Connxtions to feature ‘Comedy Held Hostage’Written by Jeff McGinnis | | firstname.lastname@example.org
“When you’re working at a lot of comedy clubs — not all of them, but when you’re working some certain comedy clubs — they put restrictions on you,” said comedian Ch!llian Thomas. “Some comedy clubs may not want you to cuss at the audience, some comedy clubs may even ask you to not even say anything to the audience. If it’s a liberal audience, they won’t let you do a Republican view, or vice versa.
“It puts a lot of restrictions on comedians sometimes, and a lot of comedians end up not really relaying who they really are on stage.”
Responding to these limits is one of the core ideas behind “Comedy Held Hostage,” a three-person tour that will be featured at Connxtions Comedy Club on Saturday, January 30 at 5:30 p.m. The show features comedians Thomas, Susan Colletti and Jarred Kruger, though the concept extends beyond the actual performances that the audience at Connxtions will see.
“The three of us got together and we thought it’d really be cool doing this tour,” Thomas said. “We document it everywhere we go, we have a camera crew following us around everywhere from hitting open mikes, to going out to promote the show, to us hanging out, to us actually doing the show.”
It occurred to me to ask if they were documenting this very interview, but I refrained. The filming is all for a documentary that will be released on DVD at the tour’s completion. Their Toledo show is one of the first on the schedule, with more to come, but the ultimate goal of the three is a full college tour.
On the phone with the three comedians as they prepared for their Toledo stop, the camaraderie between them was clear, and they obviously enjoy making others — and each other — laugh. The three have distinctly contrasting comedic styles and backgrounds, and vastly different experience.
“I’m new to the scene, really — like a year old,” said Jarred Kruger. “So, to be able to do something like this, to me, gives me a better chance to grow, instead of restricting myself, being afraid to go out there, and just to be me and go out there and do the jokes that I want to do, and what I think is funny.”
Krueger also said that the friendship between the three is key to that development. “It gives us kind of a freedom,” he said. “Like, we have each other, you know? Like, it’s not, you’re going to an open mike and it’s a bunch of people you don’t know. You’re going with your friends, it’s something you’re doing — and it’s more fun than anything else. There’s work, and there’s traveling and all that, but when it comes down to it, it’s like having fun with your friends, and that’s the best part of it.”
“I’ve been doing comedy for quite a while, (and) this show is completely unique to me,” said Susan Colletti, a veteran of the comedy scene of both Detroit (her hometown) and Los Angeles. “Even as a woman, being out there and being a part of something that is so spectacular gives me a sense of — I’m able to write, and I don’t have to worry about what I’m writing about, and I have the support of these two guys. They let me say what I want to say, and go out there. It’s such a show, that’s so unique, it motivates me more to go out there and do more comedy.”
She adds that the audience’s enthusiasm is also a major source of encouragement. “The response we’re getting back from people…it’s amazing. People are really liking what we’re doing, and they’re really enjoying the show,” she said.
Colletti noted that several fans from other cities have already said they would be coming to Connxtions to see the group perform again. And that kind of appeal, all three agree, comes from that sense of freedom the project has given them.
“Our show is edgier than most shows, but that’s because it’s no holds barred. But, at the same time, we don’t necessarily go for the edge, so it’s not — you’re not going to see a very dirty show, or ‘blue’ show. It’s just a very opinionated show,” said Thomas. “There’s no greater feeling in the world than to be doing something like that.”
E-mail Jeff at PopGoesJeff@gmail.com.