Second City and Steven Wright in Durham

Live performances at the Carolina Theatre are supported in part by the North Carolina Arts Council, an agency funded by the state of North Carolina, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the A.J. Fletcher Performing Arts Fund of the Triangle Community Foundation.
 
This year, The North Carolina Comedy Arts Festival, in partnership with The Carolina Theater, is thrilled to present Steven Wright and The Second City Touring Company.
 
Steven Wright began his career at the age of 23 and has been working ever since. Labelled a “prototype” - his work and path to success have been followed by many fledgling comedians in the years following. His past credits include appearances on Late Night with David LettermanSaturday Night Live, and a rare two week consecutive appearances on The Tonight Show with then host Johnny Carson.

The name ‘Second City’ is synonymous with comedy. Originating in Old Town Chicago - The Second City was the first ever ongoing improv theater in the United States. Over the last 50 years it has become an iconic place of study- expanding into The Second City Training Center, and can be found in the history of countless celebrities and comedians in pop culture today. Seeing a Second City stage show offers a combination of the best improvisation and sketch comedy writing on any continent.

Both of these shows are steeped in comedy history- carrying forward a certain comedy heritage. It’s only fitting that they play The Carolina Theater- a vintage building, preserved itself (and recently remodeled) as it moves forward for future generations to enjoy.

Fletcher Hall is the main stage of the Carolina, seating 1,014 with two balconies. This grand stage hosts distinguished speakers, dance, music of all varieties, and most importantly to us - comedy
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- Contributed by Kate Harlow

Shun Man Woh- WHOA

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Cerebral, yeah- we’ll go with cerebral. That’s the lazy description behind the astounding piece of theater put together by DSI company veteran Kit FitzSimons. His one man sketch show Shun Man Woh brings to the table many of the highly specific skills that only Kit himself could put together. Chugging Redbull, enormous feats of physical exertion, and what has been described by many people as “a rubber face,” Kit creates 30 minutes of comedy without one single (LIVE) word spoken. 


For the past eight years Kit has occasionally performed under the title Shun Man Woh - a spoonerism of “One Man Show” for all of his one man sketches. Over time the name had been relegated to the title for the ‘Sketch Ideas’ file on his laptop.  The inspiration for a revival of Shun Man Woh came when DSI Comedy announced that it would be holding a Sketch Cagematch in late 2012. 

Why no words though?  “I’d been listening to a lot of music recently, and I had a couple ideas for sketches that didn’t require any words… the show format sort of spiraled out from there,” says FitzSimons. Having repeatedly worked up an idea into a sketch or monologue, only to find that it still seemed less fun than anything he had thought of for his music inspired sketches, Kit went about combing his playlists and collecting songs to create his personal soundtrack.

Finding that past sketch shows had best flowed when they found a unifying theme-  the current Shun Man Woh came together when he found his theme of sketches where he didn’t speak. “Every new idea was an exciting discovery, like snapping together another couple pieces of an enormous jigsaw,” FitzSimons shares. The future is bright - Kit is always looking to do more, to expand and include more in his work.

- Contributed by Kate Harlow

Dive into Local 506

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Down Franklin Street from UNC campus lies an intimate venue, with no pretensions about what it is.  The epitome of a rock and roll dive bar, bringing in your favorite local, regional, national, and sometimes even international acts up close and personal. Writing up a big piece would be misleading and repetitive- The Local 506 is small, with room for about 250 people. It is extremely cool, with a great beer selection and friendly staff. One review even labels The Local 506 as “the beating heart of the American music industry.”

There is no question - The Local 506 and the North Carolina Comedy Arts Festival are a match made in heaven. DSI Comedy Theater has been producing events at Local 506 on and off for close to 9 years. This year is no exception- expect to see amazing talent, in the kind of room where you can buy your favorite act a beer and hang out side by side after they kill their set.

- Contributed by Kate Harlow

Motorco and Durham get Dirty

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Nestled between the Central Park district, and the restaurants and bars of downtown Durham you will find Motorco Music Hall. Right across from the Fullsteam Brewery and within walking distance of the Durham farmer’s market, Motorco manages to encompass the many things that make Durham so unique — a hip, fresh, family environment that still has edge.

In 2012 DSI Comedy Theater made a big move in its bid to bring comedy to the masses by producing improv and standup at Motorco. Performing regularly on Wednesday nights, DSI has primarily made use of “the Garage”.

For the NCCAF however, the larger of the two stages “the Showroom” will play host to some of the most talented comics North Carolina has to offer. There are tshirts that proudly boast, “Durham, it’s not for everyone.”

But personally- if you like to laugh, if you enjoy an exceptionally cool downtown, a wide variety of microbrews, and the edible glory that comes from a food truck- I feel safe guaranteeing that Motorco is a great place for you to catch some comedy.

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— Contributed by Kate Harlow