Thursday, February 27, 2020

Posted By on Thu, Feb 27, 2020 at 9:29 AM

click to enlarge Find out who you are to others and to yourself, onstage and off, with workshops by Shannon Stott at the Cactus Flower Comedy Festival. - STEVE ROGERS PHOTOGRAPHY
Steve Rogers Photography
Find out who you are to others and to yourself, onstage and off, with workshops by Shannon Stott at the Cactus Flower Comedy Festival.
Cactus Flower blooms Feb. 27-30

Created and performed entirely by funny female, binary and gender-nonconforming humans, the four-day Cactus Flower Comedy Festival will spark loads of laughs in anyone who is not looking for a lot of dick jokes.

The event, which takes place at Tucson Improv Movement's TIM Comedy Theatre, offers storytelling, stand-up, improv and sketch shows to watch, and workshops to exercise your own sense of humor and improve listening and communications skills. All shows are $5 or $7. An all-festival pass is $30, and workshops are $40 each. Reservations are via squareup.com.

Workshop leader Shannon Stott says she has seen improv change lives on and off the stage. She has performed and taught improv for 20 years and now regularly highlights that crossover.

The most important thing, she says, is “to listen to yourself and answer yourself honestly. Your body tells you so much information, and because of society's eyes (a.k.a. the audience) we often don't listen. The consequences can be painful.

That self-awareness makes all the difference in relationships. "Understanding what your relationship is to anyone will inform your scene," Stott says. "Much of the feedback I get sounds like ‘I didn't know I was doing that’. When you are unaware, choices are often made for you, on stage and off.”

Regarding festivals focused on women and non-gender-conforming performers, Stott says, “We must have safe places to practice being strong, outspoken, leading, being loud, silly, emotional and ourselves. Once you experience being heard and seen, you can recognize and internalize it so you can seek it out, on and off stage.”

The CFCF kicks off at 7:30 pm. Thursday, Feb. 27, with F*sT! (Female Storytellers) sharing their best of 2019. It’s likely to be the Fest’s first sell-out. The 9 p.m. show opens with improv duo Allreddy, featuring standup comedian Allana Erickson. Omega creates a long-form Harold, then Baby Fish Mouth Omega performs original sketches.

The 7:30 show Friday, Feb. 28, opens with duo team, I Was Promised Magic. Gretchen Wirges and Ally Tanzillo follow as Ex-Boyfriend. Then comes Phoenix’s RatQween, spontaneously formed at a recent Phoenix festival for female/non-binary/gender non-conforming people.

At 9 p.m., TIM’s premier team, Soapbox, create scenes inspired by true anecdotes from the lives of community leader and former mayoral candidate Randy Dorman and the Fest’s two nationally recognized workshop leaders, Stott and Jill Bernard. A founding member of Minneapolis’ HUGE Theatre, Bernard has been a principal in that city’s ComedySportz franchise since 1993. She has taught improv all over the US, Europe and South America.

Following the Soapbox, at 10:30 p.m., Nicole Riesgo hosts Beginners and Veterans, a standup showcase featuring Rebecca Tingley, creator of the Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby comedy panel, and her frequent co-host, Cami Anderson. Also performing is Steena Salido, co-creator of Tucson's popular standup show Cunts Being Cunts Talking about Cunts and the all-Spanish-Language standup and improv show, Carcajadas, that features TIM’s Como Se Dice team. The rest of the bill comprises comedians who completed TIM’s standup class led by Mo Urban, founder or co-founder of five comedy series in Tucson. Graduates are multiple Moth award-winning storyteller Molly McCloy, TIM Company improviser Holly Hilton, and high-energy newcomer Brandi Dierinzo.

On Saturday at 6, TIM indie teams Three-Headed Monster, #PurseWine and Rough Around the Curves lead up to Unscrewed Theater’s From the Top musical improv team. At 7:30, Urban hosts an especially diverse CFCF Stand Up Comedy Showcase, featuring Jackie Kibler, Andrea Carmichael, Andrea Salazar, Savannah Hernandez and Bethany Evans.

The 7:30 p.m. show features Como Se Dice, TIM’s premier all-female team The Riveters and Jill Bernard performing her one-woman show, Drum Machine. It’s described as a “sweepingly epic, unscripted musical featuring multiple characters.” It’s been featured in more than 40 improv festivals.

Stott and Bernard each lead two workshops on Saturday and Sunday.

The Switch switches to Skybar

Fans of The Switch, where comedians riff off-the-cuff on suggestions texted in by the audience, must remember to head to Skybar at 8:45 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 27. The event has moved following a long run on Mondays at The Hut. The lineup for the debut includes Phoencians Anwar Newton and Erick Biez.

Standups sing, now


Both Tucson’s improv companies have musical teams, and there’s the child of Musical Mayhem known as One Rehearsal Short. Young, brash, awkward and twisted genius Jeremy Segal now has created Show Tune ShowCase, in which seven favorite Tucson Comedians sing show tunes in their sets. We hold our breath for voices we didn’t know existed, but Mo Urban’s always knocks us out in her rock duo. Others in this debut include Joe Tullar, Steena Salido, Tim Maggard, Eli W.T., Jesus Otamendi and Chris Quinn. It’s $5 at 7 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 29 at The Screening Room.

Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby


Rebecca Tingley’s no-holds-barred panel of comedy experts returns to Club Congress at 8 p.m., Tuesday March 3. The show pokes fun at taboos, silliness, awkward moments and other somewhat less than graphic aspects of the act, (because, after all, we all know the actual mechanics). Panelists and guests include Cami Anderson, Paul Fox and Charles Ludwig.

Even More Laughs!


Friday, Feb. 28, standup with Andrew Rivers (see last week’s Laughing Stock), 8 p.m., The O ($15, $30 VIP, via Eventbrite.com; $30, door); Patrick Deguire featuring Zach Pugh, 8 and 10:30 p.m., Laffs Comedy Caffe ($12.50, $17.50); and Last Friday - Last Laughs featuring Roxy Merrari, Ali Musa, Phoenix comic Noni Shaney, Battle at the Roast Room winner Allana Erickson, Michael Barnett, Stephanie Lyonga, Jeremy Segal and Eden Nault. Family-friendly improv with Not Burnt Out Just Unscrewed (NBOJU) at 7:30 p.m.($5 kids and $8 adults),and Free Form Friday Fight Night 9 p.m., Unscrewed Theater (free).

Saturday, Feb. 29, Standup with Patrick Deguire featuring Zack Pugh, 7 and 9:30 p.m., Laff’s Comedy Caffe ($12.50, $17.50). Family-friendly improv with (NBOJU) at 7:30 p.m., Unscrewed Theater ($5 and $8)

Free Open Mics

Sunday, March 1, 6:30 p.m., The O, and 8 p.m., Chuckleheads in Bisbee.
Monday, March 2, 6:45 p.m., The Surly Wench; 9 p.m., Kava Bar.
Tuesday, March 3, 6:45 p.m., Neighborhood Comedy. The Music Box Lounge.
Wednesday, March 4, 7 p.m., The Screening Room; 8:30 p.m., The Rock.
Thursday, March 5, 8 p.m., Laffs Comedy Caffe and 8:30 p.m., Rockabilly Grill.

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Thursday, February 20, 2020

Posted By on Thu, Feb 20, 2020 at 9:20 AM

click to enlarge Just a hard-working guy taking all roads to the top with his gift for comedy, Andrew Rivers performs at The O, Friday, Jan. 28. - FACEBOOK.COM/ANDREWRIVERSCOMEDY
facebook.com/andrewriverscomedy
Just a hard-working guy taking all roads to the top with his gift for comedy, Andrew Rivers performs at The O, Friday, Jan. 28.
Laughing Stock
By Linda Ray

In a backwards ball cap, Andrew Rivers looks a little like Eminem without the pout or the baggage. His affect is a that of a slightly more animated Seinfeld. There’s no threat to his roll, but his comedy won’t let you get away.

Easily relatable, his jokes emerge unexpectedly from stories of life on the road with a not-that-weird upbringing in the rearview. His Dad was a well-known local radio personality and, as he tells it, his mom a lifelong chain- pot-smoker. Looking for love just leaves him bewildered.

Rivers’ laser-focused commitment to the comedy grind keep him on the road half the year. “Now that I’ve had some accomplishments and a comedy special. I’m hoping to take advantage of (it) and just book my own tours.

“I can’t keep plants or animals alive,” he says, “but there is something growing in my fridge right now. I haven’t named it yet.”

The comedy special Rivers’ cites drew 15 million Facebook views. His Dry Bar show, a 42 minute video of clean comedy, is available from his website along with two, full length CDs and a recording of jokes he made on his cell phone for each town he visited in 2016. He’s also in lots of podcasts.

“Having more outlets means more eyeballs on comedy. People can read this and then Facebook stalk me and buy tickets to the show within 5 clicks!”

Rivers performs at 8 p.m., Saturday, February 28 at The O. Tickets are available on Eventbrite for $12 to $30.

Estrogen Hour: Leap of Faith

There may never be a better name than “Leap of Faith” for this loosely-quarterly fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Like some ancient ritual, the event always coaxes a couple of Tucson’s leading women off the cliff into their first-ever standup comedy set. Miraculously, they find thunderous applause from a room full of friends and well-wishers. It almost always sells out.

On Sunday, Feb. 23 at 6:30 p.m., long-time crime reporter, journalist and author A.J. Flick takes the plunge, along with former soldier, radiologist and attorney Ramie Fisher.

The rest of the lineup is seen more often on Tucson’s standup, improv and storytelling stages. Amy Beson, Andrea Victoria Carmichael, Cathy Sproul, Claire Maguire, Mo Urban, Nicci Radhe, Rebecca Tingley and Suzie (Agrillo) Sexton. Estrogen Hour co-founder and Tucson Comedy royalty Nancy Stanley hosts.

Reservations are available for $15 via co-organizer Mary Steed’s LLS fundraising page at https://pages.lls.org/tnt/az/hikepnw20/MSteed. Laff’s has a two-item minimum.

My Bloody Valentine: A Comedy Showcase


Comedy at the Wench explores all the ways love can go wrong with its monthly comedy showcase at 7 p.m., Monday, Feb. 24. Comedians include locals Allana Erickson-Lopez, the stand-up half of the improv duo Allreddy; Aaron Panther, Eden Nault and recent Austin ex-pat Joe Tullar. Headlining is Curt Fletcher, who has been compared to Steven Wright and Mitch Hedberg. Also featured is Tamale Sepp, stopping by while living the dream on a two-year tour in her van.

This event has been selling out, and the layout makes it wise to arrive early to get a seat and order food and drink before the show. Reservations are $5 on Eventbrite.com.

Cactus Flower Comedy Festival

This great annual festival of female funny runs Thursday through Saturday, Feb. 27 through 29 at TIM Comedy Theater. There will be lots more about this in next week’s Laughing Stock, but it kicks off Thursday, with Tucson’s beloved F*ST (Female Storytellers) sharing their favorite stories of 2019 a 7:30 p.m. The 9 p.m. show features women from Allreddy, Harold Team Omega and sketch comedy by the women of TIM’s Baby Fish Mouth sketch team. The shows are $7, or included with a $30 fest pass.

Even More Laughs!


Friday, Feb. 21, Intimate Magic with illusionist Rod Wayne Housley, 8 p.m., The O ($15 via brownpapertickets.com; $20, door). Standup comedy with Gabriel Rutledge hosted by Mo Urban, 8 and 10:30 p.m., Laff’s Comedy Caffe ($12.50, $17.50). Improv with Harold Beta and Improv 101 Showcase, 7:30 p.m. ($5) and The Soapbox featuring Cero Tucson, 9 p.m., at Tucson Improv Movement (TIM Comedy Theatre) ($7 or $10 for both shows). Family-friendly improv with Not Burnt Out Just Unscrewed (NBOJU) at 7:30 p.m.($5 kids and $8 adults), and Free Form Friday Fight Night 9 p.m., Unscrewed Theater (free).

Saturday, Feb. 22, Standup headlining local comedy award winner John Raymond with John “Jon Jon” Hernandez, Nick Chant and host, Rich Gary, 8 p.m., The O ($5) Standup-improv mash-up, Set Unlisted, 7:30 p.m., and The Dating Scene at 9 p.m., TIM Comedy Theatre ($7 each, $10 both). Standup comedy with Gabriel Rutledge hosted by Mo Urban, 7 and 9:30 p.m., Laff’s Comedy Caffe ($12.50, $17.50). Family-friendly improv with Not Burnt Out Just Unscrewed (NBOJU) at 7:30 p.m., and Unscrewed Double Feature at 9 p.m., Unscrewed Theater ($5 and $8)

Wednesday, Feb. 26, Stand Up Science with Shane Mauss and a cast of scientists and comedians 7 p.m., 191 E. Toole. ($22)

Free Open Mics

Sunday, Feb. 23, 6:30 p.m., The O, and 8 p.m., Chuckleheads in Bisbee.
Tuesday, Feb. 25, 6:45 p.m., Neighborhood Comedy. The Music Box Lounge.
Wednesday, Feb. 26, 7 p.m., The Screening Room; 8:30 p.m., The Mint; 9:30 p.m., The Rock.
Thursday, Feb. 27, 8 p.m., Laffs Comedy Caffe and 8:30 p.m., Rockabilly Grill.

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Thursday, February 13, 2020

Posted By on Thu, Feb 13, 2020 at 1:00 AM

click to enlarge Vanessa Hollingshead will be your cupid at Laffs Comedy Caffe’s Love and Laffter: Dinner Date at 8 on Valentines Day. - VANESSA HOLLINGSHEAD
Vanessa Hollingshead
Vanessa Hollingshead will be your cupid at Laffs Comedy Caffe’s Love and Laffter: Dinner Date at 8 on Valentines Day.
Romantic Comedy stars Vanessa Hollingshead

Maybe Laff’s should offer a prize for the first engagement of the evening. Valentines Day date night starts with dinner at 8, featuring dreamy “sirloin medallions with roasted garlic and bacon, smothered in a creamy Marsala sauce” or similarly salacious sounding chicken and salmon options. Sides include salad, vegetables and steamed basmati rice.

The main course, so to speak, are the laughs, delivered with style and sass by the estimable Vanessa Hollingshead. Classy and vulnerable under a veneer of New York brass, Hollingshead is an actor and playwright as well as a comedian. At age 18, she won a scholarship to study at the Lee Strasberg Theatrical Institute.

Her upbringing, though, was weird and awful, with occasional twists of psychedelic color. Spawned by self-absorbed, committed drug addicts in stereotypically hippie camouflage, Hollingshead has told interviewers that her mother rewarded her house housework with amphetamines. A tour of foster homes ensued. At least some prestige was involved: Her Father apparently introduced Timothy Leary and Sir Paul McCartney to LSD.

Once she learned she could make people laugh she worked as much as possible. Among her jokes, she’s created enough hilarious characters to populate a madhouse. Within two years, she began supporting herself with comedy. When personal tragedy took her off-track for a few years, she says, a cruise-ship booking eventually rescued her. Call it a Love Boat.

Reservations for Love and Laffter: Dinner Date at 8 are $30 via laffstucson.com/valentine. Beverages, tax and tip are added after the show, Hollingshead also performs at Laffs’ regular showtimes: 10:30 Friday, and 7:30 and 9 p.m. Reservations are $12.50 and $17.50 via Laffstucson.com

Minting Mishka

If you’ve been looking for a reason to revisit The Mint, here’s a great one. Author, guitarist, songwriter and comedian Mishka Shubaly performs there at 8 p.m., Wednesday, February 19. Admission is by donation.

The Mint's interior has benefited from some deft remodeling by its most recent owners. The bar feels lighter and roomier. The stage is smaller, but brighter and ideal for the Wednesday, 9 p.m. open mic hosted there most of the year by long-time Tucson comedian Joey Giron.

Shubaly released his 12th Amazon book last December in audiobook form,  It’s his fifth since his 2011 bestseller, The Long Run. Jeff Bezos is a fan. Titled This Van Could Be Your Life, the new work explores the meaning of family as revealed over a thousand-mile journey in a rickety van with seven family members in crisis.

Shubaly is best known in the comedy world for having composed the soundtrack for The Unbookables, a raunchy film frolic through the travails of Stanhope’s friends and acolytes on a tour of sketchy midwestern comedy clubs. Among the film's comedians is Kristine Levine, now co-host of The Frank Show on 96.1 KLPX. Levine frequents The Mint open mics, and Stanhope has made unannounced visits there to perform with friends.

Shubaly's official featured comedian is Ray Porter whose main hustle is narrating audiobooks. According to industry resource Audiofile, Porter can speak with 27 accents. That could be a whole set.

Comedy A – Z at The O


Ali Musa and Matt Ziemak, two of Tucson’s hardest working, and commensurately popular, local comedians, play on their names for the title of their show at 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 15 at The O. Tickets are $5. It’s a chance for Tucson comedy fans to see them stretch into much longer sets than local showcases allow.

Ziemak co-hosts, with Rory Monserrat, the monthly comedy showcase Brew Ha Ha at Borderlands Brewery. He also co-hosts, with Green Shirt Guy Alex Kack, the popular concept show, The Switch, which moves from The Hut to Skybar starting Thursday, Feb. 27 at 9 p.m. The Switch invites audience members text fun words for the night's lineup of comedians to riff on. The show is free.

Register to vote by Feb. 18!


Thank goodness for Capitol Steps. Founded in the Reagan era, they’ve continued to remind us that politics can be funny, and that without the First Amendment, we might not be able to laugh about it. On Saturday, Feb. 17 at 7 p.m., the D.C. comedy troupe performs at the Fox Tucson Theatre to benefit the UArizona Hillel Foundation’s annual campaign. Tickets are $65 to $145 via foxtucson.com, and $180, which includes a $90 donation to the Hillel Annual Campaign, at uahillel.org.

Lots More Comedy

Thursday, Feb. 13, improv showcase for Improv 101 and 201 at 7:30 ($5), and a free public improv jam at 8:30, TIM Comedy Theatre (Tucson Improv Movement), and standup

Friday, Feb. 14, standup with The Amazing Cop Comic Jim Perry with locals Chris Haughton and Allana Erickson-Lopez, 7 p.m., Coyote Trail Stage, 8000 N. Silverbell Rd. ($10); long-form improv with Harold Team Alpha and The Dating Scene at 7:30 p.m. ($5) and The Soapbox at 9 p.m. ($7) at TIM Comedy Theatre (TIM)($10 for both shows). Family-friendly improv with Not Burnt Out Just Unscrewed (NBOJU) at 7:30 p.m. and Freeform Friday at 9 p.m., Unscrewed Theater ($5 and $8).

Saturday, Feb. 15,  improv with The Laugh Tracks and Game Show Show at 7:30 p.m., and Standup 101 Showcase and The Dating Scene at 9 p.m. at TIM ($7, both shows for $10, $2 off with Cat Card). Family-Friendly Improv with NBOJU at 7:30 p.m., and House Team Double Feature at 9 p.m., Unscrewed Theater ($5 and $8).

Free Open Mics


Sunday, Feb. 15, 6:30 p.m., The O, and 8 p.m., Chuckleheads in Bisbee.
Monday, Feb. 16, 7 p.m., Comedy at the Wench,
The Surly Wench Pub.
Tuesday, Feb. 17, 6:45 p.m., Neighborhood Comedy, The Music Box Lounge.
Wednesday, Feb. 18, 7 p.m., The Screening Room; 8:30 p.m., The Mint; 9:30 p.m., The Rock.
Thursday, Feb. 19, 8 p.m., Laffs Comedy Caffe and 8:30 p.m., Rockabilly Grill.

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Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Posted By on Tue, Jan 28, 2020 at 12:15 PM

Every culinary competition worth watching comes down to those final moments when contestants skillfully arrange their creations on the plate before the dish is judged.

That’s where the drama unfolds.

Tucson Foodie understands this and will present their 2nd annual Art of Plating competition at the Copenhagen Furniture Store on Thursday, January 30. The best chefs from across the Old Pueblo will showcase their plating skills and duke it out for bragging rights. Proceeds benefit the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona.

“It's a fast-paced competition that’s a combination of delicious food that has to be beautiful,” said Jennifer Teufel Schoenberger, event organizer and partner at Tucson Foodie. “It has to be beautiful, interesting and have a creative presentation, but at the same time it has to taste delicious.”

Chefs will be paired up and compete head to head in five-minute rounds until the top plating chef emerges. This year’s event will feature 11 chefs, such as last year’s Art of Plating winner, Chef Gina Skelton of First We Eat Catering and Confections, and Dominique Stoller, owner of Doma’s Delights, who won last year’s Knife Fight, a local underground culinary competition.

Newcomer to the competition, Wendy Gauthier, owner of Chef Chic Catering and Events, says she’s a little nervous since the best of the best in Tucson’s culinary community will be competing, but she’s also excited to show what she can bring to the table.

“We’ve been playing with how to plate it and I think we’re ready,” Gauthier said.

Her staff at Chef Chic helped her come up with their dish, a goat cheese custard with a celery sorbet and roasted beets. While they may be ready, Gauthier said they’re still testing things out just to see if anything can be visually improved.

“No matter what I think in my head of how something is going to look, it’s never how it turns out,” Gauthier said with a chuckle. "In our heads we were going to put this one component on, and then we put it on and we were all like...no...no."

Guests at the event will be able to view the dishes in their full culinary glory before sampling the beautiful creations. Drinks from Sand-Reckoner Vineyard and Ten55 Brewing Company will also be complementary to attendees.

The event will be judged by international food and beverage writer Edie Jarolim, Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona CEO Michael McDonald and Tucson Museum of Art CEO Jeremy Mikolajczak.

This year’s Art of Plating will start at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, January 30. Tickets are $55 and can be purchased at eventbrite.com/e/the-art-of-plating-tickets-72735330331. Copenhagen Furniture Store is located at 3660 E. Fort Lowell Road. 

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Thursday, January 9, 2020

Posted By on Thu, Jan 9, 2020 at 1:00 AM

click to enlarge Are the Cosmonauts fighting over who will ride shotgun on the drive from Phoenix to the Tucson Fringe Festival? - THE COSMONAUTS ON FACEBOOK
The Cosmonauts on Facebook
Are the Cosmonauts fighting over who will ride shotgun on the drive from Phoenix to the Tucson Fringe Festival?
Funny at the Fringe

By definition, Fringe Fest performers don’t fit any category, but many of them are comedy acts, and this year’s Tucson Fringe Festival, January 9 through 11, features more than most.

“There's so much comedy!!!” fest honcho Maryann Green texted us. "’<=2’, (less than or equal to two) is sketch comedy from the directors of the Elgin Fringe Festival. 'How To Contract Lycanthropy' is dry humor from award-winning Minneapolis Fringe Festival artist Matthew Kessen. 'Sexology the Musical' promises to be a rockin’ good time.” And Green is just getting started.

Tucson Fringe Fest is popular for a wide range of great, little-known talent. Green and her team see, screen and invite plenty of fringe acts they know will find a Tucson audience. But their strategy of short shows and low prices all but guarantees a good time. If you don’t love the show you’re seeing, there’s another within the hour that could blow you away.

Admission to the fest is $3 for a button. Shows are $10 each, but passes are available for two, five or eight shows each for $18 to $64. Tickets and details of all the shows are at shop.tucsonfringe.org.

Twenty-two shows will be performed more than 50 times in five venues that are less than a mile apart downtown. They include The Screening Room, Steinfeld Warehouse, StudioONE, the Cabaret Theatre at the Temple of Music and Art and The Circus Academy.

Much excitement around this year’s fest is about the 16 acts appearing for the first time, including Phoenix sketch comedy team The Cosmonauts. The eight-year-old ensemble has performed in multiple festivals. They suggest that the audience think of them “like Saturday Night Live, but R-rated”

Green continues, “Space Force is a political farce.” And then she touches on the one we want to see most: “‘Silly Woman’ is about two young comedians discovering the comedy genius of funny females of the past, like Phyllis Diller and Lucille Ball. ‘Tammy's Bachelorette’ is an interactive comedy romp through a ‘Whiskey Tango’ wedding.” We think she means “white trash,” but she wouldn’t ever punch down.

“(Longtime local favorite) Tom Potter is doing a set he calls ‘The History of American Musical Humor’," she says, comparing him, a little hesitantly, to Dr. Demento. We get that one! He’ll have funny lyrics to songs we recognize.

"’What Will You’, Green says,"is a modern queer take on Shakespeare’s comedy, Twelfth Night, and, finally, ‘You've Got To Be Kidding Me’ is a live comedy podcast about carrying the emotional baggage of childhood."

If you’re reading this on Thursday, you can head over to Café Passé for a preview party from 6 to 9 p.m. Fest acts perform two-minute samples of their sets, and audience members win raffles and prizes.

Martin Luther King Day weekend

There is so much comedy headed your way, you should just block out the next two weekends. Upcoming we have an impossible choice among three top comedians plus the usual great improv shows. And from Jan. 25 through Feb. 1, every night has at least one and up to eight shows for the Tucson Comedy Crawl. It’s more than two-dozen shows, produced by and with members of Tucson’s burgeoning comedy scene, and it’s all sponsored by Tucson Weekly and Tucson Local Media.

Here’s a head start on next weekend, though, with comedy booked especially for Martin Luther King Weekend.

Matt Kearney’s LOL Jam returns to The Viscount Suites at 8 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 18. Tickets are $15, or $20 for VIP seating, via grownsexy.ticketleap.com. Rob Rodriguez hosts, reminding us once again that we don't see him often enough in Tucson. The Lineup includes BET Allstar Drew Frazer, Kool Bubba Ice and local newcomer Janize.

Laffs Comedy Caffé hosts Jon Roy for five shows the same weekend. Clever and clean, with a megawatt resume, Roy riffs like a funny best friend on cultural anomalies, dilemmas of childhood, racial tolerance and the chaos that is contemporary media. His jokes can land with impressions or inspire a song. Jimmy Calloway features. Details and tickets are at laffstucson.com/coming-soon.html.

More Comedy

Friday, Jan. 10: Standup with Tyler Boeh featuring Jeff Horste at 8 and 10:30 p.m., Laffs Comedy Caffe ($12.50 and $17.50). Improv Happy Hour at 7:30 p.m. ($5) and The Soapbox at 9 p.m. ($7) at TIM Comedy Theatre (TIM)($10 for both shows. All shows $2 off with Cat Card). Family-friendly improv with Not Burnt Out Just Unscrewed (NBOJU) at 7:30 p.m. and Freeform Friday at 9 p.m., Unscrewed Theater ($5 and $8).

Saturday, Jan. 11: Standup with Phoenix prop comedian, Dan Hanson, featuring local favorite Josiah Osego opening and Nick Chant as host at 8 p.m., The O ($7 door; $10 Eventbrite. Tyler Boeh featuring Jeff Horste at 7 and 9:30 p.m., Laffs Comedy Caffe ($12.50 and $17.50). Kids improv, F.O.M.P. (Friends of Make Pretends) at 2 p.m. at TIM Comedy Theatre ($5) Improv at 7:30 and 9 p.m. at TIM ($7, both shows for $10, $2 off with Cat Card). Improv with Unscrewed Family Hour at 6 p.m., Family Friendly NBOJU at 7:30 p.m., and NBOJU: Uncensored at 9 p.m., Unscrewed Theater ($5 and $8).

Free Open Mics

Sunday, Jan. 12, 6:30 p.m., The O, and 8 p.m., Chuckleheads in Bisbee.
Monday, Jan. 13, 7 p.m., Comedy at the Wench, The Surly Wench Pub.
Tuesday, Jan. 14, 6:45 p.m., Neighborhood Comedy, The Music Box Lounge.
Wednesday, Jan. 15, 7 p.m., The Screening Room and 8:30 p.m., The Mint.
Thursday, Jan 16. 8 p.m., Laffs Comedy Caffe and 8:30 p.m., Rockabilly Grill.

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Thursday, December 26, 2019

Posted By on Thu, Dec 26, 2019 at 12:05 PM

Ron Feingold is a one-man musical comedy, standup pro and New Year’s Eve party at Laff’s Comedy Caffe. - RON FEINGOLD
Ron Feingold
Ron Feingold is a one-man musical comedy, standup pro and New Year’s Eve party at Laff’s Comedy Caffe.
Most funny for your money

Laff’s Comedy Caffe is the place for the that New Year’s date: fancy dinner, champagne and a show to help count down the old year, then home in time to cuddle up and watch the fireworks around the world. Or hit the late show for champagne and sweets with your sweetie. Or your Meetup Group or your homies or BFFs. Entertainer Ron Feingold couldn’t be a better choice for an evening everybody wants to leave happy.

A Feingold show is literally all things to all people. He has movie-star looks and swagger but can sing like Kermit the Frog with a vocal technique that makes it sound like a duet. All his impressions are spot on, and his observations craftily twisted.

He can mix things up with intelligent innuendo and a remarkably sophisticated dick joke, when the occasion permits. His website includes clips of his original songs, F-You Button and Prostate. And yet, his career cornerstone is as a comedian and emcee for squeaky clean conference formats. He also offers his own conference presentation, The Power of the Smile, which combines his music and comedy with an almost scholarly grasp of how smiling affects life and work.

Feingold has been acting since he was 10, mostly in musical comedies. By the time he was in college, he was leveraging his comedy theatre experience into a standup career. He became a licensed pilot and earned a psychology degree, graduating Phi Beta Kappa. His life since then has been a steady stream of comedy clubs, cruise ships and corporate events.

Showtimes are 7:30 for the dinner show and 9 p.m. for the dessert bar. Admission is $30 plus drinks, tax and gratuities. Visit laffstucson.com/newyears or call for information and reservations.

TIM’s Year-End Laugh Out

Wear your ugly holiday sweater one last time at Tucson Improv Movement on New Year’s Eve. It’s good for $1 off beer, wine and White Claw all night, and the theater has stocked champagne for the occasion.

TIM’s intimate, 45-seat theater can be cozy like a party with friends. Its New Year’s events have sold out in years past. Tickets are $10 for two shows, 7:30 and 9 p.m., or $7 each. Advance reservations are via squareup.com or tucsonimprov.com.

The evening’s entertainment, New Year, Who ‘Dis, features a 7:30 extravaganza of 16 ugly-sweater-clad, top TIM improvisers playing for audience interaction and laughs-per-minute. At 9 p.m., TIM’s premier team, The Soapbox, will riff on stories told by five of the most popular monologists who performed with them in 2019.

To help give the year a laugh-loaded send-off, the team welcomes back TIM member and producer of Keep Tucson Sketchy Rich Gary, Unscrewed Theatre member and standup comedian Allana Erickson-Lopez, fashion designer Carmen Melero, founder of the Tucson Fringe Festival Maryann Green and journalist, crime reporter and author, AJ Flick.

Last laughs for 2019 at Hotel McCoy


Hotel McCoy’s popular free monthly comedy showcase, Last Friday, Last Laughs, wraps up its first year with a great local lineup from 8 to 9:30 p.m., Friday, Dec. 27. Full houses have been the rule lately, so plan to arrive early for seating. Pinche’s food truck will be on hand for dinner.

The lineup includes Autumn Horvat, Kev Lee, Dom DiTolla, David Ross, Eli Turner, Paul Fox, Andrea Salazar and Monte Benjamin. Visiting former Tucsonan Noah Copfer rounds out the bill. Copfer now plies his comedy and acting skills in L.A., but apparently returns for holidays. He also stopped in for The Mint open mic over Thanksgiving weekend.

After the show at Hotel McCoy, you can head on over to SkyBar for …

What Really Happened?

Josiah Osego and Alex Kack return to SkyBar for another edition of What Really Happened from 9:30 to 11 p.m., Friday, December 27. The original show invites standup comedians to tell five short stories each, and then let the audience decide which one is not true. Winning audience members get prizes and discounts with their bragging rights.

This month’s comedians include Bisbee comic and open mic host Maggie O’Shea, newcomer Abigail Chesney and up and comers Jesus Otamendi, Tim Maggard and Nick Chant.

Even More Laughs


Friday, Dec. 27, Standup with Ron Feingold at 8 and 10:30 p.m. ($12.50 and $17.50), Laffs Comedy Caffe. Improv with The Riveters, Portmansplain and Choice Cut at 7:30 p.m., and The Soapbox at 9 p.m. ($5), Tucson Improv Movement (TIM). Family-friendly improv with Not Burnt Out Just Unscrewed (NBOJU) at 7:30 p.m. ($5 and $8) and Free Form Friday Fight Night, 9 p.m.(free), Unscrewed Theater.

Saturday, Dec. 28, Standup with Ron Feingold at 7 and 9:30 p.m. ($12.50 and $17.50), Laffs Comedy Caffe, and comedian-magician Rod Wayne at 8 p.m. ($10 via Eventbrite, $15 at the door), The O. Improv with Laugh Tracks and The Game Show Show at 7:30 p.m., and The Dating Scene and Pilot Season at 9 p.m. ($5) TIM. Family-friendly improv with Not Burnt Out Just Unscrewed (NBOJU) at 7:30 p.m. Uncensored improv with NBOJU at 9 p.m. ($5 and $8), Unscrewed Theater.

Free Open Mics

Sunday, Dec. 29, 6:30 p.m., The O, and 8 p.m., Chuckleheads in Bisbee.
Wednesday, Jan. 1, 7 p.m., The Screening Room.
Thursday, Jan. 2, 8 p.m., Laffs Comedy Caffe, and 8:30 p.m., Rockabilly Grill.

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Thursday, December 19, 2019

Posted By on Thu, Dec 19, 2019 at 1:00 AM

click to enlarge Kristine Levine is the frosting and the cake at Brew Ha Ha’s 4th Anniversary show, Friday, Dec. 20 at Borderlands Brewing. - JIMI GIANNATTI
Jimi Giannatti
Kristine Levine is the frosting and the cake at Brew Ha Ha’s 4th Anniversary show, Friday, Dec. 20 at Borderlands Brewing.
Kristine Levine heads up an anniversary bash

Almost any comedy club in the country would welcome the lineup for Brew Ha Ha’s fourth-anniversary show. Kristine Levine headlines a bill that includes Jamie Kilstein, who just co-headlined with Ian Harris at 191 Toole; perennially popular regional headliner Pauly Casillas; and Michael Longfellow, who headlines at The O on Tuesday, December 21.

After four years of getting better almost monthly, Tucson’s longest-running independent comedy show is also its best value. Incredibly, tickets are still just $5. The celebration is at 8 p.m., Friday, December 20 at Borderlands Brewery. Make reservations on squareup.com or pay at the door. Dogs are always welcome.

According to her biography at kristinelevine.com, “Kristine is best known for her role on the hit Netflix series Portlandia, and her starring role in the recently re-released film, 'The Unbookables'."
The Unbookables, produced by comedian Doug Stanhope, introduced the world to what’s been called The Doug Stanhope Family. Often recognized as one of America’s top comedians, Stanhope is cursed, or blessed, with a blazing intellect and unique cultural fluency in the midnight realms of human opportunity.

For The Unbookables, first released in 2012, Stanhope loaded an unreliable van with hand-picked acolytes and dispatched them on a tour of sleazy midwestern comedy clubs. The results, hilarious, provocative and defiant, were re-released last year on Amazon Prime Video.

Levine also appeared in Welcome to Bridgetown, a documentary about the Bridgetown Comedy Festival, starring Patton Oswalt; Stanhope’s TV special documentary, Beer Hall Putsch; and the TV series, Permanent Comedy with Todd Armstrong.

In 2018 she released a popular recording of her explicit spoken word and comedy performance, “Hey Sailor,” on the Stand Up! Records label. It’s available via Amazon.com Music and other online outlets.

Levine’s comedy endearingly and alarmingly revolves around more than a decade working in a porn store and raising three children. By all accounts, she did an exceptional job at both.

Since moving from her Portland home town, she has become a local standup icon and radio star in Tucson, co-hosting The Frank Show on 96.1 KLPX from 6 to 10 a.m., weekdays. The show can be heard streaming live at klpx.com.

Her bio says it best, “A mother of three, married four times, with stories of love, disaster and 14 years clerking in a porn store, this woman has lived to see it all.” She also is the first female comedian to have toured all 50 states.

Casillas is the only local in the lineup. He’s the devoted, hometown-bound dad of two very young daughters. The nationwide popularity of his Twitter account launched him into standup when his wife was pregnant with their first daughter. His stage range has since extended primarily to Phoenix, where he is as popular as he is here. He founded The Switch, a combination improv, and standup show, that still runs at The Hut, hosted by Matt Ziemak. Casillas now hosts it periodically in Phoenix’s trendy Crescent Ballroom.

We wrote about new Tucsonan-via-Los Angeles Jamie Kilstein last week when he co-headlined with Ian Harris at 191 Toole. It was a festival of nerdish comedy and the people who love it. Kilstein’s laugh lines come in a rush of bemusement about paradoxes the rest of us take for granted.

A late addition to the bill is Michael Longfellow, about whom you’ll find more, below. He also headlines at The O on Saturday, December 21.

Michael Longfellow at The O

At the age of 25, Michael Longfellow has a solid grounding for a successful comedy career. He's placed second in Atlanta’s storied Laughing Skull Comedy Festival. He also has performed on Conan and was tapped by Turner Broadcasting (TBS) as one of its Comics to Watch. Fans now can follow him on Hidden America with Jonah Ray and Bring The Funny on NBC.

It just shows how far good looks, ambition, talent and hard work can take some people. Longfellow started comedy and college at the same time in his home town of Phoenix. He performed regularly at the Tempe Improv and Stand Up Live. Importantly, he also helped run The Big Pine Comedy Festival in Flagstaff, where he met comedians and producers from all over the country.

Longfellow headlines at The O at 8 p.m., Saturday, December 21. Reservations are $7 via Eventbrite and $10 at the door. The club has a two-drink minimum. The O encourages audience members to enjoy its new, free after-show tradition of karaoke with the comedians.

More Laughs!

Friday, Dec. 20, Standup with Michael Malone, 8 and 10:30 p.m., Laffs Comedy Caffe ($12.50 and $17.50) and Beginners and Veterans Comedy at 10:30 p.m. at Tucson Improv Movement (TIM)($5) Long-form improv with Choice Cut, Improv 401 and Como Se Dice at 7:30 p.m. and The Soapbox at 9 p.m., at Tucson Improv Movement (TIM) ($5). Family-friendly improv with Completely Unscrewed (NBOJU full cast) at 7:30 p.m., Unscrewed Theatre ($5 and $8).

Saturday, Dec. 21: Standup with Michael Malone at 7 and 9:30 p.m., at Laffs Comedy Caffe ($12.50 and $17.50). Improv with The Ugly Sweater Show and Harold Alpha at 7:30 p.m., and another Ugly Sweater Show with The Dating Scene at 9 p.m., TIM ($5). Family-friendly improv with Elves Gone Bad: A Pirate’s Christmas at 1 p.m., Not Burnt Out Just Unscrewed (NBOJU) at 7:30 p.m., and Unscrewed Double Feature at 9 p.m., Unscrewed Theater ($5 and $8)

Free Open Mics

Sunday, Dec. 22, 6:30 p.m., The O, and 8 p.m., Chuckleheads in Bisbee.
Monday, Dec. 23, 7 p.m., Comedy at the Wench, The Surly Wench Pub.
Tuesday, Dec. 24, 6:45 p.m., Neighborhood Comedy at The Music Box Lounge.
Thursday, Dec. 26, 8 p.m., Laffs Comedy Caffe and 8:30 p.m., Rockabilly Grill.

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Monday, December 16, 2019

Posted By on Mon, Dec 16, 2019 at 1:55 PM

Arizona’s oldest craft brewer is transferring ownership of the business to its employees in a historic move for the Christmas spirit.

Barrio Brewing today announced the move via an Employee Stock Ownership Plan, which begins in January 2020. Employees who work 1,000 hours in a one-year period will be automatically enrolled in the ESOP.

Founded by Dennis and Tauna Arnold in 1991, Barrio started life as Gentle Ben’s Brewing Company near the University of Arizona campus, and their flagship beer, Barrio Blonde, is the oldest continually brewed beer in the state’s history. In 2006, a needed expansion moved the brewery’s production facilities and restaurant to a 22,000 square foot building in downtown Tucson that was originally constructed as a Quonset hut in 1947. In this facility, the brewery produces nearly 15,000 barrels each year in its 30-barrel system.

“Barrio Brewing started as, and will continue to be, a family affair as our employees are family and have put their hearts and souls into making Barrio what it is today,” said Dennis Arnold, Barrio’s soon-to-be brewmaster emeritus, in a release announcing the decision. “Nearly 30 years after our humble beginnings, the decision on our exit strategy was easy for both of us, either sell the business or simply give the business to those who’ve made it what it is, our employees, leaving them with their destinies in their own hands.”

Heading up the newly formed company is beer industry executive Jaime Dickman, who was recently tapped as Barrio’s chief operating officer to steer the business into its next phase. Dickman comes to Barrio with nearly 18 years of beer industry experience that began at Golden Eagle Distributors in 2002.

She has held positions in sales, marketing, and management with a specific focus on craft beer sales, brand rollouts, on/off premise programming, event planning/execution and media support.

“I’ve been a big supporter of Barrio Brewing Company for many years and am excited about the opportunity to come on board at this historic moment on its journey,” Dickman said. “Helping to take the brewery to the next level alongside a spirited staff of 70 hard-working men and women is a great privilege for me, and I’m thrilled to be a part of this local, independent, native, and, now, employee-owned family.”

Barrio Brewing is located at 800 E. 16th St. in Tucson.

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Thursday, December 12, 2019

Posted By on Thu, Dec 12, 2019 at 1:00 AM

Giving a whole new meaning to punch line

“I feel like, as opposed to LA, everyone in Arizona can actually defend me in a fight,” says comedian Jamie Kilstein. He likes it here. That’s a lucky thing because five months ago he moved here on a whim. “I have actually grown more (here) artistically than in my life in L.A. and New York,” he says.

Not that those great comedy cities treated him badly. He debuted on Conan. He’s been on MSNBC's Up with Chris Hayes, Countdown with Keith Olbermann, Showtime, The Joe Rogan Experience and BBC America. He launched two podcasts, and he earned a national reputation for smart, edgy political comedy, joking about arcana that actually matters. He’s lately joking about other facts of life, but all the high-speed punches arise from the same energy.

Kilstein performs with fellow cult favorite Ian Harris and Albuquerque up and comer Ron Swallow at 8 p.m. Sunday, December 15 at 191 Toole.

Kilstein and Harris became friends in Los Angeles. “We kind of clicked because we both have political material. Oddly enough, we also train and coach Mixed Martial Arts.

“I think people who fight oftentimes don’t have much of an ego because we get our ass kicked a lot,” he says. “So, the idea of splitting a bill was more exciting to us. I just want to make art with people I like.”

Ian Harris started both fighting and doing impressions at age 6, inspired by the movie, Rocky. “As a kid I’d watch all the boxing matches,” Harris says, “and I would do all the play by plays and the interviews after the fight for my parents. I would be Muhammed Ali being interviewed by Howard Cosell.”
He says his whole family were really funny, so it’s not surprising that he would find jokes everywhere, even in taboo subjects. “I can’t avoid it. Even on accident I talk about religion or politics. Those are the things that interest me. Bur I personally steer away from (drug humor). I don’t do a lot of alcohol or relationships.” Nor do either he or Kilstein do jokes about martial arts.

“I think a lot of my stuff comes from a very nerdy kind of scientific background,” Harris says. “Like ‘Look at these weird beliefs. Conspiracy theories, religion, and why do we believe in these things when the evidence so clearly is the other way.”

Of the show, he says, “It’s going to be nerdy and edgy. I think it’s going to be really fun.” Tickets are $12 and $15 via Rialtotheatre.com. Doors open at 7.

Mega Lineup at Casa Marana

Dave Margolis presents a blockbuster lineup at the December 12 edition of his free semi-monthly Casa de Comedy Show at Casa Marana. Featured are Andrea Salazar, Nick Chant, Dominic DiTolla, Ashley Anna Tappan, Stephanie Lyonga, Monte Benjamin Roxy Merrari and Charles Ludwig. Most have headlined bigger shows in Tucson. Hear Margolis co-hosting the weekly Is This On comedy radio show at 9 p.m. Wednesdays at xerocraft.org/listen.php .

Applause for the Paws!

Sarah Kennedy headlines at The O to benefit the Humane Society of Southern Arizona at 8 p.m., Friday, Dec. 13. A 6:30 cocktail hour features an adoption event to make the day a lucky one for some shelter pets.

Kennedy started performing comedy in 2009 a few blocks from her Albuquerque home. After producing many shows, and sweeping her hometown papers’ Best Comedian awards, she left for the bright lights of NYC.

There, she appeared on the Today Show and MTV, wrote for The Advocate and Reductress and was a finalist in a national, NBC Stand-Up for Diversity competition.

Now back in Albuquerque she’s been a welcome guest on Tucson stages. Also performing are a hometown favorite drag queen, Miss Nature, and Autumn Horvat, creator and host of Comedians Who Aren’t Men. Eli Turner hosts. Tickets are $10 via support.hssaz.org/event/applause-for-paws/e255190.

Free Centenary Retro Game Show!

The longest-running live show in Tucson just keeps growing as its lascivious send-ups of mid-century TV game shows pack trendy Club Congress month after month.

The ensemble’s 100th show, and 8th-year anniversary, at 7 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 14, welcomes back six popular “celebrity guests” from shows gone by to play an anniversary round of The Mismatch Game. The towering and authoritative host Chatty Kathee presides with her sassy executive assistant Swish Marley.

To celebrate, the show is free with a donation to Toys for Tots. Seating is first come, first served, and there will be no splash zone.

The Pirates Who (almost) Stole Christmas

Kids from the audience help improvise the storyline of Elves Gone Bad: A Pirate’s Christmas at 1 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays, through December 22. Reservations are $5 at unscrewedtheater.org/events/

The story is that Santa and the missus have retired to Tucson, leaving the North Pole elves unemployed. What with the melting Polar Ice Cap, apparently, an evil pirate captain sails to Santa’s workshop to recruit the elves as pirates. Pirates, of course, steal presents instead of giving them. Mayhem ensues, and only audience members can put things back right, somehow.

We think all the elves and reindeer should move to Tucson, form a union and put Jeff Bezos out of business. How about you?

Lots More Comedy

Friday, Dec. 13: Standup with Keith Carey featuring Matt Holt at 8 and 10:30 p.m., Laffs Comedy Caffe ($12.50 and $17.50). Improv with Beefeaters and Improv 501 Showcase at 7:30 p.m. and The Soapbox at 9 p.m. at TIM Comedy Theatre (TIM)($5). Improv Blox student showcase at 6 p.m., Family-friendly improv with Not Burnt Out Just Unscrewed (NBOJU) at 7:30 p.m. and Freeform Friday at 9 p.m., Unscrewed Theater ($5 and $8). Burlesque with The Manly Manlesque Show: Silent Night, Deadly Night at 10 p.m., Surly Wench Pub ($10 to $20)

Saturday, Dec. 14: Kids improv, F.O.M.P. (Friends of Make Pretends) at 2 p.m. at TIM Comedy Theatre ($5) Standup with Keith Carey featuring Matt Holt at 7 and 9:30 p.m., at Laffs Comedy Caffe ($12.50 and $17.50). Improv with the Ugly Sweater Show and Harold Omega at 7:30 p.m., and The Family of Things and The Dating Scene at 9 p.m. at TIM ($5). Family-friendly Elves Gone Bad: A Pirate’s Christmas at 1 p.m., Unscrewed Family Hour at 6 p.m., and NBOJU: Uncensored at 9 p.m., Unscrewed Theater ($5 and $8).

Free Open Mics

Sunday, Dec. 15, 6:30 p.m., The O, and 8 p.m., Chuckleheads in Bisbee.
Monday, Dec. 16, 7 p.m., Comedy at the Wench, The Surly Wench Pub.
Tuesday, Dec. 17, 6:45 p.m., Neighborhood Comedy, The Music Box Lounge.
Wednesday, Dec. 18, 7 p.m., The Screening Room and 8:30 p.m., The Mint.
Thursday, Dec.19, 8 p.m., Laffs Comedy Caffe and 8:30 p.m., Rockabilly Grill.

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Thursday, December 5, 2019

Posted By on Thu, Dec 5, 2019 at 1:00 AM

click to enlarge This is black belt comic Anna Valenzuela who’s performing at The O on Saturday, Dec. 7, at the same time Cristel Alonzo is performing at the Rialto. We need clones. - ANNAVALENZUELA.COM
annavalenzuela.com
This is black belt comic Anna Valenzuela who’s performing at The O on Saturday, Dec. 7, at the same time Cristel Alonzo is performing at the Rialto. We need clones.
CBCTAC presents Anna Valenzuela

“Latinas make 54 cents to every white male dollar, which is why I have to take a roll of toilet paper from every business I enter for rest of my life.”

So tweeted Anna Valenzuela recently, making us spew our coffee while holding up a mirror to the privilege in our white feminism. We can expect a whole set of such darkly colorful insights, delivered with authentic warmth and much laughter, at 8 p.m., Saturday, December 7 at The O. Tickets are $5 via Eventbrite.

A legit black belt in karate, Valenzuela slayed the field with snaps on a recent Comedy Central Roast Battle. She appears regularly at the Comedy Store and The Improv and was a favorite at Second City’s Los Angeles Diversity in Comedy Festival. She also hosts two podcasts: 12 Questions, an in-depth look at sobriety, and Bruja-ja, where three Latinas dish on all things Latinx.

A Los Angelean, Valenzuela will be the first touring headliner featured in the cheekily titled comedy show series Cunts Being Cunts Taking About Cunts. Organizers Mo Urban and Steena Salido have lately shortened it to CBCTAC in print, presumably for convenience, because: Why else?

The show opens with an improv set by AllReddy, comprising Allana Erickson-Lopez of Unscrewed Theatre and Katherine Morter. The lineup also includes Phoenician Alice Valpey and Tucson comics Andrea Salazar, Chinna Garza, Em Bowen and Kathie Hedrick.

As at every CBCTAC show, feminine hygiene products will be collected for Project Period, a program of the YWCA of Southern Arizona.

click to enlarge Cristela Alonzo visits with her idol, Dolores Huerta - CRISTELAALONZO
cristelaalonzo
Cristela Alonzo visits with her idol, Dolores Huerta
Cristela Alonzo: My Affordable Care Act

Cristela Alonza performs at 8 p.m., Saturday, December 7, at the Rialto Theatre. Tickets are $19 to $36 at rialtotheatre.com.

Alonzo is comedy’s answer to Dolores Huerta, her idol. Her website, cristelaalonzo.com, devotes as much space to her causes as to her comedy. She writes, “I am a first-generation American born to an undocumented mother that taught me to love this country. I believe it is my duty to give back and fight so that everyone can get the same thing my family got: a chance.”

And then she quotes Huerta. “Every moment is an organizing opportunity, every person a potential activist, every minute a chance to change the world.”

Alonzo created her own bully pulpit five years ago with Cristela, a network sitcom that she wrote, produced and starred in herself. Soon after, she began guest-hosting the daytime roundtable show, The View. In 2017, she became the first Latina lead in a Pixar film, voicing the part of Cruz Ramirez in Cars 3. Lower Classy, her first standup special, is streaming on Netflix.

Last month a Simon & Shuster imprint published her book, Music to My Years: A Mixtape Memoir of Growing Up and Standing Up. The stories reveal her vulnerability and her challenges, like the tap shoes she made for herself with bottle caps, and how standup comedy helped her process her grief when her mother died.

When not doing comedy, Alonzo devotes her time to activism around immigration, universal healthcare, social justice, HIV AIDS awareness and prevention, reproductive rights, Special Olympics and LUPE, La Union del Pueblo Entero, founded by Huerta with César Chávez. She’s on their board.

From the struggles she sees in others and in her own life, Alonzo crafts comedy that welcomes us into her world with the light of her humanity.

Mishka Shubaly at The Wench

Comedy at the Wench breaks its open-mic format at 7 p.m. Monday, December 9, to bring us comedian and pan-genius Mishka Shubaly.

Best known as a writer and musician, Shubaly has the wits and the wit to have turned a self-made disaster of a life into a livelihood. His childhood broke his heart, youth was a struggle and he was an alcoholic by the time he graduated college at 15. Yet at 22, he received the Dean’s Fellowship from the Master’s Writing Program at Columbia.

A dissolute life ensued, yielding six record albums, one with Brooklyn’s goth, post-punk band, Freshkills. Shubaly’s six Kindle Singles all have been best sellers. In 2016, Public Affairs published his memoir, I Swear I’ll Make It Up To You: A Life on the Low Road. He also teaches writing at the Yale Writers Conference. Luckily, he got sober at 32, inspired by marathon running.

The Wench show also features Jake Flores. Not to be reductive but we’re running out of space. Flores’ website URL says it all: feraljokes.com Reservations are $5, or $10 for preferred seating in the show room. These special shows at The Surly Wench have been selling out, so we recommend reservations via donate@wenchcomedy.com on PayPal or @wenchcomedy on Venmo.

Arroyo Café Radio

David Fitzsimmons is having a busy weekend. Last week we wrote about his project for fellow old folks, Still Standing up. Featuring five comedians over 60, the show makes fun of things only old people know about. Take that, millennial smarty-pantses.

To recap, Still Standing Up is at 6 p.m., Sunday, December 8, at Laffs Comedy Caffe. Reservations are $10 via Eventbrite.com.

On December 7, though, at 1 p.m., Fitzsimmons hosts another epic production of his annual Arroyo Café Holiday Radio Show at the Rialto Theatre. More than 20 local celebrities perform a loosely scripted radio play around musical guests and other entertainments and surprises, Including Wilbur Wildcat.

It’s all staged in an old-time radio show format with an iconic reconstruction of a ‘40s microphone. Comedians in the cast include KXCI’s Bridgitte Thum, Mike Sterner, Josiah Osego, Elliot Glicksman, Jay Taylor, Priscilla Fernandez, David Membrila and Bobby Rich. Tickets are $20 via Eventbrite.com. Proceeds benefit three local organizations that help immigrants and Arizona Public Media, which broadcasts the show on Christmas Eve.

Lots More Comedy

Friday, Dec. 6: Standup with Geoff Asmus featuring Brian Mollica at 7 and 9:30 p.m., Laffs Comedy Caffe ($12.50 and $17.50). Improv with Improv 201 and 301 Student showcases at 7:30 p.m. and The Soapbox featuring rugby captain Kristin Pope at 9 p.m. at 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, Dec. 7: Standup with Michael Carbonara at 7 p.m. at Desert Diamond Casino ($27.50 to $47.50) Geoff Asmus featuring Brian Mollica at 7 and 9:30 p.m., at Laffs Comedy Caffe ($12.50 and $17.50). Improv with Ugly Sweater Improv and Pilot Season at 7:30 p.m., and the 101 Student Showcase and The Dating Scene at 9 p.m. at TIM ($5). Family-friendly improv with Not Burnt Out Just Unscrewed (NBOJU) at 7:30 p.m. and musical improv with From the Top at 9 p.m. at Unscrewed Theater ($5 and $8).
Monday, Dec. 9: Standup with John Waters at 8 p.m. at the Rialto Theatre ($33 to $110) and Mishka Shubaly with Jake Flores at The Surly Wench.

Free Open Mics

Sunday, Dec. 8, 6:30 p.m., The O, and 8 p.m., Chuckleheads in Bisbee.
Monday, Dec. 9, 7 p.m., Comedy at the Wench, The Surly Wench Pub.
Tuesday, Dec. 10, 6:45 p.m., Neighborhood Comedy at The Music Box Lounge.
Wednesday, Dec. 11, 7 p.m., The Screening Room and 8:30 p.m. at The Mint.
Thursday, Dec.12, 8 p.m., Laffs Comedy Caffe and 8:30 p.m., Rockabilly Grill.

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