Q&A with Good Cop/Rad Cop

By Nathan Alexander

Good Cop/Rad Cop are coming to town to perform at The Whirling Tiger on Thursday, August 31! Don’t miss your chance to see this one-of-a-kind performance. They will be joined by some of our Louisville favorites Dan Alten, Ehrin Dowdle, Ali Gautier, Qsmoke, and Aaron Love!

Tickets are $7 online and $10 at the door. Get your tickets here.

Dave Hannah and Ryan Darling comprise the musical comedy duo Good Cop/Rad Cop. They headline shows all over the country and leave audiences laughing and singing along. They have performed in Red Eye Comedy Festival, Epic Comedy Festival, Lookout Comedy Festival, and are booked to perform at Laughing Skull later this year.

Dave and Ryan were kind enough to answer some questions from Louisville Laughs.

Louisville Laughs: How did you guys get started in comedy? Did you start out writing and performing together? How did this partnership come to be?

We both got started in comedy as standups. I met Dave one night while I was bartending and hosting a mic at JJ’s Bohemia in Chattanooga. We got along great and have been friends since then. We did a few goof-off songs and weird experimental shows here and there, but we didn’t really start writing together until the pandemic. We were roommates during lockdown, so we stopped doing standup and moved to music.

Where did the name Good Cop/Rad Cop come from?

Our band name came from nowhere. We were submitting to an internet competition for a punk band called “Pup,” and in order to submit our video we had to have some kind of name, so Ryan shouted that out and we ran with it because we didn’t plan on it getting anywhere.

Who are some of your comedy heroes and why?

We’re big fans of Rory Scovel, Jo Firestone and Andy Daly. We’re also big fans of each other. We both enjoy experimental comedy that breaks the rules. We’re big on breaking rules.

Being such a unique act, have you found that you’ve had to create your own opportunities in spaces that don’t typically showcase your style of comedy?

Yes, sort of. A lot of places are welcoming to our act because it’s so different. However, some places are reasonably concerned about taking a chance on something so unique.

What advice have you gotten that has made the most difference in your journey as comedians? Do you have any advice for new comedians, writers, performers, artists?

Our best advice is to be willing to fail. If you’re not failing at least sometimes, then you’re not doing anything that someone hasn’t seen before. Also, stay true to what you enjoy. You will get the career that you work alongside of. If you want to work at a club, then work with the club. If you want to work at a bar, then work with the bars.

Do you have any comedy horror stories you’re willing to share?

A multitude. We’ve both done incredibly good shows and incredibly bad shows. Dave once drove to Atlanta on three separate occasions to do a show at a bed and breakfast in which he was never remembered, not even one time. At one Good Cop Rad Cop Show, Ryan misunderstood that a person in the audience was genuinely disliking our sound. Sarcastically, he threatened to fight him, which was met with a legitimate offer for combat.

Do you have a specific show you’ve done that stands out as your favorite?

It’s hard to pick a favorite, but we always have a good time at shows where we get to go a little crazy. At Epic Comedy Hour in Huntsville, we take off our shirts and get insane. Once, Dave was crowd-surfed out of a house party. It is uncertain if they enjoyed it or wanted him to leave.

You’ve performed at Red Eye Comedy Festival, Epic Comedy Festival, Lookout Comedy Festival, and will be featured at Laughing Skull Festival this year! What do you like about performing in festivals? And how is that experience different from doing an independent show with just your musical comedy variety show?

Festivals are great because we get to spend time with other comedians, not just at the show but often for a couple of days. There is nothing more entertaining than rolling around with professional comics and finding the humor in literally everything that you encounter. Sometimes you laugh so much that existence is weird for the next few days.

Do you have a pre-show ritual?

Why yes, we do, and thank you for asking. Before every show, Ryan and I will usually push and slap each other. We recently started butt bumping. We don’t know why, but for some reason, it gets us very amped up for the performance and has yet to be ineffective.

You have a hilarious podcast called The Itty Bitty Ditty Committee in which you teach the audience how to write a little ditty. How does the podcast inform your act? Do you find that the podcast helps you develop material?

Honestly, we haven’t done much of the songs live, though we have tried it in the past. It helps us get into a songwriting mindset and reminds us that not all songs have to be good, but the ones we’ll be doing live definitely are.

What do you set out to achieve in a show? What do you want the audience to take away from the Good Cop/Rad Cop experience?

A recent report said that people who see Taylor Swift live might forget they were there because they were so entertained. This is exactly what we hope to achieve. Our goal, every time, is for you to wake up in a Good Cop/ Rad Cop t-shirt and have no recollection of how you got it.

You can find Good Cop Rad Cop on their YouTube, podcast, and socials. Don’t miss your chance to see them live Thursday, August 31st at Whirling Tiger. Get your tickets here!

Q&A with NYC Comedian Caitlin Peluffo

By Nathan Alexander

Caitlin Peluffo, the “lovable loose cannon,” is headlining a weekend of shows at Planet of the Tapes from August 11-12! Get your tickets here.

Caitlin delivers a high energy performance that will keep the audience hanging on every word. Get your tickets here.

Caitlin is based out of New York City and is a regular at the world famous Comedy Cellar. She tours all over the country and has opened for Maria Bamford, Fortune Feimster, Matteo Lane, and Brian Regan.

Caitlin has performed on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert, The Late Late Show with James Corden, Just for Laughs Comedy Festival, Comedy Central, and Don’t Tell Comedy.

Caitlin also hosts the podcast Good Time Gal with Caitlin Peluffo where she and a guest revel in the “worst decisions that alcohol ever helped them make.”

Caitlin was kind enough to answer some questions from Louisville Laughs.

Louisville Laughs: How long have you been performing standup and what made you decide to go for it? Were you always the funny one in the friend group and if so, how easily were you able to translate that to the stage?

Caitlin Peluffo: I’ve been doing comedy for almost 10 years (wow… a decade… that’s terrifying). I wanted to try stand up for a few years before I actually had the guts to step foot onstage. Of course, a breakup inspired me to actually pull the trigger (nothing says “you’re gonna miss me” quite like becoming a clown).

I was always the loud, outspoken class clown but had no idea you could make it a career. I had assumed you’d needed special schooling to do comedy, but once I went to an open mic I realized pretty fast that anyone would try stand up.

Where did you get your start? Do you remember any jokes from your first open mic? Are there any jokes that made it to a headlining set?

I got my start with Laughing Buddha open mics. Before I started, I googled “how to start stand up comedy” and Laughing Buddha had a free seminar on getting started with open mics, so I went!

At the end of the seminar they pulled a name out of a hat where the winner got a free class, and they happened to pull my name. I love a deal, so I had to go. There I wrote a joke about my thighs that ended up being in my Colbert set.

Who are some of your comedy heroes and why?

My favorite comic is Dave Attell. He’s a unique blend of sharp and silly. I admire Maria Bamford for her honesty and creativity. 

What advice have you gotten that has made the most difference in your journey as a standup? Do you have any advice for new comedians, writers, performers, artists?

The best advice I got was from a comic who told me that a comedy career is a marathon and not a sprint. Now with social media it’s important to remember that. We can’t have all our success all at once.

Also, you must keep your eyes on your own paper, so to speak. Focus on your own goals and what you can control (writing, open mics, etc) otherwise you’re gonna burn out fast.

Do you have any comedy horror stories you’re willing to share?

I once had a Jack and Coke thrown on me by a very drunk, very grumpy (and racist) Long Island housewife. Woof. 

Do you have a specific show you’ve done that stands out as your favorite?

I really loved performing on The Late Late show with James Corden. My parents and my fiancé were in the green room with me which made it very special. I also had about 5 days to really prepare for the set so I was proud of myself when I pulled it off.

You’ve made appearances on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, The Late Late Show with James Corden, Comedy Central, and Don’t Tell Comedy. Do you approach these recorded sets any differently than a regular show at a comedy club?

The only main differences in these sets and the ones I do every day is makeup. And clothes. It’s the only time I care about my appearance.

Do you have a pre-show ritual?

For a long set, I write out my set list 3 times in a row and put the last set list in my back pocket. I’ve never looked at it, but it’s like a safety blanket.

You went to art school before becoming a comedian. Do you see yourself ever incorporating performative video art in your comedy?

Oh god no. … Haha I was so serious when I was in art school, so earnest. It was too much. 

What do you set out to achieve in a standup show? What do you want the audience to take away from the Caitlin Peluffo experience? 

I want people to leave my show in a better mood than when they arrived. At this point in my career, a lot of people come to shows not knowing me or what to expect, and my main focus is to bring joy and a needed distraction from everyday life.

Whenever someone says “I needed that” at the end of a show, that’s what makes me feel like I did my job.

Caitlin Peluffo on The Late Late Show with James Corden

Don’t miss the hilarious Caitlin Peluffo this weekend at Planet of the Tapes! Tickets are available here for shows on Friday, August 11 and Saturday, August 12.

You can find Caitlin Peluffo at her website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and her podcast!

Q&A with Cincinnati standup comedian Tabari McCoy

By Nathan Alexander

Tabari McCoy will be performing in Louisville on July 20 at Gravely Brewing Company! He will be joined by one of Cincinnati’s rising stars Gretchen Schultz and Louisville favorites Eric Groovely and Peter Swanz.

This is a free show, but you can reserve your tickets here!

Tabari is known for his conversational style of comedy and cites pop culture, music, sports, movies, and his personal experiences as his influences. He has released two albums and his debut special Be Happy was released on YouTube earlier this year.

Tabari was kind enough to answer some questions from Louisville Laughs.

Louisville Laughs: How long have you been performing standup and what made you decide to go for it? Were you always the funny guy of the friend group and how easily were you able to translate that to the stage?

Tabari McCoy: I began performing stand-up comedy in April 2006. I had loved stand-up since I was a child, literally, as I recall seeing a very famous special by a very famous (but now disgraced) comedian playing on the television of a long-closed department store. As an only child, there are plenty of lonely times growing up and when you’re laughing, you don’t feel alone, you don’t feel scared… You just feel happy. 

At the time I started, I was working for a lifestyle publication produced by hometown newspaper, The Cincinnati Enquirer. I wanted to do a story on the local stand-up comedy scene and as part of that, I decided I was going to finally bite the bullet and do an open mic. I got laughs despite the jokes being half-baked and even less executed, and I was hooked.

I could be funny as a kid and knew how to use humor as both a way to get positive attention and as a defense mechanism having also done emcee battles 8 Mile-style in college despite not fitting a traditional battle rapper look. Over time, translating every day conversation to the stage has become much easier.

Did you get your start in Cincinnati? Do you remember any of the jokes from your very first open mic set and are there any that made it to an album? What’s the comedy scene like in Cincinnati?

Tabari: I started at Go Bananas Comedy Club, one of the best and most respected independent comedy clubs in the nation. I don’t remember one single joke from my very first set thankfully and none of them made it to either of my albums nor my special, “Be Happy,” now streaming on YouTube.

The stand-up comedy scene in Cincinnati is very good and filled with talented comedians who will push you to get better simply because if you don’t, you won’t last and/or fade into oblivion. Our proximity to several other major cities within a four-to five-hour driving range also makes travel and networking better than other situations.

Who are some of your comedy heroes? Have you gotten to work with any of them yet?

Tabari: There’s an old expression – “Never meet your heroes.” The real version of people can often be disappointing compared to what you think they are like. That being said, I’ve been very fortunate to meet several comics I respect and admire and save for a few random weekends where the comic in question would never remember meeting me, I’ve been very fortunate to avoid nightmare circumstances. 

What advice have you gotten that has made the most difference in your journey as a standup? Do you have any advice for new comedians, writers, performers? 

Tabari: The one piece of advice that readily comes to mind was something the late David A. Arnold told me one time at the Cleveland Improv. The Cleveland Improv is one of the most urban – that means filled with black people in the audience – clubs in America. I’m not built in the mold of many black comics who grew up in ‘hood situations. That is not a knock or judgment by any means; it’s just a fact.

Anyway, I used to struggle in front of crowds that I didn’t relate to because I went into the situation thinking they wouldn’t get me. A comedian’s job is to bring people into your world and make it relatable to theirs while establishing that “This is my stage” for the time they are on it. 

David told me he got over those hardcore audiences “when I realized they wouldn’t stop coming just because I didn’t want them to.” Going up with confidence, swagger and establishing that you are in control helped me far more than just working on my jokes did – but those audiences definitely made me improve my joke writing and knowing how to perform for more than one audience. Does that mean I’m everybody’s cup of tea? Hell no – but I definitely have more people sipping from my cup than I used to.    

There is also a Chris Rock quote that haunts me. I started stand-up late at age 29 and I have a house, like my neighbors and enjoy sleeping in a real bed. I know my situation is too comfortable – and I chose that word purposefully – for me to give up. But Chris Rock said “You can be the funniest guy in Detroit, but you’re the funniest guy in Detroit.”

The industry is in LA and NYC and it is extremely difficult to advance outside of those cities to be headlining nationwide and get other opportunities. I wish I was more of a risk taker, but I’m not in that sense. If I had some momentum or something to build on, then I would move to LA or NYC, so start before you have real responsibilities or commitments – that would be my advice. 

What’s your comedy horror story?

Tabari: I’m not rich or famous enough to go into detail, but I’ll say this: There are few things worse than working with someone who needs to FEEL like a star off stage at all times versus simply being a good person. I’ve had that happen more times than I care to remember.

Every comic gets booed at some point – anyone who says they haven’t hasn’t been doing it long enough and/or is just a liar – but egomaniac comedians make me wish I didn’t have a mortgage, family I care about or no common sense so I could just wild out and go full Rick James/Charlie Murphy (who I got to emcee a weekend for once at the old Louisville Improv) on them.

What’s your comedy highlight so far?

Tabari: I’ve put out two albums (Remarkable in 2018 and Laughing with a Panther in 2013), performed on the main stage of a major event in front of thousands of people and even put out a special which has 5,000+ views (and counting) on YouTube. I also got to perform on the main stage of a historic theater in my native Cincinnati. I’ve got miles to go, but the ride has had some nice highlights thus far. 

You have a podcast called A Tight 45 with Tabari McCoy, you’re a movie blogger, writer, journalist, and standup comedian. How do all these different creative endeavors inform your standup?

Tabari: I haven’t put out a new episode of my podcast in months because it became too hard to try and book guests on a routine basis and every comedian (or person that THINKS they’re a comic) has a podcast. I enjoy doing it, but I gave it a year to build and it didn’t reach where I wanted it to listener-wise if I’m honest. I am thinking of bringing it back because I enjoy it, but when you are juggling so many balls, it’s best to focus on a couple to do them well as opposed to possibly doing them all mediocre. 

I have a STRONG belief that drives me, however: People make time for what’s important to them. That applies to every avenue in life. I made time to do my podcast, my daytime hustle, my movie blog (http://mccoyonmovies.blogspot.com/) and of course stand-up because I make time for them. The same principle applies to dating and any other job/hobby. If it’s important to you, you’ll find time to do it and do it well.

I try to make opportunities when I’m not getting them because it’s important. I’m doing this interview because anyone that might be interested in seeing me perform after learning more about me is important to me. And going up on stage and making people laugh and showing I’m a good comic is important to me. That will all come out Thursday night.

What do you hope to achieve in a standup performance? What are you aiming for the audience to take away from the Tabari McCoy experience?

Tabari: My goal is to make the crowd laugh. If I can make them think, cool. But the job is to make them laugh. I love comedy for two reasons: (1) Comedians are the last truth tellers we have in society and in every good joke is a modicum of truth. (2) You can cry from laughing, but rarely laugh from crying – people that do that probably have bodies under their house. 

I will say this: I’m single. If women come out and see that I am an honest, decent human being that can make them laugh, that’s my in. I just saw the Barbie movie tonight before doing this and having seen Ryan Gosling’s physique in that movie, I NEED to be funny!

You’ve released multiple comedy albums. You released a special this year called Be Happy. Congratulations! What was that experience like and what made you want to put out a special? How did you prepare for the special and was this preparation different from what you’ve done ahead of your past album recordings?

Tabari: The internet is to comedy in 2023 what The Tonight Show was to stand-up in the late 1970s and mid 1980s. You have to get eyes on you to make other people be willing to book you to put asses in seats. Why do you think I’m doing this interview – to NOT have people show up?

I prepared for this special by doing everything possible to make it feel special to the audience. Jokes are jokes; a special should feel like a moment in time captured on video and/or audio. There were jokes I look back at that I could have tightened up, added to, said differently, but it was all captured in one take in real time. I literally only cut out one joke from the final cut and added the monologue at the end back in because it meant something to me that I wanted those watching to feel, too. 

Now, I’m working on building a new 45 minutes to hour of material and I already have new material I didn’t have when I was in Louisville earlier this month. If you want to come laugh and maybe help me pay for another pair of sneakers by buying my merch after the show, I hope to see whoever is reading this at Gravely Brewing Thursday night!

Come see Tabari McCoy and friends tomorrow, July 20th at Gravely Brewing Company! Free tickets can be reserved here.

You can find Tabari at his website, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and McCoy On Movies.

Q&A with Nashville Comedian Chance Willie

By Nathan Alexander

Chance Willie is coming to Louisville to headline Planet of the Tapes and he is bringing a slate of local favorites for a show on Thursday, June 15th. Get your tickets here!

Chance Willie is a stand-up comedian from Nashville who has performed all over the country. He comes to us through Lexington comic and producer Jon Bass who has been booking shows in the area. Chance will be joined by some of Louisville’s best in Will McKenzie, Hilary Boston, Mairead Thomas and Jwal The Jerk.

Chance was kind enough to answer some questions from Louisville Laughs.

Louisville Laughs: How long have you been performing standup and what made you decide to go for it?

Chance Willie: I’ve been doing comedy for 7 years. I started after I spoke at my dad’s funeral and got some laughs. He and I watched a lot of stand-up together. I did my first open mic pretty shortly after that and got addicted to it.

Did you get your start in Nashville? Do you remember any of the jokes from your very first open mic and are there any that you still use today? What’s the comedy scene like in Nashville?

Technically, I started in Chattanooga where I did a handful of open mics. One of the jokes from my very first set was, “I live on the state line of Tennessee and Georgia, on the Tennessee side – which is great, because I don’t have to take out the trash. I just throw it across the street.” I don’t use that joke anymore.

The Nashville comedy scene is small, but everyone cares a lot. We’re all focused on getting very good at comedy. We all know each other and love to hang out, and it’s a great place to start. There are a few big guys around like Dusty [Slay], Nate [Bargatze], and Aaron [Weber] who are like lighthouses that help show us which way to go and navigate things. That’s really great to have.

What advice have you gotten that has made the most difference in your journey as a stand-up? Do you have any advice for young comedians, writers, performers?

Louis [CK] told me, “Live a life,” and Theo [Von] told me, “It’s a long race.”

My advice for new comedians is, “Don’t post mid – and keep writing.”

Do you have a comedy horror story?

I played a club once (which shall remain nameless) and as soon as I pulled the mic out of the stand, this dude in the front row yelled, “Fuck you, pussy!” and then I did 30 minutes of crowd work to a room full of people who won tickets on the radio. Fun night.

What’s your comedy highlight so far?

Playing the Chicago Theater with Theo Von. In the hallway you can see where every artist who has ever played there has signed their name. It’s every big act you can imagine. I signed my name on the fire alarm in really small letters. I didn’t even feel like I should be there.

I brought Theo up to the 90s Bulls’ walk out music. That feels like a dream.

What hobbies and interests do you have outside of stand-up? How does that inform your material and performance?

Playing chess with my girlfriend. She always beats me. Sometimes when I’m writing or performing I slip into a “cool guy” persona, but the funny stuff for me always comes from failing. There is no better exercise for that than being intellectually dominated by my hot girlfriend.

What do you hope to achieve in a standup performance? What are you aiming for the audience to take away from the Chance Willie experience?

I want them to laugh. A lot. That’s it.

What’s on your comedy bucket list?

I want to Kill Tony. I want to actually kill him.

Don’t miss Chance Willie at Planet of the Tapes Thursday at 8pm!

You can find Chance on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and YouTube.

6 Questions with Comedian Paige Weldon, Who Is Recording an Album at Planet of the Tapes This Week

By June Dempsey

Paige Weldon is coming to Louisville to record her third album at Planet of the Tapes. Get your tickets here! Paige has performed on Comedy Central, The Late Late Show with James Corden, numerous Don’t Tell Comedy shows, and comedy clubs across the country.

Paige was kind enough to answer some questions for Louisville Laughs.

Louisville Laughs: You’re recording your album at Planet of the Tapes this weekend. That’s exciting! Why did you choose Louisville and this venue to record?

Paige Weldon: Honestly it just seemed like a cool venue for it! I’d been looking for the right opportunity to record a new album and when Planet of the Tapes offered me a weekend I thought why not see if this would work. I’d heard great things about it from other comics (including other recent headliner/my friend Logan Guntzelman) so I asked my label AST Records as well as the Planet of the Tapes folks what they thought. Everyone seemed excited about it, which got me excited about it too!

This is your third album — what was recording the other two albums like? Where did you record them? How long did it take you to write and practice the material for the albums?

My first album Uncomfortable at Best was thanks to Jonah Ray, who partnered with AST Records to release 14 minute sets on 7” records for a couple of his favorite comics in 2014 (aka a million years ago). I recorded my set for that as part of a showcase at a long-running LA show called Comedy Living Room, which was in fact in a living room.

A few years later I saw Jonah at a show and he casually said something about if I ever wanted to do a full-length record to let him know. At first I thought the idea sounded way too intimidating, but ultimately decided to go for it because it was a great opportunity and I knew I had the material if I just committed to working it out in longform.

I got some places outside LA to let me do longer sets leading up to it, and then recorded at this venue in LA called Genghis Cohen. It’s a Chinese restaurant with a little showroom in the back and I once again, just thought it seemed like a cool place to do it! And thus my first full length album, Girlfriend at the Time, was born.

You just had a Don’t Tell set posted on YouTube a few days ago. Do you perform at Don’t Tell Shows a lot? What is it like doing a Don’t Tell versus a show in a comedy club? How do you go about preparing for a ten minute filmed set?

Yeah, I’d say I do Don’t Tell shows pretty regularly! I guess the main difference is that it’s more of a pop-up type vibe at a Don’t Tell show. It feels more like a special one-night-only thing. I prepared for the filmed set by just doing it a bunch and working out the kinks/seeing what fit in to the set and what didn’t. I know that’s a boring answer but it’s true!

You post cartoons that you draw on your Instagram and you drew the album cover for your last few albums yourself. Do you find it easy to come up with humor drawings? Is the process similar to joke writing for you?

The process is different in that you have to plan a comic strip before you start it, and then when it’s done it’s done. Whereas with stand-up, jokes evolve as you do them again and again, and you do a lot more writing on stage (or at least I do). But to be honest I’ve moved away from the cartoons because it’s really hard to do both!

I’ve always loved drawing and started experimenting with making cartoons for Instagram in late 2019, then when the pandemic hit it was kind of my only creative outlet so I did a lot more. I really loved doing it but they take a lot of time and stand-up has always been more of my focus. Now I use drawing more as a good skill to have for making my own flyers and yes, my album art!

Do you have any advice for newer comics starting out? What are some ways you’ve found to refine your jokes? What do you see has changed in comedy since you’ve started?

It may sound cliche but my advice is always that you have to just do it. That’s the only way to get better and the only way to figure out what works for you. Early on I hit mics every night and was always out trying new jokes. With time I’ve gotten a lot clearer on my voice so I can get each new bit to a good place faster, or recognize when something just isn’t going to work.

But again that’s only because I’ve been doing it so long! Probably the biggest change in comedy since I started is how comics use social media to share clips, etc. This makes me sound old but I embrace my oldness.

What are some of the strange shows you’ve put on or been a part of?

This is such a hard question because after 12 years of stand-up the strange shows are many. I guess the first thing that comes to mind is that one time I did a show on the roof of the Ace Hotel in downtown LA and the GoodYear blimp flew over during my set. It was so loud that I could not ignore it. That is thankfully the only time I have ever been heckled by a blimp.

I also once did a virtual reality comedy show where the comics had to wear a VR headset in a studio and perform for avatars of people who were wearing VR headsets in their homes.

Don’t miss your chance to see Paige Weldon! Get your tickets here! Listen to Paige’s previous album Girlfriend At The Time here. Follow Paige on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok. We’ll see you there!

Q&A with clean-cut Cincinnati Comedian Zach Wycuff

Zach Wycuff is a hilarious standup comedian and writer from Cincinnati. As he prepares for a special recording with DryBar he will be headlining a show at Falls City Beer on Thursday, April 6, 2023!

Admission is free and the show will also feature performances from comics Cali Botkin, Ben Flug, and Jack Merrywell.

Zach was the winner of the 2019 Funniest Person in Cincinnati competition. He hosts a podcast called Road Killers where talks with comedians, artists, and performers about their travels.

Zach was kind enough to answer some questions for Louisville Laughs.

Louisville Laughs: At what point did you know you wanted to be a comedian?

Zach Wycuff: I’ve always loved comedy. I would come home on Saturday nights from church (I grew up weird lol) and watch SNL. I think when I discovered it was a real thing you could do and not just for people that live in New York or LA, I knew I had to give it a shot.

You host a podcast called Road Killers where you talk with artists/comedians/performers about their travels. What’s something interesting you’ve learned from this podcast and has it informed your standup?

Great question! People have really interesting food options on the road. I learned you can get Donettes and the chocolate coating is almost like a water sealant, so if you take a bite and dip it in milk, it stores the liquid like some sort of milk water balloon situation. I talk to some truly disgusting people.

I’ve also learned less important things.

You won the 2019 Funniest Person In Cincinnati competition. What was it like to win a competition in the city you started in as an open mic-er?

It was about time I GOT SOME DANG RESPECT. No, it was a great honor and so much fun. There’s an “amateur” and “semi-pro” bracket so in 2019, I got to win the semi-pro bracket as my best friend won the amateur. It was truly the best. It’s so funny that that happened because never have I felt truly like the “funniest person.”

Some of the funniest people are established comedians who don’t compete in stuff like that. Also some of the funniest people don’t do stand up. But it did feel like a really cool moment that’s nice to remember when I go to an open mic and suck. I think to myself, “One time, people got together and heard me speak and thought I was funny. Maybe I can go do that again.”

I heard you on a Love the Bomb podcast talking about a rough show you did for a group of volunteer librarians. What is the best experience you’ve had performing outside of a normal comedy space?

WONDERfUL question. I have a background as a probation officer, where I was trying to keep people out of prison in a system that’s largely not great to those incarcerated. Recently, I got to perform *inside* of a prison and it went great.

I was always very nervous to perform for the population I spent so much time with. Not because of any sort of fear, but I do jokes about my time as a PO and really was nervous they would (very understandably) not be about that. But thankfully, they were really really kind and we all had a great time.

As everyone was leaving, I said to someone, “Thanks so much for coming,” and she said, “Of course. It’s not like we had many options.” And that’s a pretty great point.

Were you always funny growing up? Did standup and performing in general come naturally to you?

I was always the kid in class who was really quiet and would whisper something to my buddy who would repeat it louder and get a big laugh. Maybe I was destined to be a writer. Performance still is very much a learned skill for me, but there really are few things better.

What is your comedy highlight?

Winning the contest with my best friend is pretty hard to beat.

Who were the first comedians you remember watching or listening to?

I always watched Seinfeld reruns growing up. I think the first comedian I saw in a real comedy club was a guy named Heywood Banks (remember that song, “Yeah Toast”?). I was maybe like 16 at the time and he was hilarious. There’s so many jokes you can make about toast.

What are your comedy goals? Who are some people you’d like to work with in the future?

I hope I get to keep doing stand up as long as I’m around. I would love to write for a show, something like a “Crashing” or “Ted Lasso”, and eventually my own original show. The list of people I would love to work with is pretty long, but to name just a few: Mike Birbiglia, Nate Bargatze, Pete Holmes, John Mulaney, Roy Wood, Jr., and Seinfeld.

Don’t miss Zach at Falls City Beer! You can get more Zach Wycuff on his Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and podcast.

Q&A With NYC Comedian Gianmarco Soresi

Gianmarco Soresi is headlining this weekend at Planet of the Tapes! Tickets are available here for shows Friday, March 31 – Saturday, April 1.

Gianmarco is a hilarious standup comedian, actor and writer. He released a New York Emmy nominated comedy special Shelf Life, made his late night television debut on The Late Late Show with James Corden, appeared on Comedy Central, Netflix, PBS, and more. He was a season 8 winner of Amazon’s Comics Watching Comics and was a NPR 2020 comedy pick. He is a regular performer at the famed Comedy Cellar in New York and was selected for Just For Laughs Comedy Festival’s New Faces of Comedy.

Gianmarco was kind enough to answer some questions for Louisville Laughs.

Louisville Laughs: At what point did you know you wanted to be a comedian?

Gianmarco Soresi: After about five years of failing as an actor. I wrote an autobiographical play and noticed that all the positive feedback was from when I talked to the audience. So I wouldn’t say I wanted to be a comedian so much as that’s the only thing I had the talent for. 

You’re a trained actor and received a degree in Musical Theatre in college. How does this influence your approach to standup? Do you think it gives you an edge over other comedians who don’t have this additional skill set?

It’s a double-edged sword, on one hand yeah I can use my theatrics to add a little extra juice to my comedy, but on the other hand all those theatrical tools can sometimes prevent you from portraying the most authentic version of yourself and/or developing your joke writing to its full potential because the delivery trumps the content. Ultimately my musical theatre training will be more useful when I inevitably host a terrible game show for millions of dollars.

Between performing standup all over the country, appearing in television and film, hosting your hit podcast The Downside with Gianmarco Soresiand performing in your sketch team Uncle Function, you seem to stay extremely busy. How do all these different creative endeavors inform your comedy? 

They each take so much goddamn time from my life that my psyche is whittled down to a husk and I’m then more able to access my subconscious where the better material awaits. 

You released your special Shelf Life in 2020 which received nominations for three New York Emmy Awards. What did you learn from that experience? And was the complete creative control worth the extra effort that comes with self-producing?

The material in that special is imperfect, but I did it anyway because all those Covid jokes I wrote were going to expire and ultimately that special advanced my touring career more than anything else – so I learned to be less precious about sharing my work. Complete creative control is a nightmare, I’m so indecisive. Thank God I had two producers who had opinions I could disagree with and thus figure out what I really wanted. 

You’ve performed on The Late Late Show with James Corden, JFL New Faces in Montreal, you’re a regular at the Comedy Cellar and countless New York City comedy clubs. What are some of your comedy goals? Who are some people you’d like to work with? 

I would just like to not have to do written interviews in the hopes it helps move slow ticket sales. Aside from that, to work within the vicinity of Mulaney or Jeselnik would be fabulous. 

What is the best advice you ever got that you actually used? 

I used to have a joke about my girlfriend where the punchline was some hacky shit like, “Just kidding, I don’t have a girlfriend.” Paul Mercurio told me after the show that I was a better comic than to rely on that. I’ll never forgive him, but that’s the first time I started asking myself what my standards are for my comedy, outside of getting laughs. 

What is your comedy horror story?

I performed at a benefit that I didn’t do enough research for, and the mid show auction was all for guns. Then the host brought me up by announcing ExxonMobile was the one sponsoring my appearance. My mom was there too. In my defense, I was paid the most money I’ve ever been paid for 20 minutes of stage time.

What is your comedy highlight?

Cashing that check.

Don’t miss your chance to see Gianmarco Soresi this weekend at Planet of the Tapes! Get your tickets here.

You can see more of Gianmarco Soresi on his website, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Facebook, and Spotify!

Q&A With Louisville Comedian Jamie Utley

by Nathan Alexander

Jamie Utley will be headlining this weekend at The Caravan Comedy Club in Louisville! Tickets are available here for shows Thursday, March 23 – Saturday, March 25. Jamie is a seasoned professional and has been making audiences laugh for over a decade. He was kind enough to answer some questions from Louisville Laughs.

Louisville Laughs: You’ve toured on the Monsters of Comedy tour with Ralphie May and Jim Breuer, appeared on The Bob and Tomu show, Fridays with Jim Breuer on Sirius XM, and starred on Laughs on Fox. What has it been like to work with such established names in the comedy world?

Jamie Utley: Oh man. I have been so lucky to work with so many that it’s almost surreal at times. Getting to hang out with your heroes is an unbelieveable experience. I don’t think I can put it into words.

How long have you been a comedian? How has your style changed over the years?

I’m not exactly sure how long but I’m estimating 15 years or so. I’m not really sure how my style has changed with the exception of continuously trying to cut out unnecessary words and jokes. I strive to be true to myself and about myself.

What hobbies and interests do you have outside of comedy?

I collect vintage toys from the 70’s and have a vintage Garelli moped as well as an early 80’s pinball machine and Pac Man machine. I’m really into everything from the 70’s and 80’s.

Did you get your start in Louisville?

Yes, I did. I was fortunate enough to start during the Tom Sobel years.

Do you remember a specific instance when you realized you wanted to pursue a career as a standup comedian?

Right before I called the club and asled how to become a comic I went to a show. Emcee didn’t have a great set and I looked up at him and new I could do better than what he was doing that night. All I ever wanted was to be an emcee on a weekend show. That’s it. That was my entire goal. Everything else has been the cherry to top.

You joke about your “dysfunctional family”, your journey with sobriety, and personal relationships in your act. Do you think comedy helps you process and understand life as it happens?

I don’t know that it’s helped. I’ve done so much of it that sometimes the line gets blurred and I can’t tell which Jamie is the real Jamie. There came a point where I became more comfrotable in front of a crowd of 300 than I am one on one with people I’ve known for years.

What’s the best advice you ever got in your comedy career?

There’s been so much. The best I didn’t follow was don’t fight on facebook. I used to get in a lot of fights on facebook. I talk about it in my act. Some are “Always pee before you go on stage.” Learn to work clean first. You’re the talent, don’t let clubs make you feel like they’re doing you a favor. Another big one was don’t let people haggle over merch prices.

What has been your comedy highlight so far?

They keep coming. I recently made the room explode at Comedy Off Broadway just by giving a look. That’s my most recent but I guess over all would have to be the Monster’s of Comedy. I guess I peaked early.

What is your comedy horror story?

Cocoa Beach. St. Patrick’s Day weekend there was a drunk heckler woman that I couldn’t defend against because she blurted something out as I went in to every line. Finally I stopped and yelled “Lady would you shut up? I’m trying to tell some jokes!” She yelled back “You need help,” and I yelled, “You’re the reason I need help”. Then her husband rushed the stage. Grant Lyon jumped up and saved the day as the audience had the lady on the floor and they were literally dragging her out as she was screaming and kicking. The venue did NOTHING to stop what was going on and the manager made the whole thing seem like it was my fault to cover up that he wouldn’t police the room. It was terrible.

What’s on your comedy bucket list? Who are some people you’d like to work with in the future?

Brett Butler is on my bucket list. I believe she’ll be back on the road some day.

Come see Jamie Utley this weekend at the Caravan! Follow him on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

Show this flyer at the box office and get in for free with a guest!

Q&A with Comedian Brad Wenzel

by Nathan Alexander

Brad Wenzel is coming to Louisville to headline shows March 24 and 25 at Planet of the Tapes! Tickets can be found here.

Brad is known for his offbeat one-liners and wry non-sequiturs. He has performed standup on Conan three times, recorded an album with Jack White’s record label Third Man Records, and has recently released his first special. You can watch joke. joke. joke. here!

Brad was also selected as a New Face of Comedy at Just For Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal, has appeared on Bob and Tom, and can be heard on Sirius XM.

Brad was kind enough to answer some questions from Louisville Laughs.

Louisville Laughs: You came to Planet of the Tapes in 2022 for a weekend of shows. What about your experience made you excited to come back?

Brad Wenzel: It’s such a good room and the audiences are really smart and fun. I also like the local comics in Louisville. I always enjoy performing here.

You started performing standup at 17 years old in Michigan, and you’ve honed an original and refreshing comedic voice. How has your style changed over the years?

I just slowly got better at writing and performing. I always did a version of what I do now, but with experience you learn what to do and what not to do. I have more fun onstage now. I’m much more myself up there even though I dip into absurdity material-wise.

You made your first of three appearances on Conan while you were still working out of Detroit and Ann Arbor. Being an established comedian now, how do you think starting your career in the Midwest has impacted you?

The Detroit/Ann Arbor scene is very underrated. You learn how to do stand up in front of real audiences rather than exclusively other comedians. There’s enough hip crowds and broad crowds that you become more well rounded as a comedian.

You released an album on Jack White’s record label in 2017 called Sweet Nothings. How does the album name relate to your style of comedy?

I was just looking for a way to describe silly jokes. There was a lot of “important” comedy in 2017. My stuff is goofy. My wife really likes that title. I think it’s one of those titles where once you finish the album it makes sense. I like that.

You released your first special this year on YouTube titled joke. joke. joke. which has gotten over 42,000 views so far. What was it like to record a special?

I self-produced it so it was a labor of love.

What has been your comedy highlight so far?

The Conan appearances were probably the most notable thing, but whenever I get a new joke to work, that’s the best feeling. Those moments on stage always remind me why I’m a comedian.

What hobbies and interests do you have outside of comedy?

I like listening to music and watching pro wrestling. I’m kinda obsessed with comedy though, it’s unhealthy. I like hanging out with comedians and talking about comedy.

What is your comedy horror story?

My bank account, folks!

What’s on your comedy bucket list? Who are some people you’d like to work with in the future?

I would like to perform in every state. I think I’ve done 34 so far. I would like to keep writing and making albums forever.

Don’t miss your chance to see Brad Wenzel this weekend at Planet of the Tapes! Tickets are available here for shows on Friday, March 24 and Saturday, March 25.

Follow Brad Wenzel on his Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.

Q&A with comedian Katherine Blanford, a Louisville native

By Nathan Alexander

Katherine Blanford, a comedian based in Atlanta, is headlining the Louisville Comedy Club with two shows this Friday, Aug. 26. One of the shows is already sold out, so get your tickets here while they are still available.

Katherine is a stand-up comedian, writer, and podcaster, who grew up in Louisville. Her high-energy stage presence and rapid fire joke writing keeps the audience hanging on to every word to ensure they don’t miss a thing.

Katherine has toured the country and recently made her television debut performing on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

Katherine released her debut album, Salt Daddy in June 2022. Listen to her recount joke-dense stories about growing up in Kentucky, her work as a nanny, a less-than-ideal ocean cruise and much more.

Katherine was kind enough to answer some questions for Louisville Laughs.

Louisville Laughs: At what point did you know you wanted to be a comedian?

Katherine Blanford: “When I went on stage for the first time and felt that rush of attention.”

You grew up in Louisville. What does it mean to come back to perform?

“It means people know when I’m embellishing a story because they were all there when it actually happened.”

In addition to stand-up, you are a writer and have a podcast called Cheaties. How do your other creative endeavors inform your comedy?

“They give me ideas for new bits. And allows me to express myself in other ways so I’m not so desperate to get on stage. Sometimes doing that open mic at 2 a.m. on a Tuesday isn’t necessary.”

What do you want your comedy to do for people? What do you hope it accomplishes?

I’m here for the basic white girls. We’ve been severely underrepresented in this society and I am here to finally give us a voice.”

What is on your comedy bucket list? Is there anyone in particular you would like to work with?

“Tig Notaro. And a special on TV. But mostly just to work with Tig.”

What is the best advice you ever got that you actually used?

“Weight lifting helps you get toned. Instagram gave me that advice, and I will be forever grateful to her.”

You released your debut album in June 2022 called Salt Daddy. What was it like recording and releasing an album?

“A lot of hard work and fear that it will come out and I will lose the respect of everyone I look up to.”

Do you still keep in contact with Salt Daddy? Do you think he’s heard the album?

“No. I’m still waiting for him to reach out but I don’t think there’s good service on a boat off the coast of Fort Lauderdale.”

How would you describe your comedy?

“Worth the Groupon.”

What is your comedy horror story?

“A year into comedy I came home to do a show and the whole family came. I only had about 8 minutes of “decent” material and the booker asked me to do 10 minutes. So I had to use all my material. Which meant I ended up doing my dirtiest jokes in front of my grandma.”

What is your comedy highlight?

“Doing the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Oh, and doing my dirty jokes in front of my grandma.”

Katherine can be found on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Tik Tok, YouTube, and her website.

Katherine’s debut album Salt Daddy can be streamed on Spotify and Apple Music.

Get your tickets for Katherine Blanford at the Louisville Comedy Club this Friday before the second show sells out!