Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith come to YOUR town to show their latest and greatest motion picture, the star studded Jay and Silent Bob Reboot. The New Jersey stoner icons who first hit the screen 25 years ago in CLERKS are back! When Jay and Silent Bob discover that Hollywood is rebooting an old movie based on them, the clueless duo embark on another cross-country mission to stop it all over again!
Ponies & Pints presents a night of stand-up comedy from two of the best and funniest comedians from New York City who just so happen to be brothers, The Raybould Brothers, for one weekend only! This show promises to be a night full of hilarity and laughs and will undoubtably be a night to remember!
What: LIVE STAND UP COMEDY
Where: PONIES & PINTS
When: DECEMBER 7. DOORS – 7:30. SHOWTIME – 8:00.
Tickets are $15 online, $20 at the door
Based out of NYC, Jordan and Bret Raybould are two of the funniest-comedians in the city. Together, they have created the popular YouTube Channel, the Raybould Brothers, that has been featured on Funny or Die, Huffington Post, and at the top of all sorts of comedy subreddits. For the past several years, they’ve been touring up and down the East Coast as part of their “NYC Comedy Invades” series, performing in bars, coffee shops, and small theaters – all unconventional independent venues. Their goal is to give you that comedy club side-splitting laughter without the comedy club prices.
No matter the venue, they deliver.
As the only LGBTQ woman of color with a late-night show in 2019, Lilly Singh is kind of a big deal.
Late-night television has long been plagued with the same old exhausting issue — it’s overflowing with bland cis straight white men telling their overworked, hacky jokes. While Stephen Colbert brings a dorky flair, it’s still mostly the same boring garbage that we have seen for decades.
Buckle up, bros, because the tides are finally changing. YouTuber Lilly Singh is knocking down walls with her new late-night television series, A Little Late with Lilly Singh. Singh is currently the only LGBTQ woman of color with a late-night show. Previously, Wanda Sykes had a late-night show on FOX from 2009-2010, but it was cancelled after one season. So help me, if NBC tries to pull the same crap…
For those not in the know, Singh originally came to prominence thanks to her YouTube channel, ||superwoman||, which mostly featured comedy videos. Usually they were parodies of her parents, and life as an Indian woman. She still updates her channel, which to date has over 14 million subscribers and over 3 billion views.
She’s kind of a big deal.
“An Indian-Canadian woman with her own late night show? Now that is a dream come true,” Singh told Entertainment Weekly. “I’m thrilled to bring it to life on NBC, and I hope my parents consider this to be as exciting as a grandchild.”
Singh takes over the show and the 1:35 am time slot after Late Night with Seth Myers from previous host Carson Daly. The show premiered last Monday with first guest Mindy Kaling of The Office fame, and is starting off well so far, holding steady from Carson Daly’s previous ratings and scoring high marks in reviews for the show’s first week.
Not too shabby for coming full circle.
A Little Late with Lilly Singh airs Monday through Thursday nights at 1:35am on NBC.
In his latest film, director Riley Stearns takes on deceptive ideologies to shock audiences with humor and horror.
In our modern age of fast information and lack of fact-checking, it has become easier than ever to indoctrinate and brainwash populations. This is seen in the rise of the Alt-Right in particular, as well as the general rise of extremist groups online — where misinformation spreads to millions of unsuspecting people. There are a few ways to combat this spread, but one way is through informative and entertaining art.
Riley Stearns’ dark comedy film, The Art of Self Defense, combats deceptive ideologies with deadpan humor and clear metaphors. Using these methods and some great central performances, Stearns manages to make a hilarious and timely film that will shock audiences with laughter and horror.
The film follows Casey, played by Jesse Eisenberg, a 30-something introvert aimlessly flowing through life as an accountant. One night, Casey is brutally mugged and left with physical and emotional scars. Tired of being too scared to step outside, Casey finds confidence in a strip mall karate dojo.
The dojo is run by Alessandro Nivola’s comically-serious Sensei, who takes Casey under his wing to teach him how to defend himself and become more masculine. The spark he sees in Casey is not that of a skilled martial artist, but an easily persuaded follower.
The Art of Self Defense explores the dark sides of toxic masculinity, harmful cult-like behavior, and even comments on gun violence in America. While all of these subjects are bleak, and have been the basis for countless serious films, director Riley Stearns has gone in the opposite direction. He instead has made a darkly-comedic film — one that finds equal amounts of humor and horror in the ridiculous yet sadly familiar scenarios it depicts.
The performances and pacing of the film are similar to the style of Yorgos Lanthimos’ films, like The Lobster or The Favourite. Characters speak in deadpan tones, spouting laughably informational and detailed dialogue. The comedy is mostly dry, with laughs coming from the unusual nature of the performances.
Stearns manages to find his own voice, taking Yorgos’ basic template and making something a bit more outrageous and obvious. His unique flourishes can be seen in the main performances from Eisenberg and Nivola, with both actors knowing when to emote and when to remain emotionless. Eisenberg especially manages to convey some character in his stilted performance, making it easy to sympathize with him.
Eisenberg’s performance is the emotional backbone of the film, and what makes the tonal shift in the middle work so well. The first half of Self Defense is a fairly goofy, if odd, comedy full of memorable characters and jokes. On its own, this section of the film is fun, bizarre, and worthy of a cult following.
The second half presents a darker, more thematically-charged side to the film, which took me by surprise. It shows the ulterior motives of the dojo, which begins to feel more like a cult than an instructional institution. The film itself turns in a very intense manner, and left me unsure whether I should find its events funny or sickening. After seeing the rest of the film, I believe it’s a little bit of both.
The way the plot escalates is comically ridiculous, yet the way it plays out in the film is engaging and somewhat horrific. This is thanks to the development of Casey, who we can easily invest in — we want to see what happens to him. Because of this engagement, and the skill with which the film balances its conflicting tones, The Art of Self Defense becomes an infinitely more interesting film.
At the heart of the dojo’s mission is a promotion and celebration of toxic masculinity. Everything must be masculine: you should listen to heavy metal, you should own a German dog, you should change your name and identity to seem more manly. The way Casey is indoctrinated into this way of thinking is very similar to the way people are brainwashed into cults, or convinced that harmful communities are worth joining.
The film explores how vulnerable people can easily embody harmful ideologies in situations where a sense of community and simple confidence boosters are enough to convince them that changing their identity is acceptable. While the film understands how scary these ideologies and their practices are, it also understands that their hypocrisy and unwavering dedication to falsehoods is comical.
It understands that making something ridiculous — like turning an 80’s style karate dojo into a metaphor for the harms of toxic masculinity — can expose what’s wrong with it, while also taking away its power.
Local drag performer Chicki Parm focuses on the funny, hosting a monthly comedy show in Richmond between tours across the country.
Chase Keech has turned his love of drag and comedy into a full-time career performing as Richmond’s drag star Chicki Parm.
“I would have never guessed I’d get to be a full-time drag queen. My wildest dreams have already been shattered with drag,” Keech said. “I used to do drag goals for every drag birthday. I used to write out fifteen to twenty quantifiable goals, but I don’t even do that anymore. I would break them beyond my wildest dreams.”
Keech was introduced to the world of drag in 2014 after meeting a drag queen at a house party. A natural-born performer, he was immediately drawn to drag.
“It was so new to me. From there, I binged RuPaul’s Drag Race and I saw that there was a real lack in the Richmond scene of the kind of drag queen that I was always drawn to — which is a comedian, a comedy queen,” Keech said, “I saw a path for myself, started drag, and became the comedy queen of Richmond.”
Keech had been working in IT at the DMV at the time, and he balanced his two worlds for over three years while he worked all day and performed all night. As Keech’s popularity rose and the bookings became more frequent, however, doing both was no longer an option. In November of 2018, Keech made the decision to quit his day job and to fully pursue his dreams of performing, turning his passion into a thriving career.
“With drag, it’s only as much of a business as you make it. If you’re just doing gigs and not thinking about the bigger picture of what you’re doing, you’re not really trying to profit, then you don’t see much of a profit. Very early on into starting drag, I knew that’s what I wanted to do: do it for work,” Keech said. “I just have to be very business savvy with it all. You have to be very strategic; you can’t say yes to everything all the time. I have to be picky about what I do on the weekends because those are my big money-making days. And then I have merch — I’m able to sell a patron something besides my performance. You really have to go about it with a business mindset.”
That ambition is what’s taking Keech all over the country as he travels state-to-state hosting and performing, as well as hosting multiple shows all over Richmond. He hosts Quenched Wednesdays every week at Thirsty’s RVA, as well as his own monthly show at Fallout, Extra Cheese, which features both drag performers and stand-up comedians.
Keech pitched the idea for Extra Cheese when he was in the cast at Fallout’s Wicked Wednesdays shows as a drag stand-up comedian. This August 12th will be the third anniversary of the show, which falls on Keech’s 25th birthday.
“It’s really nice to be able to have a show dedicated to the art forms I love, and dedicated to me being silly on the mic. My single favorite thing about drag is being on the mic and just killing a joke. That is better than performing or anything to me,” Keech said. “I always tell myself that my job is to be a comedian, and drag is the avenue through which I do my job. Drag is how I do my comedy.”
Keech’s comedic chops are a huge part of the Chicki Parm persona, as well as his defined aesthetic.
“I have tried very hard to create a brand, a color palette,” Keech said. “I want you to be able to look at me and say, oh, that’s a very ‘Chicki’ look.”
When creating a look, Keech often draws on themes of futurism mixed with classic drag elements, like outrageous curves and head-to-toe rhinestones, all inside the strict color scheme Keech has set for himself.
“I only wear three colors of hair: baby pink, platinum blonde, and silver. I only wear orange, blue, pink, black, and red,” Keech said. “I try to be consistent.”
Among his influences are Bob The Drag Queen, the season 8 winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race, and Nicki Minaj — whom Keech cites as his “problematic fave.”
His love of Nicki Minaj is what landed him with the drag name Chicki Parm, a name that has received lots of attention recently after Trixie Mattel of RuPaul’s Drag Race fame shouted out the fun and campy name.
“Chicki came from my boy name, Chase, plus Nicki Minaj. So I sat on Chicki for a while and then one day I was watching Parks & Rec and there’s a bit where Aziz Ansari calls Chicken Parmesan ‘Chicki Chicki Parm Parm.’ I just thought, ‘ohmygod that’s me,’” Keech said, “And there’s so much I can do with it; Extra Cheese, and my merch with the spaghetti demons. I can do Italian-inspired numbers. I love my schtick. And so does Trixie, I guess.”
The name Chicki Parm completes the strong branding that Keech has always aimed for in his drag career.
“I think I’m unique in that I knew what I wanted to be, coming in to drag. I have a lot of people tell me, ‘I saw what you were doing early on and it’s been cool to see you polish it up.’ Even my colors, I knew early on,” Keech said. “It’s been such a cool journey, being able to develop that and grow with that. I really think it’s important, if you want to make it, to have a brand. People are weirded out by that word, or don’t understand, but it’s really so important to know who you are.”
Keech’s performance style as Chicki is engaging, hilarious, and intentionally individual. He keeps an audience on their toes and playing along, even promising to scream in your face if you tip higher than a one-dollar bill — much to the delight of everyone watching. The Chicki Parm persona is defined and marketed, but never disingenuous, and always a great time.
Chicki Parm is quickly becoming one of the biggest names in the Richmond drag scene, and Keech shows no signs of stopping.
All Photos courtesy Chicki Parm
Craig Robinson’s three-night stand at Virginia Beach’s Funny Bone was full of hilarity and harmony. That’s harmony, dammit!
The first thing you should know about a Craig Robinson show is that when he tells you to sing, you sing. The second thing you should know is that when he tells you to sing, you sing in harmony. Harmony, he said, harmony.
This past weekend, comedian and musician Craig Robinson made a stop at Virginia Beach’s Funny Bone Comedy Club for a three-night engagement, with two shows on Friday and Saturday. He not only did stand-up throughout the evening, but frequently serenaded us with his magical keyboard. And eventually, we all got the harmony, right, dammit.
Robinson is undeniably best known for his role as Warehouse Foreman Darryl Phillbin on NBC’s long-running and popular sitcom, The Office — an American remake of the British series of the same name by Ricky Gervais. Other roles he is known for include Nick Webber-Agnew in Hot Tub Time Machine, and most recently, Andy Samberg’s problematic BFF, Doug Judy (aka the Pontiac Bandit), on previously-Fox’s, now-NBC’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
The evening at the Funny Bone started off with three openers, one of which was local comedian and radio DJ Kristen Sivills. When it was finally time for Robinson to make his entrance, it was to booming cheers of “Dunder Mifflin!,” “Darryl!,” and my personal favorite, “Doug Judy!”
Robinson opened his show with a new rendition of “If You’re Happy and You Know It,” after which he sang some advice to the men in the audience: “Don’t be a gentleman, and then an asshole. Chivalry ain’t dead.” This was followed by what became a running gag for the evening, a note about how any song is made better by just casually throwing in the line, “And take your panties off.”
I mean, he isn’t wrong. “Just be careful not to sing it in church on Sunday,” he advised.
His stand-up bits were woven intermittently through the music, covering various topics such as how marriage isn’t fair for men — he noted how men don’t get their own song to walk down the aisle to, and then laughed when someone mistook his performance of “Here Comes the Bride” for Chopin’s “Funeral March.”
Other topics of discussion included what fun things he can do in Virginia Beach — which led to him bringing up a question I’m still pondering: why is the water brown? — and Chicago.
The sea of Dunder-Mifflin shirts in the audience was hard to ignore, and even Robinson could not ignore them for too long, as fans continued to chant for his popular characters, Darryl Philbin and Doug Judy.
“Who the hell is Darryl? What is a Dunder-Mifflin?” he laughed as he threw back a cocktail. He then set his drink down on the stool beside him and went into back-to-back performances of The Office’s classic theme song, The Dunder-Mifflin Commercial Song , and the song that Doug Judy sings to Rosa in Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
Despite jokingly pretending at first not to know his most famous characters, Robinson is the kind of hard-working comedian who knows why he is famous, and could not be more appreciative. He performed songs from his most famous roles with a big smile on his face.
Of course, when you are well known for playing cult-favorite characters, it can be very easy to overdo it, and let a live show become nothing but fan-service. Doing so may satiate the crowd for awhile, but it will ultimately lead to a lackluster, empty show.
Fortunately, this was by no means Robinson’s approach. He showed that he knows how to eloquently dip his hand into the fan-service pool and still come back up and control the crowd. He’s damn good at giving the people not only what they want, but more importantly what they need, and it shows.
“I said harmony, dammit!” Robinson commanded jokingly, as we all sang together horribly off key during “Jessie’s Girl,” a song he’d memorably performed in Hot Tub Time Machine.
Robinson’s stage performance is the perfect blend of crowd work-based stand-up and a fun musical environment that felt like your best friend DJing your birthday party. When he played music, the songs he chose were catchy and fun and easy to sing along to, but that was the point. Robinson is known for playing roles in ensemble casts filled with otherwise-awkward people doing the best they can. When he took the spotlight for his own show, he did the same thing, in all the best ways.
Everyone in attendance, meanwhile, was both awkward and giddy. And while our harmony was horrible when we finally did get it together, we still had a blast. For an hour and change, it genuinely did feel like maybe we were at Dunder-Mifflin.
Robinson is closed the show with an awesome freestyle remix of various popular songs, such as Beyonce’s “Halo” and Prince’s “Purple Rain,” encouraging audience members to sing with him. And most importantly, he took a moment to sincerely thank the audience for having his back and supporting his career.
If you want to see a show that is fun, hilarious, and makes you feel like you’re hanging out in your best friend’s living room singing along to the karaoke station, this is what you need. There are not nearly as many people out there that are both as humble and as talented as Robinson. The next time he comes through your side of the office, drop what you’re doing and go. It will be exactly what you hope for, and more.
Top photo via mrcraigrobinson.com
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