Comedian wants to showcase local talent
November 23, 2012
When stand-up comedian Keith Barany, pronounced BARE a Knee, moved from New York to Utah nearly two years ago, he decided to take a gander at the local comedy scene.
"I travel and produce shows nationally, but I’m not able to get to know the talent in every town, so I made it a point to do that here," Barany told The Park Record. "I can tell you that I was instantly impressed when I went down to the local open mic night at Wiseguys Comedy Club in Trolley Square."
Barany found there was a "legitimate, alternative stand-up comedy scene" that was ultimately from the Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter-day Saints community.
"I also saw there were comics who rebelled against that community, so it was a representation of the full spectrum of what we encounter in Utah," he said.
So, Barany decided to pull together a group of Utah talent for Stand-Up Utah, a night of comedy at the Egyptian Theatre on Thursday, Nov. 29.
The idea came because there were so many comics that were had some great material, and clubs weren’t just offering them at the Wednesday open-mic showcases.
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"Other clubs offer Tuesday nights or Monday night and even monthly shows in other locations, even in the shadow of Brigham Young University," he said. "In fact, at the Muse Music Café in Provo, there is a Cat Fashion Show with jokes featuring Christian Pieper, who will be is part of the Park City performance."
The line-up for the Egyptian Theatre show is as follows, according to an Egyptian Theatre press release:
Andy Gold is a staple of the Salt Lake comedy scene. Gold, who is frank about his life, took to the road as a feature comic one year after he began and was headlining soon thereafter.
Christian Pieper is a rising star in Salt Lake City, even though he lives close to conservative Brigham Young University. He has a great eye for the psychological games we play on ourselves, and will unveil and joke about your most secret impulses.
Steve Soelberg has been performing since 2007 as a New Year’s resolution. Although shy and quiet at parties, Soelberg does comedy because he said he likes the attention.
Marcus is the Winner of the 2007 Seattle International Comedy Competition and runs Wiseguys Comedy at Trolley Square. He is best known as the runner-up from the 2008 season of NBC’s hit series, "Last Comic Standing."
Mike Anderson can be seen five days a week, delivering the news on KSL Ch. 5. Anderson got his start in TV News in South Dakota, but moved to Florida and decided to pursue his dream to become a part-time comedian who also does the news. He’s the winner of the STARZ "Stand Up Now" Comedy Competition.
Harris Alterman was raised in Colorado, went to school in Canada, and lives in Salt Lake City. He loves performing and the first time on a stage, he proudly played a goat.
Guy Seidel has played professional music since he was 17. He plays guitar and is a DJ. Seidel was dared by a friend to participate in an open-mic night and the rest is history.
The goal of Stand-Up Utah is to highlight local comedians, Barany said.
"It is also, in terms of the programming approach I took, to prioritize the kind of comedians I think the Park City community would find reassuring," he said. "I’m not unmindful to the culture chasm that exists up the mountain and down the hill to Salt Lake, and I think Park City residents may be concerned that I would parade glass-eyed acolytes who don’t say things the audience would enjoy in front of them."
So, when Barany began programming the event, he focused on booking the funniest people he could find.
"I also wanted to make sure they had an edge of one kind or another," he said. "The focus is to send tasteful comedians who do smart, original comedy."
That means Barany looks for comics who can express themselves without having to resort to the crutch of cursing.
"However, I have told them that it’s OK if they feel the need to drop an F-bomb, but there really is no reason for it," he said. "I don’t want them to feel censored, but I want them to show off their cleverness and their ingenuity, and bad language is unnecessary if you have those tools."
Thanks to the vibrant scene in Salt Lake, Barany noticed different levels of comedy, so it was easy to forgo the true novices and intermediate novices and approach the well-established guys.
"That said, because of the time limits, I did have to leave off four or five comics off the bill, because I wanted to give everyone 10 to 12 minutes, which meant I had only room for six or seven performers," he said. ‘I would have loved to put on a 15-comic format like what I was part of when I started out doing comedy in New York City."
Barany got into comedy because he wanted to provide a service to his audiences.
"The reason someone goes into comedy and stays in comedy are two different things," he explained. "A lot of comedians have a desire for attention, but that wasn’t for me, because I wanted to be the relief from the stress of life.
"And the reason I have stayed in comedy is because I has no other skills," he said with a laugh. "So, what am I going to do? I may consider being a tollbooth operator, if one every opened in Utah, because living in Utah was the best move I ever made."
Keith Barany Entertainment will present Stand Up Utah at the Egyptian Theatre, 328 Main St., on Friday, Nov. 29, at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $10 to $15 and available at http://www.parkcityshows.com .