Hailing from Richmond, Virginia, Joe Hafkey originally found his hometown lacking when trying to satisfy his comedic desires.
Hafkey grew up with sketch shows like Mad TV & SNL, and was a fan of heavy hitters like George Carlin and Jerry Seinfeld. At first he wasn’t sure that comedy was going to be a focal point in his life. But when a job at the local (and really only) venue in Richmond eventually led to a guest spot on its established show, the hook was set. Not satisfied with the opportunities in the local scene, Hafkey did what many comics have done – created his own. Running 2 years, the show he created provided a more open and inclusive space for comedy in Richmond.
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.
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.
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).
Amelia Frank has only been at the comedy game for about a year and a half. Her connection to the local comedy scene isn’t Chris Trew. I know, that may sound odd coming from this site, but it’s true (that may be a pun). In fact, the person who got this mid-western lady going is Sure Thing’s Duncan Carson. He asked her to try it once.
Once was all it took and the rest they say, “is history.” Frank talks with Valerie Lopez about her early comedy influences, her professional life and meeting Duncan Carson, Katie Stone and Ella Gale. One of whom, was the only person left at Frank’s first open mic. They were smitten by a joke she made referencing 20th Century German Existentialist, Franz Kafka. Just listen:
Like our famous Pat Dean interview, Amelia Frank pulls back the curtain on how she creates her jokes and her comedy technique. She also talks about being a professional counselor and comedian. Juggling the two may be tricky in a big city with small town vibes like Austin, but she gladly makes it happen. In fact, she tells Valerie why she appreciates doing comedy. It’s interesting:
Amelia Frank is the current host of Bomb Shelter, a monthly open mic ont the first Saturday at Nasty’s Bar in Austin she inherited from Ella Gale. If Nasty’s Bar sounds familiar, it should since it’s also the location for Martin Urbano’s Damned Dirty Filthy Show.
Michael Good set out for Austin after coming to the conclusion that warmer winters are better than the wind swept frozen corn fields of his native Iowa. In part one of his interview, Good tells Valerie Lopez about his first open mic, and reluctance to tell people about his comedic goals.
Since moving to Austin, Michael Good has been hitting up open mics, hosting for Mike E. Winfield and hosting his own open mic at Mr. Tramps. But wait, there’s more!
If you’re reading this before Thursday, February 3rd, you have to the opportunity to see Good perform at the Triplane Show hosted by Kath Barbadoro, Mac Blake and Joe Hafkey. Triplane kicks off at 8pm at Wright Bros. Brew and Brew. That’s over on the Eastside, y’all.