Fun in General

Monday, March 16, 2020

Things To Do With Your Kids At Home Online During the COVID-19 Closures

Posted By on Mon, Mar 16, 2020 at 9:39 AM

BIGSTOCK
  • BigStock
Kids get restless. Usually keeping them entertained over a seasonal break or over the summer isn't too much of a problem, because you can take them out to various venues and entertainment spots. Unfortunately, with the rise of closures due to COVID-19, not only will this year's Spring Break feel longer, there's actually more of it.

While we are all trying to practice social distancing, going outside into nature is still a wonderful use of time. However, if you're restricted from doing this and you're stuck at home, you're bound to have some unhappy kiddos in your house for the next couple of weeks. Luckily, some organizations exist that will help alleviate the wails of boredom. Here are some thing online you and your little ones can do for entertainment in the next couple of weeks.

Pima County Public Libraries
The Pima County Library has an online system for kids called Read-Alongs from OverDrive. There are more than 300 books for your kids to check out. These virtual books are also narrated, so you don't have to wear out your voice reading your child's favorites over and over. Plus, the words get highlighted as they read, so your child can read along!

Scratch from MIT
If your child is enthralled by computers or video games, introduce them to Scratch. Scratch is a program to teach children how to write their own computer code using a simple block system. It's designed for ages 8+, but if you have a slightly younger future programmer, there's a special version for kids ages 5 to 7 called ScratchJr.

Go to a Virtual Museum
Google has teamed up with some of the most famous museums in the world, and you can visit them with your kids from the comfort of your home. From MoMA to the Arizona Capitol Museum, there are dozens of museums to choose from. The British Museum of London, for one, has a wonderful interactive site.

Science Kids
There are lots of activities and projects for your kids to learn and play with on the Science Kids site. As with any other science project, they'll most likely need your assistance, so it can be fun for both of you!

National Geographic Kids
This is a great way to let your kids explore the world from their own home. National Geographic Kids takes their usual informative commentary and gives it a fun little twist. This makes it more interesting for kids while still giving them an inside look to the outside world.

Stream Your Favorites
We're all familiar with streaming by now, and that's going to come in handy. Disney+ has released Frozen 2 and Rise of Skywalker early for homebound watchers. There's also CuriosityStream featuring thousands of interesting science and history documentaries.

Whatever you decide to do, enjoy it. The change of pace might have your little ones feeling anxious just like you may be. Stay safe, have fun and enjoy each other's company, and use this time to slow down and enjoy the small things in life.

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Thursday, March 12, 2020

Laughing Stock: Stock pot

Posted By on Thu, Mar 12, 2020 at 1:00 AM

A bigger Brew Ha Ha

A regular on Sirius FM and winner of festival awards across the US, Grant Lyon headlines this month’s Brew Ha Ha showcase at Borderlands Brewing. The show’s producers, Tucson comedians and co-hosts Matt Ziemak and Rory Monserrat, thus continue to expand their reach into the national talent pool while somehow maintaining a $5 admission price. Get it while it lasts at squareup.com or at the door. The show is at 8 p.m., Monday, March 16,

Comedy fans might recognize Lyon from the Comedy Central Show, Corporate, and his starring role in the Amazon Prime feature film Killer Kate. He’s been on Funny Or Die, the nationally syndicated Bob and Tom Radio Show and the popular podcast Doug Loves Movies, as well as national commercials for AT&T and Johnsonville Sausage.

What sets him apart comically is a smart approach and surprising insights. Reviewers often cite his originality and fresh humor, rooted in fun facts and unassailable logic.

Local support includes Austin, TX’s favorite expat comic Joe Tullar; Nicole Riesgo, producer of Tucson Improv Movement’s Beginners & Veterans series, and Darryl Graves, who recently created the Shitz & Giggles open mic on Wednesdays at The Rock.

Kids’ comedy at the Tucson Festival of Books


Kids can play at improv comedy with F.O.M.P. (Friends of Make Pretends), at 10 a.m., Saturday, March 14, at the East Food Court (Science City) Stage. The stage is on the east side of Cherry Ave. on UArizona mall just south of Flandrau Planetarium. Presented by Tucson Improv Movement, this free show is usually performed every second Saturday at TIM Comedy Theater.

Terry Fator: America’s Got Talent

At age 42, Terry Fator’s family-friendly comedy flair swept season two of America’s Got Talent. That’s when his career veered from itinerant county fairs to a ten-year residency in Las Vegas. Fator returns to Desert Diamond Casino on Saturday, March 14. The show is at 8 p.m.; reservations are $40 to $69.50 through ddcaz.com.

Impressions are Fator’s stock in trade, but he also mixes music and puppetry into his sets. The Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas dubbed him “The VOICE of entertainment.”

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo

If drag ballet were an Olympic sporting event, The Trocks would have retired the gold for gag. Theirs is, in a sense, a sport; training is grueling and often painful. The corps must perform with the precision and delicacy of ballerinas, but with the unbridled spirit of a pratfall. The costumes are, as Ru Paul fans would say, sickening.

The Trocks experience is a timely antidote to whatever hurts. You literally can’t be serious. They perform at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 18 at Centennial hall. Tickets are $38 to $60 via UApresents.org.

Majestic Magic

Elias “Lefty” Caress presents his Majestic Magic Show in Clean Comedy Tucson’s Marana Laughs series, 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 13, at the Coyote Trail Stage, and in its Vail Laughs series at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, March 14, at Vail Theatre of the Arts. Reservations are $10 via maranalaughs.com and vaillaughs.com.

Keep Laughing!

Friday, March 13, Family-friendly improv with Improv Blox Student Showcase, 6 p.m. (free); Not Burnt Out Just Unscrewed (NBOJU), 7:30 p.m., ($5 - $8), and uncensored Free Form Friday at 9 p.m. (free), Unscrewed Theater. Improv with 3rd Beats, Harold Team Beta, and Leaning Towards Darby, 7:30 p.m. ($5) and The Soapbox featuring Cameo Davis and Jacquez Gray, 9 p.m. ($7), Tucson Improv Movement ‘s TIM Comedy Theater, ($10 for both shows). Standup with Matt Sadler featuring Derrick Lengwenus and host Ben Lewis, 8 and 10:30 p.m., Laffs Comedy Caffe ($12.50, $17.50).

Saturday, March 14, improv with Unscrewed Family Hour by Not Burnt Out Just Unscrewed (NBOJU), 6 p.m., Unscrewed Theatre ($5-$8). NBOJU Uncensored is at 7:30 p.m., Unscrewed Theatre ($8). Sketch with Baby Fish Mouth and improv with Good Money, 7:30 p.m.; and Improv Madness duo team bracket at 9 p.m., TIM Comedy Theatre ($7 each; $10 for both shows.) Standup with Matt Sadler featuring Derrick Lengwenus and host Ben Lewis, 8 and 10:30 p.m., Laff’s Comedy Caffe ($12.50, $17.50). Thursday, March 19, Improv with Choice Cut and Improv 101, 7:30 p.m. ($5); open improv jam, 8:30 (free), TIM Comedy Theatre.

Free Open Mics

Sunday, March 15, 6:30 p.m., The O; 8 p.m., Chuckleheads, Bisbee; 8:30 p.m., The County Line Lounge and Grille.
Monday, March 16, 6:45 p.m., The Surly Wench; 9 p.m., Kava Bar.
Tuesday, March 17, 6:45 p.m., The Music Box Lounge.
Wednesday, March 18, 7 p.m., The Screening Room; 8 p.m., The Mint; 9:30 p.m., The Rock.
Thursday, March 19, 8 p.m., Laffs Comedy Caffe; 8 p.m.

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Thursday, February 27, 2020

Laughing Stock: On genders, sex, switches and surprises

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

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

Laughing Stock: So. Much. Comedy!

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

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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Monday, February 17, 2020

Things to Do, Monday. Feb. 17

Posted By on Mon, Feb 17, 2020 at 1:00 AM

Scream Blacula, Scream
  • Scream Blacula, Scream
Scream Blacula Scream. Part of the Black Renaissance Film Series, The Screening Room is showing a classic “Blaxploitation” film from 1973. A follow-up to the iconic Blacula, Scream Blacula Scream is a prime example of the cheesy blaxploitation horror films of the ’70s: goofy special effects, over-the-top blood spurts, hilarious acting, and murky atmosphere. The film stars the great William Marshall as Blacula, the doomed vampire former Prince Mamuwalde. 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 17. 127 E. Congress St. $7.

Turning first hand experiences into compelling songs, Canadian folk singer Lucie Blue Tremblay expresses her desire for world peace and LGBT rights on President's Day. At Club Congress...

"Perfect for late-night karaoke comedowns, plaintive morning walks, and conjuring the spirit world," Molly Sarlé (from Durham via Big Sur) brings open-hearted, unflinching songwriting to El Crisol. Songwriter Chelsey Trejo adds appreciably to the evening...

With songs about "Stripper Poles" and "Cherry Pop Tarts," Funky Bonz provided reason to take a "Walk on the Wild Side" on a Monday night. At Elliott's on Congress...

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Thursday, February 13, 2020

Laughing Stock: Date night, book report and laughing at the beast

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

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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Thursday, January 30, 2020

Laughing Stock: Welcome to the gem show, comedy fans!

Posted By on Thu, Jan 30, 2020 at 1:00 AM

Unscrewed Theater uncorks the funny with David Fitzsimmons, prizes and other special guests at a benefit celebrating their sixth anniversary on Speedway Blvd., Saturday, Feb. 1. - DANE VELASQUEZ
  • Dane Velasquez
  • Unscrewed Theater uncorks the funny with David Fitzsimmons, prizes and other special guests at a benefit celebrating their sixth anniversary on Speedway Blvd., Saturday, Feb. 1.
Did you just get here?

We have a big comedy crawl going on this week. It’s like a pub crawl, but with jokes. Among the 15 shows remaining between now and 11 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 1, there’s something you can laugh at with your gem show friends. Visit tucsoncomedy.com/crawl for a complete schedule.
Most of the Crawl venues have pub food. The others have food next door or nearby. All have beer; some have wine or cocktails, too. Only Unscrewed Theater, an improv venue, is dry, but they have lots more snacks.

Tucson comedians look forward to making you laugh, mostly for free or under $10. Following are a few best bets.

Our greatest hit: Keep Tucson Sketchy

Keep Tucson Sketchy is a year-old ensemble that creates parodies of Saturday Night Live in full stage shows at the 103-seat Screening Room on Congress. KTS closes out the Tucson Comedy Crawl with two performances of Keep Tucson Sketchy: Best of Season One at 6 and 9 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 1.

Each show is a big production, including a writing team, videographers, sound designers, stagehands and lots of tech. Lots. There’s also a news cast and a musical guest.
All KTS sketches are original. About half are filmed on location around town. Live sketches take advantage of the theater’s full-sized screen to project the scene’s sets. Sketches included in Keep Tucson Sketchy: The Best of Season One, comprise crowd favorites from the show’s inaugural year.

The theater sells beer, wine, popcorn and a few snacks. Theater guests may also bring in food from Empire Pizza, next door. Empire swept the Best Place to Pick Up A Slice category in Tucson Weekly’s 2019 Best Of Tucson poll.

KTS routinely sells out at $10 in advance; $15 at the door. We recommend reservations via keep-tucson-sketchy.ticketleap.com.

Art Lovers’ Delight

Tucson’s art scene is lots cooler than you might think for a town this size and this remote. The arts community is as close as it is creative in its punk-like hacking of genres and ways to make a market. The amped-up restoration of the mid-century-modern classic motel, Hotel McCoy is the scene’s fever dream. Every kind of art finds a home there, including performing arts, including comedy.

McCoy’s free Last Friday, Last laughs, just over a year old, was an instant institution. Arrive for the 8 p.m. start on Jan. 31, and you might not get in. Pinche’s food truck, though, is inspiration enough to be there by 6:30 and have pre-show dinner, poolside.

This month’s Last Laugh is a novelty in town: a 100% clean show featuring some of Tucson’s top comics.

Happy 6th Anniversary Unscrewed Theatre!

Unscrewed Theater’s popular Not Burnt Out, Just Unscrewed short-form improv show started years before, but the theater itself has been located somewhere along Speedway Blvd. for six years as of Feb. 1.

The nonprofit venue celebrates the date with a fundraising extravaganza featuring globally syndicated Tucson cartoonist and satirist David Fitzsimmons and all of its house teams: From the Top, which improves an entire Broadway musical in every performance; Comic Chaos, which improvises original comic book heroes and their epic stories; the character-driven Leaky Faucets and Big Daddies, best described as well-meaning dads gone weird.

Admission is $20 at the door or online at unscrewedtheater.org.

Comedy benefit for Wildlife

The UArizona chapter of the American Fisheries and Wildlife Society presents a comedy show benefit for its cause at 8 p.m., Friday, Feb. 7, sponsored by The Screening Room. It’s not a moment too soon. Have you been following the news about the shocking decline in numbers and species of fish and wildlife due to global warming? It’s enough to make us cry. All the time.

At least we can laugh at the benefit. The show starts at 8 p.m. and admission is $5. Headlined by Matt Ziemak, fresh from the Tower City Comedy Festival, the show also features touring comedian Joe Tullar and popular locals Nicole Riesgo and Jack Fletcher, among others.

Improv Thursdays

Tucson Improv Movement debuts weekly Thursday shows starting Feb. 6. A long-form show at 7:30 is $5 and is followed by a free open jam at 8:30.

Even More Laughs

Friday, Jan. 31: Standup with Spencer James featuring Tony Tripoli at 7 and 9:30 p.m., Laffs Comedy Caffe ($12.50 and $17.50); and Beginners and Veterans at 10:30 p.m., ($5) TIM Comedy Theatre. Long-form improv with 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, Feb. 1: Improv with David Fitzsimmons, prizes and a raffle celebrating their sixth-anniversary Speedway Blvd. with Sixth on Sixth, ($20), Unscrewed Theater. Standup with Spencer James featuring Tony Tripoli at 7 and 9:30 p.m., Laffs Comedy Caffe ($12.50 and $17.50). Improv and standup en español with Carcajadas: Una Noche de Comedia at 7:30 p.m., and long-form improv with Pilot Season at 9 p.m. at TIM ($5).

Free Open Mics

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

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Thursday, January 16, 2020

Laughing Stock: The Sound of Music

Posted By on Thu, Jan 16, 2020 at 9:14 AM

Neil Hamburger is a mess, a joke and a very smart guy. - SIMONE TURKINGTON
  • Simone Turkington
  • Neil Hamburger is a mess, a joke and a very smart guy.

Comedy so outsider it’s insider

Neil Hamburger is an awful comedian. His affect is palpably awkward. A Sartorial disaster, his clothes look like Goodwill rejects from the sixties. His hair needs a hot bath. His singing is like Leonard Cohen’s as it might sound in The Upside Down, which is to say it’s near perfect in spite of itself.

As colorful and character-drenched as his most obvious features are, they say little about the man. They provide cerebrally irreverent Gregg Turkington with cover for his subversive take on contemporary culture and values. If you don’t laugh at your life, you’re not listening. “Some might say this is a lowbrow show,” Turkington says. “but when I’m making doo doo jokes or jokes about Elton John, it's all in service of, you know, making larger points.”

He acknowledges that his Hamburger character requires a little more intellectual commitment than the average club comic. But his fans also expect more music. Turkington’s been recording for Drag City’s venerable indie record label for more than twenty years, from the moment he overthrew youthful punk immersion for fanzine-level commitment to deeply sincere emotional expression and top shelf musicianship.

“It’s got nothing to say,” says Turkington of current punk music. Perhaps it’s enough to say it’s just another genre, now. “I feel like punk became more regimented than just about any other style of music. Now, my favorite stuff to listen to is really well-produced pop records from the sixties. I just want something with some personality.”

Hamburger’s musical performance owes roughly 20% to Tiny Tim and another 20% to Steve Allen. The music, though, is splendid. Drag City, released his 12th record, Still Dwelling, a year ago in all formats. It inspired half a dozen visual artists around the world to create videos for it; four are now available online, including one animation and a puppet show.

“When Still Dwelling came out, people said the music is incredible because of the musicianship,” Turkington says, Songs include compositions by Paul Simon, Paul McCartney, Mark Eitzel and Nancy Wilson. Instruments include a sitar, a saw and a clarinet. Jack Black contributes vocals.
“But I’ve got people saying, ‘Yeah, but I don’t know about the vocals.’ I’m thinking 95% of the songs on the charts are autotuned. That sounds like robotic voices.” No one would confuse Turkington or and Hamburger with robots, though. In fact, they are sui generis.

Turkington appears as Hamburger at 191 Toole on Friday, Jan. 17. Tickets are $20 and $25, including fees, at rialtotheatre.com

Funnier than he looks

John Green was named “Best of the Fest” at the Burbank comedy festival, no mean feat in metropolitan area where you can’t swing a blunt without a half-dozen comics taking a hit.
Green was a long time coming back to his childhood dream of standup notoriety. He studied music through school, then trod the path to success as a Phoenix-area businessman. In his ‘30s, he fell in love with improv. First as a fan, then as a talented improviser, he honed the skills and, even more, the confidence to face an audience alone, even with what he calls his “resting murder face”.

Now Green’s set occasionally includes a song improvised at an audience member’s request to embarrass their friend or mate. Mainly, though, Green’s comedy backbone is good, clean fun. He says in his bio, “There seems to be a stigma about calling yourself a ‘clean’ comic, almost like you’re not a true artist. My only mission with comedy is to make people laugh and feel good about laughing.”

Green is featured at The O at 8 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 18. Reservations are $7, $5 in advance via Eventbrite.

MLK Weekend reminder

John Roy’s Jesuit father and psychotherapist mom may have had higher aspirations for him than to be a standup comedian. Alas for them, he absorbed the influence of their diverse, artsy and gritty Rogers Park, Chicago, neighborhood. It gave him the breezy confidence and wide-ranging comic flair that made him champion of CBS’s 2003 Star Search and led to appearances on The Tonight Show, Craig Ferguson, Last Comic Standing and Conan. He’s also performed regularly on cable network TV, independent comedy shows and satellite radio via his record, Dressed for Recess.”

Roy appears at Laffs Comedy Caffe on Friday at 8 and 10:30 p.m., Saturday at 7 and 9:30 p.m., And Sunday at 7 p.m. Reservations are $12.50 and $17.50 via laffstucson.com.

More Laughs!

Friday, Jan. 17, long-form improv with TIM Teachers Lounge and The Flower Boys at 7:30 p.m. ($5,) and The Soapbox featuring Bryan Sanders (flag shirt guy)($7) at 9 p.m., at Tucson Improv Movement (TIM) (both shows $10). Family-friendly improv with Not Burnt Out Just Unscrewed (NBOJU) at 7:30 p.m., Unscrewed Theatre ($5 kids and $8 adults).

Saturday, Jan. 18, 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 Not Burnt Out Just Unscrewed (NBOJU) at 7:30 p.m., and Unscrewed Double Feature at 9 p.m., Unscrewed Theater ($5 and $8)

Monday, Jan. 20, standup showcase Brew Ha Ha features Leland Long, Jimmy Callaway, Monte Benjamin and Stephanie Lyonga at Borderlands Brewing at 8 p.m., $5.

Wednesday, Jan. 22, standup with Tom Briscoe at the Desert View Performing Arts Center at 7P30 p.m. ($22)

Thursday, Jan. 23, standup showcase Casa de Comedy is at Casa Marana at 8 p.m., free.

Free Open Mics

Sunday, Jan. 19, 6:30 p.m., The O, and 8 p.m., Chuckleheads in Bisbee.
Monday, Jan. 20, 7 p.m., Comedy at the Wench, The Surly Wench Pub.
Tuesday, Jan. 21, 6:45 p.m., Neighborhood Comedy at The Music Box Lounge.
Weds, Jan. 22, 7 p.m., The Screening Room
Thursday, Jan. 23, 8 p.m., Laffs Comedy Caffe and 8:30 p.m., Rockabilly Grill.

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