Tag Archives: iO West

Emilia’s First Comedy Special…

Readers of this blog are doubtless aware that one of my three daughters is a standup comic – and that she appeared this summer in her first comedy special, filmed at iO West in Hollywood. (What? You somehow managed to miss all those promotional posts?)

1226306Emilia drew three wonderful, receptive houses that weekend, July 8-10 — but for those who didn’t get a chance to see the show (and for those who’d like to re-live it) – this video captures all the fun.

Emilia’s been performing her unique brand of comedy in clubs from Los Angeles to Chicago to New York City – and San Francisco, too. The material she wrote and knit together for “Headlong Into The Apocalypse” is the very funny fruit of her first couple of years working in the comedy vineyards.

e-cropSo, if you’ve got a little less than 45 minutes of free time on your hands – and you could some laughs focused refreshingly above the waist – check out “Emilia Barrosse: Headlong Into The Apocalypse.”

And if any of you know Donald Trump, please forward him a link to this video. He’ll hear his name a couple of times.

We know how much he enjoys that.



Filed under Art, Beauty, Comedy, Improvisation, Politics, Random Commentary, Truth

Go “Headlong Into the Apocalypse” with Emilia Barrosse!

E Art One jpegSince returning to her hometown of Los Angeles after her college graduation, my daughter Emilia has been honing her craft as a standup comedian.

E CropFor the past couple years, Emilia has been earning laughs and developing her unique material in performance at comedy clubs in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York and San Francisco.

Among the many clubs she’s played in Los Angeles are the famous Comedy Store on the Sunset Strip, The Formosa in West Hollywood, Flappers in Burbank, The Federal Bar in North Hollywood and The Leche Lounge in Silver Lake.

Now, Emilia is adding the Main Stage at iO West to that list.

E Crop 2If you’ve been among the many wonderful folks who’ve come out to see her club gigs, you’ve Emilia do 7-minute sets – 12 minutes or so when she’s headlining the show.

This time she’s doing her first full-length show: an hour of offbeat, satiric and highly original standup comedy on July 8, 9 and 10.

All shows are at 7:00 PM at iO West, located at 6366 Hollywood Boulevard.

Tickets are $10.

Click here to let us know if you’re ready to go “Headlong Into The Apocalypse” with Emilia!

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The Trump Song!

Okay. everybody — sing along with us!

We love him, we love him,

He make our hearts go thump

Nos encanta el grande     

Y macho Donald Trump     

(We love the great and masculine Donald Trump)

He pulls the string that makes everybody Jump

Amamos a los testículos       

Gigantes de Donald Trump      

 (We love the giant testicles of Donald Trump)

 Trump es rico y loco          

When he is on the stump

On his competition

He likes to take a dump

The primary process for trump is a speed bump

Amamos a los testículos       

Gigantes de Donald Trump      

Sure he’s got a big ego

And to us he’s no amigo.

But, hey, what do we care?

He’s the GOP’S nightmare

He wants to build walls

Even bigger than his balls

But he’s muy bold and funny

And his cabelo’s the color of honey.

His huevos enorme

His cojones grande

He takes on each crisis

From Iran to isis

With answers he pulls out the hole in his rump

Amamos a los testículos       

Gigantes de Donald Trump      


And to us he’s no amigo.


He’s the GOP’S nightmare


Even bigger than his balls


He’s an estupendo ass

Trump’s leading the polls

Though they nip at his heel


He’s a rich racist fuck


Amamos a los testículos       

Gigantes de Donald Trump      

Amamos a los testículos       

Gigantes de Donald Trump      

 Amamos a los testículos       

Gigantes de Donald Trump



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Filed under Art, Comedy, Music, Politics, Uncategorized

Countdown to Comedy: 3 Weeks Before Emilia, Maggie & Daniel at iO West!

Emilia Poster iO West w:dates #2Hopes. Dreams. Dinos. Get Your Tickets Now for “Tyrannosaurus Sketch”

Just three short weeks from now, On March 28th and 29th, my daughter Emilia Barrosse and her Snickerdoodlin’ comedy partner and fellow Northwestern alum, Maggie Mae Fish, will perform their original comedy revue, Tyrannosaurus Sketch at iO West on Hollywood Blvd. Joining the cast will be USC’s Daniel Rashid, the son of fellow Northwestern University alums and Practical Theatre Company members, Steve and Bea Rashid.

I saw Emilia and Maggie perform this show in December at Studio Be on North Sheffield in Chicago.  (It was a nostalgic night for me because Studio Be is across the street from the Vic Theatre, where Vic and I performed in two Practical Theatre comedy revues in the mid 1980s.) Though the temperature outside Studio Be was 1 degree below zero — the comedy inside was hot. After the show I said they should do it again in Los Angeles: where theatre audiences don’t have to brave life-threatening temperatures to attend a spirited night of improvisational sketch comedy. I eagerly volunteered to direct.

In “Tyrannosaurus Sketch”, Emilia and Maggie, two recent college graduates, are ready to strike out on their own and make their dreams come true – but it’s not going to be easy. The madness of everyday life and their own overheated imaginations create hilarious obstacles along their path to self-realization and personal fulfillment. Plus some dinosaurs. And Daniel.

It’s going to be a very entertaining night, folks.

Both shows are at 7:00 pm. Tickets can be ordered here.

Come join the fun!

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Second Generation Comedy

Standuo Banner 1standup banner 2I don’t know if a sense of humor is hereditary. I don’t know whether jokes are in your genes. But it appears that funny runs in our family.

DSCN3300Later this month — on February 20 and 22 — my daughter Emilia will make her West Coast debut as a standup comic at two clubs in Hollywood. If you’re in the Los Angeles area, you may want to check her out.

I have no idea what Emilia’s going to do onstage. She hasn’t run her material by me. She’s 22 years old — and if you’re old enough to vote, fight in the Army, sign a contract and drink legally – you’re old enough not to clear your jokes with dad. So, I can’t wait to hear her routine.

hqdefaultEmilia graduated from Northwestern University (her parents’ alma mater) last June with a hard-earned degree in journalism and a passion for writing comedy. Jokes and Journalism both require a keen, insightful and objective view of the world. But if Emilia’s currently more interested in a punchline than a newspaper byline – what can I say?

After all, what was I doing as a 22-year old  fresh out of Northwestern?

sc0000626233 years ago, in February 1981 during the winter after my graduation, my comic comrades at The Practical Theatre and I were banging the last bent nails into our newly built storefront theatre at 703 Howard Street in Evanston, Illinois – getting ready to stage our second improvisational comedy revue, Thrills & Glory.

It was the PTC’s third season: our first at the magical 42-seat venue we dubbed The John Lennon Auditorium. Thrills & Glory opened on March 21, 1981 with Rush Pearson, Gary Kroeger, Reid Branson and Emilia’s dad (me) in the cast. We didn’t run our material by our parents, either.sc0001416801x

617px-Scubba_Hey!_(1981)A few months later, we opened our third comedy revue, Scubba Hey! — featuring Brad Hall (my fellow PTC artistic director), Rush Pearson, me and a (very) funny (very) young girl named Julia Louis Dreyfus, whom Rush and I met when we performed together in the 1980 Mee-Ow Show at Northwestern.

This month, The Mee-Ow Show will celebrate its 40th anniversary. Of course, I cannot possibly be that old.10 Against

434px-Megafun_(1983)But, evidently, the comedy gene is not solely paternal. Around this same time, as I was earning my last college credits and The Practical Theatre was getting underway, Emilia’s future mom (and my future, fabulous, funny wife) was also doing her own improvisational comedy thing. Victoria Zielinski played the Chicago comedy clubs as a member of a group called Laugh Track: another gathering of Northwestern funny people and Mee-Ow Show veterans.

Vic was in law school in 1981 so she couldn’t be part of the early fun on the tiny stage of The John Lennon Auditorium – but in 1983, she finally joined the cast of the Practical Theatre’s hit comedy revue, Megafun at our Piper’s Alley cabaret space behind Second City.

800px-Art,_Ruth_&_Trudy_(1986)Three years later, Victoria and I (along with Jamie Baron) joined forces in Art, Ruth & Trudy. We got married in 1990. 20 years later, we wrote and performed The Vic & Paul Show — and we’ve been having fun onstage together ever since.

So, I have to admit, our daughter Emilia comes by the comedy thing honestly.

Malo-1Emilia’s will perform her first standup set as part of the Miniature Stand-Up Comedy Festival on February 20th in the Leche Lounge at Malo, located at 4326 Sunset Blvd in Los Angeles.

The show starts at 7:30. I’m told that folks should “please be on time as the show will start at 7:45 sharp and seats are limited.”

Emilia will be on a bill with a series of comediennes, including Carmen Faulkner, Christie Campagna, Katie Robinson and Raluca Sanders.

comedy-store-logo-bigTwo days later, on Saturday February 22 at 7:30 PM, Emilia will be doing a set at the famous Comedy Store at 8433 Sunset Boulevard. Tickets are $10.00, plus a two-drink minimum. But, really, if you’re going all the way down to Hollywood on a Saturday night – two drinks is the minimum, right? (Doors open at 7:00.)

Emilia’s two standup shows are the entertaining preliminaries leading up to the main event.

Emilia Poster iO West w:dates #2On March 28th and 29th, Emilia and her Snickerdoodlin’ comedy partner and fellow Northwestern alum, Maggie Mae Fish, will perform their original comedy revue, Tyrannosaurus Sketch at iO West on Hollywood Blvd. Joining the cast will be USC’s Daniel Rashid, the son of our fellow NU alums and PTC members, Steve and Bea Rashid. (There’s that damn Northwestern/PTC thing again!)

Both shows are at 7:00 pm. Tickets can be ordered here.

sc0000e4f503When Emilia, Maggie and Daniel take the stage at iO West on March 28, they’ll do so more than three decades after my Practical Theatre friends and I staged our first comedy revue at the John Lennon Auditorium.

800px-Thrills_&_Glory_(1981)May Emilia and her friends have as much fun as we did back in the day.

And — as it has been for us — may that be just the beginning.


Filed under Art, Comedy, Improvisation

“The Vic & Paul Show” Summer Tour Arrives in Los Angeles, August 9-12th!

Tickets are on sale now for the final four performances of “The Vic & Paul Show” at the iO West Theatre in Hollywood. CLICK HERE.

After stops in Chicago and Cleveland, “The Vic & Paul Show” Summer 2012 Tour is celebrating the conclusion of our comedy odyssey with four performances in an intimate cabaret venue on Hollywood Boulevard: The iO West Theatre.

It’s the perfect place to enjoy a cool summer drink and share some groovy music and lots of laughs with Paul, Victoria and Steve.

Seating is limited, so get your tickets now. You can do so by calling the iO West Box Office at 323-962-7560 or by going to the iO West website at http://ioimprov.com/west/io/shows/the-vic-and-paul-show.

We hope to see you in Hollywood, August 9-12th, for a festive end to our great comic adventure!


Filed under Art, Comedy, Improvisation

“Vic & Paul” Go Hollywood!

“The Vic & Paul Show” is coming to Hollywood.

Yes, that Hollywood.


The Entertainment Capital of the World

For one weekend only this summer, August 9-12, 2012, we’ll be performing “The Vic & Paul Show” at The iO West Theatre at 6366 Hollywood Boulevard — not far from those famous handprints and footprints in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and all the stars underfoot along the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

My very funny wife Victoria Zielinski and I will be joined, as ever, by our musical director Steve Rashid for what we call an “Evening of Comedy, Music, Marriage and Martinis” – a show The Chicago Tribune proclaimed “Old school sketch comedy done right.”

When we brought our show to Chicago last year, WGN Radio personality and veteran Chicago newspaperman Rick Kogan said, “One of the theatrical events of the year is the return of Paul Barrosse and Victoria Zielinski to the Chicago stage with ‘The Vic & Paul Show’…the new Nichols & May… It’s a not-to-be-missed engagement.” So, listen to Rick, and don’t miss our engagement at iO West.

Our four performances in Hollywood this August will give our friends and comedy lovers in Southern California their first chance to see the show since it opened in June 2010 at Push Lounge in Woodland Hills.

The iO West Theatre is a perfect venue for “The Vic & Paul Show” – an intimate cabaret space devoted to improvisational comedy. (Sort of like The Practical Theatre Company’s fabled John Lennon Auditorium with a full bar and more than twice the seating.) Formerly known as the “ImprovOlympic West”, iO West has been operating at its Hollywood location since October 2001.

The i.O. was founded by the legendary Second City veteran and eccentric improvisational comedy genius Del Close and Charna Halpern. Fittingly, there’s a Practical Theatre connection here: a connection that began, as so much did, in Chicago in the early 1980s. That’s when we first met Del and Charna.

Through our long association with Second City director Sheldon Patinkin (our comedy guru since 1981) and our brief partnership with Second City owner Bernie Sahlins in the Piper’s Alley Theatre, we Practical Theatre folk got to know the talented denizens of Chicago’s comedy institution at North & Wells, including the infamous Del Close.

Del’s portrait adorns a wall of the iO West main stage, where we’ll be performing.

By the time we met Del Close in the early 80s, he had already performed and directed for Second City, then moved to San Francisco where he directed another classic improv comedy group, The Committee, and toured with Ken Kesey’s Merry Pranksters. Del spent the early 80s in New York, as “House Metaphysician” at Saturday Night Live, coaching the cast and further burnishing his reputation as a major influence on modern American comedy.

I got to know Del better when we were both cast in a 1984 Goodman Theatre production of A Christmas Carol. I was the Ghost of Christmas Past and Del was the Ghost of Christmas Present. Around this time, I tried to develop a Practical Theatre show with Del – a project we called The Secret Show: a revolutionary new revue to be written and performed by Rush Pearson and me as humorous henchmen in the service of a mad comic scientist to be played by Del.

The Secret Show never happened, but Del was enshrined as an honorary member of The Practical Theatre ensemble in 1985 at a ritual in which Del dipped his feet in red paint and stomped his iconic footprints into the sidewalk in front of The John Lennon Auditorium at 703 Howard Street in Evanston.

At the time we were contemplating The Secret Show, Del was busy teaching improv and collaborating with Charna Halpern. Close was working with Charna at the ImprovOlympic Theater, which she’d founded and briefly run with David Shepherd, one of the founders of the Compass Players (the forerunner to The Second City). We got to know Charna when we were both doing shows at the late, lamented, counter-cultural nightclub, CrossCurrents on Belmont in Chicago.

More than a quarter of a century later, Victoria and I reconnected with Charna when we both made presentations at The Chicago Theatre Symposium in the spring of last year – and again when she came to Rogers Park during the holidays see “The Vic & Paul Show” at Mayne Stage.

The rest is much more recent history.

So, join us at the iO West Theatre August 9-12th.

You can check out those famous hand and footprints at Grauman’s before the show.


Filed under Art, Comedy, Improvisation