Thursday, November 28, 2019

Laughing Stock: Comedy for the Ages

Posted By on Thu, Nov 28, 2019 at 1:00 AM

click to enlarge Laughing Stock: Comedy for the Ages
Clayton Braasch
The cast of Keep Tucson Sketchy brings a fourth SNL parody show to the Screening Room November 30.

Laughs for the Social Security Set

“By my own estimation, I was the funniest lawyer in Illinois,” says Ira Leavitt, instigator of a new comedy show for old folks that features Dave Fitzsimmons. “Last year, I was looking through the course catalog for UArizona’s OLLI (Osher Life Long Learning Program for seniors) and I noticed ‘Comedy 101’. It said the final exam was (to perform) at a real comedy club.

“What the hell! I took the course (taught by veteran comedian and artist manager Ron Reid) and, once I took the stage in class, I was hooked.” Leavitt was so enthusiastic about his first material that he tried it out at a local open mic. He bombed so badly that he almost decided to stay home from the class performance.

“The final was (for students’ friends and family) at Laffs Comedy Café. The audience laughed, even howled, at my 5 minutes. On the way home I figured out something I already knew. Comedy is generational and what the 20-somethings at that other club did not relate to, the 55+ crowd at Laffs found funny. “The next day Ron and I exchanged emails (about) a need for senior humor.”

Leavitt tapped your humble, 75-year-old scribe to join forces, and Reid, invited Casa de Comedy’s Dave Margolis. Fitzsimmons got involved somehow (He claims he was “poached like a gazelle from the Veldt.”), and he recruited his long-time collaborators Elliot Glicksman and Jay Taylor. A year later, a comedy show for seniors, Still Standing Up, debuts at 6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8. Tickets are $10 via

All of us, except Reid, are in the show. Reid oversees tech and keeps us amused with horror stories about his HOA. Leavitt is the emcee and pitchman. He’s pursuing opportunities with social directors of 55+ communities.

Fitzsimmons is enjoying the ride. He says, “One of our comedians entertained passengers on the Butterfield Stage Route. Another once played the Globe theater, and I don’t mean in Globe.

“Being around these jokers has done me a world of good. We’re close. We swap as many stories as we swap catheters.”

Better than Pumpkin Spice

Last Friday Last Laughs cooks up a Thanksgiving menu of Tucson favorites at Hotel McCoy at 8 p.m., Friday, Nov. 29. Popular local Pauly Casillas headlines the free show, which features the smartly hilarious Phoenix comedian Savannah Hernandez. Among her many talents is an unmissable, spot-on Rihanna vocal impersonation.

The show also features local host Matt Ziemak (Brew Ha Ha, The Switch, The O open mic) and Steena Salido, the sparkplug comic now organizing LatinX shows in both Tucson and Phoenix. Rebecca Tingley, Zack Lyman, Eli Turner, Andrew Scott and rising newcomer Michael Barnett round out the bill.

Return of Keep Tucson Sketchy

The rambunctious 40-plus-person cast and crew of Keep Tucson Sketchy presents the fourth of their bimonthly SNL parodies on Saturday, Nov. 30 at The Screening Room. The show features all-new, original sketches and props onstage and in video. Green Shirt Guy Alex Kack hosts and the elusive Seanloui is the musical guest. KTS had to turn people away from its first two shows. Now, they offer two performances, at 6 and 9 p.m. Reservations are $8.50 via

Giggles for kids!

Children’s librarians at The Pima County Public Library just made a list of picture books virtually guaranteed to make kids, and their story readers, laugh out loud. Called “Giggle Magic”, the list is posted at All the titles are available at the libraries, including books now out of print. Many are also available in local bookstores and online for a chuckle break in your holiday shopping, and a gift of happy future memories.

Even More Laughs

Friday, Nov. 29: Standup with Zane Helberg at 8 p.m., The O ($5) and Jason Resler and Cory Michaelis at 7 and 9:30 p.m., Laffs Comedy Caffe ($12.50 and $17.50). Improv with The Ugly Sweater Show and The Riveters at 7:30 p.m. and The Soapbox at 9 p.m., TIM Comedy Theatre (TIM)($5). Family-friendly improv with Not Burnt Out Just Unscrewed (NBOJU) at 7:30 p.m., Unscrewed Theater ($5 and $8).

Saturday, Nov. 30: Standup with Jason Resler and Cory Michaelis at 7 and 9:30 p.m., at Laffs Comedy Caffe ($12.50 and $17.50). Improv with the Game Show Show and Laugh Tracks at 7:30 p.m., and Pilot Season and PurseWine at 9 p.m. at TIM ($5). Uncensored improv with NBOJU at 7:30 p.m. at Unscrewed Theater ($5 and $8).

Free Open Mics

Sunday, Dec. 1, 6:30 p.m., at The O, and 8 p.m., at Chuckleheads in Bisbee.
Monday, Dec. 2, 7 p.m., Comedy at the Wench, The Surly Wench Pub.
Tuesday, Dec. 3, 6:45 p.m., Neighborhood Comedy at The Music Box Lounge.
Wednesday, Dec. 4, 7 p.m. at The Screening Room and 8:30 p.m. at The Mint.
Thursday, Dec. 5, 8 p.m. at Laffs Comedy Caffe and 8:30 p.m. at Rockabilly Grill.

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