Hometown girl brings the funny (and some friends) back to Richmond

Comedian Sara Schaefer returns home from New York City, bringing with her stand-up comics Jon Dore, Ben Kronberg, and Scott Moran for “The Homecoming Comedy Show” this week at Gallery 5. Here Sara and some of her friends chat about how stoked they are on the upcoming show and clear up and rumors about performing in the South.

This weekend, comedian Sara Schaefer returns home from New York City with a cavalcade of funny stand-up comics to share the talents of the big city with her native Richmond.

Since she left town, Sara has been an editor for BestWeekEver.tv and been featured in New York Magazine, Backstage, and the New York Post, and currently serves as (Emmy Award-winning) head blogger for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Sara will be performing alongside Jon Dore, Ben Kronberg, and Scott Moran in “The Homecoming Comedy Show” this week at Gallery 5. Sara, Ben, and Scott were nice enough to join me for a web chat to talk about how stoked they were on the upcoming shows and clear up any rumors about performing in the South.

How did this all come together?

SS: I think this show is a great opportunity to see some comedians who are on the verge of breaking nationally, in an intimate setting, before they get famous. Not to boast, but you should probably get their autographs when they’re in town.

Scott and Ben are two comedians that I perform with regularly in New York. Ben does really silly, yet edgy, one-liners and also some music. He’s performed on Jimmy Kimmel and Last Call with Carson Daly. Scott talks about his life in New York and what it’s like coming from Spokane, Washington. He recently opened for Patton Oswalt at the Sasquatch Festival. I met Jon while performing at the Bridgetown Comedy Festival in Portland, Oregon this year. He is absolutely brilliant. He’s really well-known in Canada — and his TV show, The Jon Dore Television Show, ran for two seasons on IFC in the U.S. Honestly, I’m humbled that he’s coming along for the ride.

All three of them are very different, and I think between the four of us, there will be something for everyone. It was a bit of a challenge to decide on a lineup for the show because there are so many hilarious and talented people in my life here in New York. At the end of the day, I tried to get a group of people that I wanted to spend a weekend with! Oh! And I’m also bringing my friend and very funny comedian, Brooke Van Poppelen, who will do a short set on the show as well. BONUS!

How would you describe your comedy?

SS: My comedy is self-deprecating and honest. I talk about my life — all the way back to my childhood and to my current experiences. I have all this weirdness inside of me that I’m just convinced everyone will understand. And if they don’t, it’s my job to make them get it, and to try and find a relatable connection. It’s that process that results in my funniest stuff. I’m not into shock humor, but I’m not going to shy away from topics and language that effectively expresses what I’m thinking.

BK: Guilty honest lies.

Have you ever performed stand-up in Richmond?

SS: No! I am VERY excited about doing this for the first time.

BK: I never.

SM: No, but I’m looking forward to it!

What do you want to do as soon as you get to Richmond?

SS: Get a limeade from Bill’s Barbecue.

BK: Workout at the local YMCA.

How did Sara convince you to join her?

BK: She didn’t, I flipped a coin.

Is there one thing that you can’t take a road trip without?

SS: My two-handed great sword.

BK: Patience and peanuts.

SM: It’s sad. My laptop. Right now I’m on a bus to Boston ignoring the scenery and instead designing posters for my comedy shows.

Gallery 5 is a converted firehouse. What other odd places have you performed lately?

SS: There’s a neighborhood in Brooklyn called Bushwick, and it’s where all the bohemian artists are living right now. I’ve done a few underground comedy shows happening in people’s apartments. Sounds weird, but they are actually some of the best shows I’ve done recently. Those, and lots of basements that smell like raw sewage. And a roof overlooking Times Square! That was cool.

BK: A skateboard shop in front of shoes.

SM: A hostel in N.Y.C., a giant tent at Sasquatch Music Festival, and I produce a comedy show every week in an empty apartment in Brooklyn. The building tenants come down to the show, sometimes in their pajamas.

What do you hope to get out of your trip to the South?


Also: I’m hopefully going to get some documentary-style footage of the whole experience for a project I’m working on about comedians going back to perform in their hometown.

SM: BBQ! Sara tells me it’s fantastic. I’m in!

What do you find funny these days?

SS: Louis CK, Maria Bamford, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, anything by FrontPage Films, and farts. And about 100 comedians that I see regularly in New York!

BK: Hypocrisy, embarrassing situations, cracking voices, out of tune guitars, serious conversations about sports.

SM: Myself growing up. I still feel like a kid on the inside, so when I do grown up things like go to Home Depot or the bank I’m always like…”Do people know I have no clue what I’m doing?”

What advice do you have for Richmonders who want to begin their comedy career?

SS: Stage time! Do as much performing as you can, wherever you can, as much as you can. Record every set you do. Study what works and what doesn’t. Be honest, be authentic in your material. Oh, and move to New York City! There is an incredibly vibrant comedy scene here, and it’s filled with opportunities for people who are starting out. Don’t be afraid, just go for it.

BK: Read the comedy bible, then burn it.

SM: Just get on stage and perform a much as possible. Avoid being mean to people and eat your broccoli.

Do you think we’re just going to let you leave?

SS: What exactly are you proposing? Because if it involves changing the name of Maymont to Saramont, then I’m open to a discussion.

BK: You have to. it would be illegal to hold us captive, plus i don’t think Stockholm Syndrome happens in the south.

SM: If you want to feed me and let me tell jokes all the time, I’m fine with staying forever.

Be sure to catch Sara and friends performing live at Gallery 5 on Friday, June 25 and Saturday, June 26 at 8pm. Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door.

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Johnny Hugel

Johnny Hugel is a hopeless multi-tasker who spends many an evening writing about the distractions (across film, tv, comedy and the web) that keep him from focusing on his own projects, as scattered as they may be.

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