Pick of the Week

Just for Laughs

What happens when a gaggle of Tucson comedians gather to bring about giggles? A fiasco ensues.

The Comedy Fiasco makes its third appearance of the year on Saturday, July 8, at Club Congress. Comedy Fiasco, which began in Tucson last Valentine's Day, features locally grown and nationally recognized comedy talents such as Robert Mac, Mike Sterner, Bill Bernat, Faitha Lowe-Bailey and Max Cannon. These comedians will blend their stand-up routines with the works of other Tucson artists, including musician Al Perry and Hipnautica--the Mistress of the Fire Hoop--into an eclectic live variety show.

Robert Mac, the show's headliner, was raised in Tucson and began his comedy career here. Over the years, he has traveled throughout the country for comedy shows. He has been featured on NBC, Comedy Central and The Learning Channel, and is the winner of Comedy Central's 2001 Laugh Riots competition. His national success has not hurt his relationship with Tucson, he said.

"It's an out-of-town place, but it's also very comfortable and familiar to me," he said. "Every city has its own pace, its own sensibility."

Mike Sterner began his comedy career at the UA Comedy Corner and is a distinguished member of Sweatlodge. Bill Bernat has appeared on the HBO Comedy channel and Comedy Central, and is well-known in San Francisco for his plays and one-man shows. Faitha Lowe-Bailey is a producer and performer for Tucson's Monolog Cabin, a group that also frequents Club Congress.

Mac said he is excited about the collaborative nature of Comedy Fiasco. "It's more of a team effort," he said, adding that the wide range of performers brings a unique element to the event.

Performers will demonstrate their comic abilities in a variety of ways, including stand-up sets, sketch performances and film clips. Audience members are invited to partake in a series of four humor-filled game shows throughout the evening. Winners of the three initial mini-game shows will compete in the final round at the end of the event. The winner will receive a night for two at Hotel Congress, a dinner at the Barrio restaurant and a "check up from the neck up"--a free consultation with a local psychologist.

And with Fourth of July happenings fresh in mind, much of the comedic focus will assume somewhat of a political tone: "It's kind of themed around July," Mac said.

One of the three mini-game shows planned for the evening will center on American history. "Insert Your Johnson" will test audience members' knowledge about the Johnson presidents. Contestants are asked to accurately match the proper Johnson with particular events in history. Other game shows will involve puzzles, multiple-choice questions, unpredictable humor and--one would hope--great fun for the audience.

While the game shows should provide some of the more unpredictable segments of the show, comedians will come to the stage prepared with their stand-up and sketch-comedy materials. "Even though part of it is scripted ahead of time, with audience interaction, you never know what's going to happen," said Mac.

Faitha Lowe-Bailey will be joined by other members of Monolog Cabin on stage. According to Mac, one member of the troop will deliver a monologue titled "Thirty-Two Pounds of Porn" that details his experience as a teenager discovering a box filled with porn.

"I'll leave it at that, because it's very funny," said Mac.

All performances will be complemented with film clips by "Red Meat" creator Max Cannon.

Mac said that he would like to see the show eventually become a monthly event. After the July incarnation, Comedy Fiasco will return in the fall with a "back to school" theme.

As a comedy event filled with a variety of game shows, music, film and fire, it should prove to be immensely entertaining. "It could self-destruct at any minute," said Mac.

The Comedy Fiasco begins at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, July 8, at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. Attendance is limited to people 21 years old and up. Tickets are available for $5. For reservations, call 622-8848 or e-mail Club Congress at reservations@hotelcongress.com.

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