Thursday, August 23, 2012

Laugh Riot: A Bromance of Comic Proportions

You’ve read several reviews over the past few months that included Dario Josef either hosting or doing guest spots at The Comedy Club; what I want to tell you about now is his biggest project, Laugh Riot Comedy, and his comedy life partner, Kevin Ricotta. These two guys are making the scene funny all over the greater Rochester area in bars, in theater spaces, even on a boat!

Dario and Kevin are very different comics whose styles are a direct reflection of where they are in life. Dario has that new puppy energy, eagerness to please and willingness to learn new tricks. Kevin, on the other hand, has the married guy stability thing working for him, and a calmer nature. The two of them balance each other in good and interesting ways. Together, they are creating comedy rooms all over town that provide workshop opportunities and practice space for their fellow up-and-comers. I haven’t been to all of them, but I can tell you about the three I’ve checked out so far.

The first was, I think, a Sunday night at the Brickwood Grill on Monroe Avenue. The room is a little removed from the bar, but still fairly open, and the 13 of us (6 comics, 4 friends and family, 3 random bar patrons, if I counted correctly) were able to sit down to see and hear the whole show. Kevin and Dario led the pack, which I know included Marcus Cox and maybe Brian Edwards, but I can’t remember who else and I can’t find my notes right now. What I do remember is that it seemed like a night to build on.

The second time was on the Mary Jemmison cruise on the Genesee. Dario and Kevin both did stand up, while the Geva and Search Engine Improv groups performed various games for a mixed-age crowd. The show was an experiment that should continue. With a better sound system, and a guaranteed time for enjoying the beautifully distracting view, I would love for them to try this again.

Most recently, I’ve spent a few Tuesday nights at Dub Land Underground. The spot is tough: the speakers are set up 5 feet from the bar, there’s no cover charge so anyone who just wants to sit at the bar and talk can easily derail the comedy. Still, each of the past two weeks, I’ve seen at least 9 or 10 of my local faves standing at the mic and throwing out their newest, strangest or soon-to-be-retired lines to anyone who is listening. There’s a certain looseness that suits these guys and their styles, but there’s also a lot of distraction, a lot of uncontrollable factors. It’s been an interesting experience, especially this week when Katie Wood and Strawberry Shortcake nearly threw down in a comedy catfight. I can’t deny, however, that it’s fun to sit there and listen to some pretty dark comedy in a pretty dark room with some pretty funny comics.

Laugh Riot is an example of what’s good in the local scene. If you can’t find a stage, make one. If there aren’t enough places to perform, create your own shows. Kevin and Dario have the right idea, the right chemistry and the right initiative. What they need now is more of the right audience. What they need is support, help to grow. I’m on board. What about you? Find either guy or Laugh Riot Comedy on Facebook and get them on your calendar now.

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