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Milwaukee Comedy hosts series of roast battles

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Milwaukee Comedy hosts series of roast battles

Danny Lang is heavily involved in MU's comedy scene on and off campus.

Danny Lang is heavily involved in MU's comedy scene on and off campus.

Photo by Elena Fiegen

Danny Lang is heavily involved in MU's comedy scene on and off campus.

Photo by Elena Fiegen

Photo by Elena Fiegen

Danny Lang is heavily involved in MU's comedy scene on and off campus.

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Eight comedians will go head-to-head in a series of roast battles organized by Milwaukee Comedy Friday at 8 p.m. at the Underground Collaborative, a venue for creative arts and performances in downtown Milwaukee. 

Milwaukee Comedy, a live comedy production company, has been around for over a decade, putting on its Insult & Battery: Comedy Roast Battle event each month for the past two years, said Matt Kemple, creative producer and founder of Milwaukee Comedy.

Tickets can be purchased online for $10 or at the door for $15.

Kemple said the idea for the event came from Comedy Central’s Roast Battle and New York Roast Battle, in which rising comics go up against each other in battles of words. Milwaukee Comedy’s roast battle follows a similar format: one-on-one battles in front of different guest judges. 

Kemple said the event has eight comedians — usually from Milwaukee, but sometimes from Madison or Green Bay — who compete in four rounds of battles. The winner of each of the rounds gets to perform a standup routine as their prize. He said each show has three judges who often offer their own commentary and add to the show. 

Kemple said the event is geared toward those 18 and older, calling the battles “equal opportunity, offensive shows.” He said the show is not insensitive, but has adult-oriented humor. 

Kemple said while the event’s format hasn’t changed much in the past two years, the audience has grown. He said shows often sell out with 80 or more guests.

“We have really built the audience,” Kemple said. “(The show) is fun and unique and a good way to find new comics.”

Kemple noted that Insult & Battery is just one of Milwaukee Comedy’s high quality comedy events. Milwaukee Comedy organizes 10 to 12 shows each month at venues throughout the city.

“All of the events are stand-up based, but every one is unique by show or venue,” Kemple said. 

Danny Lang, a senior in the College of Communication and member of Marquette improv group the Fugees, said he got involved in improv and comedy in high school. While Lang said he likes to stick to group improv rather than solo standup shows, he likes the feeling of making his audience laugh. 

“I like that you come together with people and just make something that has never been done before and will never be done again,” Lang said. “It’s just a fun, goofy time.”

Lang said he prefers performing in shows to watching them, but likes getting to see others in his group perform and has attended some of Milwaukee Comedy’s open mic nights. In addition to being a part of the Fugees, Lang is also a part of the Milwaukee based improv group Uncle Jesse. 

“I’m having the best time of my life when I’m with people who are making me laugh a lot,” Lang said. “I think it’s something everybody would benefit from. It’s fun to take a break and make light of things.” 

Abby Nolan, a freshman in the College of Health Sciences, said she is not familiar with Milwaukee Comedy, but enjoys watching comedians like Bo Burnham and John Mulaney on Netflix.

Nolan said she has attended some of the comedy events put on by Late Night Marquette, including Comedy Sportz. She said it is something fun to do that helps you forget about school for a little bit, adding that it makes you feel good afterwards. 

As for Kemple, comedy is about getting people together and creating a positive environment. 

“A lot of people walk into a room angry, scared or upset in some way, and that’s where the energy goes,” Kemple said. “To be in a room with everyone laughing creates a positive environment. That’s why I do it.” 

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About the Writer
Amanda Parrish, A&E Reporter

Amanda is an arts & entertainment reporter from Barrington, IL. She is majoring in journalism and plans on adding environmental studies as a second...

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