The Best Free Comics in Town?

Eight local comics perform for free and offer a free CD compilation as well.

By - Jan 30th, 2014 01:29 pm
Tyler Menz. Photo by Tom Grimm.

Tyler Menz. Photo by Tom Grimm.

The once-almighty CD has lost some popularity, given the advance of the digital format and the resurgence of formerly obsolete vinyl recordings. Still it has a place in the world of stand-up comedy. Touring comics often rely on CD sales for gas and meal money, and up-and-comers still record material to discs in hopes of building a following and gaining recognition in a rapidly growing entertainment field.

Which brings us to Friday night’s show by eight Milwaukee-based comics, who will each perform eight-minute sets. The final product (known as “Comedic Release Show”) will be featured on—you guessed it—a CD that will be given away free throughout the city in hopes of spreading laughter and introducing residents to some of local comedy’s funniest names. Before the first Comedic Release Show, I spoke to one of the performers, Tyler Menz.

How would you describe your brand of stand-up?

I guess it’s observational and absurdist. I like to tell a lot of stories from my life too. I talk about being married; I talk about being a teacher—so kind of like story telling.

Comedic Release Show Flyer

Comedic Release Show Flyer

What’s the Comedic Release Show’s theme?

Adam Loeding is starting this show. He wanted to get some jokes recorded and actually put a CD together. So he picked out each of the comics and decided we were going to do a live show for free, record it and release it as a CD so we can distribute it around town. It’s going to be dropped off at different record shops, bookstores and places like that.

As a performer, what is the value of having eight minutes of material on record for people to access for free?

Hopefully we’ll be able to get our names out there a little more. And hopefully people will pick some up and check them out and grow the fan base and grow the crowds.

Yeah, it sounds like a good introduction to the local stand-up scene.

I think a lot of people know that there’s comedy going on, but they’re not necessarily sure where to go or what types of shows there are. That’s kind of what we’re trying to do with Good Night Milwaukee too. Grow it and let people know that there are other options than Comedy Café—not that Comedy Café or Jokerz is bad, but there are other opportunities to see comedy, too.

There seems to be a wide mix within the lineup too. You have Ryan Lowe with his crazy one-liners, you, and Sammy Arechar might be beat-boxing or playing a guitar. What can people expect at the show?

They’ll see some of Milwaukee’s best stand-ups. Ryan Lowe, like you said, Erik Koconis has been here for a long time and doing great stuff. He has a very nice flow to his set. We have Feng Chao. He’s like Chinese Kevin Hart. You’ll see a wide mix and some really great comics. And it’s at the Underground Collaborative, which is a really awesome venue. It’s so cool. You’d never expect there would be this great venue-slash-theater down there. When you tell someone where it is, it sounds like you’re leading them into a trap. But it’s awesome.

I always like to ask why people should look into the local scene. Take a person who will only go out to see a well-known name perform, why is it worth their while to investigate the local scene?

You’re hearing people constantly saying to buy local and shop local. Well, consume local, right? Consume local comedy, local music, local art. It grows the culture of your city. Supporting a city’s art makes it so much better.

The inaugural Comedic Release Show takes the stage at the Underground Collaborative (in the lower level of the Grand Avenue Mall, below TJ Maxx) on Friday, January 31 at 7:30 p.m. and is FREE. Performers include Tom Grimm, Ryan Lowe, Adam Loeding, Erik Koconis, Christopher Schmidt, Tyler Menz, Sammy Arechar and Feng Chao. For details on where to pick up CDs of this performance, follow @MilwaukeeComedy on Twitter.

Update: Due to unforeseen circumstances, Tyler Menz will no longer be performing at The Comedic Release Show. Milwaukee comic Tony Tudor will take Menz’s place.



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