Oh, that Tennessee Tramp!
National touring comedian Janet Williams has brightened some of my favorite holiday weekends at Laff’s Comedy Caffe. Last year her set tickled me so that I bought an extra LeCave’s donut the next morning.
Like me, Williams is up there in years. But so is Dolly Parton! Their boss attitudes and wicked sense of humor are alike enough they could be cousins. Dolly would wear Williams’ handle, the Tennessee Tramp, with pride, but Williams would laugh at the idea of all of Parton’s cosmetic surgery.
Williams’ comedy is as natural as daily life, spun by a force of nature. Her subject matter encompasses all ages, genders, and ethnic groups, and she’s a USO favorite. She’s performed for dozens of fundraisers and appeared on two seasons of BET Comic View.
She’ll be at Laffs Comedy Caffe at 8 and 10:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday, and at 8 p.m., Sunday. Reservations are $12.50 and $17.50 at laffstucson.com. There’s also a two-item minimum.
Because connections are what Tucson is all about . . .
Tucson downtown’s biggest night of the month will include a sampler of Tucson’s amazing indie comedy scene at The Screening Room starting in November. Producer Chris Quinn says his new Second Saturday series will feature two-hour, booked events with all local comedians. Admission will be $5.
In the way of so many Tucson things, the opportunity arose from serendipitous connection of people and inspiration.
Quinn’s best friend, Tyron Engle is a sound engineer and business partner in Cquinn-Ty. Engle owns an eponymous recording studio and handles sound for The Strada Company’s Reel Tucson show at The Screening Room. Reel Tucson, featuring shorts by local filmmakers, is run by drag queens Rew Bee Renard (Andrew Baughman) and Mary Jane (Alexander Robinson). Quinn knows Baughman as his wife’s former co-worker at Bookman’s.
In May, Reel Tucson featured comedy shorts and included a standup comedy show. It was such a success that The Strada Company began looking for other ways to bring comedy into the organization’s orbit. Engle encouraged the leadership to talk to Quinn, who had been thinking along the same lines.
“I've known (Baughman and Robinson) for almost five years,” Quinn says, “and they're like, ‘Hey, we're putting on a comedy show!’ And I was like, ‘Oh yeah, I do comedy.’ And they're like, ‘We know! You're the first name on the list.’ I was like, ‘Perfect’.
In June, Quinn, a relative newcomer in Tucson’s comedy scene, launched Open Mic Comedy Wednesdays at The Screening Room. “The first few mics had 12 to 15 people, which we were anticipating because it was brand new,” Quinn Says. “The last three shows we’ve had 20. We’ve gotten the numbers we were hoping for and we've been getting a bunch of great comics out.”
He and Engle believe there will be plenty to keep the Second Saturday crowds laughing between the bands and food trucks.
Let’s do this again! Comedy at Tony’s Deli
This party was so good in July, they ran out of beer. But there was still plenty of all kinds of pasta for the crowd jammed under the striped tent out back. A great time was had by all, like a family reunion with no kids, where everybody’s laughing, and you all get along.
Organizer and host Roy Lee Reynolds promises another big helping of the same at 7 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 31. The lineup will comprise Andrew Scott, Rebecca Tingley, Paul Fox and local superstar Pauly Casillas.
A $15 ticket includes dinner and the show. Tickets are at outlaw-comedy.ticketleap.com/comedy-at-tonys. Reynolds posted on Facebook, “If 25 people pre-order tickets . . . then Rebecca Tingley, Paul Fox, Andrew Scott and I will post a video of us telling our favorite street jokes while eating wings doused in The Last Dab (hot sauce).” You may still get in under the wire.
Last Friday, Last Laughs
Hotel McCoy’s free monthly comedy series continues at 8 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 30. The line-up includes Andrea Salazar, Joel Martin, Drake Horner, Chinna Garza, Em Bowen, Mariah Dickson, Jacob Breckenridge, Linda Ray (me) and Pauly Casillas. There’s usually a food truck
Thursday: Free open mics at 8 p.m. at Laffs Comedy Caffe and 8:30 p.m. at Rockabilly Grill.
Friday: Sebastian Maniscalco,(sold out) at Desert Diamond Casino. Improv with The Riveters and Shatfan at 7:30 p.m. and The Soapbox featuring Kristel Foster at 9 p.m. at Tucson Improv Movement ($5). Improv with NBOJU (Not Burnt Out Just Unscrewed) at 7:30 p.m. at Unscrewed Theater ($8 adults, $5 children).
Saturday: Improv with The Game Show Show and Laugh Tracks at 7:30 p.m. and the Dating Scene and The Family of Things at 9 p.m. at Tucson Improv Movement($5). Improv with family friendly NBOJU at 7:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. at Unscrewed Theater ($8 adults, $5 children).
Sunday: Free Open Mic at 8 p.m. at Chuckleheads in Bisbee.
Monday: Free Open Mic at 7 p.m. at The Surly Wench.
Wednesday: Free open mic at 7 p.m. at The Screening Room.