Icing: AN SHO(w) with Justin & Gil is Just the Fix You Need
Are you down for kickin it in the 90026 on a bi-weekly basis? Do you enjoy a casual atmosphere, $3 grilled cheese and FREE, amazing entertainment? Well, it sounds like AN SHO(w) with Justin & Gil is just the thing for you. Some of the best LA comedians like Baron Vaughn, James Admonian, Annie Lederman, Sean O’Connor, Ron Funches, Julian McCullough, Allen Strickland Williams and Aziz Ansari are spending their Monday nights at this “all-star stand-up comedy mess” (which we’d consider primed for distinction). Find out from the producers/hosts themselves, Gil Alvarisaez and Justin Cousson, just how this whole “mess” came to fruition. By the end of the interview you’ll be convinced Gil knows George Lopez.
Comedy Cake: How did AN SHO(w) get started?
Gil Alvarisaez: I used to run comedy house parties in South Central and Justin’s always dreamed of having a friend so we got together and decided to take that loose, fun vibe of a house show and create a proper beast out of it – having a consistent schedule and location to work with instead of having to see who we know hasn’t been evicted this month. It’s been so much fun and I love putting it together.
Justin Cousson: I’d been doing comedy in DC for like five years before I moved out here and Gil was one of the first people I met when I moved here and I learned his name after only like a year, then we got into a good habit of catching shows, riding bikes and yelling at pedestrians because we’re rebel teens. I knew a lot of comedians and he knew the city so we figured together we had something. He’s a great promoter and takes this really seriously for a guy who can’t go fifteen minutes without pretending he knows George Lopez. I make the fliers and he hands them out while I avoid eye contact with strangers. Lot 1 was the first place that supported what we wanted to do – a show with a really comfortable, small-community feel – no charge, no item minimum, no tables, incredibly awkward introductions, people sitting on the floor like kindergartners. We keep it simple.
Cake: What’s been the most challenging aspect of putting together a comedy show lineup?
Gil: There’s always the fear of a comic dropping out or forgetting they were on the show. We’ve had a few last-minute dropouts and while we’re understanding of it, when it’s 30 minutes before a show, the pressure to find someone to fill in definitely builds. Thankfully, there are a ton of great comics around here and we’ve had some great surprises – Aziz Ansari, Christian Finnegan, Brent Sullivan, to name a few. And of course, my close personal friend George Lopez (G. Lo).
Justin: Making the lineups is so much fun – finding the right dynamic, booking people with their friends, spelling out things with peoples’ first initials. We have an intermission (by management’s request) and it’s actually kinda fun having two beginnings to the show in a way. Last time, Cossbysweater played into the break and Erik Charles Nielsen brought the show back and it couldn’t have gone better.
People send us clips all the time and we watch every one, but we prefer comics just come down to the show, say hey, and let us know where we can see them. We like using the show to give back to the scene, introduce us to new comics and keep us checking out new spaces and supporting other shows. AN SHO(w) is our home but we do leave the house. The biggest challenge is just keeping the show tight. It’s really tempting to book everybody we like right away.
Cake: What plans do you have for the show in 2014?
Gil: Selling out. $$$$$$$$$$!!!!!!!
Justin: We’ve already gone from monthly to bi-weekly. I’m all for going weekly at some point. Then maybe making a comfortable transition into Monday-Friday, twice an evening like a syndicated Simpsons re-run. The lineups in store for the Spring are shaping up so well – we wanted Matt Braunger for a while and he’s on Monday – Todd Glass is also coming up and I’m excited to have Judah Friedlander and Reggie Watts on the horizon.
Cake: Who have been your favorite guests to date?
Gil: We love everyone we’ve had on the show – we book people we love and who want to be there. I’ve had a lot of really fun moments already, though. After Jay Larson did the show in November, I brought up a bit of his that’s one of my all-time favorites and he ran back onstage to yell “NO! THEY DON’T DESERVE IT!” On the same show, I had to sneak into the bar because Howard Kremer needed a beer onstage. We’ve already brought back Sean O’Connor and Jerrod Carmichael, and we can’t book Allen Strickland Williams nearly enough. He’s such a good dude and has been very supportive.
Mentions: Be sure check out the next AN SHO(w) this coming Monday, January 27 with Matt Braunger. Follow @roobert & @justincousson and @anshowcomedy on Twitter. Also be sure to stalk, I mean, subscribe to the AN SHO(w) Facebook Page. *Images by Sharon Alagna.