High Bridge Comedy Group Invades Superior
On a warm summer night in 2017, a group of local comedians met on a hill in Duluth to band together and practice the art they love – stand-up comedy.
According to their ringleader Chad Gallo, “some of them had some experience, and some of them had dreamed of doing stand-up their entire lives, and decided it was time to take the leap of faith.” They named their group “High Bridge Comedy.”
Some had experience, some had dreamed…
When the group first formed, they only had 1 open mic and a dream. The ragtag band of cut-ups believed that stand-up wasn’t appreciated in the Northland. They began to practice their trade at Dubh Linn Brew Pub in Duluth on Friday nights at 10:30 p.m.
After a year of hard work in Duluth, High Bridge Comedy (HBC) added a 2nd open mic venue in Superior at Vintage Italian Pizza each Wednesday evening beginning at 8:30 p.m. They also begin performing in the Michigan cities of Muskegon and Fruitport in coming weeks.
At the start of 2018, HBC launched their first official event: The Funniest Person in the Twin Ports Contest. The build-up to this contest has been a series of shows where comics compete for a shot at being dubbed the Funniest Person in the Twin Ports.
On a recent evening in Superior, my wife and I attended one of their shows at V.I.P. and were treated to some chuckles, a few clinkers, a number of laugh-out-loud moments, and even the occasional crowd guffaw!
During our visit, the comedians included emcee Chad Gallo, sexagenarian Rob Morse (whose biggest fan is his wife), the shy and unassuming Bob Oesterreich, call-center worker by day/comic by night Joe Mosier, and the beautiful girl with a surprise, Danielle Thralow.
Chad Gallo, a local version of Artie Lange, specializes in self-deprecating humor centering on his weight, grooming standards and his general attractiveness to the opposite sex (apparently he’s more attracted to women than they are to him). He leads each show with five or ten minutes of his own material and then introduces the comics as they take the stage. Gallo has cracked-wise about the City of Superior often enough that he may require a protective detail while walking to his car after Wednesday’s performance at V.I.P.
Rob Morse offers a 60’s version of comedy…not as in the 1960’s, but as in…he’s in his 60’s. Throwing in the occasional Donald Trump impression along with jokes about his own age and maturity, Rob is funny and appeals to the oldsters in the crowd. His material is practiced and well-delivered and we enjoyed his jokes.
He even brings his own laugh track…wife Allison, who finds jokes at her expense downright hilarious. We all should have such support from our significant others! Given his obvious maturity, one can only assume that a viagra joke is in the works. Here’s a video of his work on YouTube that was submitted by (of course) his wife Allison!
Bob Oesterreich has cut his comedic teeth in stand-up while working as the emcee of the Pro-Comedy shows at Dubh Linn on the occasional Saturday night. He projects a shy demeanor and pokes fun at himself with a funny and mild mannered delivery. Shyness aside, he slays occasionally with an unexpected punchline you’d never expect from such a nice young man (said my spouse). Here’s another YouTube video of Bob performing at Dubh Linn Pub.
Bob Oesterreich doing stand-up comedy at Dubh Linn Pub’s comedy contest.
Joe Mosier uses his muscular dystrophy as a take-off for portions of his show. His disability wasn’t immediately apparent to us until we watched him step onto the stage. While appearing cool and calm, his inner angst from dealing with well-meaning ignorance bubbles to the surface as he exorcises his frustrations through humor. In one joke he related how a woman once told him that she wished she had a handicapped parking pass so she could “use it all the time”. His manner of helping her achieve that goal is a laugh-out-loud moment.
Ever the patriot, Mosier went on to say:
I love this country, and I would never live anywhere else. But I can’t help but think how the people that fought in the revolution would feel if they knew that a little over 200 years later, half of us don’t even vote and spend most of our time arguing on the internet and sending pictures of out genitals to each other.
The treat of the evening was the performance by Danielle Thralow, a fifty-something transgender comedienne who was a finalist in the ACME Comedy Club’s 2016 Funniest Person Contest. She has performed across the country and is a serial entrepreneur having founded Peepers.com and several other websites she later sold (including one to none other than Mark Zuckerberg).
Danielle says she’s had two role models in life. In her younger years she looked up to Bruce Jenner, and these days she admires Caitlyn Jenner. She said that as a little boy she hoped to grow up to be just like Bruce Jenner, then slayed the audience by saying, “I finally did it!”
Finals – Acme’s Funniest Person Contest 2016 Set List: 1. Intro 2. Bruce Jenner Was my Role Model, Caitlyn is My Hero 3. Digesting Lactose: a Lifestyle Decision 4. Religion is Hard on Women 5. Using Freedom to Target Children 6. What Job Is Better: Youth Minister Or A Penn State Football Coach?
The next HBC show is this Wednesday, May 2nd at V.I.P. and tickets are on sale now. This show starts at 8 p.m. and tickets are $10 in advance or $15 at the door. This event marks the fifth round of competition to be dubbed the Funniest Person in the Twin Ports.
In the coming months HBC hopes to expand to do local feature shows and benefit shows, and much, much more!
If you are interested in getting on stage, of it you just want to see some talented local comics, check out their show at V.I.P this Wednesday, or on Friday night at Dubh Linn Pub. You’ll have a good time and will the opportunity to get an idea of what it might be like to put your neck out and get on stage.
According to Gallo, HBC hosts two regular open mics in the Twin Ports each week. Show nights are Wednesdays at VIP in Superior at 8:30 p.m., and at Dubh Linn Brew Pub every Friday at 10:30 p.m.