Published on February 24th, 2014 | by Ballard Lesemann0
Showcase #2: The Stand Up Comedy Series Continues
Over the last year and a half, the Charleston Music Hall has established itself as one of the prime hot-spot venues for live music, comedy, and stage performances in the downtown scene. Under the guidance of director Charles Carmody and his staff of promoters and technicians, the Hall has presented a wild assortment of acts from the local music and arts community and from around the world.
This winter and spring, stand-up comedy will continue playing a large role on the Hall’s impressive roster. Nationally known comics like Aziz Ansari, Mike Birbiglia, and Anthony Jeselnik are prominently featured in the upcoming schedule.
There are more than a few spots for local talent, too. This week, the Charleston Music Hall and Metronome Charleston will present the second show in the 2014 Stand Up Comedy Series — a string of live showcases featuring talent from the Lowcountry and South Carolina.
The Stand Up Comedy Series kicked off on Jan. 31 with a great crowd and four featured acts including Columbia’s Wayne Cousins and three Charlestonians — Dusty Slay, Jason Groce, and host Tim Hoeckel.
On Wednesday, Feb. 26, Slay will return to the stage as the host and emcee with comedians Jenn Snyder (from Columbia), Neil Bansil, and Jeremy McLellan. Slay has worked with the Charleston Music Hall to book all of the Stand Up Comedy Series events.
Born and raised in Columbia, Snyder is already a veteran of stand-up comedy and entertainment. Fans describe her observational stand-up as a “one-two punch style of comedy,” which will surely tickle audiences at the Music Hall this week.
Performing on the mic is only one of Snyder’s regular comedic tasks these days. “I’m part of one of the greatest comedy families in the Southeast,” she says. “We have a venue called the Red Door Tavern, and we’re working to make it the best comedy venue in Columbia. We’re starting our own web show called Cocktails with Comics. I’m the host, and we’ll be interviewing traveling comics, as well as local musicians.”
Snyder has stayed particularly busy over the last year performing local and regional gigs. “In March, I will be traveling to Knoxville to host the Pink Comedy Tour show on a riverboat,” she says. “And in April I will open up for the great Doug Stanhope.”
Snyder looks forward to stretching out on the spacious stage this week. “As far a theater or a comedy venue, I’m comfortable at both,” she says. “I am overjoyed to be playing Charleston and will handle that crowd like every crowd I play; loud, crazy, and a little weird.”
Charleston’s bespectacled Jeremy McLellan already has some valuable experience on the Charleston Music Hall stage, as he co-hosted local musical collective Cord and Pedal’s zany Holiday Extravaganza on Dec. 17 with cohort Tim Hoeckel. Both hosts did some of their own material and collaborated on various skits and asides.
McLellan has hit the stages at Theatre 99, Big Gun, the Tin Roof, and other local hotspots as well. While he’s totally at ease on the mic in front of a talkative/tipsy bar crowd, he appreciates the opportunity to perform for a more focused and attentive audience.
“A seated theater show gives me an opportunity to do my best material: longer stories and bits that flow together well,” McLellan says. “Material like that works best if people are relaxed and paying attention.”
McLellan’s meticulous delivery and philosophic style fits his academic demeanor. He’s a thinking comic’s comic. “I’m in my head analyzing stuff all the time, so in a way, I’m constantly writing,” he says. “It just comes naturally. That doesn’t make me a funnier person. It just means that I have a lot of material. It’s just how I think.”
What might fans and newcomers expect from McLellan this week? “My material on Wednesday will focus on my work with the mentally disabled, and stories about me in awkward situations,” he says. “Also, I will not mention religion or politics, which is probably a first for me.”
A realtor by day and comedian by night, local performer Neil Bansil will round out the bill at this week’s Stand Up Comedy Series event. A well-seasoned comedian with plenty of road work under his belt, Bansil has established himself as a producer in recent years behind his worldly comedy show The Most RACES Show on Earth!, which amusingly dives into ethnic stereotypes, cultural phenomenons, and not-so-politically-correct racial clichés.
The 2014 Stand Up Comedy Series continues at the Charleston Music Hall on Wed. Feb. 26. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are available for $10. Visit charlestonmusichall.com for more.
Top photos and poster below designed by Bennett Jones.
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