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.
OK, so the Retro Comedy Night starts at 7:30 p.m., on Saturday, Dec. 14. Let’s say it ends about 9 p.m. What are you going to do?
You’re all giddy from laughing at Damon Millard‘s stand-up comedy, and you’re all goofy from watching a live spoof of a secret nostalgic TV sitcom. And it’s only 9 o’clock on a Saturday night. Where you gonna go?
Tyler Menz and Jake Kornely have the solution: Stay right where you are, at the Arcade Theatre, 161 W. Wisconsin Ave., lower level.
Because immediately following the Retro show, Tyler and Jake, two stand-up standouts in their own right, will inaugurate “The Goodnight Milwaukee Show!” That’s why.
From Facebook: “Ever wonder what would happen if the competing late night TV hosts were forced to come together and host a show together? Of course you have! Join Tyler and Jake as they interview crazy guests, play super-fun games, and tell jokes, lots of jokes!”
And there’s more. “If you go to the Retro Show, you will be able get in to the Goodnight Milwaukee Show for FREE, but making a donation will get a free beer!”
That’s right, you just read “FREE” and “free beer” in the same sentence. Now that’s an invitation to late-night comedy.
You may know him from his prolific standup performances around the Milwaukee area. Or maybe you know that he’s a co-founder of Milwaukee’s Caste of Killers Comedy Collective.
But at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 14, you’ll be seeing Damon Millard – fresh from New York – as the headliner stand-up for the last Retro Comedy Night of 2013.
So there will be something a little retro in the standup portion of the show. Because Damon will be coming back to the city that launched him to various nether regions of the United States in the past year. That’s why.
The retro show itself, if you haven’t been to one yet, re-enacts a classic TV sitcom live on stage with some of Milwaukee’s funniest performers. It’s a secret which show they’ll pay homage to (A year ago, it was Charlie Brown’s Christmas special, with Robbie McGhee as Snoopy, dressed in white with a pair of black socks for ears.).
It’s all at the Arcade Theatre, 161 W. Wisconsin Ave., lower level. Click here for $10 tickets. Or pay $15 at the door.
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.
As much as we evolve and move our lives ahead, there’s comfort in nostalgia. All the better, when you’re laughing too.
That’s the idea and experience behind the monthly Retro Comedy Night.
Besides seeing some fresh entertainment (This time it’s stand-up comedian LIza Marie.), audiences can reconnect with the familiarity of a bygone TV sitcom – as staged line-for-line by some of Milwaukee’s funniest actors.
Which show they’ll perform is a secret, which adds an element of surprise to the occasion.
The next Retro show is at 8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 26, in the Arcade Theatre, 161 W. Wisconsin Ave., lower level. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door. And it’s BYOB.
We’re all looking for deals. So consider this:
You get discounts if you pay in advance (rather than at the door) for admission to one of the kick off events for the 8th annual Milwaukee Comedy Festival. Plus, the kick off shows include giveaways, which include a chance to win tickets to the Comedy Fest – Aug. 1-4 at the Next Act Theatre space, 255 S. Water St.
Let’s do the math. You pay $7 online for the Comedy Arcade Show, Thursday, July 25, and save yourself $3 off the price at the door. Besides the experience of seeing Mario Robinson performing standup, Lee Rowley, Vince Figueroa and James Boland doing Busy Bar improv and the debut of Crouch Comedy sketch, your $7 could win you admission to the Fest ($15 online and $18 at the door).
In other words, your $7 ticket could possibly wind up being worth four times what you paid.
Similarly, you could pay $10 online (instead of $15 at the door) for the Variety Hour Half-Hour at 8 p.m., Friday, July 26, or for the Retro Comedy Show at 8 p.m., Saturday, July 27, with chances at winning Comedy Fest admission.
For more information on the kick off shows at 161 W. Wisconsin Ave., Lower Level, plus links to tickets, please click here.
For full details on the Milwaukee Comedy Festival, Wisconsin’s largest comedy event, go to festival.milwaukeecomedy.com.
One measure of the progress the Milwaukee comedy scene has made since the first Milwaukee Comedy Festival in 2006 is how vast and varied the kickoff has become.
Even a couple of years ago, the kick off was little more than an improv jam the night before the fest started.
This year entails four full nights of shows featuring standup, improv and sketch comedy. It all begins on Thursday, July 25 with the Comedy Arcade Show followed by the Variety Hour Half-Hour, on Friday, July 26, and the Retro Comedy Night on Saturday, July 27, and a special Milwaukee Comedy Showcase on Wednesday, July 31 - aka Milwaukee Comedy Fest Eve.
Please click here for details on kick off events, including discount advance tickets. (Each of the events includes prizes. Maybe you’ll even win a ticket to the 8th Annual Milwaukee Comedy Festival, which runs Aug. 1-4.)
For more on how the local comedy scene has changed since the festival started, check out our Milwaukee Comedy video interview with Matt Kemple and Patrick Schmitz:
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.
They say familiarity breeds content. And that’s the big idea behind the monthly Retro Comedy Night.
The good folks at Milwaukee Comedy put together an evening of improvised comedy, standup comedy and sketch comedy. And each performance includes a brand new re-enactment of a nostalgic situation comedy television show, featuring some of Milwaukee’s top comedy talent.
It’s always a surprise which show they’ll stage, but it’s always a golden old favorite that inspires the audience to hark back to the simpler days of youth – when life was free from adult-onset anxieties over car payments and sequestration and climate change.
The next Retro Comedy Night is 8 p.m., Friday, June 28 at the Arcade Theatre, 161 W. Wisconsin Ave., lower level.
You can click here to pre-order your tickets for $12 apiece and assure yourself a seat in this funny time machine. Or you can take a chance that it hasn’t sold out and pay $15 at the door.
It’s Mother’s Day Weekend! Check out some comedy and bring your Mom!
Retro Comedy Night, Saturday, May 11 features a ton of laughs including stand up from Sarah Connor, sketch comedy with Broadminded Comedy, and of course the Retro Comedy Show – a classic sitcom performed live on stage!
The show starts at 8 p.m., Saturday, May 11 (Mother’s Day Eve!) at The Arcade Theatre, 161 W. Wisconsin Ave., lower level. (Click here for directions!) Only $10 in advance (Order here.) or $15 at the door, if it hasn’t sold out by the time you get there!
Tickets are $7 ($12 if you want to lounge on a couch and walk away with a lovely parting gift.) Get them in advance by clicking here.
If your looking for some Family Friendly comedy this weekend, take mom and the whole family to
Comedy Sportz Milwaukee! 3pm Matinee, 7:30pm and 10:00pm shows. ComedySportz is an all Improv, all suggestion based comedy show, fun for all ages. Two teams of “Actletes” get suggestions from the audience, create scenes onstage, and compete for your laughs! You decide what each scene is about, you decide who you think is funnier, and you decide who wins! If you haven’t guessed yet– the most important part of the show is YOU!
Bring your kids, bring your grandma, bring your friends, hey!