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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Wednesday, April 16, 2014

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In Arts & Entertainment

"Miserable Men" stars Shuli (left), Beetlejuice (center) and Bob Levy are headed for the Times Cinema on Saturday.

In Arts & Entertainment

"I've been doing comedy for more than 20 years now, and there ain't much better than the show we're bringing," Levy said.

In Arts & Entertainment

Shuli started out as a caller to the Stern show and became a satellite radio star.

In Arts & Entertainment

Beetlejuice is one of a kind.

These "Miserable Men" want to make you laugh


Arthur Hinty has a simple goal.

He wants to transform his Sunday evening satellite radio obsession into a side-splitting Saturday night of comedy featuring a couple of Miserable Men.

If you aren't familiar with the "misery loves comedy" milieu, you probably don't subscribe to satellite radio, appreciate the brilliance of Howard Stern or laugh uproariously at things that others find distasteful. You may even have other commitments between 6 and 10 p.m. Sunday, when the show "Miserable Men" airs on Sirius XM's Howard 101.

But, you can still have a great time reveling in bad language and good laughs.

Hinty, a Milwaukee comedian / writer, will join Stern Channel stars Bob Levy, Shuli and Beetlejuice at The Times Cinema, 5906 W. Vliet St. Showtime is 9 p.m. Doors open at 8.

Hinty, who will perform an opening set, put the show together on impulse.

"I'm a big listener to the Stern channels and Sirius in general," he said. "I especially like that show ('Miserable Men'), because it's perfect to watch football on Sunday and then turn it on. It got to be something that I look forward to each week."

When Hinty noticed that the Miserable Men were making a stop in Chicago, he looked at Levy's Web site and saw an open date on Saturday.

"I sent him an e-mail and said 'I know you get a million requests like this, but I'd love to do some time on that show and, by the way, I might be able to put a show together for Milwaukee ..."

Levy called him the next day. The Times jumped on board. A show was born.

"It's narrow-casting," Hinty said. "If you are a Stern fan, you'll drive across the state to see this show. If you don't have Sirius, you may not know who these people are. You may have seen Beetlejuice on TV with Howard Stern, but you may not know what's coming.

"For me, I'm so involved as a listener that it's part of my life. It sometimes strikes me as odd that other people aren't even sure that Stern is still on the radio."

General admission is $20, but $30 gets you a "VIP" package that includes up-front couch seating, a post-show meet-and-greet and a glossy copy of the show's 8x10 promotional flyer.

"It's gonna be a great show, whether you're a fan of our Sirius shows or if you've never even heard of the Miserable Men show," Levy said. "I've been doing comedy for more than 20 years now, and there ain't much better than the show we're bringing.

"We know this show will appeal to Sirius comedy fans, because they're the people who listen to our channel. But even if you're not a listener, if you're a serious comedy fan you're still going to love the show because of what we do.

"I bring what I bring, Shuli is a rising star, that Arthur Hinty better not suck and Beetlejuice, he's the new Sammy Davis Jr."

Beetlejuice, known as the jolly dwarf from Stern's "Whack Pack," might be the best known of the headliners. Levy, who plays 40 weekends a year, has appeared on Stern, the "Jason Ellis Show" and Opie and Anthony. Shuli, who is heard on the Howard 100 News Team, also has appeared on the "Jay Thomas Show."

Sparks fly when the group unites on "Miserable Men." Asked what drew him to the show, Hinty didn't hesitate.

"When Bob sold Sirius on the idea for the "Miserable Men" show four years ago, both Bob and Shuli were single and looking for answers. Now they're both married -- Shuli and his wife just had their first baby last month -- but they've found plenty of ways to remain miserable," Hinty said.

"One of the most fun parts of the show is the way the guys play merciless, brutal pranks on one another, exacting mental and/or physical torment. They know each other and are so fond of one another that they know just which buttons to push to coax the maximum response out of the others."

Hinty, who has performed with Doug Stanhope, Andy Andrist, Neil Hamburger and others, played a bit of a prank on Levy.

"When we locked in with The Times Cinema, they told me their building was technically in Milwaukee," he said. "The city limits of Wauwatosa start at 60th Street, two doors to the west. But I decided to move things around just a little, for the sake of comedy.

"Bob is a smart guy and has an incredibly quick wit, but one of his quirks is a difficulty in reading, especially unfamiliar words. There's even a segment on "Miserable Men" where callers spell words out to see if Bob can pronounce them ... The results are usually hilarious.

"When I e-mailed Bob with the show info so he could tape a promotional message, I told him The Times was located in Wauwatosa. No pronunciation guide, nothing. I wanted to see what he did with that city name.

"He took the bait -- he tried to say "Wauwatosa" a dozen or more times, and never once got it right. And Shuli, who helped him record the promo, saved all the outtakes and played them during the show. They even played a "Watusi" song behind the out-takes -- you could hear Bob's tone of voice going from mild frustration to full, bleeped-out boil. Then I called in and 'fessed up about my little act of subterfuge and everyone -- maybe except Bob -- had a good laugh."

In the end, the laughs are what matters.

"We love Milwaukee and we love Wamatoosie," Levy said.


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