It’s Chris Tellez’s Fault

(Photo Credit: Wendel Wilhelm)
(Photo Credit: Wendel Wilhelm)

Words by Dave, Audio by Valerie

Let me peel back the curtain for you, our loyal readers/listeners, the creation of Comedy Wham is actually Chris Tellez’s fault. A couple of years ago, I was  regular contributor to another site in town called The Austinot.

Tellez heard through the grapevine that I was unofficially the Austinot’s comedy correspondent. Unfortunately due to the publishing schedule and the style of articles we were posting on the Austinot, It was difficult fitting his shows and events into the Austinot’s busy posting schedule, so I stepped out on a limb and started Comedy Wham.

I’ve told Tellez he was the inspiration behind Comedy Wham on several occasions and he characteristically sidestepped the honorific with a  grin and an “awe shucks” look. Regardless, it’s true, Comedy Wham is definitely Chris Tellez’s fault. So thanks, Chris.

Anyway, I’m stoked to tell you that Valerie Lopez caught up to Chris Tellez and was able to chat with him about his comedy career. Part 1 has Tellez doing non-comedy open mics in his native Dallas and feeling like a rock star, what else shaped his early comedy career? Listen:

Chris Tellez Part 1: The Past

As always, we provide you a Part 2 to every comedian’s story and Tellez is no different, so click to the link and find out how Chris Tellez sees is place in the world, and current projects:

Chris Tellez Part 2: Current

If you want to see Chris Tellez in the near future,  he can be seen hosting his ongoing showcase, Shit’s Golden, at the Spider House Ballroom this Monday at 9pm. Oh yeah, his co-host is the Alex Jones of Austin Comedy.

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Chris Tellez

Valerie Lopez

Comedy Wham

Pat Dean Is the Alex Jones of Austin Comedy?

pat dean coverPat Dean is the mayor of Austin Comedy? Then again, maybe he’s the Alex Jones of Austin Comedy. Regardless, this interview is freaking crazy. Of course, if you’ve ever come across Pat Dean in public, you probably wouldn’t be surprised about this.

Basically, Dean took over the mics and turned Comedy Wham Presents into the Pat Dean Show. This is a great organic conversation you should absolutely listen too.

Part two has Dean talking about the variety of shows he’s hosted, and co-hosted. He also delves into  why he prefers observational humor over topical humor, and why comedians are protective of their jokes (hint: it’s not easy crafting a good joke).  He also has a podcast named StoryFellers and he plans to start posting new episodes in a few weeks.

Dean can be seen all over town doing all sorts of things, and telling all sorts of jokes. The best way to track him down is to follow his twitter account. Pat Dean has two regular shows, the first Monday of the month he co-hosts Shit’s Golden at Spider House Ballroom with Chris Tellez, and the third Friday of the month he co-hosts a show at Kick Butt Coffee with Lane Krarup. Be sure to ask his opinion about his comedy peers.

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Pat Dean

Valerie Lopez

Comedy Wham

It’s the 2015 Sketch Fest!

Head shot of Joe Wengert
Joe Wengert is headlining Austin Sketch Fest this year (Credit: Austin Sketch Fest).

Austin Sketch Fest is celebrating its 5th anniversary, and it’s happening now. I have grown to appreciate sketch comedy. Especially when considering how much time goes into writing a show, practicing, and shifting between scenes. It’s an exercise in efficiency.

Big Talent, Two Theaters

Sketch comedy is being celebrated this week at Coldtowne Theater and Spider House Ballroom. The festival will showcase more than 40 acts from Austin, NYC, L.A., Chicago and all points in between. Headliners for the event are Brent Weinbach (Conan, Comedy Central) and Joe Wengert (Kroll Show, Comedy Central’s The Half Hour, Comedy Bang Bang!). The headliners lead a vanguard of talented out of town acts. Girls with Brown Hair, 2girls1pup, and 100% Stuff will be bringing their unique style of sketch to the theaters.

Vanessa Gonzalez doing a Pancake Demon sketch.
Vanessa Gonzalez as the lonely, depressed binge eating Pancake Demon

Local talent includes Vanessa Gonzalez, Master Pancake Theater, Bad Example and STAG! Comedy. Readers of this site will be familiar with some of those names if not, click the links. I have seen Vanessa Gonzalez perform since my featured published this winter and she only keeps getting better. I also highly recommend seeing Megan Simon. Every three months or so, she writes brand new music for her one person show and it’s rock solid.

Master Pancake Theater

STAG Comedy doing a police sketch during Out of Bounds Comedy Fest.
STAG! Comedy has been an Austin staple for several years.

For those of you brand new to Austin, and by brand new, I mean you have less than 10 plastic Rudy’s BBQ cups in your cabinet, then let me tell you about Master Pancake Theater. Imagine a couple of guys so funny, that the Alamo Drafthouse allows them to talk during movies. John Erlher has been lampooning movies with a rotating cast since the early 00’s, and nothing is sacred. Recently Kath Barbadoro has been spending time with Master Pancake Theater while they mock 50 Shades of Grey.

Just a Bit of Stand Up

Megan Simon singing to her audience.
Megan Simon is a Sketch Fest must see.

If you’re into stand up, Sketch Fest will be featuring a few local comedians too. Bryan Gutman will be recording an album from Spider House Ballroom for Sure Thing Records, Zac Brooks, Avery Moore and others will be doing sets as well. Zac Brooks is a comedian you need to see if you haven’t yet. He’s featured on the Sure Thing’s debut recording and has been everywhere in Austin.

Details

There’s still plenty of time to check out Austin Sketch Fest. Whichever venue you decide to go to, be sure to get there a bit early since parking can get tight. The Spider House Ballroom, at  2908 Fruth St, features a full bar and menu. Coldtowne Theater, at 4803-B Airport Blvd, is byob and sells snacks at the box office.

Tickets are an accessible $5-$15. Seating is limited. For ticket information, visit atxsketchfest.com

Don’t for get to follow @ComedyWham

Vanessa Gonzalez Turns Dating On Its Head

Vanessa Gonzales does a sketch on stage.
Headshot of Vanessa Gonzales
Vanessa Gonzalez has a new show called I Don’t Know Dating (Credit: Katie Pengra).

Dating can be weird. Going out with strangers, never knowing what the other person is thinking. Sitting there wondering if you good enough, smart enough or if you smell weird. It can all be very daunting. Vanessa Gonzalez is willing to talk about it in her one person show, I Don’t Know Dating, at the Spider House Ballroom in February, and it will leave you with a new perspective on things.

A Class Clown Moves to Austin

Vanessa Gonzalez, grew up in Laredo and after high school, the class clown made her way to San Marcos and Texas State University. Here she grew her love of acting and comedy. She got her first sketch gig in 2009 with the Latino Comedy Project.  After that wrapped up, she met Chris Trew. If I may digress for a moment, I am considering changing the name of this site to People Who Know Chris Trew Dot Com. Anyway, it was around this time he was getting The New Movement Theater on its feet and Gonzalez hopped on the improv train.

In 2013, when Jeff Whitaker wanted to revolutionize sketch comedy in Austin and formed Bad Example. Vanessa Gonzalez was on board has been a member since its inception. When I saw their Christmas show in December, I very much enjoyed Gonzalez’ timing and the awareness she had of her characters.

Bad Example sitting on a stoop.
Bad Example is the only Sketch group doing new shows weekly (Credit: Katey Pengra w/Skippy Leland Photography).

Going Solo With a One Person Show

When we chatted after the show, she told me of her one person show called I Don’t Know Dating. In my writing classes, I was always told to write about what I know. The same goes for comedy. Vanessa Gonzalez knows about the idiosyncrasies of being single in the modern age. She knows about being self conscious and unsure, and she knows how to laugh at it.

The show is a series of sketches with Gonzalez playing the main character and the audience is sometimes a passive character. The sketches center on the awkward world of dating.  They poke fun at her insecurity, and interactions with the opposite sex. One particular sketch has her playing a male character literally lives out typical excuses men use to not call a girl back: Dead grandma’s, lost phones, etc.

Vanessa Gonzales does a sketch on stage.
Vanessa Gonzalez has been performing sketch and improv since 2009 (credit: Daniel Solano).

If we can’t laugh at ourselves, then what do we have? Dating is rife with awkward moments and I am glad Vanessa Gonzalez is willing to pull out a magnifying glass and explore those uncomfortable moments. I am looking forward to seeing I Don’t Know Dating, because even at my age, I still don’t know women. Sometimes I look at my wife and wonder what’s going on in her head. Maybe this will provide some insight.  If anything, it will provide some laughs.

Time and Location

I Don’t Know Dating will be featured the first three Mondays in February at the Spider House Ballroom.  Tickets and $5.00 general admission and $2.00 with a student I.D. But before Gonzalez does this, she’s taking on the road to the San Francisco Sketch Fest.

 

Feel free to follow me on Twitter: @ElDavidThomas

 

Satan Has Jokes at the Comedy Seance

Satan Does Stand-up?

Norm Wilkerson brings Satan to life during the Comedy Seance
Norm Wilkerson brings Satan to life during the Comedy Seance

Austin comedy veteran, Norm Wilkerson, has an ill kept dark secret. Several times a year, his face contorts, turns red, and horns burst forth from his forehead. He becomes the dark lord, Satan. I first saw Satan at one of Matt Bearden’s Punch! shows called Cringetacular. He was emcee and John Tole recorded an album for Stand Up Records.

Norm Wilkerson has taken care to build the reputation of Satan in Austin’s comedy scene and much of this has come from his annual Comedy Seance. The show, now in its 5th year is a raucous, irreverent spoof of the popular ghostly ritual. Last year, the Spider House Ballroom graciously opened their arms to Wilkerson and the Comedy Seance. Things went well and he’ll be back again this Thursday, October 30th.

Wilkerson, as Satan, is a brutally funny comic who frequently makes his archenemy the butt of his jokes. Adding to that Comedy Seance staples, Matt Bearden and Mike Macrae are known to be viciously hilarious. They bring a level of logic and intelligence to the stage that even rhetorical geniuses like Bill O’Reilly would have a hard time debating them.

Dead Celebs Embody Local Comedians

Mike Macrae is a staple at the Comedy Seance (credit: Jason Baldwin via Flickr CC).
Mike Macrae is a staple at the Comedy Seance (credit: Jason Baldwin via Flickr CC).

What will be entertaining is seeing how the cast of comedians encapsulate themselves in their respective dead celebrity character. Considering the talent Wilkerson has lined up for this year’s show, it should be remarkable. This year he’s got Bearden, Macrae, Lashonda Lester (who has her own special show on Halloween), Avery Moore, Ralph Hardesty, Cody Hustak (2014 Funniest Person in Austin), Maggie Maye, and Aaron Brooks.

This line up is ridiculous. I mean that in a good way. I’ve seen all perform and they kill. Seeing any one of them perform is worth the price of admission.

By the way, I should warn you that if you are of a delicate religious disposition, you may be offended.

Spider House Ballroom

This show is shaping up to be a humdinger. Regular readers will know Spider House Ballroom from some of my other articles.  and the Spider

Avery Moore can sing, tell jokes and impersonate dead celebrities (credit: Terry Ross via Flickr CC).
Avery Moore can sing, tell jokes and impersonate dead celebrities (credit: Terry Ross via Flickr CC).

House Ballroom is quickly becoming one of my favorite comedy venues in town. It’s located at 2906 Fruth St. To make things easier, it’s one block east of the intersection of 29th St. and Guadeloupe. I really like this venue. The room is large and wraps around the stage. The bar has a very good selection of beer and liquor, the staff is incredibly friendly, and there are plenty of dining options in the immediate area, especially the attached Spider House Cafe.

Once again, the show is Thursday October 30th at the Spider House Ballroom. Doors open at 7pm and the show starts at 8pm.  tickets can be purchased two ways: online at the Spider House website for $7, or at the door for $10.  Like I inferred earlier in the article, the ticket price is a steal for the level of comedy you’ll get.

Follow me on Twitter, @ElDavidThomas

Shit’s Golden Goes All in With Johnny Pemberton and Josh Fadem

Shit's Golden Flyer for June 30th, 2014
Shit's Golden Flyer for June 30th, 2014
Shit’s Golden has a big show on June 30th (photo credit: www.facebook.com/shitsgolden

Chris Tellez is back and hosting another Shit’s Golden showcase at the Spider House Ballroom, and while he still loves mommies, this time the focus has shifted a bit.

Tellez has booked nationally featured comics/actors Johnny Pemberton and Josh Fadem to headline the June 30th showcase.  Pemberton and Fadem’s performance on Shit’s Golden is actually a stop on their Summer Boys Do It tour.  The tour kicked off on June, 13th in Fadem’s hometown of Tulsa, OK and culminates on August 31st in Durham, NC.  If you can’t catch them at Shit’s Golden, you have one more chance to catch them before they flee the great state of Texas.  Their final Texas stop is in Houston on July 2nd at Rudyard’s British Pub.

If you’re reading this then more than likely you’re a comedy fan.

A picture of Johnny Pemberton in a hat
Johnny Pemberton brings his tour, Summer Boys Do It to the Spider House Ballroom (photo credit: www.johnnypemberton.squarespace.com).

You also probably have seen Pemberton on shows like the Kroll Show, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and the Jumpstreet movies. These are just a few of his 42 acting credits according to IMDB.  On top of that, the midwestern born, Florida State attendee, has performed in the Just for Laughs Festvial, SXSW, and the Sled Island Festival.

His touring partner, L.A. based Josh Fadem, has also been on screen with credits from 30 Rock, Conan, Comedy BANG! BANG!, American Dad and Key and Peele.  Fadem is a frequent contributor to Funny or Die and has writing credits on Adult Swim. His mix of physical comedy and stand up make his shows wildly entertaining.

A promotional picture of Josh Fadem
Josh Fadem brings his physical comedy style on tour with Johnny Pemberton (photo credit: www.superseriousshow.tumblr.com).

The Austin scene will be strongly represented by Mac Blake, Brian Gaar and Kerri Lendo.  The three Funniest Person in Austin and Moontower Comedy Festival veterans bring their own brand of stand-up comedy to the show.  From what I’ve seen from Pemberton and Fadem, Blake, Gaar and Lendo are a great addition to the show.  This show will be quirky and well worth the cost of admission.

As always Spider House Ballroom has a busy schedule between comedy and music shows.  Details about Shit’s Golden and other shows can be found on their website.  Shit’s Golden tickets can be purchased in advance for $5.00.  This is beneficial since they’re $10.00 at the door.  With a lineup like this, they may sell out so get them while you can.