Monday, June 8, 2009

A few wods on the Greater Boston Alternative Comedy Festival with Chris Coxen

You may not be used to looking for comedy on Mondays in Boston, so you may not have noticed that Chris Coxen and Robby Roadsteamer have opened up shop downstairs at the Cantab every Monday for what they're calling the Greater Boston Alternative Comedy Sleepoever. They'll be bringing along friends from the other Greater Boston Alternative shows Roadsteamer has been putting together over the last six months.

A few comedy shows have come and gone in that space, but few of them have had the kind of committed hosts the Sleepover has in Coxen and Roadsteamer, or the type of scene that is coalescing around them. I had the chance to speak to Mr. Coxen about the show recently by e-mail.

How do you and Robby plan to be the first comedy show not dumped from the Cantab?

Ha! That's a good one. If keeping our show at the Cantab means Bobby (Robby) and I have to drink up a juicy bar tab by ourselves each Monday night to keep the Cantab happy, then that's what we'll do. In addition, we may also try to make the show good. Good shows don't get dumped. Geeks get dumped.

With all of the shows both of you are currently involved in, why add a free show on a Monday?

Bobby (again Robby - I get to call him Bobby) and I need a weekly show that we have complete control over and just like the Peanuts cartoon, there can be no adults around telling us what to do. This is how maniacs like Bobby and I grow our artistic figures; a small, humble, creative, intimate, casual but quality performance environment. Much of what my act is stems from loose, creative environments like the Great and Secret Show. We're looking to replicate that feel. Why free? Do you know someone with money? If that's the case, we'll start charging. It seems like we only know people that are too poor to shower much less pay for comedy. Besides, we want to give folks a strong incentive to keep coming back to the show. We want to make a nice, free hangout for them.

With all of the new clubs and new shows opening up, do you think we’re reaching a level of saturation? What niches do you think still need to be filled?

You're completely right. There are a lot of clubs opening up and saturation is always a potential issue. Whether there were 100 clubs in Boston right now or two, we feel like our show will be unique. The success of Bobby's Greater Boston Alternative Comedy Shows have made it clear that there are people out there who want more alternative comedy. Also, the two of us feel like we fall between multiple genres. We feel like it's a harder for us to succeed because people in the industry don't know quite know what to do with us. When you feel like this, you have two choices: 1) start drinking bad whiskey and lament or 2) do your own thing, create your own scene for your own artistic enjoyment and hope for the best.

Who will be on this week?

The lineup is Shane Mauss, Mehran, Matt Wilding and Sara Heggan. Should be a taste-worthy show.

Do you have a stable of people you expect to see regularly?

Indeed so. You'll probably always see the bartender and the same few chairs. The chairs will always be "plants" in the audience. No one will see it coming. Beyond that, I hope to include Nate Johnson and Sean Sullivan doing sketch/character items. Ken Reid, Mehran, Nicole and few others will appear frequently as well.I've already booked most of the shows into August. Brian Longwell, Shane Mauss, Joe Wong and MC Mr. Napkins are some other heroes that are scheduled to make it so.

Will you and Robby perform together at the shows?

No plans have been made yet for this but it may happen inadvertantly.

Will we be seeing the new character from Quiet Desperation?

Maybe. Once issue with that is that Renaldo is a dead ringer for Barry Tattle. I don't want to start a Bermuda cat fight between the two lads.

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