Milwaukee has four very vertical comedians adept at putting audiences very horizontal with laughter.
It’s an improvisational group that calls itself Tall Boys. They are Erik Koconis, Robby McGhee, Lee Rowley and James Boland. Individually, they have an embarrassing wealth of comedy experience. Collectively, they’re unpredictably clever. That’s the wonder of improv.
It just so happens that James, by day, is an educator at Milwaukee’s Tamarack Waldorf School, which happens to be starting a high school next year. To help raise awareness and funds for the high school, the Tall Boys are performing at 7 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 2, at Tamarack Waldorf, 1150 E. Brady St.
Suggested donations are $10 but, of course, we use the word “donation,” which suggests you have discretion to be generous.
Not only will the Tall Boys (coached by imrpov impresario Jared Stepp) perform, but they will feature the standup comedy, the deadpan brilliance of Ryan Lowe.
Most comedy goers know about open mics. That’s where someone puts a microphone on a bare stage in a club or a bar and stand-up comedians of various proficiency practice their craft. It gives veterans a chance to work on new material and wannabes a chance to just try it out.
Well, Milwaukee also has an open improv, where performers of various proficiency can check and develop their improvisational comedy skills.
It every Wednesday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., at the Underground Collaborative, 161 W. Wisconsin Ave., lower level. It costs $3 to participate, even less to watch. But why watch when you can join in?
This Wednesday, Sept. 4, the session will be guided by Jared Stepp, who recently directed Robby McGhee‘s original puppet musical “The Burden of Being.” Jared also coaches the Milwaukee improv troupe Tall Boys, and he honchoed MIlwaukee’s 48-hour film project.
With the end of August comes the last three nights of “The Burden of Being” a coming-of-age puppet musical, written by Robby McGhee.
You know Robby from the Tall Boys improv group and Sketch 22 improv and Greendale Community Theatre productions such as the recently completed “Les Miserables” and, of course, The Improvised Musical (T.I.M.).
Now Robby has created a musical – using puppets – performed by some of Milwaukee’s finest talent, including cast and band members from T.I.M.
Mike Fischer, in a review in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, says, “we see the promise of a writer who combines a wonderfully offbeat sense of humor with a heartfelt awareness of what such humor often hides or deflects, in a world where a brave smile is often our only defense against the burden of being.”
Russ Bickerstaff, in the Shepherd Express, calls “The Burden of Being” “a light, quick musical” punctuated by “sparkling performances in the ensemble.”
The final performances are at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Aug. 29-31, at the Alchemist Theatre, 2569 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. Click here for $17 tickets.
And now for something completely different: An improv troupe will be performing at an open mic for standup comedians.
Look for it at 9 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 6 – Tuesday Night Comedy – The Down & Over Pub, 2535 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., in Milwaukee’s Bay View. It’s an open mic. Performers need to sign up at 8:30 p.m. Steve Breese is the emcee. And there’s a special appearance by Tall Boys improv. And it’s free.
Tall Boys includes James Boland, Erik Koconis, Robby McGhee and Lee Rowley. They’ll be having a show of their own at 8 p.m., Friday, Aug. 9, at the Alchemist Theatre, 2569 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., Bay View. Admission is $5, but there’s a free Tall Boy beer for the first 10 people in the door.
And for poetic justice, the Tall Boys improv show will include standup comedy from Greg Bach, Steve Breese and Scott Boremen.
If you are a fan of improvisational comedy, here’s your chance to be wowed by masters. If you are not a fan, here’s how to become one.
The Tall Boys are an ensemble of experienced, avid, elongated Milwaukee comedians who began joking together in earnest earlier this year. By name, they are Lee Rowley, James Boland, Robby McGhee and Erik Koconis.
Their next show is at 7:30 p.m., Friday, July 12, at the Riverwest Public House Cooperative, 815 E. Locust St. Admission is $5.
I’m not making this up. That’s what they do.
A “tall drink of water” is an expression for a visually appealing person of elevated stature. Think of the sight of a tom collins glass filled with icewater on a sweltering day.
Now picture chilling with a 16-ounce can of beer on a Friday night with some of the funniest people you know.
That’s what the MIlwaukee improv quartet Tall Boys is planning for 8 p.m., Friday, June 14. After local standup standout Ryan Mason gets you in the mood, veteran improvisers James Boland, Erik Koconis, Robby McGhee and Lee Rowley will amaze and amuse you with their impromptu storytelling.
Buy tickets for Tall Boys Comedy Show!
It’s worth every bit of the $10 you’ll pay for the show ($15 at the door). Plus, if you’re of age, you’ll get a free Schlitz Tall Boy beer (while supplies last). Because you’re going to be thirsty from all that laughter. That’s why.
The place to be: Arcade Theatre, in the Underground Collaborative, 161 W. Wisconsin Ave., lower level.