Standing Up For Comedy: Talking With Myself
Editor’s Note: John Porter was one of the first Richmond-area comics to work in the industry. Aside from working the club circuit, he gained a reputation as a writer contributing jokes to The Tonight Show with Jay Leno among others. After about 15 years on the road, he decided to pursue other interests and became an award-winning journalist and now teaches occasionally at Virginia Commonwealth University. He is a contributor to GayRVA and we couldn’t find anyone to actually interview him, so we just let him talk to himself.
GayRVA: What should the audience expect from this show (Stand-Up vs Improv) that you have scheduled for July 24th at the Triangle Players?
Porter: They should expect a good time. Comedy is subjective so I can’t promise everybody will love every minute, but I’ll be willing to bet you’ll find something that amuses you. Plus we’re supporting a great theatre company at the same time.
Supporting the Richmond Triangle Players?
Absolutely. A significant part of the proceeds will go to support the Triangle Players and help meet the expenses of the new theatre.
How did you get hooked up with them?
Phil Crosby, the Managing Director of the Richmond Triangle Players, despite his protestations to the contrary is one of my oldest friends. Not in age mind you, but in duration. When the theatre opened, he began exploring ways to bring people to the theatre and I pitched the idea to do comedy one night. He went for it.
So how does this whole “versus” thing work out? Will there be a battle of some sort?
Only in the broadest since of the word. We have two “teams,” one of stand-ups, one of improvisers. The comedians will perform a set, and then FuseBox will perform a set based on suggestions from the stand-up set. One of the eternal truths for both stand-up and improvisation is exploration. So we’re all going to explore the possibilities the night has to offer.
Who else is on the show?
The other stand-up is a young man named Jared Cullum. Jared took my class at VCU and I think he has a real future in the business. He has performed all around town as well as in Charlottesville, Virginia Beach, and other areas. FuseBox is comprised of John Sexton and Mandy Buther. They are hysterical and one of my favorite groups to watch. Plus, Sexton is leaving Richmond for a fantastic work opportunity and this will be his last show in Richmond. We should give him a great sendoff!
This show is obviously very important to you.
It is. I’ve been around Richmond comedy on and off since pretty much the first club opened around 1979. I’ve seen a lot of great comics come out of here, and I think the comedy scene is the healthiest that it’s ever been. Aside from the Funny Bone, which brings in great headliners week after week, the Richmond Comedy Coalition puts on great shows once a month or so, there are great improv teams like Random Acts, Made of Bees, and of course FuseBox, and so many guerilla comedy shows in places like Café Diem, Bottoms Up Pizza and other places. I’m delighted to still be entertaining an audience, especially with good friends along for the ride.
John Porter is a self-confessed theatre geek, former stand up comedian, writer, director, story teller, and general bon vivant. You can read more at Mondo Johhny.
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