Come And Take It Brings Lots of Laughs In Year Two
It doesn’t really feel like it, but a whole year has passed since the first annual Come And Take Comedy Festival, presented by Houston’s The Secret Group within the three rooms that make up Warehouse Live. Where last year saw a myriad of comics and one troupe, this year has some heavy hitters and festival comics alongside the team who brought us films like “Super Troopers,” and “Beerfest;” Broken Lizard. The list of headliners is strong with Kyle Kinane, Eugene Mirman, and Eric Andre; but there are also some hidden gems who you might not know of within the lineup itself.
Chase DuRousseau, Photo: Oliphant
The festival runs two days officially, with a kickoff party on Friday February, 19th that stretches it to three days. That kickoff party over at Warehouse Live in the studio, will include a live taping of the show itself to be released through Houston’s Roologic Records. The lineup for the kickoff show includes a nice list of up and coming comics who are integral within The Secret Group family of comedians. While this show includes names like Gabe Bravo, Andrew Youngblood, and Zahid Dewji, and Dale Cheesman among others, it’s the name Chase DuRousseau that you should really check out. Granted, when I saw Cheesman for the first time I thought he was a touring comic at an open mic, and Gabe Bravo can always fill a room, where Zahid Dewji is in a strong place comedically; it’s DuRousseau who you might not know much about. Chase is one of those guys that you see drop a set and you immediately wonder why he isn’t out in Los Angeles or New York. His set is peppered with self-deprecating humor and a style you don’t really see other comics employing. He’s definitely a name to keep an eye on and a comic not to miss at this kick-off party and throughout the festival. You should also catch the set from Andrew Youngblood. For a long time I gave him crap because he felt like a comedy booker who also did comedy. But in the last year he’s turned a corner, his jokes are stronger and more focused, and he feels more like a comic who also books comedy shows. His jokes about his kid are some of the best I’ve heard in a long time. The kickoff party has doors at 6:30, it’s all ages, and if you want to attend it separately the tickets are between $12.00 and $15.00, or they can be included in your two day festival pass for $6.00 extra.
On Saturday, the festival takes over all three rooms of the Warehouse Live property, and fills it with all sorts of laughs. You can start off over in the studio for sets from the urbane Nick Meriwether and the insane Scotty Peterson, both from Houston. Where Nick’s humor feels like a giant joke where the audience may or may not get what it truly is, Peterson drops a set that’s rife with race jokes without being racist, and his observational style will teach anyone about life after 2:00 am. They’ll be followed by Canadian comic Phil Hanley. Hanley has been all over TV with spots of The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, The Pete Holmes Show, Late Night with Seth Meyers, and John Oliver’s New York Stand-Up Show. If that’s not your vibe then you could head to the studio to catch the funny antics of Beta Theater house improv team, Beta Max. The Max team is pretty hilarious and if you were on the fence about improv, then they will definitely change your mind. Houston comic Bob Morrissey will be on after, followed with a set from Austin and New Orleans based comedy group, The New Movement. You can follow that with NOLA comic, Kaitlin Marone, also part of The New Movement in the studio. Marone has irreverent wit and pretty flawlessly timed jokes that are pretty hilarious. Marone also performs improv with TNM’s house troupe, and is one of the funniest people you’ve probably never heard of. She’ll have Ashton Womack follow her, and with his flawless timing and close knit humor, you’re an idiot to miss him perform. They will have Illinois born and UCB comic Daniel Van Kirk follow them. Van Kirk is a sheer riot, and his appearances on the podcast “Doug Loves Movies” as Mark Wahlberg or as Steven Seagal might be one of the most hilarious things I’ve ever heard. He has a ton of credits including appearances all over the country at festivals and Just For Laughs Montreal. The ballroom will host some hilarious comics as well when Jaffer Khan brings his controversial humor to the room. He’ll get followed by Austin comic Yusef Roach before having the Kyle Ayers lead comedy show “First Comes Love” follow. In the greenroom you can catch a live TV show recording of the always funny, Does Anyone Else with comic Owen Dunn and Patrick McLellan.
Eric Andre, Photo: Courtesy of Artist
Of course, I’d guess that many of you would be in the studio catching Houston’s one line wonder, Gabe Bravo. I say that, but Bravo is more than a one line comic, in fact he’s one of the most natural comics you’ll ever get the chance to see. He as the pleasure of going on before one of the funniest comics with a show on network TV, Ron Funches. Last year Funches dropped one of the best comedy albums with “The Funches of Us,” and he should make anyone who watches him perform get close to wetting themselves. In the ballroom before Eric Andre takes the stage, I’d strongly suggest catching Austin’s Jared Hawley. Somehow, after hearing this guy’s name in comedy circles for a good while, he didn’t win Austin’s Funniest Person contest. After catching video of him, I have to say that he’s a slayer on a mic and a comic you need to see sooner than later. He will also get followed by Houston’s Zahid Dewji. Dewji is on a ton of shows since last May, and his jokes are strong in the sense that he’s closer than many Houston comics to taking the crucial next step in any comic’s career. Of course, the antics of “The Eric Andre Show” Eric Andre will follow. Andre was one of the comics I was lucky enough to catch this last year at Fun Fun Fun Fest, and he’s insanely funny from start to finish. Sean Patton will be on before over in the studio, and as always, Patton is a seriously funny guy. He has the natural humor and strong delivery of Dale Cheesman on after him, before having pet, storyteller, and comic Derrick C Brown on afterwards. The ballroom will see Broken Lizard, ie the cast of “Super Troopers” close out day one. I’ve never seen the troupe, so I have no idea what you should expect. However, if you just go off of their films, then I’m sure all five of them will leave you in stitches.
Sunday you can kick off with three heavy hitters from Houston in the ballroom with Kristin Lindner, Ku Egenti, and Owen Dunn. Lindner has TV credits, she’s easily one of our city’s best comics, and her jokes ranging from weight to shoes and everything in-between are always on point, and I can’t see anyone not having hurt sides after her set. Ku Egenti, possibly one of the best comedic success stories from a guy losing his job, has gotten to a point where I can’t talk to him off stage without laughing. Of course, you might know Dunn from his food reviews on Youtube, or his sketches with Houston comic Albert Deleon, or the slew of out of town appearances he’s been making over the last year. Dunn has a different approach to comedy which sets him apart from most while making you laugh the whole time. NYC comic Kyle Ayers will follow this list of killers. In the studio, a “special guest” is slotted as headliner, but you shouldn’t miss Kazeem Rahman and Reed Becker who will both take the mic before. Kazeem is probably my favorite new comic in Houston, though he’s been at it a good while. During the Beta Bracket Comedy Competition this year I couldn’t stop laughing at every set of his I saw. Becker, now a resident of San Francisco, has always been a threat on a mic, and his hustle out on the West Coast has brought forth a comic ready to prove something to the crowds he left behind in Houston. You could follow that with a live recording of the “Relationshit” podcast, which should be as entertaining as it always is with Stacey Daniels and Hoja Lopez from Beta Theater.
Kyle Kinane, Photo: Comedy Central
After that, in the studio you can catch two funny Houston comics with Victor Tran and Stephen Brandau. Tran has always been one of Houston’s most impressive comics especially considering his youthful age, where Brandau doesn’t perform as much as I wish, so his set will be a rare one. They will get followed by the knock down hilarious humor of Emma Arnold. Arnold has been all over the country on festivals and what not, as well as being a regular on the “Doug Loves Movies” podcast, and she’s a seriously funny as hell comedian. In the ballroom you could deter and catch Clayton English, winner of NBC’s “Last Comic Standing.” The studio will host the funny jokes of Sarah Tollemache before bringing on Houston comedy legend and original Outlaw Comic, Andy Huggins. Tollemache has been called a comic to watch, while Huggins is always a comic to watch. Last year he gave us the hilarious album “Inspired By True Events,” and he’s a real treat to catch destroy an audience. They will get followed by regular Comedy Central Roast comedian Dave Ross. Make sure and stick around as one of my favorite comics, Kyle Kinane will come by to drop a set. Kinane almost broke the internet with a slew of tweets to a salsa company, he’s been all over television and festivals, and his recent album, “Sold Out, Suck It!” is seriously a laugh a minute. Over in the greenroom you could catch a live taping of a podcast I’ve actually been on, the “Dead Dialect” podcast. Hosts Brandon and Julian definitely do their homework before having each and every guest, and they’re a great addition to this festival.
In the ballroom, the best comic to leave Houston for the West Coast, Nia De-Bose will make an appearance. Nia has always been one of the strongest comics to take the stage here in Houston, and aside from appearing at the festival last year, she’s a riot and someone you need to catch perform. She’ll have the always strong humor of Bob Biggerstaff follow her. Biggerstaff has a ton of TV credits, he’s a touring comic who resides in Houston, and aside from something big coming soon I can tell you that his “Live At Gotham” set from Comedy Central is one of the best I’ve ever seen. They’ll have Brian Posehn follow them, who should bring plenty of nerd humor to the crowd. You could then stick around the studio to catch a set from comic, Taylor Tomlinson. Tomlinson has made a name as being called everything from one of our country’s funniest new comics to sets all over the country including on NBC’s “Last Comic Standing.” She’s been slaying mics since the age of sixteen and she’s definitely worth seeing perform. Over in the ballroom, you can catch Houston’s best kept comedy secret with Chase DuRousseau before ending the festival with Eugene Mirman. Though most of you would know him from being the voice of Gene on the animated show, “Bob’s Burgers,” Mirman is a seriously hilarious comic. I caught him twice out of town last year and aside from being completely different sets, both were equally as funny.
No matter how you slice it, that’ a lot of laughs for the money. The Come and Take It Comedy Festival has doors Saturday and Sunday at 4:00 and it’s all ages. The tickets range between $37.00 for each individual day general admission, $69.00 for 2 day general admission, $75.00 for 2 day general admission with the Friday night kickoff party, or $125.00 for a VIP option that includes the kickoff party, VIP seating, a T-shirt, and event swag.