Aykroyd and Belushi? Try MU’s own Bury and Gau

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Michael Gau and Charlie Bury

Michael Gau and Charlie Bury

They finish each other’s sentences, give each other crap for saying something dumb and make up cheesy analogies to teach a life lesson. Sounds like grandma and grandpa, right?

With these two, that is not the case.

Charlie Bury and Michael Gau, both students in the College of Communication, could fool you for being the reincarnates of the Odd Couple. Instead, they’re two very regular guys, but with extraordinary talent and determination to make a career out of entertaining.

Bury and Gau, both broadcasting majors, instantly became friends and partners in comedic-crime after meeting in an acting class.

Bury decided to take theater class for a specific reason.

“Theater classes were the only classes I could get above a C in,” Bury said.

Gau, who grew up acting in Milwaukee community theater groups, had no problem acclimating his non-theater self into the theater department.

“I didn’t know many people at Marquette. I was down to make some friends and meet some people,” Gau said.

Bury, however, still needed a little push to get started.

“Mike jumped in heavy with the acting world, and I was still on the fence,” Bury said. “He really showed me what I had to do to get involved.”

Another moment of encouragement for Bury was when television actor Cotter Smith, also husband to Marquette lecturer Heidi Mueller Smith, visited his Acting for Non-Theater Majors class last year. After the class, Mueller Smith pulled Bury aside and asked him if he ever seriously considered acting.

“That was kind of my eye-opening,” Bury said. “She got me thinking, ‘maybe I could do this.’”

Another encouraging Marquette staff member for both Bury and Gau is Professor Phylis Ravel, who grew to appreciate their unique comedic talents.

“When Charlie and Michael were in my acting class, I knew they had the gift for both comedy and drama,” Ravel said via e-mail. “Their comedy works well because it is grounded in a strong reality and an excellent sense of timing.”

After all the support and encouragement from peers and instructors throughout the year, Gau and Bury realized comedy was something to take a little more seriously. Once summer began, they held business-like meetings called “bounces,” where they’d sit in the library for hours, bouncing jokes and funny ideas back and forth. After organizing solid stand-up sets, Gau suggested they start traveling.

Jumping on the idea, both began regularly performing stand-up at various Milwaukee open-mics, enrolled themselves in improvisational acting classes at The Alchemist Theatre, 2569 S. Kinnickinnic, and snagged a weekend stand-up gig at Festa Italiana.

Next, they drove to Chicago where they performed open-mic stand-up and visited the legendary venue called iO, formerly ImprovOlympic, where stars like Chris Farley, Mike Meyers and Tina Fey got their starts.

Last, but definitely not least, Bury and Gau traveled to New York City for a week, performing at open-mics, attending at least one comedy show every night and meeting Dave Attell, host of Comedy Central’s “Insomniac with Dave Attell.”

Even though their unbelievable summer is over and school’s back in session, Bury and Gau are keeping themselves busy with comedy and performance by writing, performing at open-mics, taking improvisational classes and rehearsing for Marquette theater productions.

Oh yeah, and by organizing their own professionally filmed stand-up show.

The show, filmed on Sept. 20, was a combination of Bury’s and Gau’s stand-up routines along with scripted stand-up performances of characters they met over the summer.

From all of these experiences, Bury and Gau agree that comedy has changed their social and intellectual lives incredibly.

“It makes life more fun and easier,” Gau said. “You can turn anything into material.”

“It helps with your relationships with other people,” Bury said.

Bury said he grew up as the funny fat kid. Now, after quickly dropping 100 pounds, Bury can relate to audience members who share the same experiences of struggling with their weight.

With Los Angeles next on the list, Bury and Gau continue to dedicate their lives to entertaining.

“After we graduate from Marquette, we’re not done learning,” Gau said. “(Learning) doesn’t end at the doors of the classroom.”

Both plan on pursuing the love of writing, acting and comedy as far as it can go.

Charlie Bury and Michael Gau

Charlie Bury and Michael Gau

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