Welcome to Your Comedy Layover...

Washington D.C. may not be a city that embraces comedy with open arms, but you knew that already. That is why you found us. Here you can get information, interviews and insights on the best local stand-up, improv and sketch comedy this city has to offer... 4 Now. You can reach us at dccomedy4now(at)gmail.com. LET'S DO THIS, DC!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Clickity Clack, Don’t Talk Back

by: Travis Irvine

I’ve done comedy on and off since 2003, and have lived and performed in cities such as New York, Los Angeles, London, Columbus, and now, Washington, D.C. Ironically, after all these years, I’m still not funny! Ha ha! See? Even that wasn’t that funny.

However, living in these different cities and doing comedy at various open mics has allowed me to study something a lot of comedians haven’t, and that is comedian cliques.

Yes, it turns out that comedians are as cliquey as cheerleader girls in high school…just less hot and not as boner-inducing. In fact, it’s kind of like being the new guy in high school: you show up on your first day; no one talks to you except a few other new people; you get put in front of everyone; you’re nervous; they judge you harshly because of your small boner; then reject you for the next few weeks until you do something so awesome and cool that all the girls think you’re neat and the guys want to beat you up because you’re going to prom with the head cheerleader. Small boners be damned!

[Hit the jump to read what Midwest city Travis thinks is a "comedy mecca". Hint: I am moving to Columbus, Ohio.]


In big comedy scenes, like L.A. and New York City, I saw different cliques for different open mics. One clique went to a certain set of open mics for the week and another clique went to another set. I experienced the same thing in London (no cliques of American comics, unfortunately), and saw similar situations while visiting Chicago and San Fran. In Columbus, a “veritable comedy mecca”, there was only one comedian clique because only five open mics existed, in addition to a weekly showcase at The Funny Bone. Even in a city not known for comedy whatsoever, it was the same deal for your first time: you show up and no one talks to you until they deem you funny and/or cool.

I’m happy to say that Washington has been the most accepting comedian clique I’ve experienced yet. Granted, I had a few friends already here, but overall, the scene offers the same opportunities as a big city with a smaller, friendlier core. One week you’re the new guy, and next thing you know, you’re eating mayonnaise in front of 10+ comics for shits and giggles…well, mainly shits. Ha ha! Now that was funny, people, come on!

What’s interesting is that if a certain clique does get good, then everyone in it makes it. This is what happened in L.A. with the comedians on HBO’s “Mr. Show”, or with the comedians from “The State” in New York, and of course, with the “Second City” crowd of Chicago in the ‘70s. If a collective group of people gets funny to the point where people can’t not pay attention, everyone in the clique goes along for the ride! Yahoo!

So I say, embrace the comedian cliques you will encounter from here on out, and understand it’s all just part of the process. If you’re really funny, eventually you’ll be eating mayonnaise and fucking the head cheerleader so hard it won’t matter how small your boner is. Ha ha! Callback city! Anybody on that one? No? Okay.

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

"Secret Comics Done at Work" by Jake Young

so, secret...so tiny. click to enlarge, baby.







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Monday, May 19, 2008

DC Comedy Spotlight: Tyler Sonnichsen

Tyler Sonnichsen, is a native New Englander who moved to DC after college, in mid-2005. He soon began the Saturday comedy showcase at the Laughing Lizard Lounge, that has been running since then (minus a three-month hiatus this year). But it's back again and the DC comics are rejoicing, as it's been a favorite spot to perform for many for a while now. He's performed all over the area, including the Baltimore Comedy Factory (with Nick DiPaolo), the DC Improv, Jokes On Us in Laurel, headlined the 955 club in Richmond, was featured in a pair of comedy showcases in Connecticut, performed at Standup NY with Jim Norton and Gary Gulman, various shows at the University of Maryland.

He also hosts and produces a weekly radio show with Jake Young, Herbie Gill, Tim Miller, and whoever else decides to show up every summer on WGTB (www.georgetownradio.com) and hopefully this summer on WMUC in Maryland (www.wmucradio.com).

Last weekend Tyler performed at the Baltimore Comedy Factory this weekend with Tony Woods and Mike Aronin.

Other upcoming appearances include:

The Laughing Lizard show on the 24th, and the Arlington Drafthouse Comedy Challenge on May 28th.


DCC4N'S INTERVIEW WITH TYLER:
Where did you first perform?

Aside from scattered show appearances in high school, I was one of the founding members of a sketch comedy troupe at Syracuse called Penguins without Pants. Most of us acknowledged that 95% of college comedy was terrible, so we tried to transcend it, with a decent level of success I suppose. Of course, by the time we started to get genuinely watchable, we graduated. Sketch was a lot of fun, especially the occasional video aspect, but I'm more at home with standup at this point. A few of my friends from Pw/oP wound up in New York, in various improv and sketch outfits, including Cleanest River in America, who were amazing the times I've gotten up there to see them.

[hit the jump for more from Tyler]



When did you realize that you wanted to do comedy?

I've been a wiseass for most of my life, really. I've been 'doing comedy' in one form or another for as long as I can remember. When I was 11 or 12 my cousin Alex and I started making short films and radio sketches. I think he even had one of those Talkboys like Macauley Culkin in Home Alone 2. A bunch of his friends from western Massachusetts and some of mine from CT did, and that led to the formation of TDC Productions in the later 90's. That was the platform we used for just being creative and doing comedy for a while. Growing up with the general ambition to create funny things pretty much ingrained comedy in me.

Who were some of your earliest influences?

I remember reading 'Calvin & Hobbes' and 'Garfield' (before Jim Davis ran out of ideas) when I was a kid and learning how to write simple jokes from that. I remember two episodes of 'Ren & Stimpy' changing my life (for no good reason): the one where they get jobs guarding the Abe Lincoln statue, and the one where Stimpy becomes a cartoonist and makes the most ridiculously bad cartoon imaginable. Of course the Simpsons was big for me by the time it peaked in the mid-90's; the episode where Homer attends Clown College is absolutely brilliant. 'I Love Lucy,' 'In Living Color,' anything muppets, and anything Dan Aykroyd ever did on SNL too.

What about them captivated you?

At the time, whatever made me and my friends laugh hard enough to talk about during class at school the next day I still remember. We still quote those episodes and characters incessantly. In retrospect, those cartoons, shows, and comic strips were pretty envelope-pushing and genuinely good works of art. It looks like kids are wallowing in a wasteland today with the crap they have.


What was your first paid gig?

I don't remember. The first time I may have been paid to do standup was...wait for it...get this..the Hyatt. Seriously, though, that Curt Shackelford makes magic happen.

Do you prefer to write on or off stage?

Writing on stage can be embarassing, since I have this habit of obnoxiously pointing out when I'm writing on stage, but its easy to put your brain to the test when you're under the gun like that. Off stage is great when you're just BSing with friends; tags will come flying, inevitably.

Do you enjoy the process of writing?

Sort of. I tend to do my best writing after bad sets, so I guess that's the silver lining part of writing new material. Sometimes I'll just sit there, pen in hand, notebook open, for a while and get nothing, so the occasional off night is more helpful than I usually anticipate.

What about performing live do you enjoy?

I love how standup comedy is the most simple, stripped down, back to basics form of entertainment there is. The idea that people have essentially been doing this for thousands of years is neat. You have the weight of everyone's eyes on you, and it gives you this unique power while you're on stage. Also, some of the shows are usually a great time in general that you spend weeks looking forward to, particularly the Laughing Lizard shows and the comedy free-for-all that is College Perk's open mic.

Do you ever want to convey a message?

There's no point in being in entertainment if you don't convey a message, even unintentionally. But people will only laugh at stuff they agree with on some level, so you're conveying some form of message anytime a joke hits. It doesn't have to be topical to be political, and the same goes vice versa.

What's hacky to you?

A place next to CVS in the mall. They copy keys for you. Comics who don't challenge their audience or write jokes about what's important to them are also hacky. Actually, so was that joke about the key duplication stand.

Were your parents supportive of you doing comedy?

Yeah, if I were trying to risk everything to "make it" in the 'Jazz Singer' sense (minus the blackface, religious tension, and Neil Diamond remake) they'd probably advise me against it, but I hope to have some sort of positive professional career that isn't necessarily comedy-related. So they think it's a riot. Not my comedy, the idea that I'm actually doing this. But they support it and love watching me perform.

Where do you plan on moving next?

It pains me to think about leaving DC since a) I love this town and the friends I have here, and b) I can't stand the shitheads who clog this city for a couple of years, complain endlessly about it, then take off not having even seen anything outside of Adams-Morgan. That's a pretty large chunk of DC's young professional population, but it's a transient place, like it or not. You just have to make the most of it while you're here.

To actually answer your question rather than be a misanthrope, probably the Bay Area, Austin, New Orleans, or abroad. Not necessarily for comedy but I would still find someway to do it even if I'm somewhere with no real scene.

How do you feel about the comedy scene in DC?

It's been great. I think everyone knows everything and knows nothing at the same time, since it's pretty easy to get trapped in a bubble. It almost spoils you since stage time isn't really THAT painfully hard to get, and you don't have to pay to perform, or sit around for 3 hours watching dreamers who are destined to fail. I like how almost all of us work day jobs so comedy is something we spend all day looking forward to, generally. Also, having to perform in front of the same people day in and day out around open mics pushes you to write and write and constantly improve your jokes, delivery, risks, etc.

What would you change?

The other night, Seaton Smith, Jermaine Fowler, and I were standing outside of Spy Lounge when councilman Jim Graham walked by. We half-joked and asked him to give shout outs to DC comedy to the press, since we can use all the publicity we can get. I'm amazed but not all that shocked, sadly how often I meet someone, tell them about standup in DC and how much talent there is in this town, and get a genuinely surprised response. I understand that standup isn't for everyone, but a lot of people are missing out, which is the biggest disappointment.


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Friday, May 16, 2008

Cause I'm in Love


By: Tyler Richardson

Sad to see that you had to take down the blog everyone was commenting on, but I get it, most weren't positive. Thought I'd like to contribute something that says nothing negative about comedy or our area. I'll understand if you don't use it, but I thought it might be a change of pace. See you guys around.

Cause I'm in love:
I could hang out with old friends more
I have no idea who any one is on American Idol
We can go ahead and add Dancing with the Stars to that
I really feel like $#!t when I say goodbye to my dog after I just get home
Gas prices actually matter to me now
I change my oil every time that I turn around
I get to laugh at everyone for free when a lot of people have to pay to see you guys...
or they will
I'm single and often feel very alone
then the Fowlest calls with a new joke to listen
then he tells me to get my @ss out and on a stage
I've seen what can happen to people in very little time
Aparna
I've also seen that time can be a good thing
Seaton
Had some spats
(do the names matter?)
Later I remembered that we're all here to laugh
why should comics beef?
Had people do me great favors
Odyssey
I keep that in mind for the moment someone needs something from me
Watched people develop great jokes from thin air
Found laughs in old jokes when I was pretty sure nothing was there
I've shaken like a tree before a contest
I've lost
I've won
Met LOTS of people who are where I wanna be
Almost every one was incredibly kind to me
I think almost every one experiences "Groupie Love" in some form
I've watched Seaton get A LOT of love.... not jealous (you believe me right? nah)
Every boss or co-worker says "Don't write a joke about me"
Do we ever?
I've complained about how Curt or someone else runs their room
I try to keep that feeling in mind with Spy Lounge
Eli is the man
I'm pretty sure I remember seeing Hampton's first time at Wiseacres
feels weird looking back on that now
I remember when Kojo and Tim were like Siamese twins
they might be less cohesive now but still went the same way
There was a time that I never wanted to go to open mics without a friend
now a lot friends are already there
I worry a lot less about women
I worry more if my jokes will be funny enough to walk offstage and get one
Rascals, Baltimore Improv, Riot Act - I remember

[hit the jump for more prose before hoes]


I remember seeing Rory on TV with Herbie
Can't wait to see Erin's turn
I'm pretty sure I hit on Ayanna Dookie one night
if I can't remember well, clearly it didn't go that well
On two occasions I've slept on the streets on Times Square
both of those are probably my favorite nights in comedy... didn't even perform those nights
I've been heckled in front of my mother, I've bombed horribly
Had audiences laugh so hard they confused me
I used to get lost, literally, every time I left the house for comedy
Now I park without paying everywhere I go
I get stuck sometimes thinking "What's next"
Second looks at old jokes can give them breath
I've spanked Schlegel in Gears of War
that was 10 minutes after he held my hand through Rainbow Six Vegas... I sucked
Been handed a check
Been handed a handshake
Some of these things are terrible
But the joy I feel from remembering the good is irreplaceable
I have a feeling that most of you know what I'm talking about
I'll see you guys around...


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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Cinco de MAYO @ Chief Ike's

Travis Irvine attempts the impossible in front of the most grossed out audience and shakiest camera in the world.


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Monday, May 12, 2008

The Apple Sisters are coming to the DC Improv!

The Apple Sisters will be performing their award-winning, WWII-era comedy show “Right to Bare Charms” (Chicago Sketchfest, Charleston Comedy Festival, and San Francisco Sketchfest) live at the DC Improv on May 17th at 8 pm.


"The Apple Sisters is a 1940s radio show with a modern twist. Packed with songs, dances and slapstick, they’re sure to put a smile to your face, with only modest product endorsement (sponsored by Corndy! Corn Flavored Candy). Pull up your army boots and we’ll meet you in the mess hall!"


Honestly, I've had the pleasure to see the Sisters on a few occasions and I can't recommend the show highly enough. Also, the show's joining them on piano is none other that WIT's own Travis Ploeger of the world-renowned iMusical.

DC Improv Comedy Lounge
Saturday, May 17th @ 8:00
$15
GET TICKETS HERE

Check the Apple Sisters in all their corn-spittin' fun in the video below.


Kimmy Gatewood, Apple Sister Cora, is originally from Spencerville, MD and is making her triumphant return to DC and is also teaching two workshops through the DC Improv while she's in town- 1. characters & dialects (sold out) 2. musical improv (2 spots)(So by the time you're reading this, you are probably too late, you lazy people!)



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Defenders of Stan: 15th Episode online now

Last Monday, Defenders of Stan screened its 15th episode! It's the longest running show in Channel101 history (both LA and NY!). This latest episode is certainly among their best even though Mike Bass isn't it.

People can check out all 15 episodes (plus bonus Christmas Special) at either www.ny.channel101.com or www.defendersofstan.com (I would recommend the DOS.com site, for videos and behind the scenes stuff).

The guys that make these are Big Honkin' - buddies of Mike from JMU who operate out of this area. Continue to support local comedians!! This shit is funny!



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Saturday, May 10, 2008

Shelfed






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Thursday, May 8, 2008

Bitching About People That Bitch

By: Danny Rouhier

You've heard them. You've been at a show when they are bitching about not being able to get on stage. You've heard them complaining about how a certain guy books his show and how it isn't fair. You know who I'm talking about. It's the guys who think they are entitled to something simply because they've told their co-workers and friends 'I do comedy'.

The people I'm talking about are not necessarily bad people. My argument is that they just don't realize how selfish and short sighted it is to bitch about how someone books their show or complain about not being able to get up. Someone might post a counter to this about how comics need an opportunity to get better and it isn't fair if the bookings they want constantly are going to the more established comics while they are left to wonder why.

To quote Jack Nicholson from the Departed: 'No one gives it to you. You gotta take it.'

[hit the jump, bitch]


Let me be clear about something. Performing comedy is, inherently, a dependent art form. In order for one to perform somewhere successfully, a comic is dependent on several factors (booking, venue, audience). At no time, from a guy who is going on for the first time all the way to Brian Regan/Bil Burr, is a comic entitled to anything. He/she should consider it a blessing every single time all the right things happen to allow for a successful performance. It's even more of a blessing once all those external factors allow you to make a living doing something as trivial as standing on a stage, speaking into a microphone at a glorified diner/bar. Comedy clubs make money by selling food and booze. It's nice when they take an active interest in the comedy community by developing and showcasing talent, but it certainly isn't the norm. We as comics need to remember that there are more ways than ever for people to spend their entertainment dollar. We often overestimate the market for live comedy. It's way too easy for consumers to get their entertainment from a myriad of mediums for us to presume that people will just show up at the venue we will be performing at without any work being put in.

Having recently left the DC scene and moved to New York City, there are a number of differences. The most glaring departure I have seen thus far is that the majority of comics up here seem to understand the idea that you have to create your own breaks. If you want stage time, start a show. Your level of involvement is up to you. You can do 0 work, have your show last a couple months, get it canceled and start anew. You can put in a ton of work, build it as best you can, still have it canceled and move on. The point here is that I bet that most of the guys who are pissed off at what they perceive as a small group getting all the work, haven't done near as much work as they think they have. How many shows have you started? Have you gotten a room going so that you can exchange stage time with someone else who has a room? Have you put in work pounding the pavement finding a a great venue where you can eventually get comics some $ for performing? Have you taken it upon yourself to stop waiting for someone to give you something and gone out after it yourself?

No one is responsible for getting you stage time. It's up to you. Instead of bitching about not being able to get on a show, go make a better show. Take responsibility for your own destiny and stop bitching.

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Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Nicky T's Birthday Show! Tonight @ Solly's Tavern


It's celebration time, bitches.

NICK TURNER: KING OF ALL IRRELEVANT COMEDY IN DC turns 28 tonight in what is guaranteed to be the best show of all birthday-shows-EVER!!

We are even getting the band back together for this special night.

We got Bryson Turner, on bass
We got Seaton Smith, on drums
We got Brandon Ivey, on lead guitar
We got Jason Saenz, on rhythm guitar
We got Will Hessler, on maracas


PLUS SPECIAL GUESTS!!!

Date: Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Time: 8:30pm - 11:00pm
Location: Solly's Tavern
Street: U street and 11th street
City/Town: Washington, DC

Also, he told DCC4N that he is throwing the $5 cover out the window for this special night. God, he is a SAINT!!



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Thursday, May 1, 2008

Chief Ike's: Laugh Sooner


NEW SHOW TIME FOR CHIEF IKES!!

CHIEF IKE'S OPEN MIC
1725 Columbia Road NW
Monday Nights
Sign up @ 7:00pm
Show starts @ 7:30pm


Believe it.



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