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Arts & Culture

Comedian Ryan Lowe Brings "High-energy Deadpan" to Milwaukee


Milwaukee comedian Ryan Lowe jokes that he is the “Jackson Pollack of comedy;” a misunderstood, reclusive, and enigmatic artistic force.  Since starting his career eight years ago, Lowe has dabbled in many different areas of comedy including sketch performance, traditional standup, and puppetry. A comedy club regular in Milwaukee and throughout the Midwest, Lowe is best known for his sarcastic and dry sense of humor. Energetic performances offset with moments of expressionless emotion have become a signatures of Lowe’s.

Lowe sat down with WUWM’s Rachel Owens and Matt Kemple, who is the Creative Producer of Milwaukee Comedy, speaking casually about his time in comedy so far and his creative process. The interview is part of the new series of comedian spotlights, highlighting Milwaukee’s burgeoning standup and improve scenes. Lowe will be performing Jan. 24 at Milwaukee’s Underground Collaborative at 8pm as part of “Comedy Show Comedy Show- Featuring Chastity Washington!,” hosted by Milwaukee Comedy. The show will also feature comedians Ryan Mason, Allison Dunne, and hosted by Jake Kornely.

Lowe got his first taste of standup during his Milwaukee Comedy College graduation performance. Surrounded by a slew of raucous friends and family, the show gave Lowe a huge boost of confidence. High off their great performance, Lowe and another student quickly entered a comedy contest in Minneapolis.  

Credit Rachel Owens / WUWM
Ryan Lowe strikes a pose.

“We just got annihilated and rightfully so because we really sucked,” says Lowe, noting how eye-opening the show was. “So then we really had to reevaluate how amazing we thought we were at comedy.”

Over the years Lowe has perfected his craft, many times falling into a character onstage. His persona however has evolved throughout the years. He started by telling comedic stories and narratives. Now he tells shorter, more deadpan jokes. Lowe calls his performances today, “high energy deadpan.”

“It’s weird because I don’t do it on purpose,” says Lowe. “It’s me but it is a very isolated and amplified part of me. For those who haven’t seen me, it is a lot more growly and a lot more Gilbert Gottfried-like.”

Lowe views joke writing very much like mathematical equations. He graduated college with a degree in physics. The comedian tends to gravitate towards jokes which he deems completely understandable for every person in the audience. Tailoring his humor to an audience has proved difficult for the comedian, many times having to change up his material on the spot.

“I think you really have to feel an audience out,” says Lowe who cited the similarities between audience interaction and a regular conversation. “With an audience you hopefully start to feel the rhythm. I’ll watch whoever is going up before me and see what they respond to.”  

As to the Milwaukee comedy scene, Lowe says there are advantages and disadvantages to having such a small market for standup, sketch, and improve. Milwaukee hosts open mic nights almost every night of the week, which is excellent for an up and coming performer like Lowe. The city is different from places like Chicago where comedians fight for stage time.
“It is a great place to get good but not the best place to be good,” says Lowe.  

Credit Rachel Owens / WUWM
Matt Kemple and Ryan Lowe at WUWM.

Lowe will be performing next during “Comedy Show Comedy Show- Featuring Chastity Washington!” at the Underground Collaborative on Jan. 24. Doors open at 7:30pm, with the show starting at 8pm. The performance will also feature comedians Ryan Mason, Allison Dunne, and hosted by Jake Kornely.   

Lowe performing at the Milwaukee Comedy Cafe:

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