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

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On The Move With Ella Gale

(Credit: Erin Holsenback/ An Indoor Lady)
(Credit: Erin Holsenback/ An Indoor Lady)

Audio by Valerie Lopez, Words by Richard Goodwin

Like the origins of comedy itself, my feelings about Ella Gale may be best represented as a quantum superposition: two states at once -both joy and sadness. The former comes from the hilarity and presence she has brought to the Austin comedy scene, and the latter from the fact that she is moving to Los Angeles in early 2017. At the same time I’m also happy about her future success there. So that’s three states at least. Physics is amazing, y’all.

The oddly technical intro up there came about after listening to Valerie cover Ella Gale’s dual lives in performing and engineering (R.I.P. to the second life as of when this was recorded). I can  relate to how she methodically approaches comedic endeavours and the many videos and sketches she’s created and refined.

Ella Gale: The Past

For a young comedian, Gale has a hefty, and worldly, history behind her. Her path led through Colorado, Montana, Yemen and Austin is definitely one rarely traveled. In college, Gale took advantage of  varied Liberal Arts and Sciences topics. She picked up skills in areas that ultimately make perfect sense for the rigor and creativity she brings to stage and video. In Part One of her interview, we learn more about her history, how a bad job market and coincidental connection led to re-igniting her performing career, and how she became involved in several projects that local comedy fans will certainly know by name.

Ella Gale: Current

Fresh off a performance at the Bridgetown comedy festival in June, Valerie jumps into Part Two covering the major changes happening in Ella Gale’s life and careers. We discover how to slake our unending thirst for general (and just accurate enough) knowledge about giraffes, Los Angeles vs New York, and finally reveal the name of her agent. Don’t forget to check out Ella’s YouTube channel; she’ll know if you don’t.

Catch Ella Gale on Naughty Bits on November 11th and December 16th, the only two remaining with her at the New Movement Theater. She also has two upcoming Master Pancake shows on November 11th and 12th at the Alamo Ritz.  Find more show dates and videos at her website, ellagalecomedy.com. Be sure to follow her on Facebook. Her latest video covers a new dating service that is sure to have many rolling over in their graves, or, if you’re lucky, your bed.

Here are a few more topics to check out from the interview:

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Ella Gale

Valerie Lopez

Richard Goodwin

Comedywham

Katie Stone: Unfiltered For Your Pleasure

(Credit: Kana LiVolsi of Dos Mundos Creative)
(Credit: Kana LiVolsi of Dos Mundos Creative)

Audio by Valerie Lopez, Word by Richard Goodwin

You know those parts of past relationships that drive you insane? The parts which would help so many people if they could hear them and just understand that what they’re going through is not unique, and they have the power within them to effect change for the better? You know how you keep your experiences to yourself, because they seem too embarrassing, and no one could possibly relate? Katie Stone doesn’t do that.

Whether you follow the warped magnifying glass of her Twitter feed, read her essays on her website, or have been lucky enough to catch one of her many live shows, you know Katie Stone holds nothing back. I’m fairly certain I participated in a Twitter poll on whether she should feel bad about answering the door for a delivery after having not showered for 3 days. If you haven’t lived in that glass house, then by all means throw the first…well, you get it.

Katie Stone: The Past

In Part One of their interview, Valerie Lopez and Katie Stone dig into how experiences in school life set the stage for a career in performing for an audience. She comes to our fair city from Georgia, passing through Tulane University to nab a major in a language that has one of my favorite words of all time. (Hint: it’s ausfarht.) While comedy wasn’t at the forefront of her mind from the beginning, a chain of serendipitous events after she arrived in Austin got her back in front of people with a renewed passion.

Katie Stone: Current

Many know Katie from the Naughty Bits live show and podcast, created with local comedian Ella Gale. Naughty Bits, now in its second year, is a delightfully dirty, and sometimes touching (in the good way, pervs), look at what makes for really good and bad comedy about sex. Be sure and catch the next one on November 11th, at The New Movement Theater, which hapens to be one of the last two before Ella Gale moves on from Austin. Stone also runs the weekly Megaphone show, Saturdays at 10:30 at The New Movement Theater. In Part Two, Katie explains this unique format and where she hopes to take it.

You can also find more of Katie Stone around town at shows, open mics, on Instagram,  and in Sketch videos she’s written and directed, and those created with others. Don’t forget to to follow Naughty Bits and Trash Palace on Facebook.

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Katie Stone

Valerie Lopez

Richard Goodwin

Comedywham

Amber Bixby: Anxiety Be Damned

 

(Credit: Dustin Svehlak)
(Credit: Dustin Svehlak)

Audio By, Valerie Lopez. Word By Richard Goodwin

When catching an Amber Bixby set at Spiderhouse and she gave a peek into her experiences with anxiety and depression, I recognized a bit of everyone in her words. Or I saw a lot of me and I’m projecting, but I digress.  Like some of my favorite comedians, she isn’t afraid to cut her privacy almost down to the bone to give a look into how she deals with the world.

In Part one of her interview, we take a look at a past that we won’t quite call turbulent. Bixby shares with Valerie  Lopez how her dreams of stage stardom were born, and the circuitous route that landed her on the fair concrete shores of Austin.

Amber Bixby: The Past

The beginnings of a comedy career are rarely easy. We learn how a low point (or two or three) in Amber Bixby’s life inspired her to take on the challenge of a stand up comedy career. As a single parent, I know that time and child make for an interesting balancing act with a profession that is uniquely difficult to schedule. Amber gives us a glimpse into how she juggles priorities in passions and parenting.  We also get some great tips on getting out of the house, and how to get people to have fun in detention.

Amber Bixby: Current

When she’s not on stage (or in the gym), Amber Bixby has a prolific video career, like the web series Pretty Awful , the short film Opciono Dos (picked up by the Texas Independent Film Festival), and the instructional parenting documentary Flour Baby*.  In part two of her interview, she also covers how a past encounter led to opening for someone amazing – an opportunity that meant the world to her.

Looking for more of Amber Bixby? In addition to her special appearances, you can frequently catch her at Sure Thing, and the show she hosts Wednesdays @ 7:30 at Austin Java, Detention (See? I told you it was fun).

* Not necessarily instructional. Or legal?   

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Amber Bixby

Valerie Lopez

Richard Goodwin

Comedywham

 

It’s Always A New Episode With Joe Barlow

(Credit: Annie Ray)
(Credit: Annie Ray)

Audio by Valerie, Word by Richard Goodwin

Valerie Lopez sits down with Joe Barlow and teases out the many-realmed path from the edges of Illinois (not Wisconsin), to an almost-uncensored comedy/variety show in Austin. (R.I.P….ish?)

Barlow set out to learn from the masters, and, true to his work ethic, made it an all out quest. You’ll recognize the names: Colbert, Conan, Letterman, and SNL all served up marathon style. As a man with a voracious TV and comedy appetite of my own, I stand in awe and approval.

Joe Barlow: The Past

Before landing the critically-lauded (yes, we’re counting ourselves among the fans, dear listeners) ATX Uncensored-ish, Joe Barlow developed his on-air personality on TV screens across central Illinois. Having this kind of variety under his belt made him–while not yet the wry Austin commentator we’d soon come to love – a natural fit to helm the independent, personality driven show.  He spent countless hours peering into the lives of Austin entertainers and citizens; this is our chance to turn the mic on him.

Joe Barlow: Current

While ATX Uncensored-ish is no more, Barlow has jumped right into the next phase of his career. You can catch him three times a week as the CW Entertainment Reporter on KXAN News on The CW at 9pm.  Valerie (and a particularly racy Kitty Purrington) digs into how the new job is treating him, where (geographically and philosophically) his sights are set in the future, and the dirty secrets of being just the right shade of camera ready.

If you’d like to check up on Barlow, he’s got a  profile on the CW Austin website. Oh and what about episodes of ATX Uncensored-ish? Thank the universe for YouTube.

 

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Joe Barlow  

Valerie Lopez

Richard Goodwin

 

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.

Twitter

Arielle Norman

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.

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Vanilla Presley

Lane Krarup

Pat Sirois

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

 

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.

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Bob Khosravi

Lara Smith

ComedyWham