Pauly Casillas brings his innovative, audience participation comedy show, The Switch, back to Hotel Congress Thursday, April 5 at 8 p.m.; free, 21+. The show’s lately run monthly at The Hut, and in Phoenix at the Crescent Ballroom, where it’s attracted a large following.
The Switch offers each of a dozen comedians a short set followed by a challenge to respond extemporaneously to prompts from the audience. The gimmick is that audience members, and others, anywhere, suggest the prompts via text. The cues are usually double-entendres, wordplay and other open invitations to off-the-cuff hilarity.
DJ Emoji Michael Medina opens the show. Comedians include Steena Salido, Mo Urban, Jesus Otamendi, Amber Frame, Ali Musa, Tony Kanani Bruhn, Rory Monserat, Matt Ziemak, Paul Fox, Josiah Osego, Eden Nault, Carson Paul, Roxy Merrari and Rebecca Tingley. Also, the very funny award-winning storyteller and Pima Community College writing professor Molly McCloy makes her standup debut.
“The switch is a great lounge show because it’s not controlled,” Casillas says. “I like it to be out of control and not like a comedy club because people are on their phones, they’re involved, engaged.
“Being funny on the spot—that’s the hardest thing the improv people do,” he says, “but comedians, you can tell who’s really just naturally funny and who’s packaged funny, because I’ve seen people do well in clubs …. But The Switch just boggles them. But it’s fun!”
Casillas could be taken for naturally funny, the go-to guy for the fastest laugh line. In a recent online race to the first joke about the Google car accident, he snapped, “I can kill pedestrians myself.” Too soon? Casillas philosophy long has been, “People will laugh at anything as long as its funny.” His own stand-up sets walk the laugh side of that line unfailingly.
He attributes some of that talent, though, to what you might call “environmental factors.” “I always was fat and I've always been funny,” he says. “Everyone calls you fat, so you have to come (back) with something fast and funny or else you lose the word war. So I just got a sharp tongue growing up. Then I was always the life of the party.”
“Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby”
Comedian and feminist Rebecca Tingley stars in her own talk show featuring Randy Ford, aka, the Southern Charmer, and a revolving cast of guest comedians. It’s Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby, a monthly sex-joke jam at Hotel Congress. Join the fun at 8 p.m.; 21+, $5.