Long Beach Playhouse Presents “Generic Standup”

BY: ASHLEY AUSTRIE-BROWN

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Long Beach Playhouse has invited some of the area’s finest comedians for their “Generic Standup” event, on the last Sunday of each month.

On September 22, comedians Daniel Eachus, Derrick Murray, Erik Escobar, and many more will tell their funniest jokes in the gallery room of the Long Beach Playhouse.

Cal State Long Beach alumni, Daniel Eachus, who was a communications major and theatre arts minor, will be headlining the event. In 2010, Eachus won the best stand-up comedian award at the Long Beach Playhouse. After this win, Eachus stayed in contact with the producing artistic director Andrew Vonderschmitt, and established the “Generic Standup” event together earlier this year.

Vonderschmitt first held the stand-up comedy contest in the Studio Theatre, but the laughs faded and people would walk out to the bar; this became very awkward for the comedians.

Since Long Beach is not known for stand-up comedy and does not have many comedy-staged rooms, Eachus really wanted to show that the city is capable of having its own comedy scene, and a good one at that.

Because the Studio Theatre was not the best place to hold this kind of event, Vonderschmitt suggested the gallery room, which holds about 60 to 70 people, full bar, and a lighted stage.

“The gallery room is perfect because the laughter spreads easier and you feel like you're in an established comedy club,” Eachus said. In this upcoming show, “I will talk about all the things running through a 22-year old’s mind...beer, girls, and zombies.”

Eachus has headlined, hosted, opened and been featured at the Laugh Factory, Brea Improv, Irvine Improv, Jon Lovitz Comedy Club, Hollywood Improv, and The Comedy Palace in San Diego.

Eachus has won many awards throughout his career. In 2010 Eachus became the youngest finalist ever of the "Funniest Comic in LA" contest at the Jon Lovitz Comedy Club which had celebrity judges such as Ron Jeremy and Kid from Kid ‘n Play. Also, Eachus’ improv group "Secret City Comics Society" was voted “Best Improv Group in the OC” by OC Weekly.

Another featured comedian at the event is comedian Derrick Murray, who graduated from Azusa Pacific University, and majored in religion and youth ministries. Oddly enough, his skills to be a pastor and a comedian are almost identical.

“It's really just the content that changes,” Murray said.

Murray has opened for Andy Dick and Steve Hofstetter, and has worked with a number of working comics in the Los Angeles area. As Murray gained more experience in the comic world, his jokes became more vulnerable. He now shares personal stories and life experiences on stage.

“It's important to be transparent and have a relationship with your material; the audience will laugh harder when you bring them in on the joke with you,” Murray said, “The faster they learn who you are the better they can relate to what you're saying.”

Comedian Erik Escobar began his education at Cal State Los Angeles, but finished his degree in film, business and theatre arts at Whittier College. Since then, Escobar has hosted, performed, and headlined at established places and some “lucky he drove through that neighborhood without getting shot” venues.

Escobar runs a couple monthly shows at the Flappers Comedy Club and The Improv Space Theatre, where he’s worked with the Wayans brothers, Dan Mintz of Bob’s Burgers, Maria Bamford from Arrested Development, and several other great comics.

Escobar’s jokes are mostly “poop” jokes and stories about his past experiences as a poor, post grad in the not-so-exciting peak of his early 20’s.

“Past audience members have said things like ‘you were one of the most offensive comics I’ve heard, but I farted from laughing so hard’ and ‘My favorite part was when you gave that old man a lap dance,’” Escobar said.

Escobar had the opportunity to perform multiple shows a night all around the country at venues like the World Famous Comedy Store, New York’s Upright Citizen Brigade Theatre and The Seattle Underground. He also headlined for the 2013 California’s Funniest Female Contest and was featured on Season 7 of NBC’s Last Comic Standing.

Eachus and Vonderschmitt hope to create a buzz throughout the city of Long Beach through the “Generic Standup” event.

This event is recommended for a mature crowd, and is another great opportunity for the Long Beach Playhouse to serve the diverse community with quality theatre acts and contemporary productions, as well as to encourage the participation of all interested individuals.

The “Generic Standup” event will run from 7 to 9 p.m. and admission will be free. For more information visit www.lbplayhouse.org.