Guests like Jim Breuer, Eric Bischoff, Jeff Jones, and the great Dr. Ed from Hillside Animal Hospital stopped by for conversations. How does Travis feel about Jussie Smollett? Did Chris watch ‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’ correctly? Bre keeps the fellas in line and Gardner has a possum cam.
Chris Denman and 4 friends from Gateway Pet Guardians in Saint Louis, Missouri had the pleasure of joining Kim Hudson on Fox 2 News to chat about the Paw-Oscars at 1860’s Saloon! Watch the appearance here: Chris Denman and Gateway Pet Guardians on Fox 2 with Kim Hudson
Is your pet the best dressed? Most talented? After the Mardi Gras Pet Parade on Sunday, Feb 24, come by 1860's tent (9th and Geyer) for the inaugural Paw-Oscars Pawty... before the human Academy Awards that same night.
Entrance to 1860's Paw-Oscars - hosted by We Are Live - is free and will include music by Ross Bell Band, games, giveaways and some friendly competition. Food and drinks will be available for purchase from 1860 Saloon, Game Room, & Hardshell Café.
1:00pm - Purina Pet Parade
2:00pm - 1860's Pawty Tent (9th & Geyer) opens
2:30-3:00 - Best Dressed (Pet Fashion Show) and awards
3:00-3:30 - Dogs on Film Trivia (and awards)
3:30-4:00 - Best Actor (Pet Talent Show) and awards
** Want your pet to compete for Best Dressed or Best Actor, register here: http://bit.ly/1860sPawOscars **
Note: priority will be given to those who pre-register their pets online; participation will be dependent on space (and be first come, first serve).
LIVE! From their very own studios, We Are Live! now has a state of the art video stream. Check out all the fun from the Mid Coast Studios right here Facebook.com/WeAreLiveRadio for all the shenanigans.
Michael Kosta from The Daily Show joins Travis and Chris for the 2nd time as a guest on We Are Live! Comedy Central has treated him well, but New York is a little too tough for the former professional tennis player. Michael gives the world comedy career advice, weighs in on women vs men in tennis, and lets us know what he'd like to do in the future. Highly recommend seeing Michael at St. Louis Funny Bone, as he's an amazing talent.
Tommy Davidson has had an amazing career. He's in town promoting his weekend at Helium Comedy Club and stopped by to chat with Travis and Chris. The fellas gush over the creation and execution of "In Living Color" and discuss how in the world they got away with what they did. Tommy tells us a great King of Pop story and shares a truly heartwarming moment from his comedy career.
Thomas Crone highlights the standup comedians performing at the "Last Laugh Comedy Continues" program at Southtown Pub on Saturday. Today’s featured comic: Bobby Jaycox.
The expectation is that Bobby Jaycox is having a good day on any day ending in “y,” but when you phone up Bobby Jaycox and he’s just hopped off a train in Chicago and he’s having a mid-week, refresh-button-hitting, rip-roaring time with friends and colleagues in our frenemy city to the north… well, on those days, his enthusiasm is contagious.
In fact, if was just last week that we caught up with Jaycox by phone. He was in Chicago to perform a one-night engagement with Taylor Williamson, known nationally, in part, for long runs on America's Got Talent Last Comic Standing.
At this point, it’s not necessarily a financial win for Jaycox to go out on the road for one-nighters. But all the intangibles point to an unqualified “yes” when he’s asked to appear on some regional gigs.
“You’re probably not making money,” he says, honestly, “when you’re traveling and just doing one show. Stage time, though; that’s what you need. I feel like, right now, standup is the one thing that’s getting my full attention. I think I’m having the most fun doing that now. I’ve been getting a lot of work on the road and at home.”
That said, as someone who’s enjoyed a lot of time and work in forms such as sketch and improv, he’ll likely retain a keen interest in maintaining those skills. Of late, with the help of a local agency, Azalea, he’s also scored a bit commercial work, for both online and over-the-air purposes. And, in doing so, he’s got another side project that he hopes to keep alive.
But the priority: standup. And the immediate benchmark for his efforts comes this Saturday as We Are Live brings a full afternoon and evening of comedy to the Southtown Pub. The event will be part of a scene that pleases a scene-success-sharing Jaycox.
“A lot of people are recognizing St. Louis through Flyover Comedy,” he adds. “It’s all putting St. Louis on the map. There’s a validation that as comedians are touring, they can come here, sell some CDs. People are coming around to that more and more. And it’s cool that we’re all a part of that.”
'Bobby Jaycox is sad about LouFest, but will soldier on today at Southtown Pub'
Thomas Crone highlights the standup comedians performing at the "Last Laugh Comedy Stage" at LouFest. Today’s featured comic: Duke Taylor.
On Sunday afternoon, Duke Taylor spent his entire Sunday afternoon at the Funny Bone Comedy Club. Not performing, mind you. But drafting players for that venue’s fantasy football league.
“This is my second year with them,” he says. “I’ve played three years, overall. So not that long. They say that once you try, you become addicted. I shouldn’t have tried. Now I’m in five different leagues.”
With the NFL on the cusp of play, it’s a good time for Taylor to have his Sundays free. Luckily, for him, he’ll be performing at LouFest’s Last Laugh Comedy stage this coming Saturday, rather than Sunday, and he’s free in admitting that “I’ve never been to LouFest, period. To play it the first time I’m going there is pretty dope. I’m going to enjoy the whole experience. Just watching the headliners, checking out a little bit of the musicians and bands. I actually look forward to it. Now that’s on Saturday; on Sunday, it’s football.”
Taylor says that he’s digging the lead-up to the event including, yes, “the press and publicity. If you’re not known in your city… well, you gotta take over your city first, before you take over other cities.”
In the last couple of years, that takeover attempt’s been finding some traction. He won Funny Bone’s competition in 2016, finishing second at Helium’s competition a year later. In just the past few months, he’s shared stage time in those same rooms with folks such as Gary Owen, John Witherspoon, David Arnold and Jak Knight.
“It’s been a dope year, so far,” he says. “I want to get into more festival and comedy club competitions outside of St. Louis now. I want to branch out and hit shows in other cities.”
When he travels, his material travels, too.
“Personally,” he says, “I don’t write jokes that only St. Louis people understand. I stay away from the location and regional stuff. It should work as well outta town as it works here. The difference is in yourself. If it’s a completely new crowd, a place you haven’t been, it can bring a different mindset, I guess.”
Asked where he feels as if his growth is most-marked -- be that writing, performance, nailing down the business aspects of the craft -- Taylor feels confident in saying that everything’s feeling pretty solid these days. So, yeah, check all the boxes.
“I like my growth in every aspect you just named,” he says. “I can tell my writing’s tighter. My business savvy is still based in the same: you show respect. A lot of people act arrogant or entitled. You can win a contest, but you still have to work the whole time. What you do today doesn’t matter tomorrow and a win in one city’s contest doesn’t mean anything to the audience in another city. You gotta keep grinding, keep moving forward. I do notice the growth in my performance; some jokes are easier to tell, they’re more comfortable on-stage now. In between jokes, you’ll people say something (‘er,’ ‘um’) and not leave it dry. I can tell I’ve passed that point.
“I’m kinda figuring out who I am,” he concludes.
Well, he concludes by saying that he’s got a few small goals for the week leading up to LouFest and those’ll involve performance of the low-key variety.
“I’m gonna hit up a bunch of the open mics,” he says. “No major shows before Saturday.”
Like his fantasy football players, “I’ll get some practice in, some reps going. Then the show. And that’s it.”
By Thomas Crone
Thomas Crone highlights the standup comedians performing at the "Last Laugh Comedy Stage" at LouFest. Today’s featured comic: Tina Dybal.
In 2018, Tina Dybal scored a win as the Funniest Person in St. Louis, via Helium’s annual competition. She’s hosted shows at the same club and has begun a podcast with Jeremy Essig. She’s performed club and indie gigs with a variety of touring comics, giving Chad Wallace a run for his money as the most-seen-and-heard performer on the stage of the Heavy Anchor. She’s busy enough to familiarize St. Louis comedy-goers with her youthful love of Aaliyah and her beloved mutt. And, yeah: she’s playing LouFest this fall, duh.
In some respects, the next step on her journey involves many steps (or the turning of wheels, we suppose) as she tackles some regional touring, which has started in earnest this year and will only trend up in 2019.
“Yeah, I think I’m in a good place,” Dybal says. “I’ve had a lot of cool opportunities, which were all really exciting. That doesn’t mean the work is done. I could win that competition and that’s it; I’m done with comedy. I wanted to win so badly in years past and it was a great accomplishment. But I still have work to do. You’re onto the next thing, always looking for the next next thing. I’m still finding my voice within standup, so I’m really starting to dig deep, to peel the next layer off, to get to my true self onstage. I’m definitely on my way to doing that and it’s been very cool.”
What’s interesting in talking with Dybal is to hear discuss the responsibilities of comedy, or at least, the empathy that you might/should bring to material. For many of her contemporaries, Dybal’s viewed as one of the boldest voices on the scene. But there’s still a humanity to be kept in focus, whether it’s in a full-fledged set or a bit being worked out at an open mic.
“You need to be sensitive and empathetic if you’re going to work in touchy subjects,” she says. “You can’t just go onstage and use the n-word or do insensitive shit like that. I think you can touch on things like race, abortion, immigration, the police. Of course, you can not touch on that, too. What matters is your point-of-view If you have no business talking about it, don’t. Have a fully-formed argument, or a fully-formed joke. Don’t just go onstage yelling about politics. Be well-versed if you’re going to touch on a topic like that. Your message has to have some insight to get across.”
Those are maybe the “what not to’s”, but what are the ways in which she creates material that becomes the spin of a set. In early 2017, she told St. Louis Magazine: “I think a good premise for a bit starts with some emotion attached to it. The emotion could range from happy, sad, angry, tired, or just a moment that made you feel something. I write notes in my phone when I think of an idea for a joke. I have written premises down while crying, drunk, laughing hysterically, waiting in line at a coffee shop, or even on the toilet. The bit gets good after you sit down and hash it out, not just writing an idea in your phone. I think that includes holding onto the first feeling you had when you wrote it, but also looking at it objectively to really make it a solid bit. I am a serial procrastinator in all aspects of my life; especially when it comes to comedy. So, deadlines do help nudge me in the right direction, but I end up hating myself all the same for waiting until the very last second. I’m working on that. For sure, I’ve definitely talked about something that happened day of in a set. It’s usually when I’m mad at someone, myself, or something.”
While this covers her stage material, Dybal’s more than able to riff extemporaneously. A good way to catch her in that mode is on the podcast, “Where’d You Fuc* Up?,” which she co-founded with Essig earlier this year, based on an innocuous note that she sent him: “Do you like podcasts?” Turns out, he (did and does) and also has audio equipment and reporting skills. Together, the pair’s very different personalities and interests have created a podcast that touches, as the name might suggest, on folks not having their best days in life, how they recovered, and how you can eventually laugh at the toughest moments you’ll know.
She sees these types of endeavors as the rule, rather than the exception. Not the fuc*ing up part, but the creation of new and interesting multi-media opportunities, of mutual support and a collective push to bigger things. As a performer (and as a bartender at the Improv Shop, as well), she’s firmly embedded in the community in which he’s now an established performer.
“I think I’m in the camp of staying around after a show, supporting people,” she says. “Hang around after show, go to new shows that’re starting up, support new talent.”
Thomas Crone highlights the standup comedians performing at the "Last Laugh Comedy Stage" at LouFest. Today’s featured comic: Angela Smith.
If you were to poll the entire standup comic community in St. Louis, in order to knit together a list of day jobs, well, you’d wind up with an interesting list.
And while we won’t sketch out the exact nature of Angela Smith’s worklife, it’s safe to say that’s she’s got a career, not just a gig, with a heavy dose of traveling accompanying said career. That’s a good thing, overall. And for her comedy, it’s a bit of mixed blessing.
“I travel around the country for my day job,” she says. “You'd think that would lend itself to booking gigs wherever I go, but I usually don't perform when I'm out of town. I've done shows here and there, but when I'm on business, I'm on business. I try to give 100% of my focus to that work so that I can feel good about giving 100% to comedy when it's time for that.”
On the other hand...
“I do write a lot of new jokes when I travel, though,” she adds. “I'm alone so I notice things more and I have to keep myself entertained. A few weeks ago, a stranger held my hand for an entire plane ride and told me if the plane crashed he'd ‘see me in Heaven.’ It just got creepier from there. I'm terrible at establishing boundaries, and I often don't realize until later that I could have told a strange man on an airplane not to hold my hand. When I reflect on it and take it to the stage, it helps me re-frame a creepy experience into something absurd, yet hilarious. It makes me feel like I had the last word about the situation.”
When discussing Smith’s skills, comics in St. Louis cite her sharp writing. Not to suggest that other elements of her game aren’t there, but the pinpoint nature of her jokes isn’t lost on her contemporaries.
She says that “I appreciate other comics believing in my writing. If I could work behind the scenes and only write for other people, that'd be my preference. Going on stage is the hardest part for me because that same awareness that makes me a good writer is also what puts great fear into me in front of a crowd. I've gotten more comfortable with performing, but I hope my writing is always the strongest part of my game. You can be totally comfortable in front of a big crowd, but if you're not funny, it'll get uncomfortable really fast. If that happens, I'll probably start bringing a puppet on stage or something. An emotional support puppet. Also, if you think I'm good at writing jokes, you should try fighting with me some time. I will hurt feelings you didn't think you had. The pendulum swings both ways.”
Asked to give a general, layperson's sense of how her material’s changed in recent days, and what type of material might be introducing itself… she’s got an answer.
The founder of the storytelling show “All the Feels” says that, “If my material has changed at all, it's hopefully gotten more honest and is a better representation of who I am. A lot of my comedy is what I wish I'd said to people in the moment and getting some twisted, one-sided closure about things that play on a loop in my little Australian Shepherd brain. It's like when your therapist tells you to write an honest letter to your mother, but DO NOT SEND IT. Only I send it three-four times a week to a different room full of strangers.”
While her earlier answer might suggest a comic who takes more pleasure in the creation of the punchline than the execution of same, there are nights that work for Smith. Those unadulterated evenings of good vibes then and happy memories later.
Smith says that “opening for Nikki Glaser at the Funny Bone a few weeks ago was one of the best feelings. It was a sold out crowd ready for a female headliner. It's a cliche, but after almost every show I do, someone tells me I'm ‘funny for a girl’ or that they usually don't like female comics, but I was ‘pretty good.’ Thank you? To have a sold out room receptive to every beat of my material, it felt so gratifying. Also, getting to work with Nikki is incredible. She's one of the best writers out there and watching her inspires me to work harder.”
The next major step in Smith’s hard work comes with LouFest, with a Saturday performance slated. As with the others involved in next weekend’s Last Laugh Stage experience, she’s curious about the direction in which things’ll roll.
“A music festival is new territory for me,” she says. “It's really up to the crowd how they want things to go. I've performed in clubs where people should have been listening, but they talked over the comics the whole time. I've performed for 30 people at the American Legion and we all had a great night. If the crowd shows up ready to laugh and have a good time, we'll have a good time. I'm bringing the puppet just in case.”