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.