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The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

‘Bye Bye Liver’ intoxicates crowd with laughter

"Bye Bye Liver" celebrates its two year anniversary in Milwaukee. Photo courtesy of Josh Dunkin.

Milwaukee knows a thing about drinking – it’s kind of its niche. When you’re named America’s third drunkest city by The Daily Beast, it’s only expected that memories (if you’re lucky), regrets and future inside jokes accompany nights of bar hopping and beer chugging.

The transformation from a responsible sober individual to a giant inebriated adult baby is a moment almost everyone has experienced. Alcohol fuels the good times – and sometimes the disasters – that go hand and hand with a night out.

All of the experiences that make people cringe, cry and giggle while drinking were the inspiration behind “Bye Bye Liver,” the interactive comedy sketch show celebrating its two year anniversary on Saturday, January 21 at ComedySportz Garage Theatre.

Byron Hatfield, the original writer and director of “Bye Bye Liver,” did not intend to write the sketch show in the beginning.

Hatfield, originally from Nashville, Tenn., moved to Chicago to pursue theater and sketch comedy and in December of 2006 found himself working on a number of various projects.

With only weeks to complete one particular piece, Hatfield decided to use his crunch time wisely and created “Bye Bye Liver.” The opportunity gave him the chance to incorporate sketch comedy and drinking games — a combination that has proven itself to be very successful.

“Sketch comedy is a gateway drug to theater,” Hatfield said. “Theater is so compelling. It’s better than anything on television. I wanted something that could compete with TV and movies.”

Unlike going to a movie theater or sitting in front of a television screen, “Bye Bye Liver” brings an eclectic mix of live games and jokes that entertains audiences no matter how sober or drunk they may be.

ComedySportz, which originated in Milwaukee in 1984, is all about audience participation and lively improvisational performers. “Bye Bye Liver” is no different.

The cast of “Bye Bye Liver” rotates various games and sketches into the show periodically, but patrons can always look forward to a completely different performance every time they buy a ticket.

Hatfield hopes “Bye Bye Liver,” as well as other improv and sketch comedy shows, can excite audiences because of how engaging and relatable they are.

At venues like “Bye Bye Liver,” audiences can interact with cast members and become a part of the show they’re watching. For a little over an hour, everyday situations are played out and enjoyed by people who live them all the time. “Bye Bye Liver” tells the story of the average adult on a night out.

“Everyone likes to drink and laugh,” Hatfield said. “We use humor and a touch of alcohol to get through the long, cold winters.”

Since its first opening in 2006 in front of Chicago audiences, “Bye Bye Liver” has expanded to several cities across the country and even to Canada. Milwaukee was the first city outside of Chicago to have a permanent production of “Bye Bye Liver.”

“As soon as Chicago blew up, we went, ‘Alright, this works,’” Hatfield said.

Hatfield believed Milwaukee was an obvious choice for opening another permanent show for “Bye Bye Liver” for simple reasons. Milwaukeeans are happy people who love to laugh a lot and live in a similar atmosphere to Chicago.

The show’s unconventional way of combating the winter has been so successful in Milwaukee and in other Midwestern cities that the crew is expanding to warmer climates like Nashville and Key West. As the show grows and develops to fit each city, “Bye Bye Liver” productions will continue to adapt and strengthen.

“Bye Bye Liver” prides itself on entertaining the crowd no matter who is there, and it owes a lot of its successes to its ability to reach a broad audience.

“It’s all about the humor,” Hatfield said. “We tell people come to drink, stay to laugh.”

Even if you’re not a drinker, Hatfield promises you will still find something to enjoy. The show doesn’t endorse drinking but recognizes that many interesting moments – both good and bad – occur because of alcohol.

“Bye Bye Liver’s” satire makes it easy for even the most casual drinkers to laugh. In the nightlife subculture, everyone can recognize the angry drunks, party girls and jerk bouncer who all have a role when it comes to connecting the dots of what happened last night. “Bye Bye Liver” has fun helping some relive those epiphanies.

Apart from weekly Saturday evening shows, “Bye Bye Liver” will be kicking off its third year by using its newfound success and alcohol-driven themes to promote awareness for liver disease.

In February, Milwaukee will be a part of Bye Bye Liver’s Nationwide Prohibition Pub Crawl. Participants will be able to enjoy themselves while also donating time or money to an important cause.

Along with the pub crawl, “Bye Bye Liver” hopes to continue expanding and improving its brand. A new website centered on drinking is due out soon, and possibilities of filming performances are in the works.

“Everybody likes to drink and laugh, and we love making people laugh.” Hatfield said.

“Bye Bye Liver” performs every Saturday at 9:30 pm at Comdey Sportz starting Jan. 21, with select 8:00 p.m. shows in case of increased demand. All shows are located at Comdey Sportz on 420 South 1st St. Tickets are $12 and can be purchased at

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