From Behind The Curtain: Support Local Comedy

Note: Chris Cyr contributes the very minimum amount of work he can to help promote the St. Louis Comedy Scene on this site. While he’s performing at Flyover Comedy Festival, he is not a member of the organizing team. Opinions expressed below are his alone. He’s typing this disclosure in the third person because he’s convinced it makes it seem more official. The actual body of this post will be typed in the first person.

This week in The Grove, Flyover Comedy Festival will take over a number of venues, and for the third year in a row will give us three days of shows ranging from live podcast recordings to stand up showcases from a mixture of local and touring performers at various stages of their careers. Not only is the festival fun to attend, but each year the event’s organizers have created an experience that shows the public St. Louis has a comedy scene worth exploring further after the weekend has ended. It’s a great thing for us to have and I hope you support it. For only $45 you can purchase a wristband that gets you access to performances from Kyle Kinane, Sasheer Zamata, and somewhere near a hundred other performers. It’s a bargain.

I love this comedy scene. That’s not hyperbole. In just over six years since I became a part of it, I’ve seen St. Louis comics go on to bigger markets with great success. I’ve seen peers share the stage with some of the biggest names in comedy and hold their own. I’ve seen comics go from just another open mic performer to headlining that same club. And I’ve seen comics who, when faced with a limited number of options to get on stage each night, rolled up their sleeves and helped build a DIY scene with stages in coffee houses and bars that feature everything from the weird and fantastical to shows that could easily be dropped into any club in the country and leave an audience satisfied with how they spent their money.

I mostly see this scene through the lens of stand up, but there’s more to it than that. There’s a full service club dedicated to improv that has two stages of programming every weekend. There are sketch shows that produce hilarious content on non-existent budgets. There are shows that pop up each month that can’t be classified into any single category. If you want to laugh, St. Louis has something for you.

We can be better, I freely admit. I’m an old white guy and it’s easy for me to love a scene in an industry where people different from me have to deal with obstacles and prejudices I don’t. I’m not going to pretend these problems can be fixed by a paragraph or two in a post like this. I can only acknowledge those problems exist, and support the work of shows, performers, and bookers who actively expose audiences to a diverse range of performers (and looking at the roster of comics for this year’s Flyover, you can see the organizers are among such people).

We’re building something here. The work started decades ago and will continue long after many of the stages we stand on have turned to dust. Like the city itself, St. Louis Comedy is forever a work in progress, and I’m proud to be a part of it.

In an industry where bias leans towards performers from markets that benefit from the geographical immediacy of the gatekeepers of the biggest opportunities, comics from the middle of the country have to be willing to put in the work it takes to differentiate themselves. And I see examples of people who do that all over our scene. Whether you’re into the classic three comic format you see in a club, the “weird” stuff that happens in a Thursday night basement show, or any of the other different ways comedy can be experienced, I guarantee that if you give the St. Louis Comedy Scene a chance, you’ll see those examples too.

This week, Flyover Comedy Festival is a great place to start. Go see a show.

Or don’t. I’m not a cop.

-Chris Cyr

2019 St. Louis Comedy Profile: Sam Lyons

We’re currently profiling the comics in the St. Louis scene. We’ll be covering a range of comics from seasoned pros, to open mic comics booking their first shows. Our goal is to give you a glimpse at who you can expect to see, no matter where you experience live comedy.

NAME

Sam Lyons

SOCIAL MEDIA INFORMATION

Website: http://impolitecompany.com/category/podcast-episode/lyons-den/ Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/wutangsammy
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/wutangsammy

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN PERFORMING STAND UP?

5 years

DESCRIBE YOUR MATERIAL/STYLE OF PERFORMING TO SOMEONE WHO HASN’T SEEN YOU

If I’m sitting in my room and a thought makes me chuckle, I want to see if it makes anyone else feel the same. At the same time, I want to see how far down the rabbit hole I can get before I lose them. The only way to know if you’re the only one who feels this way is to put it out there.

WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST EXCITING THING, PERSONALLY, THIS YEAR, ABOUT STAND UP?

Getting to be a part of Late Night Live, a sketch/talk show at The Improv Shop. Even though it wasn’t stand up specifically, I learned so much about the creative process and collaboration, and got to work with so many amazing people in the St. Louis scene.

CURRENTLY, WHAT’S THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE YOU ARE WORKING TO OVERCOME, IN STAND UP COMEDY?

I enjoy my comedy for the little moments. I’m very self-critical, and it’s hard for me to sit down and write, because I second-guess myself. I prefer to have an outline and try to fill in the content on stage, but I would love to get better at writing, so I can find new ways that my different bits connect to each other.

WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST COMEDY GOAL FOR THE NEXT YEAR?

To spread my reach, and see how I can expand my stand up to test other art forms (music, acting, public speaking, short stories and articles). I’d like to create at least one project focused on each of those.

WHAT IS ONE THING YOU WISH YOU’D KNOWN BEFORE YOU STARTED PERFORMING?

Just because it doesn’t work in it’s current form, doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. It’s okay to put it aside for a while, but never lock it away.

IF YOU WERE A BEVERAGE, WHAT WOULD YOU BE?

Hansen’s cherry vanilla soda. Refreshing, but still gassy. And Rory drank it in Gilmore Girls.

PICK ANY HORROR MOVIE. HOW WOULD YOU SURVIVE?

Paranormal Activity. I would’ve moved the hell out of that house the first time my dog barked at an empty corner. A breakfast nook isn’t worth your soul, Katie.

DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING TO PROMOTE?

I’ll be at Flyover Comedy Fest for the following shows:

November 7 – Target Practice Live at Atomic Cowboy

November 8 – Hosting the 5pm hour of the Flyover Open Mic at Handlebar

November 9 – Kenny Kinds and Friends at Improv Shop

Check out The Lyons Den on Anchor.FM.

Enjoying these profiles of the local comedy scene? Get out and see a show this week. Then purchase your ticket to Flyover Comedy Festival, coming to The Grove in November. Over 100 local and touring comics will be bringing the laughs alongside headliners like Kyle Kinane & Sasheer Zamata. Wristbands are on sale now!

2019 St. Louis Comedy Profile: Max Pryce

We’re currently profiling the comics in the St. Louis scene. We’ll be covering a range of comics from seasoned pros, to open mic comics booking their first shows. Our goal is to give you a glimpse at who you can expect to see, no matter where you experience live comedy.

NAME

Max Pryce

SOCIAL MEDIA INFORMATION

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/maxpryceisme
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/maxpryceisme

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN PERFORMING STAND UP?

5 1/2 years

DESCRIBE YOUR MATERIAL/STYLE OF PERFORMING TO SOMEONE WHO HASN’T SEEN YOU

I’m a storyteller who talks a lot about being a young, single parent, as well as other crazy situations I’ve been involved in.

WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST EXCITING THING, PERSONALLY, THIS YEAR, ABOUT STAND UP?

Getting asked to join a few dates on Preston Lacy’s tour was a dream come true. Getting to hang out and do amazing shows with someone I grew up watching on my favorite show, Jackass, was incredible. Getting to do my first headlining gig at a comedy club for Fort Wayne Comedy Club was a surreal experience as well and definitely one of the highlights of my year.

CURRENTLY, WHAT’S THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE YOU ARE WORKING TO OVERCOME, IN STAND UP COMEDY?

Learning how to conquer my favorite type of storytelling, which is dark and personal. It’s really a challenge sometimes to get the audience to respond to it the way you want them to rather than just feeling sorry for you. You have to somehow imply that everything’s okay and it’s actually better to laugh than feel bad without explicitly saying it.

I’m currently working very hard on a side project that’s sort of a one-man-show type routine going over the many wild and interesting things I experienced in the first 20 years of my life from growing up in a cult, to making drugs in a trap house as a teen, and many other things. It’s not easy, but I think it will be very interesting for the audience and I’m enjoying the challenge.

WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST COMEDY GOAL FOR THE NEXT YEAR?

To have completed and performed my routine I mentioned above. I hope to have it ready no later than spring of next year.

WHAT IS ONE THING YOU WISH YOU’D KNOWN BEFORE YOU STARTED PERFORMING?

You don’t just get famous in a few months and humility is very important.

IF YOU WERE A BEVERAGE, WHAT WOULD YOU BE?

Any of the weird beverages sold at a gas station that no one buys, so I could just be left alone in peace on the top shelf with no one bothering me .

PICK ANY HORROR MOVIE. HOW WOULD YOU SURVIVE?

Friday the 13th. I would’ve not tripped over a branch.

DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING TO PROMOTE?

November 8 – 9 at Back Door Comedy and Events
November 14 at WAL Happiest Hour at Sophie’s Artist Lounge
November 20 at Best of St. Louis Showcase at St. Louis Funny Bone

Enjoying these profiles of the local comedy scene? Get out and see a show this week. Then purchase your ticket to Flyover Comedy Festival, coming to The Grove in November. Over 100 local and touring comics will be bringing the laughs alongside headliners like Kyle Kinane & Sasheer Zamata. Wristbands are on sale now!

2019 St. Louis Comedy Profile: Jake Beckman

We’re currently profiling the comics in the St. Louis scene. We’ll be covering a range of comics from seasoned pros, to open mic comics booking their first shows. Our goal is to give you a glimpse at who you can expect to see, no matter where you experience live comedy.


NAME

Jake Beckman

SOCIAL MEDIA INFORMATION

Website: http://www.JakeBeckmanComedy.com
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/JakeLBeckman
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/JakeLBeckman

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN PERFORMING STAND UP?

4 years or something like that.

DESCRIBE YOUR MATERIAL/STYLE OF PERFORMING TO SOMEONE WHO HASN’T SEEN YOU

I tell stories and make judgements on baseless thoughts. One time I accidentally put gum I was chewing in my pocket and that got a pretty good laugh. Maybe I’ll do that more often. This has given me a lot to think about.

WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST EXCITING THING, PERSONALLY, THIS YEAR, ABOUT STAND UP?

I had a good set at the World Series of Comedy and moved on to the next round, but I couldn’t stay for the weekend so I had to give up my spot. It was cool to go out on my terms.

CURRENTLY, WHAT’S THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE YOU ARE WORKING TO OVERCOME, IN STAND UP COMEDY?

You know how you tell stories and sometimes they suck? That never happens to me. My biggest problem is consistency.

WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST COMEDY GOAL FOR THE NEXT YEAR?

To stop lying on questionnaires. Also develop a cohesive feature length set.

WHAT IS ONE THING YOU WISH YOU’D KNOWN BEFORE YOU STARTED PERFORMING?

Don’t invite your friends to shows when you’re new because now they all think you suck.

IF YOU WERE A BEVERAGE, WHAT WOULD YOU BE?

fourLoko bc imma wyld ass [sic]

PICK ANY HORROR MOVIE. HOW WOULD YOU SURVIVE?

In Phantom of the Megaplex, I would’ve lived out the plot just the way it happened because no one died and it was a kid’s movie.

DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING TO PROMOTE?

I post pictures of animals on Instagram and blatantly lie about them. It’s a lot of fun.

I’m hosting for Joe Kilgallon at the St. Louis Funny Bone November 1 – 3.


Enjoying these profiles of the local comedy scene? Get out and see a show this week. Then purchase your ticket to Flyover Comedy Festival, coming to The Grove in November. Over 100 local and touring comics will be bringing the laughs alongside headliners like Kyle Kinane & Sasheer Zamata. Wristbands are on sale now!

2019 St. Louis Comedy Profile: Purdy Bee

We’re continuing our profile of the comics in the St. Louis comedy scene. We’ll be covering a range of comics from seasoned pros, to open mic comics booking their first shows. Our goal is to give you a glimpse at who you can expect to see, no matter where you experience live comedy.

NAME

Mz. Purdy Bee

SOCIAL MEDIA INFORMATION

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/PurdyBee
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/unea.purdy

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN PERFORMING STAND UP?

2 Years

DESCRIBE YOUR MATERIAL/STYLE OF PERFORMING TO SOMEONE WHO HASN’T SEEN YOU

Raw and upfront. What you see is definitely totally what you get. I’ve been told I’m a female Bernie Mac. Which is a great honor. I’ll do my best to live up to it

WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST EXCITING THING, PERSONALLY, THIS YEAR, ABOUT STAND UP?

Performing in front of more than 250 people, having their undivided attention, and SLAYIN IT!!

CURRENTLY, WHAT’S THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE YOU ARE WORKING TO OVERCOME, IN STAND UP COMEDY?

I’d like to improve my ability to freestyle or riff in front of people, without a routine.

WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST COMEDY GOAL FOR THE NEXT YEAR?

To do better than the year before.

WHAT IS ONE THING YOU WISH YOU’D KNOWN BEFORE YOU STARTED PERFORMING?

How easy it is for me to do it. I would have done this years ago.

IF YOU WERE A BEVERAGE, WHAT WOULD YOU BE?

Coffee. I’m strong and black.

PICK ANY HORROR MOVIE. HOW WOULD YOU SURVIVE?

The Walking Dead. I’d survive by securing myself inside somewhere with plenty of ammo and about four other people. One way in, one way out, and if anyone else tries to come in…I’M BLOWIN’ YA HEAD OFF!

DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING TO PROMOTE?

November 1-3rd I’ll be hosting at Helium Comedy for George Wilborn

You can also catch me on YouTube here and here. Please like, subscribe, comment, and share!!!!!

Enjoying these profiles of the local comedy scene? Get out and see a show this week. Then purchase your ticket to Flyover Comedy Festival, coming to The Grove in November. Over 100 local and touring comics will be bringing the laughs alongside headliners like Kyle Kinane & Sasheer Zamata. Wristbands are on sale now!