop this weekend for sketch comedy writers.
Kevin McDonald – the comedian, actor and voice artist best known as a cast member of “Kids in the Hall” – is presenting a 14-hour how-to on creating comedy sketches from improv.
“I get students to do improv and then help teach them to turn their improv into actual comedy sketches (like the Kids in the Hall used to do),” McDonald says in a statement. “So basically, I’m teaching to write through improv.”
McDonald has been touring the U.S. and Canada teaching the workshop. And his Milwaukee stop, at ComedySportz, 420 S. 1st St., still has spaces available.
The class costs $300 and runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 16 and 17.
For more information and to reserve a spot, please call ComedySportz during business hours at (414) 272-8888.
Our pal Brynne Ramella, who wrote a series of blogs for Milwaukee Comedy last spring about an upstart comedy troupe at Marquette University, now is blogging about a two-man improv team in the works.
The two Marquette guys are Chris O’Reilly and Spencer Rose, formerly of Marquette’s 33rd & State sketch group and Studio 013 Refugees improv.
“Marquette has a legacy of some great comedians, and it’s a shame this talent doesn’t get the recognition it deserves.” Brynne writes in her first installment. “As somebody with an interest in the journalistic side of comedy, it breaks my heart to see the audience drinking….uhh lots of soda… at one of the Fugees’ monthly improv shows, while chattering/yelling over the Fugees as they perform. Comedy doesn’t get a whole lot of respect on this campus.”
As Brynne explains, she’ll be documenting efforts by Chris and Spencer to raise the bar on Marquette comedy. Among their plans: a bi-weekly show on campus next semester.
“Since the Studio 013 Refugees were formed about 15 years ago, I don’t think anyone has really attempted to revamp comedy at Marquette,” Brynne writes. “I am still learning about this style of improv and I have never freely blogged on my own, so this is unexplored territory for me – that’s ambition, right post-grad employers? In some way, this is an experiment for all three of us.”
To follow the experiment, click here.
By the way, some of Marquette’s “great comedians” Brynne refers to includes Peter Bonerz, Chris Farley and Danny Pudi. Click here to learn 10 things you don’t know about Danny Pudi.
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.