Thursday, March 12, 2015

Country Music Stations Ban Albums By GOP Senators

Posted By on Thu, Mar 12, 2015 at 2:42 PM

click image PHOTOGRAPHER  UNKNOWN; THE IMAGE COMES FROM KCEN-TV’S ARCHIVE AND WAS PROVIDED BY DAN ARCHER OF KCEN. [ATTRIBUTION], VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Photographer unknown; the image comes from KCEN-TV’s archive and was provided by Dan Archer of KCEN. [Attribution], via Wikimedia Commons


- Nashville, TN

The National Association of Country Music Broadcasters (“NACMB”) today announced that all albums by GOP senators who signed a letter to Iran are banned on member station airwaves.

“We have a long standing policy of banning albums by people that bad mouth the U.S.A. and the President to foreign nations or on foreign soil,” said Bonnie McReba, NACMB President. “When the Dixie Chicks pulled their little treason stunt in England back in ’03, we were swift to punish them. We have no choice but to do the same to those traitors in the Senate.”

The banning follows an open letter signed by 47 Republican senators to Iranian leaders indicating any agreement reached with the Obama administration on issues relating to nuclear materials would not “count” and would not last beyond the current administration.

“Country music fans are nothing if not intellectually honest and consistent,” McReba said. “Can you imagine how mad they are that someone is bad mouthing our current President? We really have to take this action or face huge blowback from our listeners.”
He may be grinnin’, but after today’s decision he won’t be pickin’!
  • He may be grinnin’, but after today’s decision he won’t be pickin’!

A spokesperson for Senator Tom Cotton, the Arkansas Republican who spearheaded the letter said, “Obviously, we are very disappointed in [NAMCB]’s decision. But, we have to do what we feel is right for America. It’s just sad that anyone who wants to hear Senator Cotton’s new album Jug Band Hootenanny will have to go through iTunes or the Senator’s website.”

Top tracks from that album include Why You Done Kilt My Dog?, She Don’t Know Why She Left (But She Did), and Obama Ain’t Nothing But A Dang Stinkbug.

Joey Hack is a regular contributor to The Fly on the Wall, and is a member of The Wiseguys improv troupe.  For more of his stuff check out The Howling Monkey blog or The Howling Monkey Magazine.

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Friday, March 6, 2015

Comic on Comic: An Insider's Guide to Memphis' Comedy Scene

Posted By on Fri, Mar 6, 2015 at 11:58 AM




Memphis is known around the country for its lip-smacking good BBQ, its toe-tapping Blues and Rock n’ Roll music, and, of course, its knee-slapping hilarious comedians! In honor of the 4th Annual Memphis Comedy Festival this weekend, we’ve compiled a list of the funniest, most recognizable local comedian types working in Memphis right now! 









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"My word, I've got a rather severe case of the giggles!!!"














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#7) Marquel (2Funny) Parram



Catchphrase:

“I can only tell you what I heard I did…”









Marquel (2Funny) Parram is one of the hardest working comedians on the scene today. You can find this Comedian anywhere there's an audience in Memphis, and I mean ANYWHERE!



“I wanted to get strong as a performer,” he said, “so I figured I need to practice in as many different venues and in front of as many different audiences as I could.”



Not only has Marquel performed stand-up at Memphis’s top venues, he’s performed on street corners, buses, trolleys, grocery stores, doctor’s offices, carpools, and even at the zoo!



“You know a joke’s not good when you can’t make a hyena laugh.”



Marquel has been on the Memphis Comedy scene for four years now and said he is ready to make the transition to full-time comedian. He has had semi-recent success opening up for the ducks walking at the Peabody. You can see Marquel (2Funny) Parram…well…anywhere!

2funnycomedy.com




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#6) Josh Feveret








Catchphrase: 


“I have a knife on me.”




Our number six pick is the wild Josh Feveret! Josh moved to Memphis from Chattanooga just three years ago. And since then he has shook up the local comedy scene. Josh has often made a habit of riding the lines of appropriateness when it comes to his standup sets.



“Comedians today have to be shocking in order to get any attention,” Josh said. “I may say things that might offend you, but that’s part of the art of standup.”



Josh did make local headlines recently when he briefly set himself on fire during one of his standup sets at the P&H café’s open mic night.



“I wasn’t getting any laughs that night, so I thought well… let’s kick things up a notch. In hindsight it probably wasn’t the best decision, but that’s what open mics are for. The paramedic did laugh a little when I asked her for a light before they took me to the emergency room, so I’d say the night wasn’t a complete waste.”



Josh will be opening for a local punk music band The Mindless Ripoffs this Saturday at Murphy’s bar.

Joshisonfireyall.com




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#5) Thomas J. Freeman 


Catchphrase:

“I thought this was a music open mic not a comedy one, but the host said I could do a few songs before you guys start.”








Thomas J. Freeman has been part-time musician in Memphis for the past 12 years. He doesn’t consider himself a comedian, yet will religiously show up to all the comedy open mics and shows in Memphis asking for stage time.



“Otherlands coffeeshop won’t have me back anymore because apparently you have to order something once in a while, which I am against,” he said. “Also they really only want you performing during the open mics, not to people trying to use the Internet.”



Thomas hopes to soon sell at least 10 of the CD’s he’s made of all originally songs he recorded in his sister’s boyfriend’s bathroom. The album is called “Echos by the Throne.” Buy it online here.

 




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#4) Jessica Talbert








Catchphrase:

“I may not know a lot, but one thing I know for damn sure is that airplane fuel doesn’t burn hot enough to melt steel!”





Young, energetic, and fearless are three worlds that come to mind when you think of this up-and-coming Memphis comedienne. Some comics like to do impressions, others tell stories of their personal life experience, but comics like Jessica like to go more political.



“It’s easy to make people laugh. I mean look at the New World Order!” She said. “Our reptilian shape-shifting lizard overlords have been laughing at our ignorance for years. Wake up people!”



Recently Jessica has taken time off from her full time job as a blogger for ChemtrailsAreBrainControl.com to focus more on her stand-up career. Although she has yet to finish a complete set without the microphone being cutoff, she is releasing her first full-length comedy album called “Live from Hollow Earth.” You can see Jessica perform at the back porch of most bars trying to get you to stop drinking water. Also check out her Podcast, “Tinfoil Hat Thoughts” on the Shut up and Listen Network.




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#3)Tim “The Biff” Johnson









Catchphrase:



“It’s Biffing time!!!”





This comedian has the largest and most loyal fan following in Memphis. His high energy comedy is a force to be reckoned with. It’s hard to find any comedy fan in Memphis that doesn’t enjoy a good “Biffing”. He is one of many headlining comedians working in Memphis, but what sets him apart from the others?



“It’s the Biff-Squad, definitely,” he said. “My fans are come out in full force waiting to get biffed, and what can I say? I always deliver.”



Tim Johnson has been doing comedy for 18 years now and has a career ranging from stand-up to movies to theater.



“The Biff has done Shakespeare before; the Biff can do it all.”



You can see Tim “The Biff” Johnson getting his Biff on at his comedy showcase at the Cooper Penny off Central Avenue the 12th of every month. Click here for official Biff Merchandise.










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#2) DJ Tickle-Cheeks







Catchphrase:

“Goo goo…haaaa HAAA Ppppppffftttt drrrrrppp ma ma ma….”





Who said this list was only featuring stand-up comedians? You may not recognize his face, but you’d definitely recognize his voice! DJ Tickle-Cheeks hosts the #1 podcast in Memphis, “Nap Time; Snap Time” on the OAM Audio Network. DJ Tickle-Cheeks got his start in comedy when he ate spaghetti for the first time. Combined with a deep appreciation for dubstep music, DJ Tickle-Cheeks has built a strong following here in the city of baby blues.



“We cannot wait till he gains more control over his motor skills and is able to actually hold his head up to the microphone, then there is no stopping him,” said audio producer Gil Worth.



Listen to DJ Tickle-Cheeks every Friday on the OAM Audio Network.




And finally we come to our number choice for best local Memphis Comedian... 



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A Horse







Catchphrase: (N/A)

It’s a horse guys, horses can’t talk.




As most of you know there is a horse that appears randomly in Memphis comedy clubs and venues.



“Oh shit, that horse is back” is a common phrases said by host and hostess at open mics and showcases.



“He just keeps to himself most of the time, which is fine when a show isn’t going on. But have you ever tried making an audience laugh when there is a 900lbs thoroughbred horse standing in the middle of the freaking room”, said one Memphis comedian. “He goes to like 80% of the shows in town, and he doesn’t even laugh! He just stands there knocking shit over.”



You can find the Memphis Comedy Horse at a majority of comedy venues in town.






And there you have it! The undisputed top 7 entirely made up comedians working in Memphis!  If you'd like to see the real, hardworking, and funny local comedians in Memphis, this weekend’s Comedy Festival is the perfect place to start.



For a listing of shows, tickets, and venues go to MemphisComedyFestival.com. All joking aside, Memphis does have a very strong, very funny comedy scene and they deserve to be recognized. Go out and see a show and support local performers and artist. BE A PART OF IT!!!



Mike McCarthy is a standup comedian who is sometimes confused with Mike McCarthy the filmmaker and occasionally mistaken for the Memphis Comedy Horse. He is also a Wiseguy and contributor to Fly on the Wall. 




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Thursday, March 5, 2015

Katrina Coleman Talks Memphis Comedy Festival

Posted By on Thu, Mar 5, 2015 at 8:07 AM

Katrina Coleman
  • Katrina Coleman

This year’s Memphis Comedy Festival – which opens on Thursday, March 5 and runs through Sunday, March 8 - is shaping up to the biggest, and arguably best, in the event’s history. What originally started as a last-minute schedule filler for local “non-commercial” performance space Theatreworks, has evolved in four short years into full-blown comedy bonanza, with well over 20 individual shows and workshops spanning across a myriad of venues in town, including Theatreworks, Co-Motion Studio, the Hi-Tone, and Studio on the Square. The festival’s founder, comedian and popular Memphis tweet-er Katrina Coleman, spoke to FOTW this week about organizing the event and much, much more.

Fly On The Wall: What inspired you to start the Memphis Comedy Festival?

Katrina Coleman: Like all good origin stories, there are three that are all very nearly the same with one variance. I started the Memphis Roast Club to bring all the best comics I knew together and do work on the comedy scene. Larry Clark, an international artist, is based out of Memphis. He had booked Theatreworks for his nearly-yearly one man show, “Just Larry.” Circumstances and a busy winter kept him from putting together a whole new show to his standards in time, so he opted not to. He was talking with our close friend and stage manager Nathan Hiller about it and as founding members of the Roast Club, decided maybe we could use the theater for something. When they called me, we talked about a series of shows or a headliner or. . . why not all of it in a festive fashion? All three of us think it was our idea, but it was mine because I say it was. So in six weeks we pulled off the first one and it was so good, we had to again. And again.

How has the festival grown since that first year?


The first year, our banner was very carefully cut sparkly letters taped to a dollar store table cloth and I made stickers with a manual Xyron machine. This year, Lauren Rae Holtermann designed our posters and we'll have merch that, holy crap, doesn't look like a craft project. The shows have also come to include every kind of comedy, with so many in the weekend that no one person could physically see every single performance. The community support through sponsorships and volunteer efforts has grown by incredible and humbling leaps.

The thing that really gets better and better is the support we get in accommodating the comics. They generally crash on couches, they're fed every day, given coupons and passes and discounts from all manner of local businesses. This city just flings its doors open wider and wider so that when people leave to go back to their various homes, they feel like they've been the cool side of their family.

What would you say your primary role in the festival is? Who else contributes to putting it together?

Most of my time is probably spent just listening and nodding and saying things like, "We'll fix it. It's ok. You have to go tell jokes now. Blow your nose." In years past, I've taken crash course in promotions, organizing, scheduling, festival-ing in general. From making the interview appearances to plunging the "trouble toilet" again, my job is just to keep going. My role is also largely recruiting the right people. Every year the core team grows and changes, but keeps improving. Nathan Hiller has always been the guy who knows all about the stuff that plugs in. I tell him every year he has the job no one notices until he screws up, "And buddy, no one noticed you! Thanks!" Kate Mauldin has been our volunteer coordinator this year, thanks to her expertise in complimentary sandwiches. Cara McLane came on, and with Doug Gillon have made the marketing stuff just so beautiful it hurts. The Stanley Justice team organizes the entire film night, and Josh McLane has even taken the additional role of hospitality coordinator. Benny Elbows wrestles the monster that is our schedule and also is always awake when I text at 2 AM to tell ask him what I forgot to do today. Jada Brisentine headed sponsorship and she is very good at getting yes as an answer. Richard Douglas Jones is the sonic screwdriver of the festival, hosting shows, running cable, shaking hands, all things. Mike Degnan wrangles improvisors. Katie Wood comes by to yell when yelling's needed. Twin Face Kline, OAM Audio, Looks Like Lisa, all those teams are holding down a station. It never would have happened without the support from the beginning from Jack Pirtle's, who feed us every year. Every single year I get to watch a new person discover fried chicken livers. There are at least three dozen people I could list, and another dozen I wouldn't get to before you ran out of pages. Team effort doesn't even cover it, this is an army effort.

What is the booking/submission process like? Is it tough to decide who gets in and who doesn't?

Every year, we solicit comics all over the place to send us a video, bio, and a small fee. Then, we sit in a room and watch and yell and discuss and yell more. This year we only meant to take 27, and ended up with 32, because we simply could not bear to cut the list shorter. Every dispute is handled in a manner that may not be dignified but is certainly group effort. I've been outvoted more than once. This year, 127 videos played in Richard's living room and great battles played out to have our favorites here. There's an unofficial policy that if someone gets shoved over your submission tape, automatic entry.

How much importance do you place on showcasing local comics vs. bringing in out-of-towners?

There's always local talent, specifically as hosts, and a vast majority of our volunteers and staff are local comics. There's a local showcase specifically for us, but most shows we try to fill with visitors. We take a fairly Southern approach to hospitality, giving our guests the finest portions, as it were. We get the joy of Memphis audiences the other 361 days of the year, so we use our good manners and share.

What have been some of your favorite events or performances over the years?

Oh, that's a hard question. Comedy Secrets came last year. They do a show in which comics tell a true, personal story that has never been on stage. There's even a vow of secrecy at the beginning so I can't tell you much, but in an hour and a half I cried like a baby and laughed so hard I was choking. The Memphis Film Society gave us a live commentary over an awful sci-fi softcore movie from the ‘70s that included a game that got at least two people out of their pants. Jason Earl Folks comes here every year and every single year I find myself spelling his name for someone who just HAS to find him on Facebook RIGHT NOW. Twin Face Kline once interviewed Tawanda and Cordell Pirtle and I found out that Mrs. Pirtle is the funniest, sharpest woman in town. And she's not afraid to tell a comic to shut the hell up.

Is there something you’re really looking forward to this year?

The Stanley Justice guys haven't let me see the film submissions, so the anticipation for Don't Be Afraid of the Shorts might kill me. Unlockable Characters is a nerd-centric, queer-positive show that I have been begging Amy Sulam to bring to us for MONTHS. But Penny Wiggins may be what I'm most excited about and will be hiding from all responsibility in the booth to watch. She's just so very, very funny.

Tell me about Penny Wiggins, this year’s headliner.

Penny is better known as “Psychic Tanya,” the lovely assistant to The Amazing Johnathan. Since his recent illness, she's returned to her standup roots. She's an actress, too, so she also has a whole pocket full of characters. Happi Johnson, a locally based comic, but definitely an old pro - she used to write for Phyllis Diller - knew Penny and basically called in a favor for us. It's the right time for Penny as she's just begun touring again, and for us to have a chance to see her before she comes back through and has to play the Orpheum. Getting her here may or may have not included a promise to take her to Graceland.

Do you feel there is a legitimizing effect on the festival in bringing in more well-known performers like Penny and last year's headliner, Billy Wayne Davis?

Oh, absolutely, yes. For comics considering submitting, the headliner becomes a huge incentive to them. In addition, it's gained us much respect here at home. From tablecloth banners to hosting performers with resumes longer than my arm, I certainly think people believe we aren't just dabbling in this. 


As the festival grows, is it getting harder for you to personally attend and oversee every single show? Do you see yourself ever wanting or being able to step back from that?

Last year was the first year that one pair of eyes could not have seen all of every show, and I was so very proud of that. Everyone knows that at the Beale Street Music Festival you have to make difficult decisions, sometimes, right? Because so many incredible bands are around you just have to sometimes run from one end of the park to the other. Music is everywhere you look. The idea of a weekend like that with comedy, well, it makes my heart beat real fast. Last year, I was just able to check into every show and then run off to make sure the next was ready to go. At the very least, I was able to see each crowd for myself and get a feel for how it was going. This year, the schedule is such that I can't do that at all. I've got enough capable people that I can trust to make sure the lighting is right and the chairs are reasonably spaced. It's like my little baby has gotten too big for me to tie her shoes or walk her in to school any more. Maybe one day I'll relax and just enjoy the shows, let other people handle the way the tshirts are folded and what color cups we have and can I please have a ladder to adjust this light? Maybe I'll just relax. No, I won't.

How do you see the festival growing in the future?

Bigger. I always want it bigger. Scratch that, I want it stronger. I want it to be a thing that comics want to come to so badly that they send us bribes in the mail. (Rum. I like spiced rum.) If I got my wish, of COURSE I'd have Louis CK or Maria Bamford here. I still hold on to hope that Chris Hardwick will come back home to visit. Going forward, we've toyed with the idea of outdoor events, things that families might enjoy. I've also decided that by next year, I'll convince Tony Allen to do an open mic.

Is there anything else you’d like to add about this year’s Memphis Comedy Festival?

Buy a pass. Sit on the top row at Theatreworks. Hydrate. Don't be late, you'll miss something. Follow the @memcomedyfest so you know what's poppin’ off and where. Always be prepared to dance battle. And never, ever, EVER buy a comic drinks after midnight.

For tickets and schedule information, visit www.memphiscomedyfestival.com.
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