IndyFringe: Deadpan Jan – My Life is Not a Sex Party, Or Is It?

This is part of IndyFringe 2021, Aug. 19-Sept. 5 (individual performance times vary) in downtown Indianapolis. Details and tickets at IndyFringe.org.

By Wendy Carson

Jan Gudaitis is quite the enigma. She speaks in a monotone voice, she makes sharply hilarious observations, and her etomology of the English language is sublime.

Her flat vocal cadence is reminiscent of the great comedian Stephen Wright, and like him, her content is exceptionally funny.

Here you will learn why Bhutan is the happiest country in the world; how to kill your husband with a business card; who is on her list of people she’d “like to pull the plug on;” as well as which topics are not permissible when doing comedy at a nursing home.

If you search on Urban Dictionary, you will discover that her last name is defined as a “sex party”. This is due to a drunken posting by a nephew. But does she live up to that description? That is for you to decide. I can guarantee that there will be some intercourse during the performance, as well as a strong possibility of ejaculation.

Performances are on the Indy Eleven stage of the IndyFringe Theater.

IndyFringe: Do Jokes Still Work?

This is part of IndyFringe 2021, Aug. 19-Sept. 5 (individual performance times vary) in downtown Indianapolis. Details and tickets at IndyFringe.org.

By John Lyle Belden

“I saw a homeless guy with a laminated sign,” Stewart Huff says, “he put money back into the business!”

Huff is full of funny and off-the-wall observances, such as: It amuses him to no end that the replica of Noah’s Ark in Kentucky has a “No Animals” sign.

His show, “Do Jokes Still Work?” includes bits of storytelling, memories, and observances of the stupidity of fellow humans – “You can’t hate science, and love NASCAR!”

But he has a generally optimistic outlook, noting that noisy anti-science people are nothing new – relating various historical events in hilarious fashion. Huff believes that “all human beings are artists,” that the pinata is among our greatest inventions, and if Bigfoot is real, it’s better if we don’t find him.

When you see him take the District Theater stage, it’s a little surprising, as IndyFringe publicity materials have an old clean-shaven photo. With his salt-and-pepper beard and aging-hippie ponytail, Huff looks like your cool uncle who can tell you one hell of a story.

And he does.

Huff’s show is not for the easily offended – either by language or opinions – but otherwise an essential visit for any Fringe-goer.

IndyFringe: DadBod

This is part of IndyFringe 2021, Aug. 19-Sept. 5 (individual performance times vary) in downtown Indianapolis. Details and tickets at IndyFringe.org.

By Wendy Carson

Brad Hinshaw has three children born in the span of just four years. And especially after everyone being confined to home over the last year and a half, doing this show is giving him a great excuse to get away from that chaos for a while.

He regales us with stories of being a dad and dealing with a pregnant wife. We find out that Lactation Cookies not only are a thing that exists but also they are delicious (especially with an oatmeal stout).

Hinshaw also warns us of the dangers of both “Lightning Crotch” and “Bowling Alley Jello Shots”.

His stories are funny, interesting, and relatable, even if he is an “Emotional Terminator.” This being his first chance to try material in front of someone besides toddlers, not everything will have a punchline as he works on his new standup routine. Still, if it doesn’t bring a laugh, it will bring a smile.

This ever-evolving show is a must-see for anyone who is, or will be, a parent. Performances are on the Indy Eleven stage of the IndyFringe building.

IndyFringe: Jan of All Trades

This show is part of the 15th Annual Indianapolis Theatre Fringe Festival, a/k/a IndyFringe, Aug. 15-25, 2019 on Mass Ave downtown. Info, etc., at www.IndyFringe.org.

By John Lyle Belden

In what Jan Shirley Ann calls her “autobiocomedy,” our stand-up and seminarian presents a clean family-friendly show. In fact, when I saw it, a good number of family and friends were in the audience. But you don’t have to be related or have grown up with her in Gary, Ind., to understand and laugh along with her stories of life’s road that led her here.

Yes, she’s from the hometown of the Jacksons, and even was in a singing group that called itself The Jacksons’ Five (note the placing of the apostrophe to avoid confusion). She tells of dissecting frogs in Vacation Bible School, using a Jamaican accent for no reason, learning Japanese, teaching the Japanese to speak English (badly), and of the exceptionally handsome man the Lord used to persuade her to attend Butler University. 

Not often you see a comedian-storyteller who is also a minister in training, but that could explain why an hour with her feels like such a blessing.

She only has so many relatives and bff’s; y’all need to come out and enjoy this show, too. Performances are Friday through Saturday nights at ComedySportz, 721 Massachusetts Ave. 

IndyFringe: It Gets Bitter, The Ron Popp Story

This show is part of the 15th Annual Indianapolis Theatre Fringe Festival, a/k/a IndyFringe, Aug. 15-25, 2019 on Mass Ave downtown. Info, etc., at www.IndyFringe.org.

By Wendy Carson

Ron Popp is a Native Hoosier, and he says that you can tell by his accent, that he’s gay. Growing up in the small southern town of Fairland, Indiana, and attending the University of Indianapoli,s he has many fond memories of the state and its people. Still, it’s been 15 years since he’s spent time in our city and he has noticed the many changes in that period alone.

Popp deftly guides us through stories of his childhood, dating life, gay marriage (he still uses the term just because it still irks some people) and love of the theater. Between his homey insights, sharp tongue and witty cynicism, he manages to keep the audience laughing. Plus, his show has something for every walk of life.

I find it hard to give you a more detailed review without directly quoting his jokes and I know I could not do them the justice they deserve. What surprises me most is that this is his first Fringe Festival. So let me say this, let’s all give him a warm Hoosier welcome and pack the house each show for a night of laughs. Also, this guy’s going to be a major headliner soon, so you’re not likely to get this opportunity to see him in this sort of an intimate setting, at this price, again.

With performances Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday (Aug. 20-21 & 24) at ComedySportz (721 Mass. Ave.), the show also makes a great palate-cleanser to help you even out your psyche after partaking of some of the more somber offerings at the Fringe.

IndyFringe: The Immaculate Big Bang

By Wendy Carson

An irreverent night of comedy covering science, religion, relationships, philosophy and family, “The Immaculate Big Bang” by comedian Bill Santiago feels like what an episode of “The Big Bang Theory” would be like if it was written by George Carlin. The laughs are pretty constant, but some of the material might even make you pause to think or research one or two of the topics covered.

The material as a whole is not actually offensive, but some of it might not be to everyone’s taste. Basically, if you think the idea of telling Jesus a “Yo’ Mamma’s So Holy…” joke is in poor taste, then this show might not be for you. Otherwise, get out and see this show. Who knows, you might actually learn a thing or two from it.

Performances are at ComedySportz Aug. 25, 27 and 28. Get info and tickets at indyfringefestival.com.