Blake Midgette: The Loud One

by | Oct 16, 2009 | MUSIC

Blake Midgette is one head (the loud one) of the multi-headed comedy beast known as Super Friends Camp. If you’ve seen him perform around Richmond you know that he literally puts his blood, sweat and tears into every performance. You also know the strong urge for a shower following his filthy performance. I sat down with Blake to try and figure out how he discovered comedy as a way to spread his special love.

Blake Midgette is one head (the loud one) of the multi-headed comedy beast known as Super Friends Camp. If you’ve seen him perform around Richmond you know that he literally puts his blood, sweat and tears into every performance. You also know the strong urge for a shower following his filthy performance. I sat down with Blake to try and figure out how he discovered comedy as a way to spread his special love.

Johnny Hugel: What was your first experience doing comedy?

Blake Midgette: The first time I did it was as an open mic at the old Bogart’s and it was just like a lark. Some friends of mine offered to buy me some drinks. So I jotted down a couple notes and got up there and just basically told disgusting stories. That was the first time I ever really did comedy even though I don’t really consider it when I started, but that was the first time I was ever on stage telling jokes.

How long ago was that?

Maybe like a year and a half? I feel like I’ve been doing it actually as something I’ve been trying to do for about a year now. When Sticky Rice started doing the open mic, that’s when I really wrote stuff down and went on stage with an act, or with a standard five minutes, and that went over really well there.

There’s various open mics in the city, what are the other opportunities for a comic in the city?

Richmond’s kinda limited as far as comedy goes. There was the open mic at Sticky Rice, which is where I started doing it and where I met David Marie-Garland who I’ve done a lot of shows with cause I fuckin’ love him, he’s hilarious. Chris Elford also started doing comedy the first night we went to Sticky Rice. Outside of that, there’s this group called 955 Comedy, they do once a month comedy shows at Bottoms Up Pizza, and then there’s the Funny Bone. There’s various comedy contests, there’s one at The Beach House in the West End. There’s a lot of stuff for someone to get up and do stage time just to get experience under their belt.

With the Super Friends Camp shows, we do showcases where you go as long you want, as long as you feel comfortable, if you wanna do five minutes, if you wanna do three, or twenty, I don’t care. I don’t tell people how long they have for stage time. I don’t really run things the way normal people do. There’s not really much outside of just doing five minute bits at open mics until hopefully somebody that sets up their own shows notices you or I guess the right people like you and they allow you to do that.

Then there’s the Funny Bone. I mean, for certain types of comics I think it’s a really good idea but their whole philosophy with their Clash Of The Comics, it’s a “bringer show”, they give you so many tickets. You give the tickets out to your friends who come to see you for free and if you get a certain amount of people there they allow you to have stage time. Which is supposedly like you go on stage in front of an audience at a real club and it’s a nice pat on the back like “Hey, good job Buddy, you went up there and did that” but it’s kinda bullshit I think. You can do all the Clash of the Comics you want. I’ve seen a lot of guys who have been doing it for six, eight months and they’re no closer to getting paid to do comedy than at the beginning, it’s just they’re known. I don’t really see them helping comedy. It’s just like a restaurant where instead of big screen TVs showing the game they have a guy telling jokes on stage. But to me it doesn’t help comedy as an art form or a business, we’re just here to sell Jalapeño poppers and watered down drinks and you’re fuckin’ lucky to be on our stage.

photo by Ian. M Graham

Who all is a part of the Super Friends Camp?

When we started it was me, Chris Elford, David Marie-Garland and Camille Bird. Camille is taking a break from comedy, she’s not really doing it anymore. She’s focusing on working and you know, figuring out life stuff. It’s still mostly me, Chris had a relationship where he kinda backed off of it for a while, he’s back and he’s shown a lot more interest. He’s a really good press guy, he ran a thing called Patchwork Collective for a while and he’s really focused right now on trying to get us more press, get our name out there, where I’m not really that savvy with press and things like that. I do my thing on stage, I can setup shows, I can get people to come, but as far as getting us notoriety, that’s the thing that he’s working on right now, which is good because I’m fuckin’ retarded with stuff like that.
So what’s a regular show like for Super Friends Camp?

I’m promoting the show myself, and I’m getting my friends there, and actually I have some people who aren’t my friends but are my fans which blows my fucking mind. Those people that have trust in me that they’re gonna have a good time. So I try to only put on comics that I think are funny and that my crowd can relate to. You won’t see anyone doing you know, “my wife has a hairy ass” jokes at our shows, it’ll be smarter and a little edgier. It’s more of a party atmosphere, it’s not stuffy, the MC won’t shush the crowd. If the comic’s on stage and he’s fuckin bitin’ it up there we aren’t gonna go “hey everybody calm down, be respectful.” It’s your job as a comic to capture the crowd’s attention and keep it. It’s not a privilege for them to see you, it’s a privilege for you to be on stage in front of them, so you’ve gotta earn it. I think it does a service to the comic cause you have to be better. You don’t have people’s automatic respect, you have to earn it. It’s bar crowds; they’re rough, and they’re drunk and they’re loud. They’re there to have a good time but it’s your job to make sure that they do.

How often are you trying to do events?

We’ve been doing them once a month. We’re also going to start roasting well-seen people in Richmond for charity. We’ll get together with them and a group of their friends, and other funny people, whether musicians, writers, people that have worked with them or their girlfriends. The first two we’ve got are Ward from Chop Suey and Parker from RVA Mag. There’s other people in there, but those are the two that have agreed to do it just ‘cause they’re the only people we’ve run into at bars so far.

We’ll pull them onstage and rip them new assholes and each other, of course. It’s something I think is gonna be really fun. It’s not just a straight up comedy show, but I think it’ll definitely be a really good time. Whatever person is getting roasted all the money that we make from the roast will go to a charity or cause that they care about.

What would you hope for in the near future for yourself and Super Friends?

For myself, I’ve only been doing this for about a year, taking it seriously. For me right now I kinda look at it like college; I came down here to go to school to be a nurse and I ended up doing stand-up comedy. So I’m giving myself some years to do it; I’ll work on the side, I’ll go to school, I’ll go to shows, get better as much as possible and continue to learn more about the business, make some more contacts. And after a couple years either go somewhere else, but using Richmond as a home base isn’t a terrible idea with YouTube and everything. If you can get out on the road and cultivate a following, you can stay wherever you want now. It’s not like you have to be in a big market city, where it’s actually a lot tougher to even get stage time. You’ve gotta know the right people there, that sorta thing… mainly just being down in Richmond, doing comedy, and still living a lot. A trap that comedians fall into is that they just watch comedians. They isolate themselves off in this “we’re funnier than everyone else, no one else gets us.” I’d rather be out there living my life and going out and getting drunk, getting arrested or getting Chlamydia, you still learn how normal people live so you can still connect to normal people.

What else do you have booked in the immediate future?

Well, we’re doing another Super Friends Camp in October, 3rd Sunday at The Deli, we’re working on getting the Roast together, hopefully we will have something solid with that and Chris is working on the press for it to ensure we get people out. I actually just hired an agent and am getting ready to set up a tour doing some East Coast stuff which is gonna be partly through contacts that he has through music or comedy or whatever and partly us through our friends and some people I know from the Pg.99 days, and Chris has friends who run a comedy theater in SC. We’re all gonna be working together to make this tour happen. Those are the main things we’re focusing on now. Getting out there, getting our name out… And also show swapping. Performing with out of town comics is always awesome ‘cause if you like ‘em you can invite them to come play your city. And as normal as that sounds, people do it with bands all the time, but comics don’t normally get to perform outside their city unless they’re a big name. Everybody’s real jealous and they all guard their stage time and that’s one of the things I don’t like… One of the things I try to do if I like the comic I’ll invite them down. I had Rob Loving headline our show after performing with him with Doug Stanhope and thinking he was great. We went up there, he came down here and we plan on doing it a lot more. Hopefully there are more DC comics we can get down here. We’re so goddamn close there’s no reason for the two scenes not to intermingle.


How did the Doug Stanhope show go?

It was amazing. We went up there and I ended up MCing the show and I met Carlos Alexia and Rob Loving, David Marie-Garland and Jeff Curran who is another Richmond comic got to perform as well. He did a really good set, cause Doug Stanhope was running late so we had a lot more time to fill than we thought. I got to hang out with him a bit after the show and I don’t remember what we talked about, I was trashed, but he was a funny dude, one of the few comics I’ve met that’s genuinely a funny person outside of being onstage. The guys been doing it 20 years, he’s a master. I felt like he didn’t even have any jokes, he’s just talking, nothing seemed prepared, nothing seemed forced or anything, it seemed like he was just hanging out with his friends in the living room talking about the time he got some fat road pussy or something along those lines.

In my eyes that’s one of the biggest independent comedy shows that’s been in Richmond in a long time. Does that inspire you or give you hope as to what we can work towards?

Most definitely. I think having a venue like Plaza Bowl is awesome. Danny and Tiffany from Community Chest are really driven on getting people into Plaza Bowl and really doing something well, not just for themselves. Getting Doug Stanhope here was a coup. You don’t ever see comics outside of comedy clubs like that. I mean David Cross did it on that tour he did where he was touring with a band, but it’s really rare to see a comic come around and play something that isn’t a comedy club or a big venue like the Landmark. I think that’s awesome and I think more of that needs to happen. The way it’s been for so long is that you do comedy clubs if you’re a comedian, you don’t take it out of the “Brick Wall” environment. The fact that he’s doing it and there are people who will book it gives everybody hope. You don’t have to suck some comedy promoter’s dick for five years and hope that he gets you an MC spot for a week for Bob Saget so you can hear him tell the same Kimmy Gibler jokes every night for a week. It’s a huge push in the right direction. I mean, if we had people like them in every town doing it, we wouldn’t need any Improvs and Funny Bones. Self-promotion is great and if you can co-promote in other cities, you can get comics to come in and work off the door instead of what they’re used to, I think that benefits everybody.

Do you have anything else you want to promote?

I really liked the article you did about comedy leaving Richmond. It was actually one of the things that kept me here ‘cause at the time I was thinking about moving to Brooklyn ‘cause you get frustrated, kinda slamming your head against the wall here ‘cause it really does seem like there’s nowhere to go, but the part you wrote in there about “the next great comic may be sitting in their fan apartment writing jokes on his computer” really struck a chord. There are things you can do here, you don’t have to leave. Richmond may be uncaring at times, where it doesn’t seem like it gives a shit about anybody, but it’s not necessarily the case, because some people are paying attention, you just gotta get a hold of them.

Blake will be performing at the next Super Friends Camp event this Sunday, October 18th at the New York Deli at 9pm. Also appearing are Joe Hafkey as master of ceremonies, Jeff Curran, Steven Bryan and James Paulk. Drink, Laugh, Dance.Blake also runs the Drunken Spelling Bee at Empire every other Tuesday with Ron Rogers. RVA TV had a chance to check out the debauchery a few weeks ago, and Blake was in fine form.

by Johnny Hugel

RVA Staff

RVA Staff

RVA culture rag since 2005. #RVA

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