Joey Zimmerman Is The Zennest

joey-zimmerman
(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.

Twitter

Joey Zimmerman

Valerie Lopez

ComedyWham

 

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

ComedyWham

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.

Twitter

Vanilla Presley

Lane Krarup

Pat Sirois

Valerie Lopez

Comedy Wham

 

Luke McClory: Instant Classic

(Credit: Erin Holsonback)
(Credit: Erin Holsonback)

Audio by Valerie, Words by Dave

If you’ve ever seen Luke McClory, you’ve probably noticed his distinct style on stage.  Clean cut and sharply dressed, I found it hard to compare him to anyone. Even his style of stand up is distinct in that he keeps it clean but not chintzy or pandering to younger audiences. There’s no Gaffigan-ish tropes, weird voices or puppets. His delivery is streamlined and efficient, and I like the flavor of his Kool-Aid.

Unlike probably 60% of current Austin denizens, McClory came to our fair city via the birth canal. This form of entrance to the city only allows 1-3 people to enter at a time so it’s pretty exclusive.  As a kid, he wasn’t privy to cable TV so his exposure to stand up was very limited. He did manage to catch episodes of SNL and Three Stooges reruns. College lead him to study dance and theater. Click the link to find out what lead him to L.A. and back to Austin; and how he got his feet wet in stand up:

Luke McClory: The Past

In part two of his interview, Luke McClory opens up to Valerie about his current projects. One in particular, is called Weird! True Hollywood Tales where he pulls MC duties for host, Lashonda Lester. The show has been covered by Comedy Wham in the past. It is a meticulously curated show about weird/dark lives of dead Hollywood celebrities. He’s also working with Derek Phelps on a new game show called Lip Sync, Dammit! at the Highball. Of course McClory tried to get it changed to “darn it.”

Luke McClory: Current

McClory, clean cut, Austin bred and raised, is a rare breed. Luckily for us, he has no plans to leave the Live Music Capitol of the World any time soon. With that being said, you can find him all over town at shows, and open mics. As for Weird! True Hollywood Tales, a new home is being sought out for the show. Their original location, the beloved Salvage Vanguard Theater, has fallen victim to gentrification.

Twitter

Luke McClory

Valerie Lopez

Comedy Wham

 

 

John Tole Comes Clean

(source: John Tole)
(source: John Tole)

Words by Dave

Some folks are good at thinking outside the box. John Tole excels at it. The walking epitome of the fused brains of Bill Hicks and Ken Kesey is establishing a clean comedy showcase named Come Clean in town between his busy touring schedule and other projects.

 

A Family Friendly Show

 

Here it is in a nutshell, Come Clean is, well, a clean comedy showcase – one of the few, if not the only one in Austin. There’s plenty of comedy in town. There are several clean comics but I don’t think I can recall a purely clean comedy show… unless you count that youth minister who travels around to guitar churches but even that doesn’t exactly apply here.

Tole is always looking for a challenge and the positive potential for a clean, family friendly show was too much for him to turn down. He explains it like this:

“Working clean is a whole different energy, and working with ideas that cross generation leads to an opportunity where a kid can have their first comedy experience with their parents. I saw Eddie Murphy with my dad in the 80’s and it’ll be something that’ll be with me forever.”

Tole has decided to kick off the show with a bang. He said it wasn’t hard getting a few comics willing to do a clean show. Maggie Maye, Pat Dean and Carina Magyar have stepped up to the plate and will be performing on the inaugural show.

John Tole is back with family friendly comedy (source: John Tole)
John Tole is back with family friendly comedy
(source: John Tole)

Phil’s Icehouse in the Austinville shopping center is the location. If you’re unsure of where this is, it’s next door to iFly at 13265 US Hwy 183 N. Why Phil’s Icehouse? Here’s why:

“We wanted to work with Phil’s because I’m a huge fan of their culture and having a buddy who works for the company made it real easy to lock in. It’s a different experience: No stage, all ages, and the background (weather permitting), will be the activity on a jungle gym.”

 

Paying It Forward

 

I’m excited about a show like Come Clean, it’s the type of show I can take nieces and nephews to without their parents losing their collective minds. The best part is that John Tole wants to grow it into a form of mentorship –paying it forward to future generations of young comedians by pairing teenagers with comedians. Even if the comedy angle never pans out, it’s a good way to learn public speaking, which is still a top fear of Americans.

Come Clean’s first show is tonight, August, 17th, at 7:30pm. It should run roughly an hour which means families can get their young’uns home by a fairly decent hour. Also, Phil’s Icehouse will be fully staffed and as always, it’s right next door to Amy’s Ice Cream. What’s more to ask for on a Wednesday in August?

 

Internet Sources

Tole keeps himself busy with comedy,  music and his podcast,  Cart Path Diem. As usual, we list the best way to follow him. Don’t forget to visit Phil’s Icehouse online and in real life. 

John Tole
Phil’s Icehouse

Comedy Wham

 

Cody Greenlee Tries New Things

(Credit: Donna Kopf)
(Credit: Donna Kopf)

Audio by Valerie, Words by Dave

Dear Houston,

Thanks you. Thank you for having a mediocre comedy scene for such a long time. Also, thank you for only being about 3hrs from Austin (12hrs if its a hurricane). The reason why I am thanking you is because you’ve sent us great gifts – comedians like Matthew Broussard, Lisa Friedrich and Cody Greenlee.

Sincerely,

Austin MF’n Texas

Back to our regularly scheduled write up: Cody Greenlee grew up taking advantage of his parents premium cable subscription. Dennis Miller, and Mr Show with Bob and David were early influences on the young Greenlee, but it wasn’t until he wrapped up his 7th year of junior college, when he started searching out open mics, which was trickier than he expected. Like I mentioned in the thank you note, by the time Greenlee got active, the comedy scene in Houston had dwindled to two open mics. TWO OPEN MICS in that big, big city. It took him 45 minutes to get to Sherlock’s from Baytown. He then waited five hours to do his set.

Greenlee opens up to Valerie Lopez about his style of comedy, his approach to crafting sets and the chain events that lead to him taking the stage for the first time at Sherlock’s. Coincidentally, his second show at Sherlock’s was Matthew Broussard’s first show. There’s always some type of six degrees of separation here at Comedy Wham.

Cody Greenlee: The Past

Things started clicking for Greenlee after he moved to Austin. Since the move he’s continuously looked for ways to improve his sets and joke writing. In part two, he opens to up Valerie about his future goals and plans as a comedian.

Cody Greenlee: Current

Greenlee co-hosts an open mic at Cherrywood Coffeehouse with Elizabeth Spears. They’ve also accepted host duties for the Damn Dirty Filthy Show at Nasty’s Bar since Martin Urbano has packed up and left for the Big Apple (good luck, Martin). Be sure to check out the usual social media outlets to find out where he’s performing next.

Twitter

Cody Greenlee

Valerie Lopez

Comedy Wham

Matthew “Math” Broussard

(Source: Monday Punday)
(Source: Monday Punday)

Audio By Valerie, Words By Dave

Matthew Broussard is about to celebrate his 5th year as a stand up comedian.  He got started doing open mics at 23 years old, which means the 28 year old still has plenty of years ahead of him in the comedy scene. If you’re impressed with that math I just did, then read on, loyal readers.

Broussard grew up in the Sparkling City by the Sea until he moved to Atlanta, GA in high school. After graduating he made his way back to Texas for college at Rice University where he began studying mechanical engineering. Later on he changed majors to applied math. He got his start in stand-up comedy after seeing Donald Glover perform a live show. Matthew Broussard was blown away by how Glover had the audience in the palm of his hand. A year later, Broussard found himself winning a Houston comedy contest.

 Matthew Broussard

 

For the record, Valerie is a huge math geek and gets wrapped up in discussing applying algorithms to joke writing and delivery with Broussard. It’s pretty interesting and this is coming from a non-math enthusiast. I know math is everywhere – Fibonacci sequences in sunflower petals, always having to ask people to Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally, it’s all over the place. So it should be no surprise it can be found in comedy. That’s the beauty of comedy. It’s malleable. The premise  –  a lump of mental clay – shaped and formed by the performer and given to given to the audience custom crafted and kiln fired. Yes, you got math and ceramics with this one.

Broussard has been on Conan and on Comedy Central Roast Battle. Click the links to get a cut of his jib. He’ll also be featured on three dates of the upcoming Oddball Comedy Festival. He also has a cool website named Monday Punday. It mixes puns with puzzles.

Twitter

Matthew Broussard

Valerie Lopez

Comedy Wham

Chris Castles Raises Standards

Headshot of a windblown Chris Castles
Chris Castles hosts In The Treehouse (Source: twitter)

Audio by Valerie, Words by Dave

Chris Castles was born to perform. At a very young age, the west coast native loved to draw. At 12 years old, he discovered the guitar and bands – and as he grew older, chicks man. He discovered chicks. Castles also discovered the pitfalls of being in a band. Relying on unreliable band mates made doing gigs difficult.

Eventually he found himself at music open mics solo with a guitar and a mic. The problem was that he quickly learned he wasn’t a very good singer and his guitar skills… well, he was no Esteban. Anyway, he found himself talking to the crowd and cracking wise more and more and the next thing he knew, he was really digging the art of stand up comedy.

All of this is only a paraphrase of the conversation he had with Valerie Lopez about getting started in comedy and his early influences. It’s wildly entertaining, especially the part about how at 8 years old, he ended up in a town named Boring, Oregon (and I thought Texas had some oddly named towns).

Chris Castles: The Past

Though part two of the interview is uncommonly short, you should listen to find out about Chris Castles’ current projects. One of which is an ongoing weekly showcase at Austin Java called In the Treehouse. He also has a podcast in the works. Knowing what I know about him, it’ll be a doozy.

Chris Castles: Current

The line-ups for In the Treehouse are always top notch. If you want to stay up to date with the show and anything else Castles is up to, follow him on Twitter. If you’re a cretin and aren’t into Twitter, he’s also on Facebook. Don’t forget to follow Comedy Wham as well as the demur Valerie Lopez.

 

 

 

Story Time with Bob Khosravi

(Source: Twitter)
(Source: Twitter)

Audio by Lara, Words by Dave

I appreciate a good story teller – a comedian who can take the imaginations of the audience members on a journey of neon colored shenanigans, along roads littered with unicorn poop and magical insanity dust. Bob Khosravi (long “o”) is a soft spoken comedian who enraptures his audiences with his stories – proving you don’t always have to be loud to be heard.

As he chats with Comedy Wham’s Lara Smith, Khosravi shows love to his dad, who he calls a natural story teller, along with family friendly Bill Cosby, George Carlin, and of course Eddie Murphy. The latter two had to be heard on the sly since his dad was trying to be careful with what his son was listening too. But kids will be kids and the rest, and Khosravi usually figured out a work away to hear the adult stuff. I’m sure he didn’t hide it in his underwear drawer under that one pair of socks. My mom kept finding my Public Enemy cassettes there.

Comedy Wham Presents: Bob Khosravi

This is a fun interview. Khosravi goes into the details of being a first year comic and dealing with tough rooms. One story in particular is pretty amazing. Sorry kids, no hints this time. You’ll have to hear it in his own words. Bob Khosravi is active in the Austin comedy scene and can be seen a the variety of shows going on around town, so keep an eye out for him. It’ll be worth it.

Twitter

Bob Khosravi

Lara Smith

ComedyWham

Chip Pope: Then, Now, Forever

(Credit: Chip Pope)
(Credit: Chip Pope)

Audio By Valerie, Words By Dave

I didn’t know Chip Pope and I had so much in common: We’ve both lived near Corpus Christi. He was raised in Amarillo, and I can point out Amarillo on a map. He was on Austin Stories, and I have seen Austin Stories on YouTube.

Pope is of the the mid school of Austin comedians. This isn’t official since I haven’t broken out the Bunsen Burners, and created an algorithm using chaos math to actually determine the beginnings and ends of Austin comedy eras, but he was in his 20’s when Mtv was still something and he was the youngest winner of the Funniest Person in Austin Contest in 1996. Oh, and the Velv Comedy Lounge was the Velveeta Room in it’s old location. So… whatever era that was, that’s where Chip Pope comes from.

Chip Pope talks to Valerie Lopez about his passion for comedy writing (something he’s been into since at least the 3rd grade).  The writing, including the work he did with his comedy partner Howard Kremer has lead Pope to some amazing opportunities throughout his career. He loves writing, and it oozes from every nook and cranny of the interview.

Comedy Wham Presents: Chip Pope

In case you didn’t know, Pope was, along with Howard Kremer and Laura House, part of a show that was produced by and aired on Mtv in 1997 called Austin Stories. It only ran a season, but it was a glorious season. If you’re new to town, this is a cool way to see old (?) Austin. Anyway at Out of Bounds Comedy Festival this year, there will be a reunion.

Twitter

Chip Pope

Valerie Lopez

Comedy Wham