Say Hello to “The Goodnight Milwaukee Show!”
Local comics take on late night format.
Milwaukee’s late night talk show credentials both begin and end with a native son, Marquette alumnus and former host of The Late Late Show, Tom Snyder. Since Snyder (who died in 2007) lost his lofty post-Letterman time slot in 1999, the city hasn’t made much noise in this format.
But a new offering, “The Goodnight Milwaukee Show!” is a kind of response to that void. To be clear, this show won’t be on CBS (or even filmed). Yet it adds more variety to Milwaukee’s quickly growing local comedy scene.
The live show take on late night programming forces two competing hosts—area stand-up comics Jake Kornely and Tyler Menz—to band together to head a localized talk show rife with interviews, games and (of course) laughs. In advance of Saturday’s inaugural “The Good Night Milwaukee Show!” performance, TCD discussed the unique new project with one half of the hosting duo, Jake Kornely.
TCD: This show seems to have an unusual format. Could you explain the background and what people can expect to see Saturday?
Jake Kornely: It’s going to be a late night talk show, like a “Tonight Show”-type of theme. It’s not going to be a parody of it; it’s going to be our version of a late night talk show. I was thinking what would be my top goal if I made it in comedy. I thought: I’d like to have a late night show. Then I was thinking, “Why can’t I just have a late show now and do it my way?”
I know Tyler had been talking about the same thing, about how he had some ideas for a late night show, so I proposed just doing it together in a live format at the Arcade Theatre. We both know Matt Kemple who runs the theater and does improv and sketch shows. We presented the idea to him and got some of our stand-up comedian friends to help us write and contribute to the show.
The format of the show: Tyler and I are going to be the hosts. We’re going to be wearing suits like the classic format. We’re going to have a monologue and there will be games, desk segments and wacky guests.
TCD: Who are some guests that you have lined up already? Are they real guests or will it be parody guests like “Comedy Bang! Bang!” sometimes has?
JK: There will be other stand-ups comedians as characters or a poor character version of themselves.
JK: I kind of just do embarrassing or awkward stories through a really warped view. I don’t do really dirty material or anything too offensive. I want everyone to be having a good time, so I try to take these specific things that happened to me and see if everybody can get on board.
TCD: And not that it’s really your place to say, but could you try to explain Mr. Menz’s comic style?
JK: I think his style is similar. One reason I thought it’d be good to do the show together is that he’s also the type of non-offensive guy. I think Tyler is similar with his silly observances and silly takes on things. But he’s a teacher too, so his take on it is, I don’t want to say more mature, but he’s married and is a teacher, so he has a different perspective than I do.
TCD: Are you hoping this will be an ongoing show or is this more of an experiment?
JK: We’ll see how the first one goes. I hope we’ll want to do more, but it’s a lot of work. It’s me, Tyler and three other writers. It’s hard to get five people together at the same time to write and rehearse, and we’re all doing other shows. I definitely want to do more shows like this.
TCD: With you working on this and still doing stand-up regularly, are you worried that you’re holding back certain bits in your act because you want to use them in the show, and vice versa? Or is there enough difference between themes to avoid overlap?
JK: “The Goodnight Milwaukee Show!” is late night, but almost a stereotype of it. Our monologue jokes will be current events and Milwaukee-related, but kind of cheesy because monologue jokes usually tend to be cheesy-sounding. If we have a one-liner about Milwaukee, it will probably go to the show rather than our stand-up sets. My stuff tends to be more personal, so I don’t see a lot of that making its way to the show. We’ve got a couple dumb jokes about Cudahy and Racine. And we have things about what everyone else is talking about, like Christmas-themed jokes, stuff about Miley Cyrus and Packers jokes—stuff that’s in the news.
“The Goodnight Milwaukee Show!” takes the stage at The Arcade Theatre (in the lower level of the Grand Avenue Mall, below TJ Maxx) on Saturday, December 14. The show begins at 9 p.m. and costs $7 in advance or $10 at the door.