Brendan K. O’Grady Checks In

(Credit: An Indoor Lady)
(Credit: An Indoor Lady)

Audio by Valerie, Words by David

Time flies. Just over a year ago, Comedy Wham started recording interviews with Austin area comedians. It started with an interview with the hosts of Sure Thing, a pretty rad showcase every Saturday at the Austin Java on Lamar and Parkway. Brendan K. O’Grady and Duncan Carson are basically the Batman and Robin of the Austin comedy scene… wait, I’m not fan of D.C. Let’s do a Marvel reference: Cable and Deadpool? Ironman and Captain America? Oh well, you get it.

Valerie Lopez catches up with Brendan K. O’Grady to catch up on things and see how Sure Things Records is going. O’Grady is excited about where things are going regarding the record label. Two of their seven releases topped the iTunes comedy charts. That’s something to be proud of considering the amount of content being put out on the site.

Comedy Wham Presents: Brendan K. O’Grady

With the success of the record label and the continued standing room only shows, O’Grady and Carson have no plans to leave Austin in the near future. The quality of the comedians this city fosters is incredible. It’s not surprising they leave to bigger cities like L.A. and New York to grow their careers. It’s good to know (from a comedy fan’s perspective) Carson and O’Grady have decided to stay here.

Always cheery and affable, Brendan K. O’Grady gives a lighthearted rundown of Sure Things Records’ upcoming plans, teases their latest album and discusses any future compilation albums with the Terry Gross of Austin’s comedy scene. If you want to check out Sure Thing Records go to their website. All records are available for digital download. As for O’Grady, well, he can be found all over the web and of course, at Austin Java every Saturday night.

Twitter

Brendan K. O’Grady

Valerie Lopez

Comedy Wham

David Thomas

 

Tai Nguyen Finds His Comedy Zen

(Credit Jay Rohas, Seen it All Photography)
(Credit Jay Rojas, Seen it All Photography)

Audio By Valerie, Words By Richard

(Quick housekeeping note: While Valerie normally does two part interviews, we’ve decided to make some changes in the interview format, moving from two segments per episode to one. It’s the same great content, just now in a single juicy interview. We hope you enjoy it and be back for many more to come.)

As you know, Comedy Wham focuses on Austin comedy. While many have traveled the road to be here, it’s rare to have someone land in our midst from as far away as Tai Nguyen.

Born in Vietnam, Nguyen had a brief stint in sunny California before making Austin his home. Unlike many comedians who had a steady diet of US or British humor in their early years, he came from a much more isolated environment, with nary a TV or radio (or toilet) to be found at home.

Comedy Wham Presents: Tai Nguyen

Of all things, an interest in rap videos happened to give Nguyen his first glimpse into stand-up comedy. he took an immediate liking to it, but it would still be over 5 years before he took in his first experience with live comedy. Like many other comedians in Austin, Tai Nguyen found himself being called Velveeta Room thanks to its doorman, Michael David Park. He spent many a night in the darkness of the crowd in that club. It wasn’t until June 2015 that encouragement from coworkers led him to take the next step into stepping behind the mic himself.

Besides relentlessly practicing his sets, Tai Nguyen has quickly expanded into more projects, including video sketches and perfecting his onstage “mad rap skills”(with Austin local Sam Harter) as The Ying Yang Broz. Check out their very first performance on YouTube, and find more videos weekly at their home at YingYangBroz.com. He has also appeared on Punch, and the 2016 Funniest Person in Austin Contest, barely a year after his first open mic. Nguyen is in love with the rush of performing, and it shows in everything he does.

To see more of Tai Nguyen, you can catch him co-hosting Live at Coldtowne every Friday at 10pm with Sam Harter, and find more upcoming appearances on his Last Gas Comedy page. During the interview, he even reveals an exciting project in the pipeline.

Twitter

Tai Nguyen

Valerie Lopez

Richard Goodwin

ComedyWham

Adrienne Dawes’ Many Hats

(Credit: Laura Skelding)
(Credit: Laura Skelding)

Audio By Valerie, Words By Dave

Writer, producer, director, comedian… Adrienne Dawes has many hats. She wears them well and often at the same time.

Adrienne Dawes has taken a different approach to concept of comedy than our other subjects. You’d think being shy would be a detriment for her. Instead, it proved advantageous since it gave her the opportunity to observe. Observing inspired her to write which is how she chose to approach comedy.

Dawes was raised in Austin since the tender toddler age of one and after graduating high school she went to Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, NY which is near Yonkers, which is north the Bronx. From this point, her life was broken into four year increments. Four years in Austin, then to Chicago where she studied improv comedy at Second City. Along the way she dabbled in stand-up and musical improv which is a story you must hear here:

Adrienne Dawes: The Past

Dawes returned home to Austin after being unable to secure a school to pursue her Masters in Fine Arts. She returned home to her family, and home to The Salvage Vanguard Theater and her performing arts family. It was discouraging for her but she didn’t quit. She kept writing, she launched her own production company, Heckle Her. She brought a comedy musical named Never Have I Ever from Chicago and put it on stage in Austin. She networked. She kept working. She kept creating and gave Austin shows like Doper Than Dope and Doper Than Dope 2. 

Adrienne Dawes: Current

Adrienne Dawes drops some serious life advice in her second interview with Valerie Lopez. It’s advice many of us need. It’s about drive, creativity, and how it leads to happiness. It’s about breaking free of social stereotypes, rules, expected roles, and doing what you want to because you can. Dawes should be an inspiration to anyone feeling they’re caught in a rat race and want to break free.

Feel free to check out Dawes’ website for updates on her various project. In case you were wondering about the books she mentioned in the interview, here they are:

Banvard’s Folly – by Paul Collins
The Species Seekers: Heroes, Fools and the Mad Pursuit of Life on Earth – by Richard Conniff

Twitter

Adrienne Dawes

Valerie Lopez

ComedyWham

Enzo Priesnitz Hones His Obsessions

(Credit: An Indoor Lady)
(Credit: An Indoor Lady)

Audio By Valerie Lopez, Words By Richard Goodwin

I have a favorite video I watch once a year, that I feel perfectly captures my love/hate relationship with my never-ending stream of hobbies and diverse pursuits. On meeting Enzo Priesnitz, and listening to Valerie walk through his life in comedy and beyond, I knew I’d found a kindred spirit.

Born and raised in Austin, Priesnitz was interested in comedy from his early years, binging on late night Comedy Central feasts of well-known comics like Dave Attell and Zach Galifianakis. These early passions paved the way for a series of changes and personal growth taking him into the next phase of his life where his own comedic aspirations would begin playing a major role.

In Part one of their conversation, Valerie digs up how a chance late night hang out with some big names gave Priesnitz an auspicious bridge into breaking into the open mic scene, including his first time in Funniest Person in Austin.

Enzo Priesnitz: The Past

Enzo Priesnitz has continued to hone his comedy chops beyond stand-up, with multiple projects completed and in the works. He recently wrapped a role in the crowdfunded comedy Call me Brother with another Comedy Wham alum, Christina Parrish. Call Me Brother is a uniquely (dare we say loving?) look at incest; it’s no easy feat to take the topic and make it hilarious. He also just had a hand in a locally shot major motion picture that we must keep secret under pain of death (and because he wasn’t allowed to tell us).

In Part two, Valerie manages to knock out not one but two Comedy Wham firsts: meeting a professionally trained blacksmith, and the only time (so far) surgically sharp instruments have literally landed on the interview table.

Enzo Priesnitz: Current

To see more of Priesnitz’s metalworking Valerie was lucky enough to lay her hands on (along with many other projects), follow him on Instagram at @bluegill_forge. Keep up with his upcoming stand-up dates and projects on  Facebook.   Lastly, keep an ear out for Priesnitz on the Gross Lonely Boys podcast, with Andrew Clarkson and Danny Goodwin, coming soon at Body Tape International

FOR MORE COMEDY WHAM