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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Thursday, April 17, 2014

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In Arts & Entertainment Blogs

Tickets for the 8 p.m. show are $25.

Maron, Schaal and Mirman: new face of comedy descends on Milwaukee this Friday


Back in the day, comedians would book as many gigs in as many comedy clubs as they could, hope for a spot on "The Tonight Show" with Johnny Carson and pray he'd call them over to the chair. They'd make some comedy albums and possibly get some movies, and that was a solid career path for a comedian. In the 1990s, many comedians simply tried to be Johnny Carson and hosted their own late night show (Chevy Chase, Arsenio Hall anyone remember the Martin Short show)?

That was then, this is now. The three comedians who will headline the Kramp and Adler Comedy Festival this Friday at Turner Hall fall more into the genre of "alt comedy." The record has been replaced with the podcast, and these comedians speak to an entirely different audience through shows on FOX, Comedy Central and HBO.

Here's who'll see if you join us for the 8 p.m. show. Tickets are $25 and are available at the Pabst Theater Web site.

Eugene Mirman -- Widely recognized in Milwaukee as "The Lake FM guy" in TV commercials (a stock commercial he did for $500, 10 years ago which he was surprised was still airing) Eugene Mirman is to absurdity what Carrot Top is to props (this will be the last time Carrot Top is mentioned). If those commercials are still airing it may be during FOX's "Bob's Burgers," the surprising Sunday night animated show which he plays Gene Belcher, young son to Bob Belcher. He's also appeared on Adult Swim's "Delocated" and as Eugene the landlord on HBO's "Flight of the Conchords." In 2009 he wrote "A Will to Whatevs: A Modern Guide to Life," a book CMJ.com said contained "Mirman's patented laser-targeted yet random as hell asides."

Ultimately, it's Mirman's stand-up that makes him great. Specifically his 2004 comedy album, "The Absurd Nightclub Comedy of Eugene Mirman" (which tells childhood tales of accidents from an Atari console to the horrors of anti-marijuana PSAs). His 2006 follow-up. "En Guard, Society" and 2009's "God is a Twelve-Year-Old Boy with Asperger's," containing stories of a lost iPod, bad airlines and the gentrification of bears in Detroit is stuck in my head to this day.

Kristen Schaal -- Originally from Colorado, Schaal worked her way through the New York Comedy scene before landing the character of uber-fan Mel on HBO's "Flight of the Conchords." IMDB her and you'll find an impressive resume from writing credits on "South Park" to appearances on "Mad Men," "Modern Family" as well as films like "Get Him to the Greek," "Dinner for Schmucks" and voicing characters in "Shrek" and "Toy Story 3." In 2008 she became Senior Women's Correspondent for the "Daily Show with Jon Stewart" where her humor, quirkiness and sarcasm found a perfect home in a fitting forum. Schaal has also written a book with her boyfriend titled "The Sexy Book of Sexy Sex."

Marc Maron -- Maron referred to himself in a recent interview with writer/actor Michael Showalter as a "trench comedian." One who has through a trail of many hundreds of thousands of miles of touring in comedy clubs, a brief radio stint on Air America and now one of the most successful podcasts on iTunes, WTF. Maron is an incredibly keen interviewer who still has the ability to aid and direct funny guests into being even funnier while keeping his self-depreciation in tact. Honest, angry, and most importantly, funny.


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