WDVE radio's multi-talented Baumann is engine of DVE Comedy Festival
Randy Baumann is a busy man. In addition to producing the WDVE morning show, Baumann is a writer (a finalist in the Steeltown Entertainment Project), a talented musician and a tireless philanthropist donating his time to a variety of causes throughout Western Pennsylvania.
When he isn't busy in Pittsburgh, Baumann is jetting off to exotic locations for a jazz festival or little R&R. Baumann, with his morning sidekick Bill Crawford, has taken time for the past three years to put together a dream-team lineup of comedy and produce the DVE Comedy Festival, which is June 27 at the Byham Theater, Downtown.
This year, the event features Harland Williams, Bryan Callen, Nikki Glasser and Tommy Johnagin.
DVE also is producing a second stage that takes place at 10 p.m. at the Rex Theater. It is the ultimate comedy after-party and this year headlined by Pittsburgh fave Mike Wysocki. It will be hosted by Sean Collier and also feature Joey O'Connell and Jerry Wilson.
With a mile-a-minute mind and metabolism to match, Baumann slowed down enough to answer a few questions about the DVE Comedy Festival via email.
Question: You've interviewed many comedians and always seemed to love standup. What makes a comedian great in your mind?
Answer: It's completely subjective. I think some guys are funny that other people don't find funny at all. And I'm not qualified to say what makes someone great or not: I just know what makes me laugh and that's the criteria we use in picking comics for the DVE Comedy Fest. If we think they're funny, we try and get them.
Q: How much thought goes into picking the right lineup?
A: Quite a bit, because it's not like you can just draw up a wish list and make it happen. We try to find acts that are both complimentary and already have somewhat of a relationship with each other. Nikki and Tommy are pretty close friends, Bryan Callen and Crawford are really good friends and have worked together a lot, and Harland is friends with everybody.
Q: What dynamic does Bill Crawford bring to this show?
A: Besides adding a local angle and representing the show, Bill's standup fits perfectly within the voice of all the other comics that night. I don't know if people truly appreciate how skilled of a comedian Bill Crawford is. We love him here, for sure, but he's a nationally respected comic. Burr, Breuer, Gardell, Bryne, Florentine, Kreischer — these guys all love working with Bill because, like me, they have such tremendous respect for his talent. He can work anywhere in the country and get laughs. And, in a way, has a versatility that other comics would kill for. Doing radio and standup are two different animals. Bill can jump between the two effortlessly.
Q: Is there such a thing as too much comedy for one show? If so where do you draw the line?
A: Too much of a good thing can be bad, yes. We try to make sure that we're striking a balance between the two stages for two mostly different audiences.
Q: What does each comedian bring to this year's show?
A: Harland is such a great improvisor, and so is Bryan Callen. There's silliness to Harland that I think most people can't help but laugh at. Brian is a great improviser and sketch/character guy that I think it acts as a perfect bridge between what you're gonna get from the other guys. Nikki is super-smart and a bit edgier than the rest; Tommy is one of the most naturally gifted working comics in the country — just effortless and a great joke writer — and Crawford is straight-up funny all day long. They each have a unique point of view that makes this show a perfect blend. I really think, for the third straight year in a row, we have one of the best nights of comedy in the country booked for the Byham Theater.
Q: I know you are a gifted musician, but you're very funny. Have you ever thought of doing standup yourself?
A: I always veered much more toward sketch comedy, and had studied improv in Chicago as my plan B right up until I got hired at DVE.
Q: How did the idea for the DVE Comedy Festival take hold?
A: I always wanted to do something like this. Something that we might be able to expand upon. When Bill started at DVE, we were able to parlay a couple of his relationships with ones that had already existed at DVE, and we've had tremendous good luck in getting just about every comic we've wanted the past three years.
Comedian Matt Wohlfarth is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers notebook: Tomlin bringing officials to practice
- Penguins notebook: Malkin picture muddy
- Dallas hospital officials confirm 1st Ebola case diagnosed in U.S.
- Safety worries prompt PennDOT to order nighttime closures on Parkway West
- Steelers film session: Harrison on the field often
- Pittsburgh rallies for second year of Pirates magic
- Police find pipe bombs in woods during manhunt for suspect in trooper ambush
- Public station WQED cutting staff in face of financial woes
- Flash!: Art on Fire; The Gatsby Gala
- Chief says Youngwood house fire is suspicious
- Somerset man accused of taking son, 3, along on burglary