You might not think it to watch them from the audience, but comedians generally are very collegial. Individually, they work hard crafting and delivering very personal thoughts in a very public setting – something that the vast majority of people dread. But it’s a nonconformist pursuit that they share with fellow comedians, it’s an unconventional passion that binds them together as they see one another night after night at open mics and showcases and clubs.
Still, threaded into that comedic camaraderie stirs a sense of competition – to win more laughs, to be more popular, to garner more kudos from one’s peers. That’s a dynamic to consider in standup contests: Birds of a feather in cage matches.
And so it is with the 3rd Annual Battle Royale Stand-Up Comedy Competition, presented by Milwaukee’s Caste of Killers Comedy Collective.
Dozens of comedians have registered to match wits for cash, exposure and bragging rights. Mark your calendars for the scheduled bouts:
- Saturday, Sept. 7, Arcade Theatre, in the Underground Collaborative, 161 W. Wisconsin Ave., lower level.
- Tuesday, Sept. 10, Down & Over Pub, 2535 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.
- Wednesday, Sept. 18, Milwaukee’s Comedy Café, 615 E. Brady St.
- Culminating in the finals, Saturday, Sept. 28, at the Karma Bar & Grill, 600 E. Ogden Ave.
See the lineups here. Murphy Row won the inaugural contest in 2011. Lara Beitz was the 2012 champion, with Ryan Mason (in a Milwaukee Comedy interview below) as runner-up.
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.
Cereal connoisseurs know that cinnamon is the spice of Life. But variety is the spice of (lowercase) life.
And so the Comedy Arcade figures to spice up Milwaukee’s night life with a variety of comedy acts on Thursday, June 20, at the Arcade Theatre downtown. Scheduled performers include unnamed improvisational comedy along with the standup art of:
- Josh Ballew
- Jake Kornely
- and Kenny DeForest
From Facebook: “The Comedy Arcade is a collaborative, variety-style comedy showcase in the heart of Milwaukee. This All-In-One Showcase combines various forms of improvisational, sketch, and stand-up comedy from several Midwest premium comedy scenes. This show has a little of everything for every enthusiast of comedy!”
Tickets are $10. You can get yours here: http://
The show starts at 7:30 p.m.
The Arcade Theatre is part of the Underground Collaborative, located in the lower level of 161 W. Wisconsin Ave. (down the circular staircase from T.J. Maxx)
Milwaukee is a hotbed of improvisational comedy. Not only is it the home of ComedySportz, which started here nearly 30 years ago and has spread internationally. But it is also where Patrick Schmitz is based.
Among Patrick’s accomplishments is assembling and coaching Organized Chaos, a team of more than 100 schoolchildren at the renowned First Stage childen’s theater. Patrick has performed and taught improv at ComedySportz, trained in improv at Second City and IO in Chicago and facilitated open-improv jams and workshops for adults.
But enough about Patrick (although there’s more). Now about an opportunity to study with him.
Every Tuesday night for six weeks, from June 18 to July 23, Patrick is teaching a workshop called “Improvisational One-Act Play.”
Classes meet from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Underground Collaborative, 161 W. Wisconsin Ave., lower level. The fee is $50 for the entire six weeks or $10 per class.
According to Patrick, the workshop centers on the monomyth formula that maps out the archetypal storyline running through ancient myths, world religions, classic literature and blockbuster movies.
Patrick says via email that class work includes “creative rapid-fire responses and spontaneous dialogue/role play. Students learn to act out interesting and effective stories on the spot by listening, reacting, and supporting each other on stage.”
The workshop also emphasizes all the basic of of improv, such as character work, story telling and acting spontaneously.
Email Patrick by Friday, June 14, to let him know you’re interested. Spots are limited.
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.
If you have had to type the word “improv” as much as we have, you’ll know that AutoCorrect always insists on slapping an “e” on the end.
Maybe that’s because AutoCorrect considers the practice of improvisational comedy as a way to improve one’s attentiveness and communication skills and stage mojo.
Maybe not. AutoCorrect sort of rubs against the go-with-the-flow improv tenet of always responding, “Yes, and…”
Anyway, for $3 a session, Milwaukee Comedy is offering a weekly Wednesday night Open Improv. It starts at 7 p.m. and ends around 9 p.m. at the Underground Collaborative, 161 W. Wisconsin Ave., Lower Level.
And it’s open, which means anyone of any skill level or experience is welcome.
Ask about the discount card – $10 for five sessions.
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:
Brown Paper Tickets Ticket Widget Loading…
Click Here to visit the Brown Paper Tickets event page.
“No Dice will take you on an improvised adventure. Game master James Boland will lead a group of adventurers, selected from the audience, through an epic tale of monster slaying.”
- Tim Higgins
- Chris Lay
- and Erik Koconis (above right)
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!