Week one of the S.B. LOL Comedy Festival started Thursday, October 8, and lasts all weekend long. You got the inside scoop on three renowned comedians (Kira Soltanovich, Brad Williams, and Eric Schwartz), and now it’s time for a sneak peek with some of next week’s headliners: Cheech Marin, Chris Hardwick, and Andy Daly.
The use of humor to shift human perception is its highest function. Cheech Marin, who got his start as part of the Grammy Award–winning comedy duo Cheech and Chong, understands how to use comedy for the highest good — because, of course, he’s in favor of occasionally getting high — that is, “as long as it’s legal,” he told me recently in a phone interview. Cheech and Chong’s classic film Up in Smokef invented the genre “stoner comedy,” and its influence still permeates the film industry today. Now, the legend himself is on his way to the LOL Festival to host Legally Brown Tu/2.0 at the Arlington Theatre on Friday, October 16, at 8 p.m.
Up in Smoke grossed more than $100 million when it was released in 1978, and Cheech and Chong created an electric popularity with hippies and the youth. Marin shared his thoughts on the current relaxation on marijuana laws in California: “[The police] just don’t have the time to deal with it anymore, because it’s not a big crime and the number of people is so large now.” In addition to advocating for legalization, Marin acts as a godfather to Chicano comedians, many of whom will be at Legally Brown Tu/2.0. “It’s a voice that needs to be heard, and these guys are funny,” he said. “And what better way [to promote them] than to put a bunch of them onstage and to get all sides of the Latino experience, and that’s the mainstream experience now at this point,” Marin said.
But still one question remains: Where is Chong? Recently, Cheech and Chong toured the country for their Get It Legal tour, but it had to be cut short because Chong was diagnosed with cancer. “It looks like he’s going to be okay; he’s fighting it really well,” Marin said. —Ryan Mandell
Whether it’s Nerdist Industries, @midnight with Chris Hardwick, voice-overs, stand-up comedy tours, or writing books, Chris Hardwick is always up to something. “Comedy is not something you do if it’s not in your blood, because then it’s just too time consuming,” he said recently in a phone interview. Since he saw his first skit featuring Dean Martin, who was part of the 1946 comedy duo Martin and Lewis and host of The Dean Martin Show and The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast, Hardwick has been obsessed with comedy: “If I didn’t love it, I wouldn’t pursue it every weekend.”
He started performing stand-up in dorms during college and then graduated to comedy clubs. “[At that point] anything I did was not in clubs but coffeehouses, bars, laundromats — anywhere where I can get up in front of people.” And now? He’s initiated the nerd culture with a passion to understand things on a grand level. “Historically, these things involve science fiction, fantasy, imagination,” but a nerd doesn’t just like these things — it’s about how you engage with them. Hardwick founded the Nerdist Podcast, a comedy-based conversation series; collaborated with Peter Levin of GeekChicDaily and started Nerdist.com, an editorial, nerd culture news site; and hosts @midnight with Chris Hardwick, a comedy game show about social media with stand-up comics as contestants. “It’s sort of like a news show,” he said. “We pick up news and anything found online and express it through games.”
Hardwick enjoys talking with the audience, so he will incorporate a Q&A into the show for people questioning the nerd culture — or the TV show The Walking Dead. He won’t drop the f-bombs 50 times or come up with 100 euphemisms for genitals, but he will talk about embarrassing, and possibly filthy, life stories. Rating his stand-up show as TV-MA (Mature Audience Only), he said, “I wouldn’t bring a 9-year-old to the show, but I don’t think your ears will bleed if you’re a teenager.” As the last act of the LOL Comedy Festival, Hardwick’s set will leave S.B. in laughter until next year’s festival. —Ginny Chung
In the funny business since the early ’90s, Andy Daly is a seasoned comedian. He is currently best known for his role in Comedy Central’s Review as writer and main character Forrest MacNeil. “On the show, I play a life reviewer who reviews life experiences, no matter what it is,” he explained. “What is it like to be a cult leader? What is it like to kill somebody? Forrest will go do it, come back to the office, and rate the experience from one to five.” In addition to being on television series such as Eastbound & Down, playing Teddy Roosevelt on Comedy Central’s Drunk History, and featured in movies such as Semi-Pro, Daly can be heard on various podcasts where he introduces different characters — a sneak peek into his Santa Barbara show.
Daly’s comedy shows are unlike the ones you’ll see during the rest of the festival. Rather than one-liners and jokes, he will perform different character monologues, first originated in his podcasts. You can surely expect appearances by Cowboy Dalton Wilcox and Theatrical Director Don DiMello. Oh, and be ready for some costume changes. “I try to keep the costumes as simple as possible. There’s no artifice; I change onstage,” he said. The many characters he personifies come from random places. “I went to an equestrian show, and a guy in a cowboy hat came out and put on a routine. I had to learn more about him. Turns out, his name is Baxter Black, nation’s most famous cowboy poet,” he continued. Although he can’t fully explain where the humor comes from, it works.
Daly doesn’t like to travel much, and so doesn’t perform very often, so don’t miss this chance to see him. Excited for his family trip to Santa Barbara, he concluded and warned, “I’ve got two young daughters, and they will be nowhere near the venue where I’m performing.” —GC
Rumor has it that the secret show will take place this Sunday, October 11, at SOhO Restaurant & Music Club with some awesome headliners. The full announcement will be made on Saturday at 8 p.m. on lolcomedyfestival.com.