UNT's Improv Team Celebrates Regional Win with Awesome Comedy Bash Before Nationals

Categories: Comedy

Roll Out the Barrel
Roll Out the Barrel members L-R: Cotton Hensley, Seth Jones, Jason Pollard and Jose Rodriguez
This past January, UNT's improv group, Roll Out the Barrel, nabbed first place at the College Improv Tournament (CIT) Southwest Regional. This marks the second consecutive Southwest Regional win for UNT, with last year's group, Cell Block Tango, taking home the prize in 2014.

Roll Out the Barrel members Cotton Hensley, Seth Jones, Jason Pollard, and Jose Rodriguez (all UNT students) will head to Chicago March 14 to compete for the national prize. But first, they're throwing a big, free comedy bash, the UPC Spring Comedy Festival, in Denton Friday.

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The Trailer Park Boys (Yes, the Actual Trailer Park Boys) Are Coming to Dallas

Categories: Comedy

Courtesy of Personal Publicity
Julian, Bubbles and Ricky, the criminal comedy trio known as the Trailer Park Boys.

Ricky, Julian and Bubbles, known together as the infamous Trailer Park Boys, are the best known criminal comedy group in the world. The heavily hairsprayed Ricky, the googly eyed Bubbles and the cocktail clutching Julian get recognized in all four hemispheres, an even more impressive feat for a show that started on a Canadian cable station back in 2001.

For the uninitiated, the documentary style show features the criminal exploits of Ricky, Julian and Bubbles and their squalid but happy, lower than lower class lives. Ricky, easily the dumbest of the three with brief moments of brilliance when faced with the threat of arrest, proudly deals dope and lives in a 1975 Chrysler New Yorker dubbed the "Shitmobile." The Swayze-esque Julian comes up with most of the schemes for the crew's various capers and criminal enterprises and has never been seen on camera without a drink in his hand. Bubbles is the heart of the group, loves kitties and has an impressive talent for music for a guy who spent most of his life living in wooden work sheds.

The characters that inhabit Sunnyvale Trailer Park have been in and out of each other's hair and in and out of jail for eight seasons going on nine thanks to Netflix, which brought back the show long after they swore they made their last episode. They've also produced three full-length movies, a bunch of TV and live specials and live stage shows including their latest stop in Dallas this Tuesday at The Majestic for their Still Drunk, High & Unemployed Tour.

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Four Funny Females Kick Off Their 9th Season of Four Funny Females

Categories: Comedy

Photo by Ryan Fyffe
Comedians Jodi Hadsell, Sherry Elbow, Linda Stogner and Laura Bartlett

Back in 2007, the late writer and thinker Christopher Hitchens caught a forklift load of flak for writing a story in Vanity Fair titled simply "Why Women Aren't Funny." He reasoned that men were funnier and more clever in comedy than women thanks to a trait guys picked up in the evolutionary timeline from their unconscious requirement to impress the opposite sex in order to propagate the species. It offered an interesting albeit misguided read and not just because Hitchens' jokes proved he "wouldn't know a joke if it came served on a bed of lettuce with sauce Bearnaise."

That's his joke, not mine.

The real problem with Hitchens' piece is that he tries to dig so hard to prove his argument with scientific studies and sociological arguments that he negates any chance he has to give women's comedy a fighting chance. Deconstructing humor is a pointless endeavor. Sure it can be criticized, but if you're taking apart the reasons why a joke is funny or why certain people have a knack to make people laugh, you aren't just dissecting a dead frog. You're smashing it with a Gallagher sized mallet. He also failed to mention Gallagher probably because it would further damage his argument.

I could just as easily negate his argument today by presenting him with the story of the Four Funny Females, a homegrown troupe of four female comedians consisting of Laura Bartlett, Linda Stogner, Sherry Belle and Jodi Hadsell who are funny enough to have a show that's run consistently for the last nine years in perhaps one of the unfunniest corners of the Metroplex. The group kicks off their ninth season this Saturday at the McKinney Performing Arts Center.

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Paula Poundstone on Crowd Work, Career Milestones and Riffing on Air

Categories: Comedy

Every Paula Poundstone show is different thanks to the comedian's ability to interact spontaneously with the crowd. Her shows take on the air of a dinner party -- a host chatting with her guests before launching into stories about traffic, kids, cats and all things "everyday" -- if dinner parties were hosted by veteran performers with more than 30 years of comedy experience behind them. The comedian, author and regular panelist on NPR's popular weekly news quiz show, Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me, will perform at Dallas City Performance Hall this Saturday. We chatted with her before her tour, An Evening with Paula Poundstone, hits DFW.

So you're known for your interaction with the crowd. How do you approach that?
It's not all that challenging, really. Sometimes I'll say something that will cause someone to exclaim or clap louder than somebody else, you know, whatever. So sometimes I'm just sort of drawn to somebody or sometimes I just look around the crowd and ask somebody either a question about some local thing or ... you know, it's really very, very random. My manager always tells me that I know who to talk to. That couldn't be further from the truth. I find that if you get anybody talking, they all have crazy stuff. It's really just like talking to anybody. Once you get a conversation going, then there's things that happen later in the show that remind you of something somebody else said, and you kind of bounce back and forth. It's really just a conversation. It's fun. I feel like there are some nights that are heavier with that than others, but largely I feel that's it kind of the heart and soul of the evening.

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100 Creatives: No. 19 Filmmaker and Funniest Comic in Texas Linda Stogner

Categories: Comedy

Photo by Mark Woods
Mixmaster presents "100 Creatives," in which we feature cultural entrepreneurs of Dallas in random order.

When you hear Linda Stogner's act on stage, you get the sense that she lives in her own little world where common sense and normalcy don't exist. But as Joel Hodgson once said, "That's OK, they know me there."

The comic and filmmaker was born into a life of absurdity. She was brought into the world by a father who got mixed up in a Chicago crime syndicate when he had an affair with the wife of a local mob boss. When her mother left her with her father and he couldn't take care of her, his partner-in-crime brought her back to Texas where his parents raised her with a set of phony adoption papers. That sounds like the perfect resume for a budding comic but it wouldn't be fair to just call Stogner that. She's also a gifted and heartfelt storyteller.

Her storytelling skills and unique point of view have earned her comedy honors such as this year's Funniest Comic in Texas as well as several Emmys and a Gold Hugo award for the short films and documentaries she's made for KERA and the PBS series Life 360.

She talked to Mixmaster about her zany imagination, why her comedic presence is more of a persona and less of a character and finding the unusual stories of interesting people.

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Linda Stogner Is 2014's Funniest Comic in Texas

Categories: Comedy

Photo by Danny Gallagher
Comedian Linda Stogner was all smiles and almost all tears after winning the 2014 Funniest Comic in Texas contest Sunday at the Addison Improv.

Once again, the Addison Improv hosted the final showdown for the Funniest Comic in Texas and this year's honor went to two-time FCiT finalist and local comedian Linda Stogner.

One-fourth of the Four Funny Females, Stogner went up against four strong sets from four equally talented comedians including Joel "Junebug" Runnels, Chris Mack, Jon Stringer and Theo Taylor. However, Stogner's well-honed brand of absurdist observation ultimately won over the judges and the final trophy, which was presented by last year's winner Raul Sanchez.

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Dallas Comedy House Moving to Main Street

Categories: Comedy

Thumbnail image for dch.jpg

For almost six years, the players and performers of the Dallas Comedy House have turned a relatively small space on Commerce Street in Deep Ellum into a thriving hub for a form of comedy that most people have never seen around these parts.

Now they need a bigger place to play in, and come March 2015 they'll get one when they make their first move to their new home.

DCH founder and Director Amanda Austin said plans are place to move the comedy club next year from their Commerce Street headquarters to a new building on Main Street near the corner of Main and Hall Street.

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Dave Chappelle Announces Second Night of Shows in Dallas

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Two nights, Dave? You're too kind.
Remember last week when we told you of Dave Chappelle's sneak attack show announcement? By the time we got wind of it and blew it down to you (don't overthink the metaphor), tickets were already in limited quantity. I imagine you dashing from our Web site to livenation.com, only to experience a screen devoid of ticket buying options.

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The Trailer Park Boys (and Hopefully Conky) Are Coming to Town Next February

Categories: Comedy

The Canadian comedy trio known as the Trailer Park Boys are something of an anomaly in my pop culture family. My brother and I became absolutely obsessed with the drug dealing antics of Nova Scotia's most famous white trash as soon as we saw our first episode buried deep in Netflix's streaming service. My parents, however, have trouble getting over the fact that the boys live such desolate lives in pockets of bliss.

Plus, they use more blue language than a drunken longshoreman.

Still, it's funny enough to keep our parents watching and even quoting it right along with us.

Ricky, Julian and Bubbles (and hopefully Conky) are so popular that they've even come back from the dead countless times to record new seasons and specials for Canadian TV and Netflix after they swore they had done their last episode. Now that they still have a huge fanbase and a ninth season in the works, they are going on the road, and that includes a stop in Dallas.

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Second City's 55th Anniversary Tour Shows It Still Knows How to Create First-Rate Comedy

Categories: Comedy

Kristen Miccoli, courtesy of AT&T Performing Arts Center

One of the biggest regrets of this comedy nerd's life was not taking the opportunity to see The Second City during my only two visits to Chicago.

The first missed opportunity took place during a Boy Scout trip when landmarks like the Museum of Science and Industry and Comiskey Park were deemed more appropriate places for a "morally straight" teenager to visit. The second took place when I could afford my own travel expenses to visit friends in Illinois. Unfortunately, they lived outside of the city and viewed venturing into Chicago in the same way that the apes from Planet of the Apes viewed wandering into the Forbidden Zone without a permission slip from Dr. Zaius.

Fate corrected that mistake by finally bringing some of the Second City's rising stars to my vicinity with the Second City 55th Anniversary Tour, which premiered the first of three shows last night at the Dallas City Performance Hall.

As they explain in their show, the goal of their sketches and scenes aren't just to make you laugh. They are mini-monuments to the art of human relationships and reflections on this insane world that we pretend to view as normal or "the way things are."

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