Comedy in DC, Night Life, The Features

Comedy in DC: Michael Ian Black’s 9:30 Club Twitter Takeover! @ 3pm, 5/23/14

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Comedian Michael Ian Black takes over the 9:30 Club Twitter account to answer questions on Friday, May 23 at 3pm before visiting town for his show at the 9:30 Club on Tuesday, May 27. (You may remember him from Wet Hot American Summer, Ed, The State and many other appearances.)

Be there! Both times!

Twitter Takeover!
Michael Ian Black
@930Club
3pm
Friday, May 23
All ages

Comedy in DC, Entertainment, People, The Features

Comedy in DC: Marc Maron

Marc Maron, a man highly revered and rewarded for his naturally salty disposition, is living the dream for curmudgeons everywhere. The comedian has opened up his personal life to an extensive following of WTF podcast listeners, IFC series viewers, and now, memoir readers.

Truth be told, I am skeptical of stand-up comedians turned writers because their stories tend to read like bits. Marc Maron’s Attempting Normal, his recently published collection of autobiographical mishaps, is no exception; however, Maron’s “bits” have always been his memoirs. His personal life is the driving force of his sarcastically sage voice that beautifully blurs the line between stand up and storytelling.

Earlier this week, a number of Maron fans gathered at the Sixth & I Historic Synagogue for his reading of Attempting Normal. Marc Maron arrived on the bema and immediately cut to the chase.

“Alright, do you want me to read or do you want me to talk?” Continue reading

Comedy in DC

Winning Ticket: Puppet Stand-Up

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The above is what I imagine a bit of puppet stand-up with a Cherry Red-ish pedigree to be like, but I guess the truth will be a lot more varied. And less shellfish. But equally not safe for work, or, perhaps, anyone.

Sadly I will not be finding out, as I have a charity event to go to. But my loss can be your gain – I’m going to pick one lucky commenter to receive my two tickets to tomorrow’s 8pm show of Puppet Stand-Up, a “unique showcase of eighteen of the best puppet comics working today.” Just leave a comment below indicating you’re interested and if you’re the winner – selected by the highly scientific process of me opening up random.org – I’ll email you the two PDF and you’ll have to find a printer. I’ll close entries sometime before noon tomorrow so don’t dawdle. Make sure you leave a valid email address so I can contact you.

Puppet Stand-Up happens Sat Feb 23 at 8:00 pm and 10:00 pm at the Warehouse Theater, 645 New York Ave NW, (202) 783-3933. The closest metro stop is Convention Center and you can be sure it’ll be funny and profane. Possibly in that order, but no promises.

Comedy in DC

Comedy in DC: Maggie Dempsey

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Photo by: Jessica Neumann Photography

Fighting Improv Smackdown Tournament, FIST, Commissioner Maggie Dempsey took some time to chat with me about her role organizing and maintaining the largest improv tournament in D.C. ever. This month, the Washington Improv Theater is having their Sixth Annual FIST with 58 teams competing and over 170 people performing. The tournament started March 8 and will be going on until April 7 where an improv trio will be victorious and a huge party will ensue; however, in the meantime Maggie is in the middle keeping everything in check. Continue reading

Comedy in DC

Comedy in DC: Brandon Wardell

Brandon Wardell Mic

I had a nice chat with Brandon Wardell, a local D.C. comic who is throwing the comedy showcase, Brandon Wardell and Friends, that is happening Friday, Sep. 16 over at the Velvet Lounge. If you see him there you may notice that he will have black X’s on his hands, because he is not 21. In fact, he recently turned 19.
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Comedy in DC

Podcasts of DC: Oscar Santana Rises Reloaded!

Photo Credit: Mandy Sroka Photography
Big O and Dukes Live Stage Show
From left to right: Oscar Santana, Chad Dukes. Drab T-Shirt. Sven Lloyd

Santana felt that he had a good run with their show and that all was lost. He had no idea what to expect next. His phone rang an hour after he found out he lost his job. It was someone from CBS who told him, “We are going to try to make you a talk show.” Apparantly, Michael Hughes, a general manager of all the stations at the time, believed in Big “O” and Dukes. The duo were offered a day time shift in Baltimore, which is an even better situation to be when you are a DJ, because you have a bigger audience.

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Comedy in DC

Podcasts of DC: Oscar Santana

Oscar Santana On the Mic
Photo by Tommy Lang.

I had a nice sit down with Oscar Santana over at the Wonderland Ballroom outside on the patio on a cloudy Sunday evening. Santana’s friends dubbed him the “Prince of Podcasting” and it is understandable. He is part of the DC based Big-O and Dukes Show, The Mike O’Meara Show, and Tech 411. All of these podcasts combined have achieved over 10 Million downloads. Please be aware that what you are about to read is a tale so epic that you will never use the word “epic” to describe how good your burrito was. Continue reading

Comedy in DC

Comedy in DC: Adam Ruben

Adam Ruben Scientist

I met up with Adam Ruben who is a local comic and author of the book My Stupid Decision to go to Grad School on an extremely sizzling Sunday over at Teaism in Dupont Circle. We each coincidentally ordered hot tea to drink as we chatted. At first I thought that ordering hot tea on hot day would equal a hot mess; however, my brain recalled from television that drinking hot things helps to cool the body down ironically. I don’t know if that is true. I’m not a scientist, but Adam is! His day job involves finding a cure for maleria. You want to know more about this guy? Well alright. Continue reading

Comedy in DC

Comedy in DC: Chris White

Chris White

I had a beer in a coffee shop with Chris White who will be recording his second album at the DC Improv this month and is the creator of the DC open mic website DCStandup. You may be curious as to why we drank beer at the coffee shop. Well, it’s an amazing story. You should be sitting down to read this. Anyway, I drank a pot of coffee before I left my house and was on the verge of a nervous attack. When I made it to the coffe housee I saw that they had beer there, so I ordered one. Then Chris appeared and said “I’ll have one too.” Then we sat down and had a nice conversation. Wasn’t that awesome!? Anyway, let’s get to know Chris. Continue reading

Comedy in DC

Comedy in DC: Eli Sairs

Eli Sairs headshot

I spent last a nice weekend afternoon getting to know Eli Sairs who is a former DC comic and the producer of the upcoming 3 Chords Comedy Show that’s happening at the Velvet Lounge on June 3. We had a fun chat over at the Tastee Diner in Silver Spring. I got to say that that diner has what I call “Good Joo-Joo.” I trust a place has good food if they still have the same furniture from twenty years ago. It says to me, “Hey, I don’t have to change, because I’m fine the way I am.” An example of “Bad Joo Joo” is this other place I went to the day before that had over priced Mexican food. The furniture was modern and the place looked fancy; however, the food was not given as much care as the decorating. My stomach was killing me during our conversation. Anyway, I’m going to shut up now and let’s learn about Eli. Continue reading

Comedy in DC

Comedy in DC: Sheng Wang

Sheng Wang Pro

I got to know Sheng Wang over the phone recently and found out who he is and what to expect when he headlines the Cool Dudes Hanging Out Show happening at the Velvet Lounge this Friday from 7 to 10 PM. I don’t like to give excuses, but want to let you know that my trusty I-Pod that I use to record my conversations failed to record and I do not have a lot of quotes. What I do promise you though is that I can tell you his story using the very ephemeral storage space in my brain. In fact I am scrambling to disseminate as much information as possible right now so that the story is fresh in my mind. Continue reading

Comedy in DC, The Daily Feed

Comedy. Tsunami relief. Underwear?

Photo courtesy of
‘yeah! we’re crazy!’
courtesy of ‘philliefan99′

The comics who regularly appear at the Eleventh Street Lounge open mic night in Clarendon (from this point known collectively as “the Lizards”) are having another comedy-for-relief event tonight. This time, it’s for tsunami relief in Japan, and the gimmick is that all the 10+ comics will be performing in their underwear.

The show starts at 8:30 and admission is $5. Five bucks for comedy, a good cause, and for the comics’ total willingness to sacrifice their dignity for your entertainment. Cheap at twice the price!

Comedy in DC, People, The Features

Comedy in DC: Vijai Nathan

Vijai Nathan Photo 2

Vijai Nathan. Photo credit: Alexander Morozov.

Recently I had a fun chat with Vijai Nathan, a local comic who has performed across the planet and is the creator of the monthly comedy party “Fan-Freakin-Tastic” at Chief Ike’s Mambo Room. Vijai is a first generation Indian American and grew up in Rockville, Maryland.

How did you get into performing comedy?

I was a journalist working at the Baltimore Sun at the time, and I was engaged with someone I thought was perfect for me, my college sweetheart, and I had a great job and I was never more miserable. I just had always wanted to be a performer growing up and it was something my parents never encouraged me to do, because it’s not like Indian immigrant parents who are going to be like, “Yeah, here’s something where you are guaranteed not to make any money for the rest of your life.”

So, really what happened was I was just so stuck in my job and stuck in my relationship, and just stuck in my life and I saw this adult class to learn to be a standup comedian in two sessions. So I took that with First Class in Washington, D.C. with this guy that was funny, and when I took the class I was still a journalist during the day and just trying to do something to fill this performance dream that I had. The other people in the class were accountants and lobbyists, just kind of normal D.C. people who worked in the government. When I had my graduation class I was the funniest person there. Someone said, “Oh my God, you should be a comedian. You’re going to be the next Margaret Chang” and I was like “It’s Margaret Cho, but thanks!” Continue reading

Comedy in DC

Comedy in DC: Mike Lawrence

mike lawrence

I somehow managed to remain coherent enough after my day job to have a conversation with Mike Lawrence. He is coming down to DC this Friday to be the headliner for Cool Dudes Hanging Out at the Velvet Lounge starting at 7:00 and ending at 10:00. Mike, 28, is originally from Florida near Ft. Lauderdale and has been living in New York for the past four years.

His first experience with comedy was watching his mother perform when he was growing up.  They both make people laugh, but from different parts of the heart. I asked him what makes his comedy different and he said that she is the light and he is the dark. “I’m a lot sadder and angrier and she’s a lot happier.” His first time expressing himself through the mike was with poetry, but he transitioned to comedy, because all he cared about when he read his poems were the parts when people laughed. “I think my goal is to do this on a bigger level. I like what I do I want to do it more. My heart is really into live performing. Stand-up is great. It’s you getting paid to be yourself, which is awesome. I’m a nerdy kind of uncomfortable guy with anger issues and I get to be that for money. That’s awesome.” Continue reading

Comedy in DC, The Features

Comedy in DC: Allyson Jaffe

Allyson Dress

I spent a cold Spring Sunday with Allyson Jaffe, the co-owner, manager, and prinicipal of the comedy school at the DC Improv. We met up over at the Caribou Coffee near the club. I was little upset that I had to wear a jacket that day. The planet is definitely taking its sweet time adjusting to the warmer weather. What’s the deal Earth? I put my recyclables in the blue bin. Let’s step it up! Anyway, the conversation I had with Allyson warmed my day. Continue reading

Comedy in DC, The Daily Feed

Comedy in DC: Fan-Freaking-Tastic

Vijai Nathan

There’s a 99% chance of a good time happening this weekend as Vijai Nathan will be throwing the monthly show Fan-Freaking-Tastic over at Chief Ike’s Mambo room this Saturday. The theme for this party is “Freaks & Geeks” and will  feature performances by top DC stand up comics, storytellers, and slam poets for $15. The show starts at 8 PM, but I would advise getting there an hour early to take advantage of the happy hour deal going on before the show.

Comedy in DC

Comedy in DC: Nikki Glaser

Nikki Glaser

I got a chance to speak with Nikki Glaser on the phone while she was cruising over to Sara Schaefer’s apartment to record their hit podcast, You Had to Be There. If you haven’t heard about them then you should go to the Velvet Lounge this Friday and see them perform live for the Cool Dudes Hanging Out Comedy Showcase to get a taste of what you are missing. This weekend’s entertainment got started at a party in New York not too long ago, because how else do you find a creative partner but with food and alcohol? The two comics got to talking while a little buzzed (as one does), had a good conversation, and said to each other “We should do a podcast.” In the scheme of ideas-you-get-while-drinking, it was a pretty good one. Nikki had tried doing podcasts in the past, but they didn’t work out. She’s not good with technical stuff, but Sarah has the skills and handles that aspect of the show. As an avid conusmer of comedy podcasts I highly recommend checking it out. It’s like being in Sarah’s apartment with the snacks, beer, and good times flowing. Continue reading

Comedy in DC

Comedy in DC: Jessica Brodkin

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I braved the cold last Wednesday evening and found refuge in Dupont Circle’s Teaism to meet with DC comic Jessica Brodkin. I was there pretty early and had a pot of World Peace tea. I must say that Michael Jackson’s “We are the World” started playing in my head. Once all seven of my chakras aligned, Jessica arrived and we had a pleasant dialogue.

Jessica, 29, was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, speaks Russian, and has been living in DC for the past seven years. She loves this city and said that her favorite parts are Chinatown and U Street. “There’s a lot going on and I like the vibe. All the people you run into.” She likes that DC is full of intellectual people and enjoys the smart crowds. “Lots of people here are really educated and trying to do good things.” She’s kind of educated too. She went to M.I.T. in Boston. Maybe you’ve heard of it it? I think smart people go there. Anyway, she said that she was raised in Brooklyn, but DC  is where she became an adult in her own right. Continue reading

Comedy in DC, Entertainment

Storytelling In DC: Story League

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Photo by Abby Greenawalt

I was almost swept away by the wind on Saturday as I trekked down the curvy streets of Adam’s Morgan to meet up with SM Shrake , one of the founders of Story League, and attend their second workshop.  I had a flash of the opening scene to Shutter Island when I was walking up the driveway of the mental institution-like structure. As I got closer and closer to the front door, I heard heavy strings getting louder and louder with each step I took. Fear was trying to take control, but I knew I had to get in there. There was a question that infected my brain with obsession. “What is Story League?”

To get to that answer I first had to learn about the man with the idea of Story League. I had a nice chat with SM who has been a Washingtonian for four years. He grew up in Detroit and lived in Philadelphia before making his way to the District.  He would visit the nation’s capital to hang out with a friend while living in the City of Brotherly Love. (I googled that nickname about Philadelphia. I can’t confirm if people say that, but it sounds nice.) Anyway, he realized that he had so much fun here that he wanted to make it his new home. “What I find fun about it is there’s a camaraderie. The transitiveness of the people. To me that gives it a different feel. It’s almost like hotel bars are sexy. People are passing through.” I totally understand what he means by this. D.C. is a place where people relate instantly, because they are not from here. Fortunately for SM, he was able to bond with people that are not only not from here, but have a passion for live storytelling. Continue reading

Comedy in DC

Comedy in D.C.: Brad Ryan and Ralph Cooper’s Awesome Thursdays

awesomethursday - bradandralph

I was in the part of town that has Chinese letters beside English ones hanging with Brad Ryan and Ralph Cooper who are the founders of Awesome Thursdays at the R.F.D. in Chinatown. We had a good chat on a Saturday afternoon in the Chinatown Coffee Company and were lucky to be at a table. It took me about twenty minutes to snag one. While I stalked the area I noticed one girl sitting alone with her purse placed on the chair beside her. At first I thought she didn’t want to get her bag dirty, but then in walks this guy who heads right to her. She looks up. “It’s nice to meet you in person!” He tells her. It was a successful online date. Beautiful. I sat alone for a couple minutes and then in walks two dudes who come to my table. Another successful online date. Um… anyway, let’s learn about Ralph and Brad. Continue reading