Sunday, January 18, 2009

COMEDY FEST SCENE: Roseville, Hot Sauce, Finale

Posted by Erica Jackson on Sun, Jan 18, 2009 at 5:55 PM

Saturday was the last night of the 2009 Charleston Comedy Festival, and it was a little bittersweet. The faithful were losing steam after nightly afterparties, some lasting til 4 or 5 a.m. Volunteers were tired, and the comedians had to be feeling it too. But it didn't show in the acts I saw. (P.S. Please forgive the pictures' sizing - I'll fix tomorrow.)

I started out the night with Roseville: A Suspenseful Comedy, which sadly was probably one of the most overlooked shows of the festival. We could maybe blame it on the name or the hard-to-find venue (Lance Hall), but the place was less than half filled during both performances. Folks really missed out. Jet Eveleth and Brendan Jennings (also of Cook County Social Club) presented a wide variety of scenes and characters that came together beautifully in the end. My favorite part of the show was watching the characters' transformations between scenes, along with the intense physical comedy they used (Eveleth's clown training showed). My least favorite part? When Jennings came off the stage and decided to include my friend and I in the act. Can we say worst nightmare? Still, it was hilarious and a bit of a refreshing change from the other improv-centric acts.


After the show I rushed up King Street to the Ballet Theatre to catch Hot Sauce. But the Buffoons went well over their time, and by the time the audience got out, the lobby was packed with a rowdy bunch who parted, creating a path for the audience, cheering every last one of them on their way out the door. Everybody's a comedian. NYC-based Hot Sauce started out by interviewing a member of the audience for improv inspiration. Turned out the lady was a native Charlestonian, and she gave the guys plenty of crazy Lowcountry details to work with.

We had to leave Hot Sauce early to make it to Theatre 99 for the Finale, which was sold out and then some. Every seat in the house was full, and people sat in the aisles and stood against the walls to get a view of the best show of the fest. Familiar faces were everywhere, with comedians, volunteers, and show-goers coming together for the last event of Comedy Fest 2009. Several groups gave abbreviated performances for the two-hour finale, including Roseville, J. Reid, Jon Steinburg, God's Pottery, FUCT, Hot Sauce, and I Eat Pandas. After that, Cook County Social Club, Jet Eveleth, the Buffoons, Hot Sauce, and the Have Nots gathered on stage for one last improv jam. They performed well together - better than the previous night's jam - and it turned out to be some of the best improv of the festival. When the show ended around one, I'm told folks kept the party going at Theatre 99. But this little lady went and got some 1 a.m. dinner at McDonalds and slept til noon.


Final count: 8 shows. And not drinking again for awhile.

Look out tomorrow for a fuller photo gallery.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

COMEDY FEST SCENE: Sold out shows, Tonight's lineup

Posted by Joshua Curry on Sat, Jan 17, 2009 at 6:00 PM

Just checked in with Comedy Festival queen-bee Brandy Sullivan and she says tickets are selling fast. If you're heading out tonight, be mindful of these shows:

FUCT 8 tickets left

Cook County Social Club 1 ticket left

Festival Finale 2 tickets left

Stand-up Double Feature SOLD OUT

If you're looking for alternatives, these shows have plenty of tickets left and have been getting high praise:

Roseville: A Suspenseful Comedy

"If you like surreal humor, this is for you, because you can enjoy the hard-to-find discovery of what it’s like to laugh and then cringe and then laugh some more and then grow bored and maybe get disgusted and then laugh until you’re laughing the deepest, darkest laughter that you had no idea lived inside of you. That’s the suspense of Roseville." -John Stoehr

The Buffoons:

"The last time the Buffoons performed in Charleston, Eugene Cordero did an impersonation of the late Bernie Mac. It was slow. It was excruciating. And it was brilliant. To this day, those in the audience might recall Cordero's Mac musing about hanging out with his sister's kids on a Sunday afternoon." -John Stoehr

Stand-up Showdown

"The festival's second stand-up offering, hosted by the Music Farm, features a Charleston favorite and a rising national star: former 96 Wave radio host-turned-Sirius Radio disc jockey Kenny Z shares the stage with Las Vegas-based comic J. Reid." -Stratton Lawrence

Hot Sauce


Tonight's schedule:

7:30 p.m. FUCT (R)

Sure, they're not politically correct, but are they spellingly correct?

Where: Theatre 99

Tickets: $12.50

7:30 p.m. Roseville: A Suspenseful Comedy (PG-15)

Two actors play 14 characters in this original sketch from Chicago

Where: Lance Hall

Tickets: $12.50

7:30 p.m. Improv Marathon (PG-15): Lead McEnroe, Mister Diplomat, and Best Friends

Longform and musical improv that will rock you like a hurricane

Where: Stars at The American Theater

Tickets: $12.50

8 p.m. Get Hypnotized! (PG)

Peter Gross will turn your kid into the obedient automaton you've always wanted

Where: The American Theater

Tickets: $12.50

8 p.m. The Buffoons (R)

Raw, in-your-face sketch comedy fresh from New Yawk

Where: Charleston Ballet Theatre

Tickets: $12.50

8 p.m. Stand-Up Double Feature (R):

Rory Scovel and Jon Steinberg

A battle of wits in which only one gets out alive

Where: Trio Club

Tickets: $12.50

8:30 p.m. God's Pottery (PG-15)

They are sooo much funnier than Jews for Jesus

Where: The Music Farm

Tickets: $12.50

9 p.m. Cook County Social Club (R)

Fast-paced sketch comedy from Chi-Town

Where: Theatre 99

Tickets: $12.50

9 p.m. I Eat Pandas (PG-15)

These funny ladies return with more musical improv

Where: Lance Hall

Tickets: $12.50

9 p.m. Improv Marathon (PG-15): Sid Viscous, Horse & House, and Rockola

Longform and musical improv that will rock you like a hurricane

Where: Stars at The American Theater

Tickets: $12.50

9:30 p.m. Hot Sauce (R)

Ben Schwartz of Robot Chicken leads this sketch comedy trio

Where: Charleston Ballet Theater

Tickets: $12.50

9:30 p.m. The Pushers (R)

You laugh when they say you can laugh

Where: The American Theater

Tickets: $12.50

10 p.m. Stand-Up Showdown (R):

Kenny Zimlinghaus and J. Reid

The prodigal son returns, and, look, he brought a friend!

Where: The Music Farm

Tickets: $12.50

10:30 p.m. Festival Finale (R)

You'll laugh so much you'll puke

Where: Theatre 99

Tickets: $20

COMEDY FEST VIDEO: God's Pottery, KennyZ, J. Reid

Posted by Joshua Curry on Sat, Jan 17, 2009 at 5:29 PM

Here's some more clips from last night.

John Stoehr on God's Pottery:

My favorites were the Life Lessons bits. They put on costumes to act out of scenes whose objectives were moral instruction. Topics ranged from intercourse, virginity, and friendships with “bad people.” The scenes and dialogue were similar to the kind of moral instruction I experienced in my Bible camp past, which is to say that they were entirely plausible and absolutely absurd.

Myles Hutto on Kenny Z and J. Reid:

Former Charlestonian Kenny Zimlinghaus had total control of the stage by the time I made my way to the bar in the back of the Music Farm. The show had just started. I sipped a Coors Light while I watched from a barstool. Kenny Z scored solid laughs throughout his set. Stories about his cat, “Steve” who likes to “butt drag” across the carpet and a shitty experience as a McDonald’s employee drew big laughs.

Though he’s accustomed to the bright lights of the Vegas Strip, Reid shines in his own right. His ability to shift seamlessly into different characters is a major talent and probably his strong suit. Though the audience turned his standup into improv at times, he rose to the occasion with impressions of people like Dr. Phil and Prince. He handled the stage with an unmistakable professionalism. I would not be surprised to see his name in lights very soon.

God's Pottery:

Kenny Z:

J. Reid:

COMEDY FEST VIDEO: Hot Sauce and The Pushers

Posted by Joshua Curry on Sat, Jan 17, 2009 at 4:48 PM

The festival is in full swing now and last night brought in reports of great shows all over town. I started out at Charleston Ballet Theater to see Hot Sauce and wasn't disappointed. These guys have been at it for a while and it shows. A sketch at the end about a girl's first period had those guys switching characters on the fly and going in all kinds of directions. I've got a short video below. You can catch them again tonight at 9:30.

The Pushers were next and I got my first glimpse at the revamped American Theater. It's now a classy ballroom and The Pushers proceeded to transform it into a den of debauchery. Their skits ranged from Captain Kirk gettin' down with some CofC girls to a funky clerk that sells cheese sandwiches and handjobs. See videos below. They perform again tonight at 9:30.

Hot Sauce

The Pushers


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Posted by Erica Jackson on Sat, Jan 17, 2009 at 3:53 PM

Something was noticeably different when the Buffoons took the stage on Friday night at the the Charleston Ballet Theatre. Something was off. Something was missing. And that something wasn't Bobby Moynihan, the third member of the sketch comedy group.

Yeah, Moynihan wasn't there, but he hasn't been for awhile now. He's since moved on to Saturday Night Live.

No. It wasn't that.

When it came time for the comedy duo to take the stage, Charlie Sanders stood alone. Eugene Cordero was absent. Sanders noted that the evening's performance would be split in two. He'd go on first and Cordero would follow later.

By and large, Sanders was up for a solo show. It wasn't stand-up exactly; it was more of a spoken word performance similar to what Henry Rollins does — a mostly true tale that's told at a machine-gun paced and filled large doses of humor and righteous indignation.

The story centered around Sanders' unusual upbringing — a chubby white kid and the son of an arch-hippie, he was raised a Muslim. More specifically, he was raised a dervish. For a good 30 minutes, Sanders kept the audience entertained with one anecdote after another. It was a quality set, but not exactly what this reviewer at least expected.

Eugene Cordero's one-manner was a disappointment. It moved at a snail's pace and quite frankly just felt flat throughout. An extended bit about a young Chinese kid at an open mike night had moments of brilliance but ultimately felt off. Another involving a television anchor attempting stand-up — an allegedly true story — sucked wart-covered balls. A note to Cordero: If you're going to do the late Bernie Mac and Heath Ledger, dude, you've got to make it count. Otherwise, it just feels cheap. —Chris Haire

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