Off The High Dive With Arielle Norman

(Credit: Audrey Alberthal/ In Your Eyes Photography)
(Credit: Audrey Alberthal/ In Your Eyes Photography)

Audio By Valerie, Words By Dave

What does it take to be a comedian? I don’t know. I’m not a comedian. Arielle Norman is, and from what I’ve learned from her interview, it takes willpower.

Norman was a Mormon who grew up in Houston to devout parents. This means her exposure to comedy growing up was extremely limited. In fact, her early influences were her Dad’s puns, a bootleg copy of a Bill Cosby album and Garfield and Friends (Man, that Nermal was something).  It wasn’t until she turned seventeen that Norman found the good stuff thanks to Yahoo and as you can guess, Pandora’s Box was opened.

Arielle Norman’s life has been much more complex than her conservative religious upbringing. She’s struggled with OCD, which peaked during her teens and early 20’s. Religion, OCD and other elements have forged an amazing backstory that is best told in her own words. Fortunately, our intrepid interviewer, Valerie Lopez,  got it all on audio:

Arielle Norman: The Past

After crisscrossing the country in a way that looks like Michael J. Fox drawing on an Etch-A-Sketch, Norman and the love of her life, Katie, settled down in Austin. Katie farms, Arielle does comedy and they love it. In the year and a half they’ve been in Austin, Arielle Norman has locked down a show every Saturday night at the Hideout Theater. Located in the upstairs theater, Off Script starts off at 10:30 PM.

Arielle Norman: Current

The Umbrella Show is unique since it’s comprised of four smaller shows. Depending on which week it is, Norman is either hosting Riff Raff, A Heckling Show, Crowd Workaholic, or Director’s Cut. The mini-shows all have a single common theme: teaching comedians to think on their feet. Arielle Norman uses this quote for both the comedians and the audience, “Out of the head, and on their toes.” Yes, it’s a late show, but it’s worth it.

Arielle Norman can be found in a plethora of places on the binary sea that is the World Wide Web. The center of the web is her site, Off Script Comedy, which is where you can find out about her upcoming shows and appearances, and see if her brand of comedy tickles your fancy.


Arielle Norman

Valerie Lopez


Joey Zimmerman Is The Zennest

(Credit: James Dean via Hear Nebraska)

Audio By Valerie, Words By Dave

How did Nebraska become a comedy Petri dish? Is there something in the water? The corn? Maybe it’s the atmosphere. Regardless, America’s middle child has sent Austin talented comedians like Cody Hustak, Adam Hrabik, Abby Rosenquist, Ryan Cownie and, and… and Joey Zimmerman.

Zimmerman, who is new to Austin, got his start in comedy at 21 while attending the University of Nebraska. He’s of the generation that had comedy pretty much on request. When he mentioned watching South Park while growing up, I immediately developed rickets and went outside to shake my fist at kids playing on my lawn (I’m getting old and crotchety). Age jokes aside, Zimmerman and his chill demeanor gives me hope for the future and many of us should learn from his go-with-the-flow attitude.

He decided to focus his studies in film and poetry but his parents convinced him to switch to advertising.  After graduating, he got a job copywriting and learned that advertising wasn’t his thing and quit.  Zimmerman took up a bartending gig and sought out comedy. After a coin flip, Zimmerman packed his bags and marched south to Austin.

Joey Zimmerman: The Past

Joey Zimmerman gets deep in part two of his interview with Valerie Lopez – going in depth on why he digs telling stories, and how he works out his ideas for bits and stories. This is another one of those episodes that’s great for aspiring comedians since it peels back the curtain a little bit to the joke and story creation process.

Joey Zimmerman: Current

Zimmerman has a couple of shows he puts together in town. Good Vibes is a free stand up showcase at Alderbert’s Brewery the 2nd Wednesday of every month. He also has a fresh story telling show at Genuine Joe Coffee Shop called The Listening Room on the 2nd Saturday of every month. If you’ve not gone to a story telling show, you must. They’re fascinating.  Be sure to check out Zimmerman’s website where you can see his satire of EDM Deejays.


Joey Zimmerman

Valerie Lopez



Ryan Darbonne Did It Before It Was Cool

(Credit: Zac Sprague)
(Credit: Zac Sprague)

Audio by Valerie, Words by Dave

One thing I’ve noticed about the interviews Valerie does for Comedy Wham is how people approach the concept of comedy. While there are common threads, most of the folks we interview and write about have a unique spin our beloved form of entertainment.  Ryan Darbonne is a stand out, mainly because he doesn’t do stand up.

Darbonne’s approach to comedy stems from a love of movies and short films. To steal a worn out hipster trope, Darbonne and his friends were making a web series before YouTube was cool. It’s true, Hello Optimism predates the premier homemade/commercial video streaming site.

Ryan Darbonne: Past

While creating short movies and sketches is his primary focus, Ryan Darbonne has stepped onto the improv stage. He enjoys the contrast between the two forms of entertainment. Improv provides an almost instant gratification via the audience’s response, which allows him to (if I may steal a worn out Army trope) adjust fire. On the other side of the spectrum, film and video has a delayed gratification with an inherent unpredictable audience. Yet both are means to deliver comedy which Darbonne sees as a very effective critique on society.

Ryan Darbonne: Current

Ryan Darbonne is constantly working and very busy with two improv groups, Sugar, Water, Purple, and Stool Pigeon. Also, don’t forget his show web series, Hello Optimism. Darbonne is also unapologetically active on Facebook.

Social Media

Ryan Darbonne

Valerie Lopez


Vanilla Presley Has All The Flavor

(Source: Facebook)
(Source: Facebook)

Audio by Valerie, Word by Dave

Whoa, talk about parallelisms. I didn’t know Lane Krarup and Pat Sirois were destined to be together like this. It’s the weirdest thing when we think about lives and destinies and cosmic paths, but after hearing this interview, no two people were meant to be together more than these two star crossed comedians.

Here’s little Lane Krarup growing up in Wisconsin, trying be cool towards his older brother and his brother’s friend and listening to some illicit comedy. Now let me clarify, by illicit, I mean stuff his mom doesn’t like so whatever. Anyway, things go on, and life progresses and somewhere… somewhere across the country there’s Pat Sirois.

Vanilla Presley: The Past

Pat Sirois was born in the army.  Being born to a military family means frequent changes of schools, neighborhoods, cities and friends. He found solace in books. Some of you may not remember life before Amazon. For those that don’t, we had mall book stores.  Sirois found the comedy section in the bookstores. There he finds George Carlin’s book, Brain Droppings.  

Krarup also discovered Brain Droppings, and they both developed a love of hip hop, comedy and Austin. They met at the New Movement Theater where Sirois heard Krarup rap. They formed the comedy rap group Vanilla Presley. The rest is in the interview.

Vanilla Presley: Current

Sirois and Krarup are still doing stand up on their own. Sirois for one, was recently on Matt Bearden’s Piranha, and both have been hitting up the open mic scene. Also since it’s been thrust into the universe, Vanilla Presley is putting out an album in 2017. If you want to taste their wares check their YouTube and SoundCloud pages.


Vanilla Presley

Lane Krarup

Pat Sirois

Valerie Lopez

Comedy Wham