WDVE Comedy Festival brings in the top-notch laughs
By Matt Wohlfarth
Published: Wednesday, June 26, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
When WDVE does something they do it big, and the WDVE Comedy Festival at the Byham Theatre on June 28 is no exception.
This sold-out show might offer more comedy per square minute of stage time than any of the year. The festival will be hosted by Pittsburgh's consummate morning man, Randy Baumann. He will warm things up by introducing his sidekick, comedian Bill Crawford who just got done recording his DVD, “Guyfall.”
Where the show goes from there is not clear, but it will culminate with the comedy of rocketing superstar, Amy Shumer. The Los Angeles Times named Shumer one of 13 comedians to watch in 2013. The curvy, girl-next-door Shumer has kept a very busy schedule appearing on “Conan,” “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and “The Howard Stern Show.”
Shumer also has been featured “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and has a recurring character on the Adult Swim show called “Delocated.” On top of that, she just launched a show with Comedy Central called “Inside Amy Shumer.” In other words, she is a star.
Schumer could carry this show all by herself, but that's not enough for DVE. The FM station also is bringing in Chris Porter, Matt Braunger and Ilsa Shlesinger. Porter, who you might remember from season 4 of “Last Comic Standing,” brings his outcast everyman and wraps in a great delivery and complete comedy transparency. Porter's presentation has a feel of an unpaid therapy session for him.
Shlesinger holds the distinction of being both the youngest and first female winner of “Last Comic Standing.” She is making a career out of saying all the things women want to say to men but have a filter that doesn't let them say it — at least until the breakup. Guys, if you want to know what your woman is thinking, go watch Schlesinger.
Braunger, who is a featured performer on “Mad TV” and has appeared on “Late Show With David Letterman,” just might be the unsung hero on this comedy lineup. The Portland, Ore., native uses a quirky and pained delivery to be one of most original comedians. He has a Jim Carrey-like ability to get an audience on his comedy train of thought and take them to absurd-ville repeatedly.
After the Byham show, there will also be a local stage hosted by WDVE morning-show regular Mike Wysocki. This show will take place at 11 p.m. at the Rex Theater and will feature some of the great local talent in the burgeoning Pittsburgh comedy scene along with comedian Craig Gass. Some names not to miss are veteran Pittsburgh comedian Bill Scott, John Pridmore, Derek Minto and the new Pittsburgh comedy hotshot, Ed Bailey. If you didn't get tickets for the big Byham show, check out the local talent for only $10.
The festival also includes Morning Show host Scott Paulsen presenting his own, live-to-podcast storytelling show — “Scott Paulsen: Storyteller” — at 5 p.m. June 28 at Arcade Comedy Theater, Downtown. Tickets are $5 and include two complimentary Old Milwaukees.
Comedian Matt Wohlfarth is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.
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