Ever since those Savage Henry humor mags hit the shelves in early 2010, Humboldt's marginally to extremely twisted intellectuals have been scrambling to find or borrow new monthly editions in an all-out reading frenzy.
And the publication is blowing up. They've got celebrity endorsements, monthly comedy events, a weekly radio hour at 11 p.m. on Sundays on 94.1 KSLG and now a full-blown multi-venue three-day comedy festival with national and local headliners. The fun begins Thursday.
”I think it was in the afterglow of one of our early stand-up shows where we had about 250 people come out to HumBrews and we all thought: 'This is freaking awesome, we should do a festival',” said Chris Durant, editor of the Savage Henry Independent Times. “Plus there's a crap-ton of reggae and whomp-whomp and folk music festivals and theater festivals and beer festivals around here so why not throw a comedy festival in the mix?”
Using the mag's convenient acronym, the upcoming festival has been deemed the “S.H.I.T.s and Giggles Festival.”
”When I would put the posters up at venues and other businesses I made it a point to tell them there's a cuss word on it and nearly every place shrugged their shoulders and said 'no big deal,' which is pretty refreshing in this hyper-politically correct age we live in. Although I did notice some of the businesses put the poster behind the register, near the floor with other posters over the top of them. Oh well.”
Durant said when he was about 7 years old his parents took him to see Robin Williams at a free comedy festival in Golden Gate Park during the actor-comedian's “Mork and Mindy” days and he's been hooked on stand-up ever since.
”Since I was a little kid my dad kind of shoved me to the front of the stage and Robin Williams was right in front of me,” Durant said. “And by no means was I the only kid in the crowd, but that really didn't matter to Mork. He was letting a full arsenal of F, S, C and a plethora of other bombs fly freely.”
The funny folks hitting the stages for the Savage Henry fest will likely do the same. An all-access wristband can be purchased by following the links online at savagehenrymagazine.com.
The fun starts on Thursday at 9 p.m. at Mazzotti's on the Arcata Plaza. Admission will be $15 for those without wristbands. Comedy Central voice-over man Kyle Kinane will headline at the kick-off show -- the comedian has done his own “Comedy Central Presents” special, appeared on Conan O'Brien as well as Carson Daly's shows and was also listed as one of Variety's top "Ten Comics to Watch in 2010." A Q&A with him can be found below. Also appearing at Mazotti's on Thursday will be Bryan Cook, Ian Karmel, Derek Sheen, Joe Deschaine.
The second event will begin 6 p.m. Friday at the Jambalaya, 915 H St., Arcata with Arcata High School graduate and now pro-comedian Cornell Reid headlining. Admission will be $10 for those without wristbands. Also appearing will be Alex Koll, Miles K., Sean Keane, Sam Tallent, Jason Dove and Dutch Savage.
The same night, at 7 p.m., The Local Beer Bar, 517 F St., Eureka will host free sets from Paul Danke, Jade Catta-Preta, Joe Deschaine, Danny Felts, Anthony Sandoval and Ben Kolina.
Also on Friday at 8 p.m., the Redwood Curtain Brewery, 550 S. G St., Arcata will offer a headlining performance from Bay Area comedian and Eureka High School graduate Josh Argyle. The free show will also boast sets from Nick Rutherford, Barbara Gray, Sean Greene, Justin Alan, Nando Molina and Greag Brown.
Friday's final event will at 8:30 p.m. at Blondie's Food and Drink, 420 E. California Ave., Arcata with free sets from Joey Devine, Clare O'Kane, William Head, Adam Jacobs and Coree Spencer.
On Saturday at 3 p.m. the Jambalaya will host the “Not So Open Open Mic” featuring the “newer comics on the festival lineup.”
At 5 p.m.-ish on Saturday at the Mad River Summerfest at the Christie Ranch, 97 Greenhill Road, Blue Lake, Rutherford, Keith Lowell-Jensen, Koll, Chris Garcia and Clare O'Kane will make appearances.
The fun continues on Saturday at 6 p.m. at the Jambalaya where Argyle will headline another show. Admission will be $10 for those without wristbands. Catta-Preta, Head, Alex Q. Huffman, Gray and Kolina will perform. At 7:30 p.m., the Redwood Curtain Brewery in Arcata will host another free show with Keane, Joey Devine, Matt Gubser, Eric Barry and Josh Duke.
Blondies in Arcata will again host a free show at 6:30 p.m. Saturday with performances by Chuck McCammon's “radical uncertainty” music duo Hidden Lake and comedy-music duo Bear Driving Car featuring Savage Henry Music Editor Ben Allen. Then the comedy at Blondie's will start at 8 p.m. with sets from Miles K., Felts, O'Shea and Brown.
At 8 p.m. Saturday, Mad River Brewing Co., 195 Taylor Way, Blue Lake will host a free comedy show with Garcia, Lowell Jensen, Johnny Taylor and Tallent.
Back in Eureka, beginning at 7 p.m., Danke, Spencer, Dove, Adam Jacobs and Alan will play The Local.
The second-to-last event will go down at 10 p.m. Saturday at HumBrews, 856 10th St., Arcata. Howard Kremer will headline the free show, who was a “Scare Tactics” cast member and has a Comedy Central special of his own. Reid, Rutherford, Danke, Green, Godlin and Duke will also perform.
The three-day festival's last event will begin at 10:30 p.m. Saturday at The Alibi, 744 9th St., Arcata with a $5 cover. Comedy hip-hop duo Passion Party as well as Seattle indie-rockers No Good Hearts will perform.
”Tickets are pretty darn cheap,” Durant said. “$25 for the whole festival and they're available at Wildberries in Arcata, at our office in the Jacoby Storehouse and online at brownpapertickets.com. If you buy single-show tickets, you'll end up spending more. The news sucks, times are tough, economy is in the tank, politicians are in full-blown finger-point mode and this festival is like a big giant Calgon bath that will take you away for a few days. Also, Cornell Reid help co-produce this thing and we couldn't have done it without him.”
Dude, what's the story behind the John C. Reilly hostage shot?
Durant: “A magazine contributor, Dr. Foxmeat, was up in Eugene for a “Tim and Eric Awesome Show Great Job” live show and he ran into John C. Reilly, who was gracious enough to stop for a quick picture. However, I think his reign as our premiere Hostage Shot picture might be coming to an end. Recently, BoBo from “Finding Bigfoot” on Animal Planet and a really good friend of the magazine, was on Joe Rogan's show and he got a Hostage Shot with Joe.”
Q&A with Kyle Kinane; comedian set for Mazzotti's in Arcata at 9 p.m. Thursday
Q: What's going on for you in the week before and after you head up to Humboldt County?
A: I'm starting up the second installment of the “Great Mistakes Tour.” I've got Bryan Cook and Ian Karmel joining me. Both really hilarious guys I'm honored to share the bill with. We begin Sunday in Vegas and then hit LA before heading up the coast. After Humboldt we hit Portland, Boise and Eugene.
Q: What was your most memorable weird-person encounter while working at that gas station in the middle of the night?
A: A glam-rocker-drag-queen came in and offered the best conspiratorial reason why we would never have a public health option. His theory was that if the poor people can get health care then they'll eventually feel strong enough to fight the ruling class. This was back in '97 when it wasn't even being talked about. He seemed pretty tweaked out, wearing lace gloves and gesticulating wildly, but the theory made sense to a young, impressionable punk kid like myself.
Q: How was your experience on Conan O'Brien's show?
A: There's a gif of me getting stiffed on a handshake at the end of my Conan set. That was pretty hilarious.
Q: You do a lot of voice-over stuff for Comedy Central -- how did that opportunity come about?
A: They knew of me through stand-up and asked if I wanted to come in and give it a try. That was almost two years ago. It's a great gig, and I can do it from the road usually.
Q: Anything else you want your fans in Humboldt County to know?
A: I mostly stick to booze, but thanks for the offer!
If you go
What: S.H.I.T.s and Giggles Festival
When: Thursday, Friday and Saturday
Why: $25 (entire festival), 21+