If all goes accordingly, the 33rd Annual “Back to School” Comedy Extravaganza on September 30 will turn the entire Canyon Theatre Guild audience into a fit of laughter, leaving each member begging for more comedy in Santa Clarita.
Is it actually the 33rd show? Well, no, it’s the first one.
Does it have anything to do with schools, students or teachers? Absolutely not.
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Is it an obnoxiously long title that leaves an intrusive mark on your memory?
Yes it is.
According to comedian and KHTS Morning Show host Brandon Gibson, the show will prove the potential for a larger comedy scene in Santa Clarita.
“The Canyon Theatre is a jump-off point, and obviously if we can have (the event) there every time that would be great because it’s a beautiful place,” said Gibson. “It represents Santa Clarita so that’s why we decided to have it there.” The Comedy Extravaganza will feature multiple acts and formats.
Gibson and pals Patrick Keane and Lou Santini will begin the show, each performing a set of stand-up.
“We didn’t just throw a bunch of comedians into a room together. There’s a connection,” said Gibson. “It’s like the ‘Blue Collar Comedy Tour.’ You’re not going to put George Carlin in the ‘Blue Collar Comedy Tour.’ You have to have the right fit of comedians for it to go well.”
Following their sets, the Bent Neck Giraffe improvisation troupe will take the stage. The troupe, which features Will and Jenny Fowler, Danny Fowble and Gibson, recently performed at Undergrounds Coffee House with former “Saturday Night Live” cast member Victoria Jackson.
“There was a giraffe at the Santa Barbara Zoo that literally had a bent neck and recently passed,” he said. “We just liked the name because it’s funny – it represents everything we want it to be.”
Gibson added that the name came before the giraffe’s passing.
“I think he learned of the copycatting and had just had too much.”
Although each performer will offer their unique brand of comedy, it may be a first-timer that steals the show.
In what Gibson calls “Safety Net Comedy,” an individual who has never performed stand-up will deliver a set with the aid of the other performers.
When this person bombs, as Gibson guarantees, the other experienced comedians will “rescue” them.
“(It will) ensure that this person loses no pride points whatsoever and to make sure that they have a good show,” he said. “All the comedians on the bill will be seated behind this person so that if a joke doesn’t go right the comedians can go up and rescue them in the form of a scene by the improv troupe, in a bit from a comedian or something as simple as whispering a different punch line into their ear.”
According to Gibson, Santa Clarita’s comedy scene is ready to expand, hoping that interest in events such as the Comedy Extravaganza lead to bigger things, such as a local club that is open nightly.
“To me, stand-up comedy is the only venue of free speech left,” he said. “That’s kind of the reason for starting this show. People out here are still hungry for that and you don’t always want to drive into Hollywood to go see comedy.”
The 33rd Annual “Back to School” Comedy Extravaganza takes place September 30 at 7:30 p.m. at the Canyon Theatre Guild. Tickets are available at the theater box office and at KHTS.
Canyon Theatre Guild: (661) 799-2702
KHTS: (661) 298-1220