With a debut show under their belts, the organizers of the BigBoned Comedy series are hoping that things progress smoothly when round two commences Wednesday night upstairs at the BBC Bar and Grill, 2022 E. North Ave.
Of course, they do not want it to go too smoothly.
The idea behind BigBoned comedy is to assemble a loose, raucous group of standup comics on the first Wednesday of the month and take aim at a specific topic with laser-like focus and razor wit. If a few people get offended in the process, well, that's part of the fun -- and a big reason the room has more of a "punk rock club" feel than a standard comedy venue.
"Some of us just don't fit in comedy clubs," said Arthur Hinty a founding member and performer in BigBoned Comedy. "They're the McDonald's of entertainment -- everything is designed to be bland and inoffensive, people drop in willing to grab whatever happens to be on the menu, and an hour later they can barely remember what they ate. That's just how the club (and the audience) wants it.
"But, some of us like comedy that makes you think, that says something about the world, that challenges you to think about a subject in a different way. And some comics want the freedom to say what they have on their minds, not what will keep the comedy club audiences from getting too riled up."
Hinty said the inspiration for the series came from a rather famous friend in the business.
"The idea came from my friend Doug Stanhope, who dreamed up an idea for a comedy crew called 'The Unbookables' that romps around the country, playing punk rock bars and Legion halls," Hinty said. "In five years, he's gone from playing tiny bars for 50 to 100 people to playing larger halls of 500 or more. Comedy clubs don't figure into his equation.
"Locally, that's the goal we have with BigBoned Comedy. We have a theme or topic for each month's show and hand-pick the comics who best fit in with that theme. We do multimedia (video and music) during our shows, and we're planning approaches that haven't been seen around here. It's not always stand-up -- it won't be improv -- but we think it'll be unique and fun.
"Hopefully we'll put on shows that give the audience a fresh look at what comedy can be ... and we'll challenge the comics to think outside of their rehearsed comfort zone and gain a fresh perspective on what they do. That way, we can strengthen the local comedy scene, build some bonds between the veteran and aspiring comics, and help each other improve."
The debut show, which was held the night after the presidential election, carried the theme "USA: WTF?" and had a political theme.
"The show went fine -- the local comics did especially well -- but the headliner (Peoria-based Travis Lipski) proved to be a true Unbookable. He drank a lot early on, and you could actually see the booze kick in midway through his set. It ended in a spectacular disaster -- he came off the stage and was insulting the audience. Finally, when he tried to give me a lap dance, I pulled the cord out of his microphone and they brought up the house lights. Sometimes experiments flame out."
"I'm just fascinated with the way Americans have decided to ignore the real news -- politics, the economy, the problems that take real effort to comprehend and solve -- and are instead they're obsessed with celebrities," Hinty said. "And what celebrities! Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Sanjaya ... "TMZ," "Access Hollywood," Perez Hilton ...
"No wonder America is in such a mess. We get what we deserve. The comics will look at the concept of celebrity, the idiots who become celebrities, and the idiots who idolize people just for being famous."
Veteran Chicago comic Dobie Maxwell, a veteran touring comic who was raised in Milwaukee and writes a reader blog at OnMilwaukee.com about his experiences, headlines a bill that includes local comics Darryl Hill, Hinty, Kyle Warras, Mel and Blossom and Andy Merck. Brendan O'Day will host the show, which Hinty promises will have some fun video components and a surprise or two.
Showtime is 9 p.m. Admission is $5, but students with valid ID can get in for $2. The bar will sell $1 Pabst cans and $2.50 hamburgers downstairs before the show.
The show starts at 9 p.m. Wednesday at the BBC Upstairs, Farwell and North. It's $5 to get in, $2 for students with valid ID. They're selling $1 Pabst cans and $2.50 home-style hamburgers downstairs before the show.
BigBoned Comedy is sponsored by 42Below Vodka, whose viral advertising video inspired a promotional spot for BigBoned Comedy. Hinty is lining up future shows, which include a "Wisconsin vs. Minnesota Comedy Throwdown" on Jan. 7 that will pit three members of the Minneapolis Comedy Deathsquad against three BigBoned Comedians in a series of monologues / debates/battles/arguments/contests of which state reigns superior.
February will carry a musical theme featuring The Kentucky Prophet, a 450-pound white rapper with a beatbox and a dream. March will be "Comedy Karaoke," where participants perform acts of famous comics word-for-word.
Host of “The Drew Olson Show,” which airs 1-3 p.m. weekdays on The Big 902. Sidekick on “The Mike Heller Show,” airing weekdays on The Big 920 and a statewide network including stations in Madison, Appleton and Wausau. Co-author of Bill Schroeder’s “If These Walls Could Talk: Milwaukee Brewers” on Triumph Books. Co-host of “Big 12 Sports Saturday,” which airs Saturdays during football season on WISN-12. Former senior editor at OnMilwaukee.com. Former reporter at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.