Comedy DustySlay(JAM)787*

Published on January 28th, 2014 | by Ballard Lesemann


New Stand Up Series Kicks Off at the Charleston Music Hall

There’s never a dull week at the Charleston Music Hall these days. Heading into 2014, the downtown venue has one special event after another on the schedule, including benefit concerts, cinematic debuts, jazz gigs, CD release shows, and wildlife expos. Metronome Charleston has partnered with the Charleston Music Hall to present some fantastic stand-up comedy, too. 

Stand Up Poster - bennett

The 2014 Stand Up Comedy Series kicks off on Friday, Jan. 31 at 7 p.m. with performances by Columbia’s Wayne Cousins and three of Charleston’s most diligent comics — Dusty Slay, Jason Groce, and Tim Hoeckel. The next show in the series is set for Wednesday, Feb. 26, with events in March, April, and May to follow.

A veteran event organizer and a longtime colleague of the Charleston Music Hall team, Slay booked this kick-off event with Hoeckel in mind as the host. Slay plans to host the upcoming shows in the Stand Up Comedy Series.

“There wasn’t a real theme involved,” Slay says. “I knew that I didn’t want to host the first one because I end up hosting every show I put together, but I know how important the role of a host is to comedy. I knew I needed a good one. Tim is a great host.

“I also knew I wanted someone from out of town, and I’ve worked with Wayne in Columbia,” he adds. “He’s been to my open mic at Big Gun, and the dude is really funny. And Jason is doing some really funny new things, and it needs to be seen.”

To give local comedy a better idea of who’ll be on stage at this week’s Stand Up Comedy Series, Metronome Charleston compiled the vital statistics on each of the four performers.

Dusty Slay


Dusty Slay (photo by Marshall Bowles)

A.K.A.: Around 2004, I got really drunk at an open mic that Bill Davis was hosting at Lite Affair [where Big Gun now stands], back when Jessica Mickey was still regularly doing stand-up. I got heckled, and I got real mad on stage—like a drunk mad person—and after that, Bill started calling me the “Alabama Slamma.” But I think [local stand-up and improviser] Mark Szlachetka is the only person that calls me that now.

Titles Held: 2011 and 2012 Charleston Comedy Festival Stand-Up Competition Winner, 2013 Best Local Comic

Height: 5’8”, unless I’m trying to take you on a date—then I’m 5’10”.

Weight: About 172 … that is until we get a fried chicken buffet downtown.

Eyes: Hazel.

Hair: Looks great these days.

Hometown: Opelika, Alabama: home of the Golden Cherry Motel.

Current Residence: Downtown Charleston, S.C.

Rookie Year: Late 2003 at the Music Farm.

Stage Demeanor: I, like, just standing there, telling jokes.

Career Highlights: I get a new highlight every time a new joke works.

Regularly Performs At: Theatre 99, Big Gun Burger, and the Charleston Music Hall.

Number of Full Shows Performed: I’ve been going strong since 2008, I have no way of knowing

Laugh Average: I won the most laughs-per-minute portion of a competition in Charlotte.

Finishing move: I have a cell phone Breathalyzer joke that my friend [and local stand-up] Vince Fabra advised me to close with, and I tried it, and he was right. It’s been my closer since.

Fun Fact: I was shot in the chest with a pellet gun at five years old. That’s fun, right?

Wayne Cousins


Wayne Cousins (provided)

A.K.A.: Unfortunately, “Wanye” pronounced like Kanye. Also, I hear “The Greatest Ever” a lot.

Titles Held: I’ve held Siddhartha, Child of God … less interesting ones like textbooks, to name a few.

Height: Not bad.

Weight: Pretty good.

Eyes: Two.

Hair: Present.

Hometown: Columbia, S.C., but I grew up in Detroit.

Current Residence: Hulk Hogan’s guesthouse.

Rookie Year: 2011

Stage Demeanor: From ; ) to : 0.

Career Highlight: Jay Leno texted me a recipe once.

Regularly Performs At: The Red Door Tavern—represent.

Number of Full Shows Performed: Is “Full Show” a euphemism for something?

Laugh Average: Bajillion.

Finishing move: Yodeling while levitating.

Fun Fact: I’m thinking of moving out of Hulk Hogan’s guesthouse.

Tim Hoeckel


Tim Hoeckel (provided)

A.K.A.: “The Common Cold” and “The Cure for the Common Cold.”

Titles Held: Judge, Jury.

Height: 6’-ish.

Weight: 180-ish.

Eyes: Blue-ish.

Hair: Red-ish.

Hometown: Baltimore, Maryland / Charleston, S.C.

Current Residence: Any gentrified area.

Rookie Year: 2007.

Stage Demeanor: Heavy Swag Subtle Humility (HSSH).

Career Highlight: Being booed off stage at the Chicken & Waffles Restaurant on Dorchester Road. Seriously.

Regularly Performs At: Theatre 99, the Tin Roof, and other places where Dusty Slay is working hard to put together a show.

Number of Full Shows Performed: 505.

Laugh Average: .435* (* = asterisk)

Finishing move: The Broken Record: If what I say isn’t funny, repeat it until it is genius.

Fun Fact: Once, my sister wrote me a real knee-slapper, a play on words for the Disney movie Cool Runnings. So, I got on the mic with my appropriate amount of swag, and wouldn’t ya’ know it, my sister was the only one who laughed! Maybe because the rest of the audience was a bunch a’ bozos. Clown convention!

Jason Groce


Jason Groce (photo by Ballard Lesemann)

A.K.A.: “Hey,” “Big Guy,” or “Hey, Big Guy”

Titles Held: Best Local Comic 2012, Charleston Comedy Festival Standup Competition Winner 2013.

Height: 6′ 3″.

Weight: 250-270, depending on depression level.

Eyes: Hazel.

Hair: Unkempt.

Hometown: Taylors, S.C.: the “Gateway to Greer.”

Current Residence: North Charleston.

Rookie Year: 2009.

Stage Demeanor: Immovable object.

Career Highlight: Performed at a synagogue on a Friday night.

Regularly Performs At: Theatre 99 and the Tin Roof.

Number of Full Shows Performed: Countless. Or country. Can’t remember which

Laugh Average: .345, groan average: .889.

Finishing move: The Slow Burn.

Fun Fact: Can nap anywhere.

The Stand Up Comedy Series featuring Dusty Slay, Jason Groce, Tim Hoeckel, and Wayne Cousins takes place at the Charleston Music Hall on Fri. Jan. 31. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are available for $10. Visit for more.

Top photo by Jessica Mickey.





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About the Author

Ballard Lesemann

is a musician and writer. Born and raised in Charleston, S.C., he spent years playing in bands and working for Flagpole Magazine in the bustling music town of Athens, Ga. He returned to his hometown and served more than seven years as the Charleston City Paper's music editor. He's better at drumming than he is at playing guitar.

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