"Against the assault of laughter, nothing can stand." Mark Twain
A blog post from local comedian Law Smith a couple of months ago questioned Creative Loafing's commitment to the comedy scene in Tampa. Creative Loafing quickly responded detailing their coverage of local comics around the city and Tampa Bay area at large.
The debate between the two groups slowly fizzled and it seemed the conversation surrounding the growing comedy scene would go the same way. The voice and brains behind the radio program The Homemade Broadcast, Will Kuncz, didn't want to let that happen. After finding sponsors to help levy the cost of rent the Creative Loafing Space in Ybor City, and getting a lineup of comics that best represent the varied voice of Tampa Bay, Kuncz went to work on getting the word out about the event titled "We're Still Here."
The event takes place tonight, April 24, from 8:30-10:30pm, at the CL Space, 1911 North 13th Street, Siute W200. The event is free and open to the public. We had the pleasure of speaking with Will earlier this week about the event, comedy, his influences and more.
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Can you explain why the event is called "We're Still Here"?
"We're Still Here" came from that Joaquin Phoenix Movie a few years back where he was trying to be a rapper and he went on Letterman in character and no one new what was happening. I really liked the movie, I may have been the only one to like that movie and I think it kind of plays on what we're doing. Most of these people are mostly unknown here and they should be.
Do you see any kind of consistent comedic voice being created in Tampa Bay?
One good thing about the Bay Area is that that we have such a diverse population and you get to hear a lot of different perspectives and voices. So no, there isn't one voice here and I think that's a tremendous thing. Everyone agreeing is boring and not conducive to creativity.
What comics shaped your understanding of the world?
I remember really liking John Pinette and Marc Maron and Dr. Katz was a great show that exposed me to a lot of comedians. Later there was Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn. I also really enjoyed The Tom Green Show growing up and still do.
Can you describe how this group of comedians came together?
These folks doing "We're Still Here" are all people I see as the face of the scene here in Tampa Bay. They've either come out and done the Sly Bar Open Mic or people I've just taken notice of from performances elsewhere in the area. I started my open mic to promote The Homemade Broadcast and to have a place where anyone can get up on stage and try comedy out. I like hanging out with comedians, they're a different breed. A lot of them are weirdo's for one reason or another but it's more honest, you can be yourself and if you get called names for it at least there is thought behind it and it'll be funny.
What can the public expect from your event?
Hopefully we can kill a few hours of their life and they will say it was time well spent. Some laughs, maybe some groans, maybe a few, "I didn't like that one"'s but there is something for everyone at this event.
What are your hopes for the comedy community in Tampa after the event? Do you want this event to become a more regular happening?
I'm hoping this will kick local media in the ass a bit. A comedy issue every now and then would be terrific. We're all very accessible and easy to get a hold of. People don't seek out new things, if you have a media publication throwing it in their face every now and then that will only help this scene grow, it would certainly benefit from a little boost now and then.
How do you approach the craft of comedy?
The radio show and promotions have kept me so busy that I don't get to do mics as much as I'd like. I still write everything down in a small notebook I carry in my back pocket. Usually for me it's stuff that get's me down or bothers me.
I try to take that negative and turn it into a positive, make fun of it, take its power away. In my opinion things that are funny aren't comedy. Comedy is pointing out a hypocrisy, an injustice that everyone accepts for some reason and throwing it back in our faces and saying, "why are we allowing this?" It makes you coherent for a little while and we can laugh at ourselves.
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"We're Still Here" is happening tonight, April 24, from 8:30-10:30pm. The lineup includes JB Ball, Matt Fernandez, Mona Charizio, Kyle Ruse, Andrew Silas, Law Smith, Natasha Samreny, Cam Bertrand and more to be announced.