Ask comedian Matt Neal what motivates him to put together a local comedy show and he’ll tell you.
“I live in Newbury Park. This way I don’t have to drive so far.” Granted, most big comedy venues are rooted in the Los Angeles area, but there’s definitely a market for Neal’s profession out here. “So many people have come up to me afterward and said ‘that was my first time at a comedy show! We had so much fun!’”
Neal keeps his approach simple: he checks in with local venue owners and sees what night is their slowest. “Is there a night they don’t pay much attention to? We show them how we bring a value. My co-producer, Sam Goldstein, is excellent. It doesn’t break (the venue’s) budget, and we make sure our comics are paid.” Comics get something else valuable when entertaining local audiences: the coveted value of stage time.
“Most of the time we can get comics ten minutes on stage. It gives them a chance to hone new material. Particularly shows in bars. If a comic can get a rolling laugh in a bar, that could be an applause break in a real comedy club.”
Neal brings a powerhouse line-up Thursday, June 21 to the Five Threads Brewing Company in Westlake Village, near the Four Seasons Hotel. The venue serves a variety of craft beers and a food truck will be on hand. Reservations aren’t required and there is no cover charge.
Joining Neal will be headliner Laurie Kilmartin, an Emmy-nominated writer for Conan O’Brien and author of the new memoir ‘Dead People Suck.’ Billed as ‘a guide for survivors of the newly departed,’ the book is a sarcastic masterpiece about Kilmartin’s experience of losing her father.
“Laughing together in a room full of people can be a tribal experience,” Neal says of their profession. People come up to him after shows and share their similar life experiences. “We laugh at the ridiculousness of the human experience. Everyone has crazy family issues. If we can have fun with a message, then we know we’ve done our job.”
Photo: Craig Bennett, celebatography.com
Neal, who originally hails from Philadelphia, learned some of the local ropes playing venues as a drummer after moving to the Conejo Valley in 2007. He started doing stand-up in 2011 “after studying for a year, watching a lot of shows at the Ice House” and being encouraged by comedian Joe Rogan. “If you’re not dead yet,” Rogan instructed, “go do it.”
Also joining the bill on Thursday night will be Deirdre Devlin, Jacob Givens, Jerry Gosin and Jon Schabl. Show begins at 8pm. Matt Neal will also appear at Comedy Ahoy! in Marina del Rey on July 27th.
Brewing Comedy @ Five Threads
Five Threads Brewery
31133 Via Colinas #109
Westlake Village, CA 91362
For information: 805-457-5990