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.