published Thursday, May 31, 2012
The Dallas Comedy Festival in early spring enjoyed good crowds and even a couple of sold-out shows. Something solid to build on. Imagine what a comedy fest with some serious backing could become! Several cities smaller than Dallas have larger comedy festivals, drawing thousands of people and national headliners. Where’s ours? I’d love to see a Texas Outlaws tribute to Ron Shock, see below, or Ron White and friends with Alex Reymundo, Bill Engvall and others.
Usually focused on stand-up urban comedy, The Improv in Addison is finally living up to its name by resurrecting its improv ensemble Locked OUT Comedy and offering classes… The family-friendly Comedy & Magic show is back on the bill regularly.
Dallas Comedy House in Deep Ellum is working a summer vacation angle, offering up weekend curbside cookouts of hot dogs and such in front of the club, plus vacation-themed improve sets… There’s more stand-up on the bill recently, with a special Thursday night series in June hosted by Brad LaCour… It’s in a nicely hip block of Commerce with the Comedy House, Quiet Man Cajun blues club, and eateries Angry Dog, St Pete’s Dancing Marlin and Uncle Uber’s Sammich Shop. Good parking, too.
Pocket Sandwich Theater at Mockingbird and N. Central Expy. has hosted some ambitious comedy offerings, including The J.I.M. Experiment featuring a lot of improv faces new and old, a no-holds-barred Last Call Comedy Showcase, and the intriguingly named Girls Gone Weird. After Hours Improv and The Victims hold down the late-night improv shows. Lugo & Long, the Lollie Bombs burlesque, and Steven Jay Crabtree’s Dysfunctional Divas round things out.
Big Sexy Weekend of Improv, hosted by the Dallas Alternative Comedy Theater, is back for a fourth year at the Dyer Street Bar. Looks for full reports at TheaterJones. ACT also offers improv games in Plano at Café Bohemia.
David Ahearn of Four Day Weekend is obsessed with a film project Run. He was responsible for the group’s television pilot Get Lost. The group got a choice corporate gig at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, a PGA event.
Ron Shock passed away on May 17 of a rare cancer. Big passing of the guard. Ron, and his Texas Outlaws cohorts Bill Hicks and Sam Kinison, were all gone too soon. Shock was an instigator of the group, which included Riley Barber, Jimmy Pineapple, Steve Epstein, John Farnetti and Andy Huggins. Many people took part of fundraising effort for one last-ditch attempt at treatment. I have fond memories of the Outlaws as a rookie reporter for Dallas Times Herald. On a Houston research trip, Shock took me for a wild ride, literally. My heart stopped several times at his driving maneuvers. In that trademark low gravely drawl, he gave a mobile private storytelling show, including a great tale of a psychedelic-fueled roadtrip to West Texas with Hicks.
Been a steady stream of national comedian appearances in North Texas, from the young’uns of Chelsea Lately, to octogenarians Bill Cosby and Carol Burnett. Eisemann’s comedy series had some real winners like Four Funny Females and Cocktails with Larry Miller. Paula Poundstone played both the Majestic and Lakewood Theater.
Urban comedy is jazzing up downtown Dallas with a stand-up series at the Clarence Muse Café, part of the Black Academy of Arts and Letters… District Empire presents: The “Session Series: Comedy Jam is going on at the Cedar Community Center.
The Nerdist Podcast Live with Chris Hardwick, Johah Ray and Matt Mira comes to the Palladium Ballroom in July… University of Texas at Dallas (in Richardson, of course) offered an eclectic spring season with a comedic contortionist, a gay one-man comedy show and comic historians… University of North Texas hosted once again The New York Goofs clown school in a special Maymester program.