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Holiday Comedy Preview, Plus Thoughts on Dave Chappelle's SNL Monologue

Comedian Dave Chappelle on Saturday Night Live

Note, Dec. 1st: The Guy Branum show on Dec. 14th has been canceled.

Whether you enjoy holiday traditions, or find them stressful, there’s one thing most people can agree upon this time of the year: we could all use some comic relief.  Luckily for us, we have Comedy Contributor Matt Kemple to share his suggestions as to just where we might find that cup of cheer. 

First up is Milwaukee Comedy's Keg Stand-Up at Lakefront Brewery on December 4th.  A regular event at Lakefront, Kemple cites the clever brewery tour guides as a great draw: “Their staff are super-funny people,” he says. “Most of them are actors and comedians in town.”

Another plus? The cheesecurds. Kemple says the comics themselves get quite into the food at Lakefront Brewery, saying, “Oh I’ll do that show, because their chesecurds are so good!”

For something a bit different, there’s Subjective: A Comedic Showing on December 9th at Var Gallery. This performance infuses art with comedy in a unique way, with the goal of showing its audience definitively that comedy is art.

For the slightly more adventurous, Kemple suggests the Holiday Open Mic Party at the Underground Collaborative on December 16th.  “It’s going to be kinda crazy and fun," he says.  Complete with an ugly costume contest, wacky door prizes, and eggnog, “It’s going to kinda be like the holidays threw up on your face,” Kemple explains. Making it a “fun, cheesy way to get the comedy community together.”

Rounding out the year is one of the biggest names in comedy: Jim Gaffigan will celebrate his New Year's at the Pabst Theater for a series of shows, Decmember 29th-31st.   This will be his 10th year coming to Milwaukee for the holiday, and after quickly selling out his first few shows, he added an additional performance on the 30th as a benefit for the Riverwest Food Pantry. 

Gaffigan's level of generosity had Kemple quite impressed. “That’s a lot of money you’re talking about. All those ticket sales from one show – a couple of thousand people – and he’s donating every dime of that specifically to charity, here in Milwaukee," he notes. "Not just a national charity, but giving back to the community here. That’s pretty phenomenal – you do not see that very often.”


Another thing you don’t see too often, according to Kemple, is a star comedian giving a heartfelt and personal message to a national audience on live television. That, however, is exactly how Dave Chappelle finished his monologue on the post-election edition of Saturday Night Live on November 12th.  “I thought that was pretty phenomenal," says Kemple. At its heart, he felt, was a message of unity. “We can unite ourselves through anger; we can unite via hate; but the most positive way to be able to unite people together is through humor. I thought his monologue was very funny, but then it got very touching, very personal.”


No matter how you choose to round out your 2016, one thing is for sure: there is no shortage of comedy events in Milwaukee this holiday season.  Whether you want to try your own hand behind the mic, or just kick back and enjoy some laughs and eggnog, Milwaukee has you covered. Here’s to laughing your way to 2017.

Rachel is WUWM's Morning Edition host.

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