Framing Steven Briggs’ Web Comedies

If you follow comedians on social media like I do, it’s always a pleasant surprise when you feel like you’ve discovered someone new. 

That’s part of the fun, isn’t it?  Not just clicking on the latest 5 minute clip from Anthony Jeselnik.  But in fact finding someone new.  Award winning comedian Steven Briggs is “new”, though he’s been at it for a short while and is making incredible strides.  I, for one, am a fan.

His short-form videos are non-consecutive, non-linier, and non-unfunny.  Very well structured stories which always have a satisfying payoff, Briggs brings his own terribly unique outlook and embodies sort of a random universal element to all his, for lack of a better term: short comedy films.

Larf Magazine caught up with Briggs on the set of his latest film venture:

LARF: What inspired you to put so much craft and effort into what essentially is an episodic web-series?

BRIGGS: I wouldn’t call it a episodic web series because most of them don’t connect with each other. I would call it sketch comedy. I started out writing short sketches and then accumulated a bunch to where I wanted to see them made. I didn’t know how to get them made so I invested in a camera, editing software and taught myself how to make them. The goal was to eventually get them to come out the way I saw them in my imagination.

“John leguizamo is one of my biggest influences.”

LARF: Are you tracking the numbers? How are they?

BRIGGS: Yes, it’s weird. Some that I think will do nothing end up doing the biggest numbers.

LARF: How many episodes have you produced and how many more are you planning?

BRIGGS: I’ve lost count now but it’s over 100 sketches. I plan to keep on doing them because for me it’s a very satisfying creative freedom. Also it’s a great excuse to get together with friends and play around.

LARF: How long does it take from concept to finished product?

BRIGGS: That really depends. For example I wrote a sketch that required a horse and buggy. That took me months to find.

LARF: What kind of team do you have?

BRIGGS: At first it was just me. As the sketches started getting better I got some really talented people that wanted to help.

LARF: Where are you originally from and what brought you out to Hollywood?

BRIGGS: Originally born in New York. Landed in Hollywood on accident.

LARF: You recently won some kind of stand-up award?

BRIGGS: The presidential comedy festival. That was a incredible experience. Ryan Schendzielos put together an amazing festival and I would recommend it to anyone.

LARF: What do you ultimately want to get out of the videos? For example, would you like to direct a feature film one day? Or are you “selling” you as a comedy actor?

BRIGGS: I love writing. Currently I am working on finishing up my 5th pilot. Through making these videos though I have had to work every position on a film set and directing is a lot of fun as well and would like to do that for a feature some day.

LARF: How would you describe your character in the films? He seems to be hapless and yet likeable.

BRIGGS: A lot of my characters are like that. I like to find problems and work my way through them with the character in a unconventional way.

LARF: Who are your filmmaking and comedy influences?

BRIGGS: John leguizamo is one of my biggest influences. I grew watching John and have seen all of his one man shows and read his books. I love how he created something for himself and still continues to do it.

LARF: How are you finding being a stand-up on the LA circuit?

BRIGGS: I like it a lot. It’s very diverse and constantly keeps me motivated.

LARF: What’s next for you?

BRIGGS: I am going to continue producing the sketches but am also going to start producing some bigger projects. I am already in pre-production for one that I am very excited about.

For more info on comedian/filmmaker Steven Briggs, as well as performance dates, visit his website.

SAG 6/26/19

 

 

Tales from the Traveler – Larf Magazine Interview: Scott Schultz, Creator of BUSted

Scott Schultz is one Bostonian transplant who won’t take sitting in traffic for an answer.

When you think about it, even Paul Revere was a one-horse commuter.  There’s something about Bostonians that’s all about getting shit done no matter who’s helping or not.  243 years ago the alarm was “The British are coming!”; today, it’s “We will not be ruled by the automobile!” In the land of fantasy, the “Dream Factory,” as it’s veritbly known, the one issue all Los Angeles inmates suffer is gettin’ round.  If yer rich?  Limo.  Average?  Car.  Poor?  The bus.  What Scott Schultz does is nothing less than reminding us Angelinos to free ourselves from our own self-imposed shackles of status, the car, by enthusing us in the downright relish of celebrating the autonomy of public transportation.  I’ve said it all along.  The average American interacts with government only twice in their lifetime.  The postman and the cop who gives you a speeding ticket. Scott Schultz’s “BUSted” story-telling shows break that social barrier in two, shattering it before our very eyes, revealing to us the utter joys, as well as the frustrating dysfunction, of public transportation in Los Angeles.  I sat down with Scott recently on top of the first “L” in the Hollywood Sign for a cursory interview…

LM: What makes a good public transportation story?

SS: A good public transportation story is a good story, but it must take place on public transit. Otherwise, it is just a good story. If it involves a bomb on a bus that requires the bs to travel 55 mph or the bus will explode, then it is great public transit story.

LM: Who are your story-tellers?

SS: My storytellers are made up of comedians, storytellers and other creatives round Los Angeles who don’t drive or are muti-modal. We also book ordinary Los Angelenos who don’t drive but have true stories to share.

LM: Who is your audience?

SS: Our audience ranges depending on which location we bring our show. I’d say at least half of the audience are non-motorists. The other half are people who enjoy live storytelling, or find me handsome enough to follow around.

LM: Is there a class thing between public transportation people and car drivers?

SS: Of course, there is. And BMW drivers are assholes. (a Tanya White ‘joke’, according to Scott.)

LM: How long you’ve been producing BUSted?

Scott Schultz mesmerizing them at Stories bookstore in Silverlake.

SS: I have been producing BUSted for nearly five years.

LM: What was your inspiration to start BUSted?

SS: I wanted to bring a storytelling show to Los Angeles, when I returned from Boston in 2013. I chose the name BUSted, because the name had multiple definitions. I chose the non-motorist hook for the first show’s theme, and I realized quickly that there was an audience for this type of show, so I stuck with the theme. After a few shows, I realized that the show filled a void, and after 6 months. I realized that the theme had legs to last a decade.

LM: Have you produced BUSted in cities other than Los Angeles and if not, are there plans to?

SS: I have yet to bring the show beyond LA County borders, but I would like to tour the show eventually. Any city with public transit can appreciate these stories.

LM: What is the most often heard theme in the stories?

SS: I describe the stories in categories of shocking, dramatic and the mundane (slice of life.) I would say the mundane stories tend to be the most frequent of the three, especially when it comes to frequent storytellers. The shocking stories are always the first ones to come to mind, but it’s the simple stories that keep people returning. The ordinary slice of life stories happen every day, so they tend to be the lifeblood of my opening monologues.

LM: What percentage of stories are happy vs harrowing?

SS: I’d say it’s close to an even split. Some shows follow a theme that wasn’t planned out ahead of time. One story leads to a similar story. Suddenly a conversation breaks out between myself as host and the audience, because I like to keep a hot topic going. By the time the audience members step up to the mic for audience anecdotes, we could have five or six stories on the same theme, within the theme of getting around LA without driving.

LM: Do story-tellers generally like depending on public transportation or are they somehow/sometimes bitter or angry?

SS: There is a love/have relationship between the storytellers and LA publc transit, but for the most part, we (the non-motorists) tend to wear it like a badge of honor. Very little bitterness.

LM: It seems BUSted brings people together in discussing a shared experience.  Elaborate?

SS: LA has a well earned reputation for having a massive car culture built into it’s fabric. For many years, the thought among people was that “Only a nobody walks in LA,” as the Missing Persons sang. It turns out that we were not freaks or losers, but just ahead of the curve, or at least riding a different path. The community element comes from the way we all recognize each other’s stories as part of our own personal stories. We recognize incidents and characters, and in tat our shared experience can become extremely meta. Being iLos angeles where there are so many colorful characters, only makes the excitement and randomness of a shared commute experience more extreme. Even the craziest stories often have people in the audience nodding their heads and simply responding, “Yup!”

LM: If the LA transportation system was better, let’s say as good as San Francisco, London, or New York, would there still be good stories?

SS: Yes. LA’s system is already better than NYC and San Francisco. I’ve never been to London, but I did get drunk on free party booze and interrupt a conversation with the London minister of Transportation. Nice guy.

LM: You have a former RTD driver as a regular.  Have you gotten support or condemnation from the city?

SS: We actually have a lot of former and current drivers from both RTD and LA metro sharing stories at our shows. We even had a senior planner from LA Metro. I’m not so sure the city knows we exist, at least on the City hall level. The heads of he public transit agencies are familiar with me. Some are fans, others hope we’ll go away. True stories tend to cut both ways. I’d say at this time that it is mostly positive.

LM: Have the stories changed with the advent of Uber?

SS: Ubers sometimes enter the community of BUSted stories, but I try to keep them separate. Sometimes if the Uber is incorporated into the commute, or if they are long time storytellers who I know are taking Uber specifically because they don’t drive. I tend to think public transit is more interesting. Uber vehicles are too antiseptic.

LM: There seems to be a bit of spirituality to the shows.  Care to elaborate

SS: Sometimes the spirituality depends on my mood on any given day. I think it comes from my Boston storytelling background. Boston’s storytelling scene tends to be a bit more populist than the Big 3 storytelling cities (NYC/Chicago/Los Angeles) which tend to come from the improv comedy circuit. As a host I tend to harp on recurring topics like being a good “bus ambassador,” which is spiritual talk for “Don’t be a douchebag.” We are also pro immigrant and tend to have a lot of humanity in our stories. Our subject matter tends skews lower income, and lower income people tend to be better people in general.

LM: You’re one of the most supportive producer/hosts around.  Tell Larf Magazine how you do it.

SS: Thanks, but I don’t share company secrets. (joking) I think that it is a combination of my background coming out of the storytelling rooms in Boston and Cambridge that go back decades, and also my show is built on community. We literally run on people power. I genuinely enjoy meeting new people and hearing their stories. When people are new to storytelling, I like to encourage them to participate by keeping it casual. I am fortunate to have a really supportive venue that allows me to pass the supportive buck down to my guests on the mic and in the audience. Legal weed keeps me mellow.

LM: From what you’ve heard and personally experienced, what’s the one thing you would do if you were all powerful mayor to improve public transportation?

SS: If I could only do one thing, I would make myself a lifetime pass for all publc transit, non-rescindable. That way, I’d always be able to get places. I’d do a few things. I’d ticket the hell out of motorists! Those crosswalks would be efficient enough for a baby to crawl across. I would also create more dedicated lanes for rapid line busses, running on an electrical grid, like they do in the San Fernando Valley. I’d remove extra charges for Silver Line and freeway accessing busses. I would make the subways run 24 hours, and I would have track maintenance done between 11pm – 5am. I would begin making preparation for Boring hyper-tunnels, like the one suggested by Elon Musk, and I would also begin preparing legislation for aerial vehicles now, since they will arrive sooner, rather than later.

LM: Do you find the vast expanse of Los Angeles helps in its diversity of transportation stories?

SS: Yes. I love how LA has so many different types of areas and ethnic pockets as well. LA is half the size of Massachusetts, it has mountains, deserts and beaches. I wish it had more bathrooms.

LM: Where do you see BUSted a year from now?

SS: At our home terminal in Echo Park, Stories Books & Café! Also, hopefully, we will be producing Spanish language shows. I would like to bring the show to a point where we can produce weekly shows and cove the entire county more completely.

LM: Have you ever thought of taking BUSted to The Edinburgh Fringe Festival?

SS: I don’t know enough about the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. I don’t know how they would react to stories about Los Angeles, and even more specifically about Los Angeles non-motorist culture.

LM: Could you ever envision a television show or movie based on the BUSted stories?

SS: Absolutely. Huell Howser is one of my heroes. I think that it could be a way to show different parts of the city, the state and the country. I think that would be really neat. You don’ have to fly to the opposite side of the word to find adventure and interesting people. Hit a random US city, and ride the bus for a few days. Yesterday, I rode around on busses and trains with a news crew for an upcoming news feature on the show. During the rides, I spoke with a Rose Bowl security guard who wants the world to know that Kobe Bryant swipes VIP seats for concerts, a man who was a walking audio book for Hollywood Babylon Volume One and a man who got shot 14 times in his leg! I have had people propose a few movie ideas to me based on my stories. At some point, I will likely write a script, but that is a very different style of writing for me.

And, just at that propitious moment, a police helicopter shown its light on us Hollywood sign perchers.  Guess it’s time to move on; grab the bus…

Sag

Scott Schultz was born in Boston, MA. I grew up in Marblehead, MA. He moved to CA when he was 18 via Greyhound Bus. He moved to Los Angeles to pursue standup comedy in the 1990’s. Scott has worked as a sports editor and in advertising. He began storytelling in Boston in 2012. In 2013, Scott Schultz won the Massmouth grandslam (The Big Mouthoff) and shortly thereafter moved to Los Angeles. He began BUSted five years ago. Scott is a huge fan of the Boston Celtics, and he has two feral yard cats named Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving.

NEXT BUSted Show

BUSted website

For Larf Magazine, this is Steven Alan Green.

9/27/18

 

Lighten Up! – One comedian’s view of fat shaming jokes – by Adam Ellis

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Terry Jones as the continuously famished Mr. Creosote in Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life; 1983.

There is an unfortunate trend in today’s society to try and censor comedy (not to mention almost everything else), in an attempt to remove anything that might possibly offend anyone.

Whatever form the attempted censorship takes (tweets, reviews, calls for boycotting), it is almost always done in the name of Protecting the Feelings of the Innocent! “How dare you make fun of the left handed!? It’s not their fault they’re freaks!”

What seems to go unnoticed is that, largely, these protestations come from the outside. If the issue becomes large enough to warrant news coverage, the stations always manage to find a member of whatever group is supposedly being targeted to throw in front of the camera, but dollars to doughnuts (Homer: “Umm…doughuts…”)  it isn’t the person that started the outcry.

Fat Shaming in Comedy?

Which brings me to the issue of fat shaming. It’s not hard to find examples of thin people mocking their heavier counterparts, but try finding examples that are funny! The funniest fat jokes come from fat people themselves. And don’t give me that crap about their being fat giving the audience license to laugh, because they ALWAYS have license to laugh if the joke is funny enough!

Largely, these protestations come from the outside…

When Louie Anderson stepped onstage, already mopping his brow with a handkerchief, and said, “Pardon me for sweating, but if I don’t, I’ll explode,” he took the audiences immediate perception of hey, this guy is huge and one-upped them before they had a chance to form their own jokes. When John Pinette did his Chinese Buffet bit, he turned his size into an asset. I saw him a few years before he died, and he’d lost quite a bit of weight, but was still quite large. He quipped, “I’m the only guy I know who could lose a hundred pounds, and people look at me and go, ‘You get a haircut?‘”

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Not even Oliver Hardy sailed as smoothly as Jackie Gleason when it came to the perfect balance of fat shame and who gives a fuck.

 

Fat comics have been mining the rich vein of material that their size gives them a unique perspective as outliers, and have done so since the days of Vaudeville, silent movies, and probably before that. Hell, at one time, the biggest (no pun intended) star in this country was known as Fatty Arbuckle!

The Rib-Eye of the Beholder

There’s a great comic named Bob Zany, who used to be fat. Almost the entirety of his act was fat jokes. Damn good fat jokes at that! “I got pulled over the other day. When the cop got to my door, he asked, ‘You know why I pulled you over?’ I said, ‘Because you’re lonely and you’ve never been with a fat guy?’ He said ‘Bingo!’” Then Bob lost a whole lot of weight, and by consequence, his entire comedy act. He had to reinvent himself as an insult comic, because he knew that those jokes wouldn’t work for him anymore. You can’t tell fat jokes from a third person perspective and slay the audience. If they aren’t about you, they just don’t work. The joke is still the same, but you are no longer in the joke, so it falls flat.

The great Louie Anderson as Mrs. Baskets on the hilarious “Baskets” on FX.

Now, some people (mostly thin) want fat comics to stop telling fat jokes, for fear of offending other fat people. If fat comics stop telling fat jokes, then no one will be telling them, and a large (again, not a pun) part of the population stops being talked about on stage.

If we allow this blatant artistic censorship to happen, how long until it reaches the point where fat actors aren’t even considered for roles anymore, as seeing them on screen might make someone uncomfortable? Maybe it’ll get to the point where someone will take a print of The Maltese Falcon and digitally slim down Sidney Greenstreet, and alter the audio track to remove all references to “the fat man.”

So my advice to all those looking to stop us (yep, I’m one of ’em) from telling fat jokes (and, pointedly, not to those telling them) is the same as this article’s title:  LIGHTEN UP!

Later,

Adam

Adam Ellis is a Las Vegas based comedian.

The Night Light Comedy Show With Erica Rhodes – Larf Comedy Review – ★★★★

LA’s own Erica Rhodes creates a live comedy variety show based on the perfect amalgam of friendship and talent; the result being a hybrid of the Alt-Comedy Movement and good ole traditional Comedy Variety.

The Open Space venue is in the heartburn of the Fairfax district.  Just about the most culturally diverse concentrated neighborhood in Los Angeles, you have everything from the most institutional deli of Canters, to hip-hop and skating board culture shops to overpriced dive bars and Russian eateries.   And all conveniently located just south of my old alma mater Fairfax High School, where students dream of no bigger things than eating an everything bagel whilst skateboarding past the old Jewish lady with the shopping basket,mumbling something about socialism. Variety is the key here and when context and content meet up and high five each other, there you’ll find Erica Rhodes’ “The Night Light Comedy Show” once a month and serving up the most delicious comedy variety menu this side of the Poconos.

Variety is diversity

The best part of my job (as well as the hardest) is being surprised.  I’ve been around the comedy block more than a few times in cultures as diverse as Hollywood, New York, Seattle, San Francisco, Toronto, Amsterdam and London, England.  Each city had its own standard recipe for everything and comedy is no exception.  The template of LA comedy has traditionally come from the kitchens of The Comedy Store, The Improv and The Laugh Factory — all great comedy institutions from day one and all of them still producing a wide menu of quality comedy items – within the certain thin bandwidth of “stand-up”.   All the independent comedy shows I’ve been to, performed on, and reviewed, seem to specialize in a tiny sliver of it all.  The intimate story-telling value of “Sit n Spin” at the Comedy Central Stage, the town-hall discussion and almost torch bearing ritual of Bill Bronner’s Political Nation, the casual Millennial madness of the awkward confession comedy shows downtown at the Lexington.

The template of LA comedy has traditionally come from the kitchens of The Comedy Store, The Improv and The Laugh Factory — all great comedy institutions from day one and all of them still producing a wide menu of quality comedy items – within the certain thin bandwidth of “stand-up”.

All these independent shows tend to be one thing or another.  And, that’s cool.  Like a food truck of comedy, they foster newish comedians, and if these independent shows don’t  have a strong loyal following such as the aforementioned Sit n Spin and Political Nation, the audiences are populated by the newish young comedians themselves often performing for the unwitting bar patrons and the rest of the comedians waiting to go on. Half the time, independent comedy shows turn out to be nothing but a great poster which never lives up to the advertised excitement and in the end, you might as well go watch a comedy show at Kinkos.  Although almost all worthy great concepts, many of them expertly packaged and delivered, when one focuses on only one menu item in the vast food court of entertainment, you’re automatically excluding most of the public.  That’s why The Night Light Comedy Show is really a great expertly executed concept and has the most big time potential of any show I’ve seen so far since coming back to America 9 years ago, after living abroad in a yellow taffeta house dress.

Produced by Monique Thomas and hosted by the very funny Erica Rhodes (who co-produces), the feel of the night is Alt, but warm and super friendly to everybody and she does it all with young Goldie Hawn innocence with a little bit of Sarah Silverman by way of Sylvia Plath awkwardness thrown in.

Opening the show was a duo of musicians.  Made up a double-act of keyboardists (one wearing a face-covering hood for some reason) “Scatterplot” is like hipster Burt Bacharach if Hal David was a very disturbed yet enlightened lyricist.  Their “I Just Can’t Get Enough” is as infectious as Ben and Jerry’s, and like Cherry Garcia, although good, you don’t want to eat too much at once.  They graciously introduce and play on our hostess for the evening and there’s even a little back and forth kibbutzing between the two, as they are literally cousins.

I’ve seen a lot of comedians do crowd work and most of them stink at it.  But Rhodes is expert as she pulls heretofore invisible threads out of the crowd, weaving them into the most important and memorable thing any show of any kind must have: Immediate relevance.

When telling proper jokes, Erica needs a little more work and her delivery can be awkward for both the right and wrong reasons.  Having said that, her jokes have what most youngish comedians’ jokes don’t have: a point. It’s her ability to immediately gage the crowd and self-awareness recovery is the gold.  Soon enough, E.R. acknowledges there’s “silent laughter” and BOOM!, we got our first big laugh.  You see part of the problem is the uninitiated Los Angeles audience.  They’re often kinda stupid when it comes to knowing what’s funny and when to laugh and indeed if to laugh or not.  Let’s put it this way.  As funny as Ms. Rhodes was the night I saw the show, the audience was not completely with her a 10th of the time and that is their fault, not hers.  I sat in the middle of the show as I reviewed and people seemed to be witnessing spectacle rather than being an audience.  Being an audience requires full attention.  Nothing else matters.  Not your phone or what dress someone is wearing or where we’re going to eat afterwards. But I’m not just talking about looking up; I’m talking about having the mental training as an audience member to have the ability to recognize a joke.  I swear – and I’ve been saying this for years – I’m gonna teach an audience workshop.  Having said that, 93% of the crowd present was on the same comedy page as the show itself.  So.  Let’s bring up the first act.

I swear – and I’ve been saying this for years – I’m gonna teach an audience workshop.

Bronston Jones is a 50-ish grey bearded laid back hipster comic who opens with an out of nowhere bad taste zinger.  “Melania has the taste of Trump in his mouth“, followed by the comedian saying: “I just love that joke.”  Really?   Well, maybe not the best material to open with on a show hosted and produced by a lady and with half her friends and family there.  Much of Jones’ material focused on criticizing the giant swath of middle America’s Walmart culture.  “As American as apple pie with pesticides”, a 7 year old boy with heart disease: “Bless his little heart disease” got audible groans followed by Jone’s literally admonishing the audience with: “These jokes worked in the Midwest!”…and CUT!  No.  Doesn’t matter if they worked in Timbuctoo.  I get it; Bronston shouldn’t have been on this early.  He’s a late nite bluish edgy comic and it was frankly jarring to the theme of the night.  That’s not his fault.  After a lot of work, he delivered some of the best laughs of the night and he probably thinks I’m a dick and will never book me on his show in Venice.   Next….

Zach Bornstein was up next.   A writer for Kimmel and SNL, I never know what that means.  Is he on staff?  A stringer?  Doesn’t matter anyway because we weren’t there for a writing course.  Combining Shelly Berman skills of verbal picture painting with Red Skelton physicality, Zach was truly and uniquely funny.  From his “jazz hands when confronted with danger” routine to his great true story of literally cocking the wrong person’s head in public was absolutely cathartic, hilarious, and memorable.  More Zach please.  Next…

The interview portion of the show had Erica and busy film composer Brian Tyler on stools shooting the shit.  Plenty of lighthearted laughs and career questions for the composer of such soundtracks as for Ironman and The Fast and the Furious, but for my money I would’ve liked to have heard at least some dry academic questions, which is why when Q&A opened up to the room, I raised my hand and asked about film music leading the narrative.  He loved the question; I think the rest of the crowd thought I was a heretic.  Next….

Tanner Horn is a musical trio consisting of 2 singing guitarists and a singer sans guitar.  They reminded me of one of my favorite 90’s British bands, Blur and their anthem-like “I could use somebody; I could use your body” lyrics veered very close to a Barry White white sensibility but with Thom York-like musicality. I liked their low-key “it’s not about us; its about the music” approach and my only knock would be the sometimes off-key harmony.   Overall, they are really good and I would pay to see them.   Next….

Joel Ward, magician.  Along the lines of the now modern classic of the seemingly failed magic tricks, Ward has cruise ship slapped all over his mug and man he works it like the ship’s toilets are broken.   His audience member’s T-Rex ring appearing magically inside an uncut tennis ball was truly amazing.  The quintessential audience pleaser by definition, Ward is just the guy want for your corporate phony baloney employee appreciation day.

And, Finally…..

Melissa Villaseñor.  SNL cast member.  Worth waiting for and the wait was entertaining anyway.

You know what would make SNL funny-er?  Give the stand-up performers in the cast a chance to solo perform, a rite usually reserved for the guest host.   I can’t watch SNL past the opening bit and that’s because the show seems to have lost its comedy powers after Bill Murray left.  However, each show is written and performed by a myriad of magnificent comedians and writers and why the fuck not use them?  Take for example our star of the evening.  Clearly used sparingly as extra Parmesan, Melissa Villaseñor comes across like fine peppered Dutch Gouda and I immediately wanted a second serving and a third and so on.  From the silly “booping her boyfriend’s ass-crack” she shows us who’s boss and yet hanging with her family is tantamount to brushing her teeth before bed when her mother appears like a zombie, guilt-grilling her for parasitical information.   Hilarious right outta the best modern independent films is she and her mom driving around their suburban hood roasting houses.   Villaseñor’s impression of Diane Keaton not accepting compliments was genius even for the uninitiated.  Her dead on impression of Steve Buscemi at a wedding was truly Oh My Fucking God knock-down hysterical.  I have to admit I was a bit skeptical at first seeing a television star do their thing without a net, but I have to tell you, Melissa Villaseñor is worthy of a Netflix special on her own.

Villaseñor doesn’t use a comedy net; doesn’t need one.  Speaking of net…Hey, Netflix!  Give this very talented gem a special?

SATIRE ALERT! (By the way, Melissa?  I really think you’re talented and you did make me laugh for sure.  I just thought I would be honest and maybe suck up publicly so that we can connect and I can try and viciously shoving Erica aside, exploit the so-called connection to my own selfish career ends.  I’m on Facebook.) SATIRE ALERT!

Wrapping up the evening, Erica Rhodes returns center stage, thanks everyone on the show and the audience as well.   I think with a little tweaking (particularly in the booking department) it could turn out to be as reliable and as popular as Largo.   Promising another show in August 27, I am truly excited The Night Light Show exists.  And if there’s anyone in this town who can pull it off, it’s Erica Rhodes and producer Monique Thomas.

Erica Rhodes one of the funniest and charming-est comedians bubbling up from the slime and sludge which is Hollywood. And, The Night Light Comedy Show is her magical space ship to take us all to great comedy worlds unknown.

The Night Light Comedy Show: 4 outta 5 stars.

One last note: The air con was turned on WAY too high; thought I was gonna freeze my bollox off.  I am informed that issue has been fixed.

Photos by: StreetShooter.la

For more info, go to Erica’s page and Open Space venue page.

For Larf Magazine,

This is Steven Alan Green, July 2, 2018