Tag Archives: funny

Welcome Hal Sparks!

We’re welcoming Hal Sparks this week to our Downtown Club, Wednesday thru Saturday!  Get to know him tonight in this Metromix interview below by Amy Bartner, then come see him tomorrow at Crackers!

The mark of any good comedian, Hal Sparks says, is one who can come up with a good joke when he’s put on the spot.

Good thing, because we think the mark of any good interviewer is to put people on the spot. So we did.

“It’s more of a prank than a joke,” said the 41-year-old who was raised in the Midwest. “Since the holidays are over, this one’s a good one. I recommend it for next year if you do it. Wrap a box and don’t label it and just watch and see who’ll stare at it. There’s always one relative who’ll just continue to look at it.”

Trick is, he said, to wait until the holidays are over — and then carefully unwrap the gift and fill it with something they’ve already received. Wrap it again, and give it to the staring relative. Sparks’ uncle will get a second book about curing hams this year.

“Who the hell would buy two of those?”

Having a quick wit isn’t all there is to comedy, said the former “Queer As Folk” and VH1 pop-culture list show star. We got a chance to talk to Sparks before he comes to Crackers Downtown Jan. 12-15. The comedian, who moonlights as a rock star, actor and talking head, had a lot to say (and ended his sentences with the phrase “as it were” no fewer than a dozen times).

You grew up in the Cincinnati area before moving to Chicago. Did you ever visit Indy as a kid?
This is my first time exploring Indy as an adult, so I don’t know if I still want to go play Airsoft or something. I’ll spend most of my time finding the healthiest place to eat, the most unique place to go and developing a habit that by the time I’ve left a city, it feels like I’ve been there a month.

I don’t drink, so I don’t end up going to bars, and a lot of times I have to protect my voice. After my show, I’ve had it. I pretty much go home. The visiting is nice, but the people who pay on Saturday deserve as good of a show on Thursday.

You don’t drink?
I’ve never had an alcoholic drink in my life, and part of the reason was that I saw it as a road to nowhere from contemporaries. Almost as a sign, it’s “oh, he’s drinking, shit is not good.”

You’re a pescatarian. Why?
There’s an element of major cruelty to it and I don’t want to participate, mostly, though, it’s because of health concerns. No thank you. I’ll pass. I find, quite frankly, I feel better with a largely fish- and vegetable-based diet. I’m 41 and people tell me all the time that I don’t look it.

Now for a serious question: How do you view your role as a comedian in society?
I’d rather make trouble than make peace as far as my comedy goes. And not trouble in the happy way. Real trouble is when you go after people’s worldview, and you can’t mince words — but the main goal is to be funny. You have to deal with huge topics in a really silly way. It has to be politics, sex and religion at the core.

The court jester used to have a very important role — he was there to entertain the king — because if the king got pissed at anyone in particular, he would execute them at will, and oftentimes those were the most useful people. That’s pretty much it. The only difference is in our society, the crowd is king and perceives itself as such. We’ve become a democracy of kings. Everyone sits on their thrones and flips the channels saying, “Off with his head, off with his head.”

The main thing is that you’re funny, and after that, all bets are off. Other than that I, I have no opinion. (Laughs.)

So you avoid making the “easy” jokes?
In the end, you end up saying something worth hearing instead of making fun of ethnic groups, making fun of gay people, making fun of women and leaving the stage no better than when they stepped on it.

You’re everywhere. You’ve appeared on eight “I Love the (enter decade here)” shows, had cameos in “Spider-Man II” and “Dude Where’s My Car,” hosted E!’s “Talk Soup” and appeared on several reality shows. What do you hope the public thinks about that?
I hope they think, “This man has got me surrounded.” Literally, come out with your hands up — I am at every window of your television set. I don’t mind whether they like me or not as long as they think I’m a smart son of a bitch. That’s a healthy place to be. I was raised by my dad to be a wise-ass. Better to be a wise-ass than a dumb ass.

How do you think those VH1 list shows (and you) will be remembered?
Pure pop-culture dissection is a healthy thing. Insofar as the American culture goes, we make up with width in what we lack in depth. We don’t have Mozart, but we have loooots of R & B singers. We don’t have baroque singers, but we do have the top country artists worldwide. In a very short time, we’ve had an incredible impact on the world’s culture.

We get embarrassed by it because we picture people wearing Snoop Dogg and Justin Timberlake T-shirts in Iran, and I think we’re ashamed and we don’t need to be. We have a lot to be ashamed of on the world stage, and that ain’t it.

Why’d you do so many of those VH1 shows?
To be completely mercenary about the whole thing, I had people pointing at me and saying “‘Talk Soup’ guy.” And when I was on “Queer as Folk,” there was a lot of “Mikey!” so I sought to reconcile that and take any show that would print my name under my face. I’m of the belief that most typecasting when it occurs is your fault as an actor, because you took the role instead of you saying no when you should have.

Tell us something we don’t know about those shows.
You shoot from a room by yourself. It’s just green screen behind you. There’s nothing else. No one’s waiting just off camera waiting for their turn, we’re not sitting around a table shooting the shit. I look like I’m just dicking around with friends, and that’s my intention, and that brings a bit of joy to the show itself. That’s the way standup has to work, it can’t look like effort.

Speaking of, do you ever get nervous to go on stage?
It’s sort of a Zen practice. Whatever work you do, if you do it long enough, it should be effortless. Pro-athletes should get to the point where game day is their zone. I’ve been doing standup for 26 years now, there’s a certain point where if I can’t come up with a joke if you ask me something, it should be fairly sad. I guess I just kind of relax into it and really try to make a game out of it, make it fun, otherwise it’ll come across as work. And you can see that’s really hard for me.

“Queer as Folk” sort-of put you in the role of gay civil rights leader or activist. Do you see yourself in that way?
I think that’s someplace I found myself accidentally because of the show. The important thing was to seize it and service that experience and to be up to the task. Once you’re in that position, then you have a responsibility to work to make it more positive. In my way of thinking, it can’t not have an impact on the community; how can I best turn this into a positive?

I’ve always said that the benefit of “Queer as Folk” would not be seen until four years after the show went off the air, and that’s true almost to the date. Our civil rights struggle is one of age and death. It did exactly what it needed to, and going in, I knew it would. That was the best part of it, was knowing you’re making history. I wasn’t necessarily necessary keen on kissing a man or simulating sex with a man, but it was too important to pass up. Just because something is difficult doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing.

I’ve done every AIDs walk in the country. I’ve raised money and done shows for multiple equality organizations. Because I can. There’s worth in it. Continuously, I still get asked if I’m gay or straight. What they’re really asking, “Are you gay yet?” Which either means that I’ve been lying about who I am or I haven’t figured it out yet. It’s important to me to let people know who I am fully. It’s important to have straight allies who are turgid in their sexuality.

You’re in a rock band called Zero 1. What are you guys like?
Oh, we’re awesome. (Laughs.) It’s metal. Melodic metal, along the road of Skid Row and Ozzy meets Alice In Chains. I like elements of complexity in my music, while still keeping it gutteral and fun.

What’s next for Zero 1?
World domination. I want to make honest music that I really love and that the fans can really get into. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to write hit songs and play large places. I like arena rock. I like a lot of people smiling and having a good time.

You’ve given CPR to three people in your life: once at a public pool when you were 15, once about 12 years ago and again this last May when a man had a heart attack at LAX. Why does this stuff keep happening around you?
I was a Boy Scout, so I don’t run from those circumstances. My mom’s a nurse. I tend to live in high-stress environments because of the way I live. So maybe that’s why?

You’re in a small, but memorable bit part in “Spider-Man II.” Why’d you take that part?
A fan e-mailed me that on one of the spoiler websites, they were looking for a comedian to do an improv scene with Spider-Man. A, it’s in “Spider-Man,” B, it’s going to be a blockbuster and it’s an improv scene. I went in and heard all the comedians before me. It was some of the worst improv I had ever heard in my life, and it really made me angry. Everybody who went in there went “Spider-Man in an elevator, what?” “Why are you in an elevator, Spider-Man?” I thought, oh my god, I’m going to kill someone.

That was really fun. It was the only time Toby was in a suit the whole time. He improvised with me. He’s a really good guy and Sam Raimi said it turned out to be his favorite scene in the film.

Going?
Hal Sparks plays six shows Jan. 12-15 at Crackers Downtown, 247 S. Meridian St. Tickets are $10-$20; visit www.shop.crackerscomedy.com, or call (317) 255-4211.

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New Year’s Resolutions

Crackers Comedy Club can help you out with YOUR New Year’s Resolutions!

1.) We’re resolving to improve your health:
Laughter is the best medicine, you know.  Don’t take our word for it, take theirs!
http://tinyurl.com/laughtermed
http://tinyurl.com/laughloud

So how about resolving to see a show at Crackers Comedy Club once a month?!  We’ll help you with this by offering more give-aways and contests!

2.) Resolving to help you spend money locally:

For every dollar spent locally, 45-cents goes back into YOUR community!  On the other hand for every dollar spent in a big box store only 14 cents goes back into the local economy.
-Civic Economics 2008

We’re locally owned & operated, and visiting either of our locations gets you a gold star for supporting local business!

3.) Resolving to help your social life!
We’re planning some great Crackers packages this year for couples AND singles! We’re starting a Lonely Hearts Club to encourage singles to come out to a show without having to worry about awkward seating situations or weird stares from surrounding couples! We’re working to make some Guys Night Out packages and Girls Night Out packages. Plus, we haven’t forgotten about date night! We’re better than dinner & a movie!
Whether you’re resolving to get healthier, meet that special someone, or save money, we’re here for you!

Check out our upcoming comics at www.crackerscomedy.com and make a reservation now!

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Get to know: Patti Vasquez – our Downtown New Year’s Eve headliner!

Patti lives so close, yet so far away, in the tinsel town of Chicago and we at Crackers are super excited to have her back and doing our New Year’s Eve show Downtown!  Call us now for your reservation, and read on to get psyched about Patti’s show!

How excited ARE you to rock New Year’s Eve with Crackers Comedy Club?!

This will be my second time to the Crackers downtown.  When I was there last spring I was amazed at how wonderful the audiences were!  Everyone comes out ready to have a great time.  Plus, the club staff makes the whole experience a blast!

What are you looking forward to doing once you’re out on the town?

I have two little boys and as much as I love my family I am looking forward to cutting loose a little in Indy!

Will you be performing any new material this New Year’s Eve?

I do have some new material this time around as well as the material everyone knows me for!  Every time I leave too much out someone comes up to me after the show and says “You didn’t talk about your mom or your sister in law.”  I try to mix just enough of the old with the new.

What’s your favorite New Year’s Eve memory?

Is it weird that the New Year’s memory that sticks out the most is that i got a midnight kiss from Dave Coulier who played uncle “Cut-it-out” Joey from Full House?!  He was super cute and very sweet!

(Side Note: the number of people I know that have kissed Dave Coulier is growing quite large!!  When will I get my chance….)

I’m looking forward to seeing you all this week!

Much Love,
RAH

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Get to know Greg Warren – one of our New Years Eve headliners!

Greg Warren is one of my dearest friends and during a recent convo with him I realized he’s looking forward to his NYE here as much as I am!

Now living in St. Louis, Greg will be performing in Broad Ripple this week, alongside one his comedy “besties” Jeremy Essig!   I know Greg has a lot of fans here in Indy, so here’s the scoop on Greg:

Where can you stalk him?

It’s only guaranteed that Greg will go 2 places (besides Crackers, of course), and that’s the Cheesecake Factory, and Starbucks.  We’ve all tried to convert Greg to a “locavore”, but when he’s in town he just can’t get enough of the Cheesecake Factory.

What’s he working on?

New material, of course!  He’ll be trying out some at this week’s shows!

What can YOU expect?

You can expect the unexpected.  Every Greg Warren show is a surpise – one of his (and mine!) favorite show memories is ending the show with a round of Karaoke…

So come out and add your hyjinx to the mix this New Year’s Eve!  Call us now for a reservation at 317-255-4211

<3, RA

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We’ve got your Christmas, right here…

{If you’re still looking for the PERFECT gift, even last-minute, you’ll find what you need at Crackers Comedy Club!  Give the gift of laughter with our gift certificates!}

If bad weather cancels your travel plans – or, you didn’t have any to begin with – spend a night with Crackers Comedy Club this week!  Crackers is open this Wednesday and Thursday for a special Holiday show with legendary “show-biz man”, Matt Holt!  Matt Clemens, Brent Terhune, and Cam O’Connel are his guests as they launch you into your Christmas weekend the best way they know how….well, we’ll see if they know how or not…

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Homegrown Talent (or…Loco Locals!)

We’re definitely aware of the side-splittingly funny local comics we have right here in Indianapolis.  They reside in our little communities, like Broad Ripple, Fountain Square, and the notorious West Side, and more and every week they get up on stage and represent.  But we got to thinking, maybe YOU don’t know that!

You’ve read about comedian Jeff Oskay last week in NUVO Newsweekly and came out to see him perform in Broad Ripple.

(sorry, a little old clip!)

But it doesn’t stop there!

You can catch great local comics like Jeff every week at Crackers!  Starting with Open Mic Night on Tuesday nights!  You’ll see veterans like Marques Bunn and Matt Holt, as well as rookies; plus some great regional talent, and often a big name surprise or two!

Marques Bunn:

Matt Holt:
http://www.rooftopcomedy.com/watch/TheStrawThatBrokeTheCamelsBack

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Matt Clemens:

Deaf Comedian Extraordinaire Dave Showers:

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The incredible edible podcaster Brent Terhune:

The best part?  You can see Open Mic night FREE – just CLICK HERE for a super coupon!   And while you may be Black Friday’d out and recovering from Cyber Monday, you’re not done shopping YET!  Don’t forget to SHOP LOCAL – and the best way to do that?  Give the gift of comedy!  That’s right, purchase Crackers Comedy Club gift certificates for your friends, family, and co-workers this Christmas!  They’ll laugh WITH you, not AT you.  Visit one of our clubs or call 317-255-4211.

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Give & Get

‘Tis the season to be charitable, and it’s no laughing matter the strife that people right here in Indianapolis face every year, especially around the Holidays.
Instead of making Fusilli people out of your surplus pasta supply, bring it to us!  Crackers Comedy Club is teaming up with Second Helpings to offer you a great evening, in exchange for your generosity!

Bring in a box (or more!) of unopened pasta on Thursday nights between November 18 and December 23, 2010, and get FREE ADMISSION to the show! (excludes special events*). We’ll deliver the pasta to Second Helpings so they can feed thousands of Indianapolis’ underprivileged and hungry. Read more about what Second Helpings is doing, by visiting their website at www.secondhelpings.org

Check out our line-up of comics both downtown and in Broad Ripple and make your reservations today!

Keep Laughing!
~Ruth-Anne

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What you Missed…

You’ll see our comics on Comedy Central, Jay Leno, David Letterman, and other hilarious shows.  So  you might think you know them pretty well, but unless you come see them live…you never know what you’re missing:

Take, for example, the treat our guests got the night Brad Williams decided to give lap dances at his last two shows in town.  You can compare his techniques – one of these is OUR video, the other is an audience member’s that I happened to just find by Google-ing.

You never know what or who you’ll see at Crackers, so stop in this week/weekend to see Ruben Paul in Broad Ripple, or Geoff Keith Downtown!

Ruben Paul “grew up in an all black neighborhood, went to an all Mexican high school, went to an all white church and shopped at a lot of Asian stores,” he quips.  Ruben’s upbringing was the foundation for his universal appeal.  His undeniable charisma, and spontaneity make him a crowd favorite everywhere he goes!

Geoff Keith is, in one word, dreamatastilicious. Don’t get lost in his eyes. Listen to him. He’s more than a pretty face. He’s really funny, girls. Check out some of his previous Crackers appearances here:
Geoff Keith on Rooftop Comedy dot com.

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Free Hugs!

Dear Cracker’s Comedy Fans,

This is Pete Lee, from Television.  I wanted to see if you would like to hang out with me this week at Cracker’s in Broadripple?  I really want to see you, so as an added incentive to come to my show, I have attached a “Free Hug” coupon below.  Simply print it out, present it to me after the show, and I will hug the living crap out of you.  To make sure that your free hug is of the utmost quality, I have been doing a combination of working out and eating cake.  So, each hug that I give will be both strong and soft, like you are getting squeezed by a really fit Santa.  Don’t miss out on this chance to see my hilarious show and to get a free hug from me.  It will be an absolute snuggle storm!  See you this week!

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