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Entries in Paul Thomas (3)

Thursday
Jul152010

JFL Star Paul Thomas Rips Shit Up, Solo

By: Robert Buscemi

Paul Thomas packs more punch into "Comedogenic" than a purple punch-pack, whatever that is. He machine-guns tight, funny solo pieces with enough fire to broast a Cornish game hen. He's aggressive and unflagging, blazing through a dozen brilliant scenes (give or take--he's constantly noodling with the show), including...

1) A bus-stop kid rapping along to his iPod, oblivious to his decibel-level, mutter-singing a complex, original, hilarious rhyme about women and Jesus.

2) An orchestra student sneaking in texts to his geeky friends when his instrument -- a French horn that Thomas plays live on stage -- isn't specifically needed.

3) A disabled actor playing Paul Thomas, whose palsy and slur are dead-on, even as Thomas mocks himself for the intellectual pretension of playing himself playing himself.

4) A guy at a party with the greatest verbal tick you've ever heard, ineptly chatting up a girl who's clearly racist.

He also screens the hilarious new music video "Smacking Your Gum."

He debuted the show at the Second City's Donny's Skybox in 2008, took it to the New York International Fringe in 2009, then I saw it in LA at the first annual Fringe Fest a couple of weeks ago. Chicago's lucky right now -- Thomas excerpts it Thursdays at Chicago's iO's Del Close Theater through August 12th on a bill with Chicago stars Jim Fath, Jet Eveleth, and Paul Brittain.

And Thomas is ambitious as hell, so look for it on the coasts soon.

As a performer, Thomas has of course been around the block, winning "Best Sketch Group" as half of The Defiant Thomas Brothers at HBO’s 2005 US Comedy Arts Festival, performing solo pieces last year in the inaugural Just for Laughs Chicago, and getting named to Comedy.com’s Top 20 stand-ups in Chicago.

He also performs with the fantastic "post-grunge" acoustic comedy rock band Lola Balatro, which released its debut album last year with songs like "I Got 2 Black Friends," "Rock Star," and "Questionable Beef," (which won the audience award at the Seattle Sketchfest).

A quick story about this weirdly well-produced, to-my-mind murderously funny video for Thomas's "Epic Love Song." For the shoot, Thomas drove like half the people you see in the video (me included) in a big rented van out to a farm two freaking hours from Chicago on the rainiest Sunday in Illinois history. At one point in the 14-hour day, we hauled that GD piano through deep mud out onto planks in a field.

So we're tired and wet when we finally pile in the van to head home, and I say "You know what the funniest word ever is? 'Girth.'"

For two solid hours, we inserted "girth" into every phrase, book title, movie title, proper name you can imagine: Girth Brooks, Girth Vader, The Girth Also Rises, Girth on the Nile. WE DID NOT STOP. The two that hit the hardest: early on, Thomas says "Bond. JAMES Girth." Then when we were almost home, Mike Bridenstine says: "E=MC girth." I almost peed my pants.

Anyhow, go see "Comedogenic." It's amazing. No shit.

Wednesday
Mar102010

Chicago Checklist

A few words/bits/baubles from Chi-City, pals. (And if you are reading this and involved in a scene outside of CHI or NYC and are thinking to yourself, "Hey, there's cool things HERE too ya know, what's up?" Then please, PLEASE drop us a line! We're looking for ALL the bits AND the baubles, nationwide. Feature interviews, too. Stunning photos. Hilarious video shorts. What's your crew doing? Drop us a line!).

Lakeshore Theater Manager Chris Ritter with Doug Stanhope and Junior Stopka | Photo by Brian Jarreau, courtesy of the Lakeshore Theater

Early yesterday morning we saw that Doug Stanhope dropped a big ol' props via Facebook on one our local underground superstars, Junior Stopka, who opened for Stanhope in four shows at the Lakeshore Theater this past weekend. You can peep some photos from the show here and here.

Mick Betancourt's got his hands on the new Web site Actually Funny, and tapped CHI comedian Ricky Carmona to submit the hilarious and inspiring blog, "Brad Pitt vs. Bootsie Collins." As Ricky says, it will do you no harm! Check it out!

Photos from the inaugural Laughing Skull Comedy Festival have emerged, granting us a little voyeur access into this new comedy hot spot. Props to Michael Palascak, Prescott Tolk, and expat Jena Friedman, representing CHI in ATL.

Local comedy writer Steve Heisler has been slowly and surely making his way to national reporting, and a few days ago he unveiled his new monthly column for the A.V. Club, called Laugh Track, that seeks to "round up new and noteworthy stand-up, sketch, and online video, much of it courtesy of under-the-radar comedians with a little too much time on their hands." Suitably, it features many Chicago folks, both here in town and those that have flown away for the coasts.

And finally, we'll leave you with a new video by comedian Paul Thomas, featuring comedians Jet Eveleth and Dan Telfer, and directed by Chad Wilson.

Creep from Paul Thomas on Vimeo.

EDIT: We just received word that Seth Herzog will be performing at the cozy Gallery Cabaret this Saturday, March 13, 7 p.m., as part of the new showcase, The Two-Hour Comedy Hour. Fun!

--Kristy Mangel

Wednesday
Oct212009

Lola Balatro Set to Rock Wrigleyville

The megafun trio Lola Balatro (Cork Kangas, Jeff Madden, Paul Thomas) is rocking Chicago's Wrigleyville this Friday, in celebration of their recent contest wins: best video at Seattle Sketchfest a couple of weeks ago, and best comedy video in the Film Skillet summer 2009 contest.

Begin your earworm today and acquire their debut album or some super fly free ringtones from their site. And to ready yourself for the storm that is Lola, view their award-winning video for Questionable Beef right now!

CHICAGO: See Lola Balatro perform 9 p.m., Friday, October 23, at the Goose Island Brewpub in Wrigleyville. $5, three other bands scheduled to perform after Lola.

--Kristy Mangel