Wil Anderson/Ramon Rivas II/Mary Santora
Hilarities 4th Street Theatre
November 18, 2016
10 Pm Show
“Welcome to East Cleveland: Lock Your Shit”
Mary Santora was the host for the evening. She is a 29-year old comic from Cleveland. In 2015, she placed second at the Cleveland Comedy Festival. This year she was cited as Best Local Female Comedian by the Cleveland Scene Magazine.
Her set was indicative of the pedigree. She talked about the holidays and her upcoming 30th birthday. One of the perils of aging, she noted, is the dreaded “two-day hangover.” (Editor’s note: been there. Ugh.)
She is getting married in the near-future and touched on that. She talked about struggling with her diet in preparation for the day and the temptations of fast food. (She confirmed that her fiance is indeed her soulmate after the duo visited McDonald’s and Taco Bell in one night.)
She closed her set with a bit proposing slogans for the city: “Welcome to East Cleveland: Lock your shit.”
Her material is relatable but she has an edge. She is active in the NE Ohio comedy scene and I’d very much recommend checking her out locally while you still can.
“Why do people want to win?”
Ramon Rivas II
Ramon Rivas is a man on the move. Originally from Lorain, he now lives in Los Angeles. 2016 has been a coming-out party for the founder of the hugely successful Accidental Comedy Festival. Earlier in the year, he taped a set for the Comedy Central show “The Half Hour.” He is now represented by Brillstein Entertainment and developing quite a buzz.
Rivas has a low-fi swag about him. He doesn’t have to necessarily say a word to make you laugh.
He focused on his family during the early portion of his set. Like many, his parents are divorced. His father is uncomfortably quirky in the same way that one would expect an irreverent uncle to be. His mother is a touchy-feely reiki master. The family grew up poor and that informs his comedy.
At one point, Rivas held up a poster that he would be selling after the show. It features a drawing of him smoking a joint while riding a giant submarine sandwich through space. Normally I’m leery of pot comics because they tend to be one-note acts, but Rivas picks his spots with it. Yeah, weed is a part of his routine but, thankfully, it’s not the whole thing. He is clearly very smart and presents material with dimension to it.
He briefly detoured into politics as he spoke about the recent presidential election. He admitted that he cried that night; not for himself but for his niece and nephew. (He also noted that Donald Trump looks like unmade mac & cheese.) He went on to speak about the perils of being brown or black in America, the “Alt-Right,” and the future of Planned Parenthood. Like I said, Rivas doesn’t allow himself to be pigeonholed as one type of comic. When he visited this material the crowd quieted and listened.
Finally, as he went to wrap his set, he sped things up with a poppier bit about imaginary slogans inspired by JoAnne Fabrics.
I’m kicking myself for not catching him when he was still local. Dude is funny.
“That’s not a knife”
Wil Anderson is a 42-year old comedian from Dennison, Victoria, Australia.
Anderson’s set sort of worked in the reverse direction of Rivas,’ in that he started political and hit the crazier stuff later.
He began by talking about the election. He noted that he had been traveling to the States while it was happening. When he took off, things were normal. However, when he landed it was like the Hunger Games were happening.
From there he was off like a shot. He blazed through observations about Australia’s relationship with the United States (Australia is Milhaus to the U.S.’s Bart Simpson), Outback Steakhouse, gender equality, and quitting the gym.
He briefly chatted with a lady in the front row. She is a teacher.
“The world is never going to be straight until teachers and nurses are paid more than strippers who dress as teachers and nurses.”
Protein shakes. His biceps. BBQ tongs. Day drinking and Uber. Guns in Texas. Vegetarianism. Human babies v. animal babies. Topping the food chain. The homeless. And, of course, anal bleaching.
On paper, it sounds like a disjointed jumble…and it sorta is. But in execution, Anderson knits it all together into a cohesive collage. It’s a bit of an outsider’s take on American culture. He is manic and irreverent and remarkably funny.
Hilarities is a gorgeous club that books top-notch acts. The wait staff is attentive and courteous. I have yet to eat at the attached restaurant but the food looks amazing.
The bill featured performers who were duly different so their sets didn’t feel repetitive of one another, yet they were each impetuous enough that the show worked as a whole.
Anderson was a pleasant surprise. He is frantic in a way similar to Robin Williams but his energy level doesn’t burn out the crowd’s attention span. Santora and Rivas are two locals with unquestionably bright futures.
All-in-all, this was a memorable night of comedy.
Find out more about Mary Santora here.
Find out more about Ramon Rivas II here.
Find out more about Wil Anderson here.