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V.24 No.21 | 05/21/2015
Mandee Johnson

arts

Comedy Matters

Chris Thayer on dry humor and being in the moment

I think every comedian has that moment when they watch a stand-up set from a particular comic and think, “This is my life now.” “I always had an interest in comedy when I was growing up, but I never thought of it as something I could or would do,” says comedian Chris Thayer. “When I was 18, I heard David Cross' album Shut Up You Fucking Baby!, which was conversational in a way that made me think that maybe I could do stand-up too.” Thayer, who will be at The Guild (3405 Central Avenue NE) on June 1, moved to San Francisco, a city that has spawned such comedy legends as Robin Williams at Margaret Cho, at the age of nineteen but waited three whole years before trying comedy. He finally sat down one night and began to write; a week later he did an open mic, and “within a year I had done over 200 sets,” says Thayer. “Now I’ve been doing comedy for seven years.”

It’s this dedication that got him a writing gig on the Pete Holmes show. Thayer has a dry sense of humor and often talks about his life on stage. His uncompromising style is reflected in his ideas on comedy. “The thing that terrified me most when I started performing was the fear that an audience would hate me,” says Thayer. With time this slowly abated and Thayer began to focus more on what he thought was funny rather than appealing to any given crowd. “I'd like as many people as possible to like me without having to compromise myself or what I think is funny. I would drive myself crazy if I were trying to change my stuff to get 100% of people to love me, so if only maybe 67% of people are into me, I'm totally okay with that,” says Thayer. “Not sure if that number sounds too high or too low. I'm trying to be modest without sounding unambitious.”

It’s not an unwavering ambition though. Thayer sees comedy as something that needs to avoid stagnation. “My favorite parts of performing are the times when I'm present enough and comfortable enough to try or add new stuff,” says Thayer. “I enjoy doing my material that I've been working on, but there's always a danger of feeling like you're on autopilot when you're doing stuff that you've memorized and said hundreds of times before. Thinking of new stuff for old jokes or trying to talk out new bits lets me know that I'm engaged in the moment and makes it fun for me.” Thayer has a way of balancing his strong and steadfast ideas on comedy with being open and present in the moment so he can engage with the live audience. “I want the audience to think, ‘Wow that guy is really funny despite being boringly sincere in interviews.’”

Chris Thayer: No One Asked for this Tour
The Guild (3405 Central Avenue NE)
Monday June 1 10:30 pm $5
guildcinema.com

V.24 No.21 | 5/21/2015
Eddie Izzard

Comedy Matters

Perfectly Sculpted

Eddie Izzard and the political formation of comedy

Comedian Eddie Izzard provides more than a trickle of awareness.
View in Alibi calendar calendar
V.24 No.20 | 05/14/2015

arts

David Koechner on satire, human flaws and story telling

The Greeks had it right. Socrates searched for real knowledge untainted by pride, and Plato was so done with irrational humanity he just wanted to crawl out of a cave and find a friend. It’s been 2,400 years since the fall of Ancient Greece and we’re all still tragically surprised we’re flawed and yet there’s something hilarious about that. “I start with a flaw like narcissism,” says comedian David Koechner about his creative process. “We all have narcissistic tendencies, but there are some who are fully narcissistic. We all are afraid of things at times, but there are some who live their life in fear. I look at that and think, That’s annoying, so I’ll make fun of it.” Koechner, who performs at Santa Ana Star Casino (54 Jemez Dam Rd., Bernalillo) on Thursday, May 21, satirizes these defective human tendencies through rich and outlandish characters.

Initially a political science major, in his third year at university he visited a friend in Chicago, watched a show at Second City, decided then he wanted to be a comedian and never looked back. “Once I decided this was what I wanted to do, I never had any doubts,” says Koechner. “I know that’s not the sexy answer. I love show business and doing comedy. I have a proclivity for it. If I could build things I would do that. If I was smart I would do that.” Koechner looks at comedy as his vocation, and it’s the small things about it that draws him to perform. “The best part is knowing that I was successful at something. My experiment worked. Something I created worked.”

Part observational humor and part hyperbolic storytelling, his shows are an experiment in human behavior. “I start from a small piece of behavior I notice. Something universal. Something we all share but an individual might live by,” says Koechner, “and then I blow up that aspect of my personality and create a character.” Admittedly, this process seems to be second nature to Koechner. “For whatever reason I’m able to access those parts of me. It's like algebra for me. I got the formula, and I can just keep plugging in numbers and getting results."

Known best for playing Champ Kind in the Anchorman movies, Koechner puts a lot of himself into his roles. “Describing your act is kind of like describing your personality. I’m loud and my comedy is loud,” says Koechner. “My comedy is wet, as opposed to dry.” It’s Sophocles’ Greek tragedy intersected with jokes, but with fewer people dying. Koechner has the rare ability to be silly and bombastic but maintain an underlying satirical tone that is smart and cutting. “It all has a satirical center,” says Koechner. “We all have flaws. We all have to deal with institutions. Whether it’s a child or a parent or a school, or work, government, church—everything is an institution that we have to interact with. I think ‘What are the rules of that behavior?’ And then I break them.”

David Koechner
The Stage at Santa Ana Star Casino
54 Jemez Dam Rd., Bernalillo
Thursday, May 21, 7 and 9:30pm
$15-$35 Ages: 21+
thestageatthestar.com

V.24 No.19 | 5/7/2015
"Mama Lupe's Counseling Service” retablo by Charles Carrillo

Culture Shock

Patron saints and public service

Dance beneath the stars with some patron saints, scope an experimental comedic duo, and take Mom out for some Japanese Art Deco and big-band tunes.
V.24 No.18 | 4/30/2015
Maher navigates the political cesspool with panache.
photo courtesy of billmaher.com

Comedy Matters

Offended by the Offended

Bill Maher confronts politics, religion and the far left

Bill Maher talks to Genevieve Mueller about his roots and the liberal problem of political correctness in anticipation of his May 2 appearance.
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V.24 No.16 | 04/16/2015
Zach Reinert
Ryan Brackin

arts

Punk Rock, Storytelling and Dumb Jokes

LULZ, with Ian Douglas Terry and Zach Reinert

Featuring comedians Ian Douglas Terry and Zach Reinert.
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V.24 No.16 | 4/16/2015
And yet he looks so normal.
Photo courtesy of the artist

Comedy Matters

John Mulaney’s Delicate Weirdness

Boy-next-door comedian talks stand-up, SNL and human absurdity

Don’t let the innocent persona fool you—John Mulaney’s comedy cuts to the heart of weird humanity.
From left, Tina Fey and Chloe Mizusawa at Bookworks
Bookworks

Opinion

Almost Fey-mous

On Tina’s trail in Albuquerque

Blake Driver follows in Liz Lemon’s local business-patronizing footsteps. Prepare to want to go to there.
V.24 No.15 | 4/9/2015
When you’re an Addams: From left, Beth Elliot, Julia Parma, Chris Armijo, Benjamin Smith, Lisette Herrera, Alejandro Ramirez, Robert Johnson
Photos by Cassidy Knight

Theater Review

A New Normal

MTS brings authenticity to America’s most dysfunctional family

The Addams Family gets a spring in its step with this vibrant musical production that questions conformity and celebrates oddity.
View in Alibi calendar calendar
V.24 No.14 | 4/2/2015

BOB: Arts & Lit

Cultural Cachet

Best Local Theater Performance

Your picks for most beautiful, cultured and, uh, funny.
V.24 No.9 | 2/26/2015
Alpha-grump Bryan Cook
Shereen Younes

Arts Feature

Brothers in Smarm

Comics Bryan Cook and Derek Sheen transport odd-couple dynamic to the Guild

Like two peas in a raging and observant pod, Bryan Cook and Derek Sheen hit the Guild for a double whammy of hilarity.
View in Alibi calendar calendar
V.24 No.3 | 1/15/2015
Simpsons family: Lisa, Marge Homer and Bart  (L to R: Alissa Hall, Hannah Guzman, Patrick Maes, Jessica Osbourne)
photos by Janelle Ciaccio

Theater Review

D’oh! The Apocalypse Will Be Much Weirder Than You Think

Storytelling and “The Simpsons” drive experimental play

Mmm, unclassifiably bizarre. Mr Burns: A Post-Electric Play imagines “The Simpsons” as the cornerstone of a new civilization.
View in Alibi calendar calendar

Book Review

Texts from a Hilarious Mind

Texts From Jane Eyre: And Other Conversations with Your Favorite Literary Characters

A simple premise—literary characters and authors texting—leads to hilarious results.
V.24 No.2 | 1/8/2015
What Migizi Pensoneau (left) and Bobby Wilson “do in [their] spare time.”
Ryan Red Corn

Comedy Matters

This Ain’t No Drum Circle

The 1491s won’t be pigeonholed

Native comedy troupe the 1491s fight racism with ridiculousness. And they’re headed this way.
View in Alibi calendar calendar
Beau & Aero

Culture Shock

Tricklock treat

A truly dizzying array of awesome performance unleashes at the Tricklock Revolutions Festival, plus a visual whammy from You’re On TV and Wes Naman.
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