Tag Archives: stand up comedy

Meeting Mr. Reynolds!

Courtney Reynolds is a stand up comedian working in Philadelphia, he also hosts If You’re Reading This Quit Your Day Job in New York City. David Luna recently traveled to the big city to document the comedy and a small chunk of the life of Courtney Reynolds.

You can learn more about Courtney by following him @FullCourtComedy

This video was made in collaboration with the Something Art Coalition

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This Friday, Meet Courtney Reynolds!

Over the summer, Annual staffer David Luna took a road trip to New York to record and interview Courtney Reynolds. Courtney is a stand up comic working in the city, he hosts the show If You’re Reading This Quit Your Day Job, every Thursday at Bungas Den.

You won’t want to miss this original Annual video made in collaboration with the Something Art Collective, so check back here on Friday morning!

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Join us for the Last Last Hurrah of 2016!

Alright folks, this is it!

We know, we know… it’s not the end of December, but it’s time we take a little hiatus to retool the show. As promised we will return to the Maryland Ensemble Theatre this Sunday at 7pm but it will be THE LAST SHOW until Jan 29th 2017. No matter who is in power, we will return to bring free comedy to Frederick. So join us for one last Last Hurrah and some jokes, music and a Ouija Board!

The fun starts (and then temporarily ends) this Sunday, October 16th at 7pm at the Maryland Ensemble Theatre! Don’t miss it!

 

This Week 2 Years of The Last Hurrah – AMERICA: history, Patriotism, and Other mistakes

Kick off your week in style with the newest Last Hurrah in podcast form!

82 – AMERICA: history, Patriotism, and Other mistakes

This week on The Last Hurrah, guest host Christine McQuaid takes over to talk about all thing America! Joined by panelist Lydia Hadfield and bandleader Thom Huenger, the three cover past 4th of July celebrations- the good, the bad, and the ugly. This episode also features a heated US History trivia game between two audience members. Last but not least, The Frederick County Patriotism Liaison joins in on the fun to give the dos and don’ts of how to be your best patriotic self this week

Subscribe and review the show on iTunes or stream it on LastHurrahLive.com

Then, join us at the Maryland Ensemble Theatre on Sunday July 10th for a new adventure!

This week marks to two week anniversary of The Last Hurrah, join Kevin Cole, Christine McQuaid and the long awaited return of Two-Man Family (but not by blood) Jam Band featuring Thom Huenger and Karli Cole! They’re bringing the laughs and so much more!

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Safe in an Unsafe Space with Toby Muresianu

Toby Muresianu is “a very funny engineer” working in California. His show, Unsafe Space, brings together comedians and experts to discuss pressing issues that face us today.  David Luna recently spoke with Toby about the show and his approach to politics and comedy.

How’s the year been for you as an entertainer in the most entertaining year of our contemporary history?

I’ve had a lot of good, entertaining years in my lifetime, but this is probably the most ridiculous, in terms of politics. It’s entertaining. I feel like I’m a pretty boring person. I always enjoyed things being more boring and safer and better for more people rather than exciting but also terrifying. People always tell political comedians “You must be so glad that there’s lots of material with terrible politicians!” and I’m like yeah, but I’m a person first. I’m not that greedy that I’d rather live in an awful country with plenty of fodder for material.

How long have you been doing stand-up?

About 14 years now. I got off to a slower start. I was one of those guys who did it once a month, and then I got into it gradually, more in earnest around 2006. I started when I was a freshman in college so most of my focus was on studying and college stuff.

Are you pursuing comedy full time? What are your personal goals as a human being?

I had been an engineer at Microsoft for a couple of years, and then I left to do app development and stand-up comedy. I’ve done that for a number of years. Sometimes I’d be making my living doing comedy and not focusing on apps, and sometimes that would flip-flop. It’s always been a bit murky. I’ll take side jobs, engineering on a comedy podcast, working for Uber and then blogging about it. Generally, I’ve been a comedian more than anything else, doing tangential sidework related to comedy since 2009. The idea of “full time comedian” is kind of murky. I could make a living if I stayed on the road all the time, but recently I’ve been staying in LA more to focus on stuff here.

What have been your most fulfilling experiences as a comedian?

In 2013 I did the Edinburgh Fringe Festival for the first time; I did an hour long solo show. Doing that and having a big crowd some days, just for me, that was the first time I’d consistently do an hour. I’d done it sporadically before that, but this was the first time it was my full show. I’m doing an hour every night, not filling it with crowd work. It was all material that I’m proud of, not throwing in hacky jokes to fill the time.

I was also running a show at the time, a compilation show. I was running two shows a day; it was a very hard experience. You’re in charge of promoting a show, everyone who comes in is coming exclusively to see you, and when you have a shitty set you take it personally because there’s no one else to blame it on. You’re responsible for it when it’s finished, but on the flip side, when it goes well, by the end of run you’re firing on all cylinders and it’s really rewarding.

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What are you involved with at the moment?

I always bite off more than I can chew, which is a blessing and curse. Right now, my big project is Unsafe Space, which is a live show and a podcast that I co-produce with my friend Lou Perez another comedian. It’s a live show where people do stand-up on controversial topics, and then there’s a response from experts in the field and a discussion with the audience.

Continue reading Safe in an Unsafe Space with Toby Muresianu

Not Some People: an interview with Nick Vatterott

Some people aren’t easy to get along with or worth knowing. Some people are complete dullards, trudg- ing through life without any sense of ambition or creative ability. Some people are just unpleasant and boring as all hell. The person I spoke to over the phone on October 4th, 2014 is not some people. He is kind, he is smart, he is important. He is…

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What is your earliest memory?

I must have been three years old. I think it was the first time I ever saw snow or something like that, and I ran outside in my pajamas and started running in the snow.

That’s actually really delightful. Would you say that reflects your day-to-day character? Are you joyful all the time, running into new situations with excitement?

I think I’m always interested in running into the snow. I’m always interested in running into whatever. “What is this thing over here? What is this? Let’s try this out.” And a lot of the times I’m not always prepared for it. I’m just in my pajamas, and I probably should have done more homework.

When you were 10 years old, what did you see yourself doing as an adult?

Having a beard. I didn’t really know. I still cannot grow one, so that’s never gonna happen. I think I wanted to be a Nintendo programmer at that point and a professional basketball player shortly after that. In fifth grade I had to fill out a “what do you want to be when you grow up?” [questionnaire], and I wrote on this thing, “stand-up comedian”. Years after I went away from that, and then eventually came back to it. But I always loved comedy. I didn’t understand why people weren’t watching comedy all the time.

What got you started with Second City and doing improv in general?

The first real comedy thing I did was an improv group in college. A buddy of mine was approached to start an improv group at the University of Missouri. He asked me to be a part of it, and then I wrote a humor column for the newspaper at that time. Those were the only two things I wasn’t doing terribly at the university. Second City had come through our town, and I had tried an amateur stand-up contest at the local comedy club, and I had visited Chicago, and I was like, “I gotta get out of college. I gotta do something. Let me just go to Chicago and just try this, see what happens and then take it from there, regardless of what happens.”

People had always been like, “You should do stand-up.” Even at parties, they would be like, “Oh, you’re like a funny guy. You’re like, really funny. You should do something with that.” And I’m like,  “Yeah, yeah, yeah, whatever. I should also be Michael Jordan too, right?” And they’re like, “NO!” [laughs maniacally]

How often do you write?

When I moved to Chicago I’d go up and do five minutes, and I realized that a lot of the same people were there the following week. This is how I know all those guys: Hannibal [Buress], and Kumail [Nanjiani], and Pete Holmes, and [Kyle] Kinane, and a million other people that are just super awesome and influential. I felt I couldn’t do the same material in front of all those guys as I just did the week before. You’ve got to know your audience. If your audience knows your material, there’s nothing in it for them. And I’m talking about The Lion’s Den, the one specific show every Monday night. I felt I could use every other open mic and every other show the rest of the week to work on material, but for that Monday night show I tried to do five new minutes every week. And I did that for years.

Then I got hired on a cruise ship and I was gone for four months, so for the first time since I started comedy I didn’t write five new minutes every week because I didn’t have an outlet to perform them. I started moving and traveling more, and then I started focusing my writing on more scripts, sketches and working on various other projects. Some weeks are just more than others, how motivated can you get that particular week. But I feel rhythm is like the biggest thing. It was because I was in a rhythm of writing five new minutes every week, that’s why that happened. Once you break that rhythm, it’s really hard to get that momentum going again.

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In 2011 you won the Andy Kaufman Award. It’s my understanding that those who win the award get to spend five nights with Andy at his mansion in Bavaria, where he has been living in secret for all these years. What was that like?

It’s great. You get to go to Bavaria, but you never get to actually meet Andy. He’s always wearing a completely full blue body suit, and he’s generally underwater the whole time. I had dinner with him as he sat in the aquarium at the far end of the table. We had lunch while he was at the bottom of the swimming pool—he’s got some sort of oxygen device.

Do you think he’s actually alive still? Did you read about Bob Zmuda and his new book?

It’s more fun to believe that he is. It’s more fun to believe in Santa Claus than to not. If he’s alive, I think this is the year that he reveals himself and he comes out and he tells everybody that he was Bob Zmuda the whole time.

Let’s transition to some sports talk.

Finally!

How do you think ISIS will do over these next few months, and how will they affect the other global players?

I get that they’re in a building year, this year. They’re in a transition year. I think they’re more into—I don’t know. They don’t have their priorities correct, you know? To be perfectly honest, their uniforms are garbage. They’re not very good for running around in and kicking and throwing and jumping and running. They’re very restraining. They’re gonna get caught on a lot of things, and I just think they really need to rethink their entire uniform if they want to have a chance to get any sort of athletic achievement.

Do you think there will ever be an event that ushers in an era of peace or even a gradual transition to global tranquility, or will we always be hungry for war?

It’s funny how like ISIS is so bad, but al-Qaeda is against them. We are actually on the same side with al-Qaeda, as far as our perception of ISIS goes. Hitler united a lot of the world just because people were united against him. Sadly, it’s almost like there needs to be some sort of terrible thing that the world that unites against. I think alien invasion is gonna do it. I think aliens are gonna invade, and finally we’ll get together with everybody else and be like, “We gotta beat these aliens. Oil? That doesn’t matter, the aliens drank it all, so now we have nothing to fight about.” We unite against the aliens, and then all the leaders unite and say, “It’s all peace and we have ice cream forever.”

Do you have any major aspirations unrelated to comedy or entertainment?

I would like to do something good. Comedy is a constant set of frustrations. If you’re not happy when you’re poor and at an open mic, then you’re not gonna be happy when you’re rich and doing arenas. That is sort of like the number one lesson. Every time you get to a next tier, it’s just a new set of frustrations. At an open mic you just wish you could do shows. As soon as you start doing shows, then you’re like, “Well, this is frustrating. I’m not really getting paid to do it.” And then you start getting paid to do a club: “Yeah, this is frustrating, I’m not really headlining. I wish I was headlining.” Then you start headlining and then you’re like, “Well, this is frustrating, the club keeps telling me that I’m not a draw the whole time, and they won’t book me back because I’m not a draw.” And then you’re finally a draw, and then you’re like, “Well, now people just keep bugging me on the fucking street. They yell my catchphrase at me the whole time I do my show.”

In one year I saw Bill Cosby and Dave Chappelle. I saw them within a month of each other, and they both got heckled. It’s like, “Wow, it never ends.” I think at one point, you’re just like, “I should go to Africa and dig wells. I should try to fix the homeless situation in at least one city and give people the medicine they need.” I think I have an odd-wired brain, and if it was wired one way different, I’d be the homeless guy trying to play cards with pigeons on the corner. There’s a pill that guy can take that will make him think normal again. To me I almost feel like that’s more rewarding than the low points of comedy.

Also: Professional space-jumper. If I could just jump from space into Earth and get paid for that some how, that could definitely be dope.

If money were no limitation, what would you be doing right now? I would just guess space-jumping.

Space-jumping, yeah. I wanna get paid for that. I would only do it if I get paid, you know?

I’d probably spend more time with my family, as lame is that sounds. I’d fly them out more; I’d fly home more often. It’s unfortunate that money is a factor to that.

I think rocket-pack around Tokyo. I would love to build a giant Godzilla, and then I’d love to rocket-pack defeat him and then just be a hero. I think more outlandish, month-long pranks where no one really knows what happened. More alien sightings, Bigfoot sightings. I just want to mess with everybody’s minds. I think that would be very entertaining.

I wanna save homeless people. I want to help out those who are unfortunate. And those that are fortunate, I want to take down. With pranks.

What things in life give you the most pleasure?

Sadly, comedy.

Good.

I’m a sucker for people being good to each other. Like, any video where strangers are good to each other, I’ll sort of get tiny choked up, you know? I’ve just lost so much faith in humanity that when I see it, it’s just a great reminder.

Pinball is my huge thing right now. I’m a pinball addict. There’s a Walking Dead and Great Lebowski pinball machine coming out soon that I’m super excited about. I don’t know if anybody is as excited about it as I am, and I don’t have a lot of people I can talk to about it. There’s something about pinball that just fits with my personality. People are often like, “But you don’t have any control over it.” No, you’re wrong. It’s sort of like chaotic darts. It’s chaos, but you can sort of control the chaos a little bit. You have some say in the chaos. At the end of the day, there are just things that are beyond your control, and it’s just how you adapt. Part of me just loves the idea that everything is just ridiculous and crazy and completely bonkers, and you have some control over it, and, Jesus, when three multi-balls are going on, it’s just bonkers-town.

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What is your deepest fear?

My deepest fear is that I didn’t utilize my time for the things that are most important. While I feel that I’m generally, consistently conscious of that and aware of my use of time, I don’t wanna look back and be like, “That was an unimportant thing.” I don’t want to look back and be like, “I spent too much time on Twitter. All that time on Twitter was a phone call I could have made to an old friend. Time I could have used to spend with my loved ones, with my family.”

With the internet you can now have more control of your career by “gaining a following” and all that stuff. I feel like we as comedians, we do a lot of things that we feel are necessary or they’re part of the “do everything we can to make this possible career work.” I feel like a lot of the things that we feel are necessary are actually a distraction. Sometimes I sit there and go, “If I took all the time I’ve spent on writing blogs and podcasts and Twitter and my web page and all that stuff, never spent one second on any of that stuff, how many screenplays would I have done by now?” It’s hard to step back and look at Twitter and be like, “I did a real good Twitter feed.” Even if I don’t sell it, I think I’d have more sense of accomplishment of writing something that’s meaningful, that I think is good work.

You have been given one week left to live. What do you do with your time?

I think I’d take everybody that I want to spend time with on my last week, and we—I think we’d all just jump from space together. I’ve sort of lucked out. When I was working on the cruise ship for Second City—I loved that—I lucked out. I got to go see Stonehenge, the Pyramids, Greece and Rome. I got to see all that stuff. I’m so lucky to have done that. So as far as traveling goes, I feel like I just want to find that one cool place. Maybe we all just go to Chicago, and drink and have fun. I don’t really want an itinerary. I just want to hang out. I do want there to be pinball machines everywhere. I just want to drink and play pinball and hang out with people. I think that’s probably what it would be; I would go to Chicago, I’d try to do shows every night, I’d try to get my favorite performers to play with me, and I think we’d just drink and play pinball the whole time. I’m trying to think of that last moment. I think walking into the lake…see how far I can walk into Lake Michigan. “Goodbye, everyone! I’m going to Canada by way of Lake Michigan!”

Nick Vatterott’s album For Amusement Only is now available on Comedy Central Records. You can learn more about Nick by visiting his website and following him on Twitter @NickVatterott

Interview conducted by David Luna
Artwork by Kevin Cole, David Luna, Yarissa Luna

Continue reading Not Some People: an interview with Nick Vatterott

This Week on The Last Hurrah (12/1)

Kick off your week right with our newest episode!

62 – Nov Open Mic

This week on The Last Hurrah, Kevin Cole, Isabel Duarte and Robert Martin discuss Thanksgiving mishaps, online dating and the fear of getting items stuck in certain orifices.

Performers:
Isabel Duarte
Robert Martin

Subscribe and review the show on iTunes or stream it on LastHurrahLive.com

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Then, swing by the Maryland Ensemble Theatre for…

The WebMD Show (Nov 29)

Something is always ailing the cast of The Last Hurrah, some of us have underlying health conditions. This week, we put our symptoms to the test and figure out what exactly is wrong with us.

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The fun starts this Sunday at 7pm!