March 20, 2014 Slideshows

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The Comedians of Standup Throwdown 2014 

Two years ago Riverfront Times debuted Standup Throwdown as a way to celebrate these hard-working and humorous St. Louisans and (hopefully) help them hone their craft. The premise is simple: We select some of the brightest aspiring comedians in town and enter them into a bracket à la March Madness, where you — the reader — decide who is the funniest up-and-coming comic in town. Keep reading for more about this year's competition.

Vote here for your favorite comic in the 2014 Standup Throwdown competition.

Chris Cyr @CDCyr Fried your ravioli, froze your custard, and used a cracker for your pizza crust. Unaccredited schools means no home-ec class. #stlfact Chris Cyr was, literally, a poster child for the St. Louis Public School District in 1993. While the picture looks nice on the wall of his office, the system itself has never fully recovered. Cyr is a writer and professional nerd living in south St. Louis, where he spends much of his day practicing the arcane magic that creates spreadsheets for a large corporate-accounting department. His nights are spent trying to become a better comic. He also serves as a director on the board of Zombie Squad International and is part of the team that writes and performs the organization’s annual Zombocalypse Survival Seminar. He has served as a panelist at Dragon Con and other conventions. His favorite whiskey is the Caol Ila 18. Cyr’s dream is to one day be asked to join Wu-Tang Clan as an adjunct member. Those guys seem like fun.

Tiel Pearce @Tiel52093 The Jeffersons were going to be set in St. Louis but it changed to New York when they realized the east side of STL is a step down. #stlfact Tiel Pearce is an impressionist. Though he wasn’t always. He started out as a a cubist, but that is not important. Pearce started doing comedy a couple of years ago at the Funny Bone in Westport. One impression he does not do is Jack Nicholson at Kmart. That’s because he can’t do Nicholson. His turn-ons include women with a sense of humor. Turnoffs? War. His aspirations as a comedian are as diverse as maybe doing SNL, to just working on the road. He’d love to sell out a place sometime, and it doesn’t have to be the Garden. The Giggle Shack in Kalamazoo will do.
Brandon Judd @juddgment Major exports include beer, baseball players, garbage, and med school dropouts; top manufacturer of massive metal arches! #stlfact Brandon Judd likes women, food and punk rock. An Illinois transplant, Judd quickly established himself as a fixture of the St. Louis standup comedy scene. He has appeared on Jilly’s Comedy Showcase, the Too Hip Comedy Showcase, Shameless Grounds Showcase and reached the semifinals in the Funny Bone Standup Comedy Competition. He is currently producer and host of Confluence Comedy and Curiosities at Bad Dog Bar & Grill and co-host of the Hodgepodge Trivia show at Southtown Pub. In 2014 he became a member of Bare Knuckle Comedy, a group that produces monthly shows at Blueberry Hill and at Stage 773 in Chicago; it features standup, sketch, improv and everything in between. He is also a contributor for comedyinthelou.com. He didn’t apply for a writing position with STL Up Late because he doesn’t have the time.

Shaun Arredondo @Dondocomic St. Louis is exploding with cultures like the Italians on the Hill, the Irish in Dogtown, the Bevo Dutch windmill and soon IKEA. #stlfact A charming comedian who will draw you in with a wink and a smile, Shaun Arredondo shows vulnerability using personal observation. His quick wit embraces audiences wherever he goes, and when least expected, Arredondo crosses the line, somehow leaving you loving him nonetheless. An established regular on Texas stages, Arredondo moved to Missouri in 2010, earning his way to become the 2010 Glass of Laughs champion and a finalist in the 2012 RFT Standup Throwdown.
Jeremy Hellwig @JeremyHellwig Saint Louis spelled backwards is “souL taintS” #stlfact Jeremy has green eyes and tells jokes. He also co-hosts a podcast called Comedy vs. Everything and writes humor articles for comedyinthelou.com. Is this 100 words yet? Hellwig grew up in St. Louis and has been doing standup for over two years. One time in China he saw a bunch of tigers fight over and eat a live chicken. It was really cold that day. Hellwig likes beer and barbecue and chocolate and whiskey. He used to pole-vault for Truman State University. Why does 100 words seem so long all of a sudden?! Oh, yeah, he was a finalist in the 2013 Funny Bone Standup Comedy Competition, and he is really good at Twitter.

Amber Klear @amberklear The freezing rain is cementing all of the trash, the condoms, and the broken dreams to the streets of Soulard. #mardigras #stlfact Her name is Amber, like the color. Or the alert, if you’re creepy. A man once told her that she had a beautiful smile. She replied with, “Only because I’m around you,” and that’s when a five-year-old hit her with a wink and a shout-out: “Play on, playa.” She knew she had to spend the rest of her life trying to emulate that little dude’s level of coolness. She recently found out that she was a celebrity when she was asked to be the celebrity judge in a chili cook-off in Decatur, Illinois (the Hollywood of the Midwest). When not comedy-ing, she spends her time on her motorcycles or kayaking.
Bobby Jaycox @bobbyjaycox A DWI is like a St. Louis style pizza, if you haven’t had one yet then you probably just moved here. #stlfact Bobby Jaycox started performing standup almost four years ago at the age of nineteen while attending school to become an EMT. Last year he won the 2013 Funny Bone Standup Comedy Competition. He started performing improv a year ago and recently graduated from the Improv Shop training program in St. Louis. He is a writer and performer for the late-night talk and sketch show STL Up Late. Jaycox runs his own comedy show (Jilly’s Comedy Showcase) in his hometown of High Ridge. In addition to doing comedy, he is also a firefighter and is pretty great at high-fiving. Jaycox hopes to keep performing and writing comedy as a career or marry Emma Watson...he is equally fine with both.

Suzanne Roussin @SuzanneRoussin St Louis: Accredited with 5 major stadiums and 0 accredited high schools. You’re welcome, job market. #stlfact Suzanne Roussin is a St. Louis native and stage veteran currently working as an exotic dancer on the radio. She has so many daddy issues that comedy seemed the inevitable career choice. Roussin has been performing standup in cities around the Midwest for the past three years, and she also hosted the live variety show One More Laugh. Prior to that, she wrote and performed in NonProphet Theatre Company’s critically acclaimed sketch-comedy show The Militant Propaganda Bingo Machine — a winner of awards from the RFT and 52nd City. Roussin has appeared in a number of really bad B films, one of which earned her name a misspelled listing on IMDB.
Sean Merkle @SeanMerkle The statue of Chuck Berry gets more groupies than Chuck Berry himself, if only because the statue can still get hard. #stlfact Sean Merkle was born with a compulsive need to entertain. As a small child he would often stand in front of the bathroom mirror and do a thing he called “The Naked News.” He is told that there really is such a show today. He awaits his royalty check. Sean did theater for a good five years. His highlights include being in the St. Louis premiere of Moby Dick: The Musical and co-writing A Christmas Play for Monkey Tales Theatre. Sean quit theater when he was no longer cast in roles, despite earning an A in an advanced acting class.

Charlie Winfrey @CharlieWinfrey St. Louis is the only city in America that deep-fries its beer. #stlfact Charlie Winfrey is a St. Louis-based comic. His standup can best be described as an eagle gutting a fish. It’s violent and disturbing but also just natural and therefore beautiful. While some things he may say might shock you, the real shocker is how charming and charismatic he is. He’s a handsome man with a caring heart. Take it from Barack Obama: “If you’re looking for someone to believe in, Charlie Winfrey is that man.” Not for everyone but loved by most, Charlie is nothing more, and nothing less, than a comic.
Emily Hickner @emilyhickner St. Louis: A lot of famous people once left here. #stlfact Emily Hickner works to fuse absurdity with vulnerability in her comedy. Honesty is what you get, whether it’s a genuinely bizarre thought or the mortifying awkwardness of a true story. Aside from performing standup, she is a writer for Bare Knuckle Comedy, co-producer of “World’s Greatest Comedians,” which will premiere this summer at St. Lou Fringe, contributor for comedyinthelou.com and has a couple more projects under way. Hickner spends her free time working on getting funnier and cuddling with cats since she found out that she’s not allergic to them. She got second place in last year’s Throwdown, not that she’s hung up on it.

Chad Wallace @BlackSuperGeek St. Louis was the site of the demonic possession that inspired the book, and later the movie, “Soul Plane.” #stlfact Chad Wallace is a father, a blue-collar worker and a native St. Louisan who lives in constant fear of his baby mommas. (They be trippin’.) Wallace chose standup comedy to tell his humorous slant on life because the police said to stop calling 911 and telling jokes. From his first open mic in 2012, Wallace has been on the breakneck pace of becoming the oldest guy standing in the back of a coffee shop. Hey, let’s cut to it: He needs this bad. Vote for him, and he’ll hook you up with one of his baby mommas.
Justin Luke @ImJustinLuke If you beat up Fredbird you become the new Fredbird. #stlfact Justin Luke began performing standup in 2012 while attending Mizzou. After getting kicked out, he moved back home to St. Louis where he goes to open mics and lives with his mom. Luke is a writer and performer for Bare Knuckle Comedy and the soon-to-be winner of the 2014 Standup Throwdown. He is also the heavyweight champion of the universe and wants someone to teach him how to Dougie.

Kenny Kinds @steelyken The Lewis and Clark expedition that departed from St. Louis in 1804 is the first recorded instance of “White Flight.” #stlfact Kenny Kinds is an award-winning local standup comedian and the world’s leading authority on the St. Louis standup scene. He opens for a number of national headliners, regularly hosts and emcees at the St. Louis Funny Bone, and performs constantly at other local showcases and venues. He can read but often chooses not to.
Dan Jaboor @DanJaboor The mayor marks his personal tweets with his initials, which is awkward fun when he talks up Pride week. #fgs #stlfact Dan Jaboor grew up trading barbs with classmates and friends on the south side of St. Louis. Already well known locally as a visual artist, he sees comedy as an important outlet of expression. He’s new to standup but well versed in making people laugh with creatively unusual observations, quick wit and dry delivery. He wrote this bio, too, and did a damn fine job of it. In fact, it just occurred to him that the Riverfront Times will print the word “fuck,” and that’s not an opportunity that should be wasted. He should probably be the guy you vote for, maybe not for his sake, but definitely for fuck’s sake.

Willie C. @comicwilliec You can get Ted Drewes, an STD, and visit Utah, Wyoming and 5 other states all on one side of St. Louis #stlfact Willie C. started on the comedy scene in 2009, hitting the stage at House of Comedy and Laughs on the Landing. Since then Willie C. has successfully hosted a monthly comedy show on the first Friday of the month at the InSpot Lounge on Delmar, booking comics from all over the country. He has shared the stage with DeRay Davis, Eric Schwartz and Roman, and St. Louis greats including Matt Collins, Darius Bradford and Arvin Mitchell. Those familiar with Willie C. knew that comedy would be his calling because of his hysterical outlook on everyday things, such as sniffing couch cushions as a hobby. If you want a no-boundaries, exaggerated, creative brand of comedy with unapologetic setup and impeccable delivery, book Willie C.!
1/8
Chris Cyr @CDCyr Fried your ravioli, froze your custard, and used a cracker for your pizza crust. Unaccredited schools means no home-ec class. #stlfact Chris Cyr was, literally, a poster child for the St. Louis Public School District in 1993. While the picture looks nice on the wall of his office, the system itself has never fully recovered. Cyr is a writer and professional nerd living in south St. Louis, where he spends much of his day practicing the arcane magic that creates spreadsheets for a large corporate-accounting department. His nights are spent trying to become a better comic. He also serves as a director on the board of Zombie Squad International and is part of the team that writes and performs the organization’s annual Zombocalypse Survival Seminar. He has served as a panelist at Dragon Con and other conventions. His favorite whiskey is the Caol Ila 18. Cyr’s dream is to one day be asked to join Wu-Tang Clan as an adjunct member. Those guys seem like fun.

Tiel Pearce @Tiel52093 The Jeffersons were going to be set in St. Louis but it changed to New York when they realized the east side of STL is a step down. #stlfact Tiel Pearce is an impressionist. Though he wasn’t always. He started out as a a cubist, but that is not important. Pearce started doing comedy a couple of years ago at the Funny Bone in Westport. One impression he does not do is Jack Nicholson at Kmart. That’s because he can’t do Nicholson. His turn-ons include women with a sense of humor. Turnoffs? War. His aspirations as a comedian are as diverse as maybe doing SNL, to just working on the road. He’d love to sell out a place sometime, and it doesn’t have to be the Garden. The Giggle Shack in Kalamazoo will do.
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