Stand Up for Sketch Comedy at Club Cafe

Ron Placone and friends want to elevate your expectation of a comedy show.

The recent boom in Pittsburgh’s comedy scene can be attributed to a lot of things. The internet makes it easier for up-and-comers to get the word out and share their work. More bars are happy to fill a weeknight or two with a comedy open mic than ever before. Institutions like the Steel City Improv Theater and the South Side’s Corner Cafe have given funny people a regular home.

But more than anything, the scene in Pittsburgh is booming because talented, hilarious young performers are choosing to stay in Pittsburgh. Or, in many cases, return.

Among the many comics who have circled back to Pittsburgh, Ron Placone may be the performer who has most fully embraced his hometown’s stages. Having honed his skills during four years living in Seattle, he’s become a permanent fixture at local open mic nights, sometimes performing on multiple shows in a single night, always eager to try out a new bit. He’s appeared throughout the region and regularly at gigs in Ohio and West Virginia, and popped up on the WDVE Morning Show. And, for the past five years, presented Holiday HAHA, one of the year’s last big comedy events.

“I always came back [from Seattle] for the holidays, so I started to do a show—an opportunity for friends and family to come see me,” Placone says. “And ever since I moved back, I decided I wanted to make it something a little more special.”

With so many comics and shows filling up the calendar, though, making a show stand out takes a little bit more effort. So for last year’s event, Placone gathered a collection of friends to add some sketch comedy to the show.

“We have an interwoven theme with sketches and stand-up. Even a little bit of music this year.”

The music will be courtesy of Congressmen on Craigslist, a debuting folk-punk-comedy trio led by Placone. He’ll be joined by fellow comic Mark McCall and longtime jazz drummer Brian Davis.

Placone will perform a stand-up set, as will host Derek Minto, known locally for both stand-up and his weekly comedy podcast, “Haters for Hire.” They’ll be joined by Andy Picarro, a New York-based comedian who’s appeared alongside stand-up heavyweights like Louis C.K.

“Andy’s very funny,” Placone says. “His style is very tight and concise.”

The sketches were born out of a collaboration between a broad group of writers and performers eager to try out something new. Along with Placone, McCall and Minto, contributions were made by local talents Ben Kenny, John Pridmore, Molly Sharrow and Zach Simons.

Expanding the medium beyond a simple series of comics brings challenges to all involved, Placone explains. “We need to treat it like an actual theatrical production. Last year, we had to do an announcement to tell people they couldn’t sit in the aisles and things like that. It’s a lot more work, and you have to be mindful that that’s the kind of show that it is. The biggest challenge, though, is for the person hosting. They need to be the glue that makes sure that it runs the way it has to run.”

But those challenges will arise with just about anything that’s worth doing. And thanks to the efforts of Placone and his fellow performers, there’s more room than ever for pushing the envelope.

“You see these shows in New York and Los Angeles. There were shows like this in Seattle somewhat regularly. I thought it’d be cool to do something like that here in Pittsburgh, because it seems like it’s not something that really happens often.”

(Club Cafe, 56-58 S 12th St, South Side. Friday, 7 p.m. $5 in advance, $7 at the door. 21+. Info and tickets: clubcafelive.com)

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

Dinosaurs Storm the Pittsburgh Zoo

Dinosaurs Storm the Pittsburgh Zoo

Eighteen life-like, animatronic dinosaurs will spend the summer in the Steel City.
He Loves the Nickname: They Call Him Dr. Yuk

He Loves the Nickname: They Call Him Dr. Yuk

In the 45 years since coming up with Mr. Yuk, Dr. Richard Moriarty, now 77, has met many grateful parents who told him he saved their kids’ lives.
Getting Started with Startups: A Peek at Alphalab Demo Day

Getting Started with Startups: A Peek at Alphalab Demo Day

Technological innovators present what could be “the next big thing” at the Carnegie Music Hall in Homewood.
Creative Nonfiction Writers’ Conference Helps Writers Tell Their Stories

Creative Nonfiction Writers’ Conference Helps Writers Tell Their Stories

The fifth annual Creative Nonfiction Writers’ Conference brings writers from across the country together to improve their craft.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Top Ten Things to Do in Pittsburgh in June

Top Ten Things to Do in Pittsburgh in June

This month's best bets in the ’Burgh.
Best Restaurants 2017

Best Restaurants 2017

This year Pittsburgh Magazine's independent Restaurant Review Panel recognizes 34 establishments as our regions's top restaurants. Our list includes All Arounders, Killer Casual, Fancy Night Out, Best Budget and Classic Comfort establishments.
Pittsburgh Chef of the Year: Bill Fuller

Pittsburgh Chef of the Year: Bill Fuller

Bill Fuller’s portfolio includes overseeing five specialty restaurants — Eleven Contemporary Kitchen, Casbah Mediterranean Kitchen and Wine Bar, Soba, umi and Kaya — as well as 14 fast-casual Mad Mex restaurants and a full-service catering operation. Even in an increasingly competitive environment, his restaurants remain in-demand and relevant.
Pittsburgh's Best New Restaurant: Apteka

Pittsburgh's Best New Restaurant: Apteka

Apteka, operated by Kate Lasky and Tomasz Skowronski, is a vegan eatery that draws on Lasky’s sixth-generation Pittsburgh roots and Skowronski’s Polish heritage.
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


Dinosaurs Storm the Pittsburgh Zoo

Dinosaurs Storm the Pittsburgh Zoo

Eighteen life-like, animatronic dinosaurs will spend the summer in the Steel City.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Pittsburgh Bartenders Give Back By Keeping Time

Pittsburgh Bartenders Give Back By Keeping Time

The Pittsburgh chapter of the USBG partners with Campari USA to create a calendar that will benefit Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
Five Inexpensive But Memorable Date Spots in Pittsburgh

Five Inexpensive But Memorable Date Spots in Pittsburgh

These spots are tailored for couples who are looking for a simple, chill night out on Valentine’s Day (or any other day). If your significant other isn’t the type to be wooed by expensive wines and chocolates, this is the list for you.

Comments


Vital Happy Hour Alert: Great Cocktails at the Wigle Tasting Room

Vital Happy Hour Alert: Great Cocktails at the Wigle Tasting Room

The third outpost of local distillery Wigle, found in the Omni William Penn Hotel, is an instant destination for cocktail fans.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Frightened about Game 7? You Should Be

Frightened about Game 7? You Should Be

A win will send the Penguins to the Stanley Cup finals for a second year in a row and re-write team history.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Make the Cut with Jonathan Moran Woodworks

Make the Cut with Jonathan Moran Woodworks

The Strip District-based woodworker's cutting boards can be custom made with the wood of your choice.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
The Alien Series Jumps the Shark with Covenant

The Alien Series Jumps the Shark with Covenant

Reviews of "Alien: Covenant" and "Everything, Everything," as well as local movie news and notes.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
New York Bridal Designer Shares Her Secrets

New York Bridal Designer Shares Her Secrets

Pennsylvania native Jaclyn Jordan brings her newest collection to the Blanc de Blanc Bridal Boutique in Carrick.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Get to the North Side for Home & Garden Tour, Epic Yard Sale

Get to the North Side for Home & Garden Tour, Epic Yard Sale

Explore lavish homes and gardens with the West Allegheny Historic District’s annual Tour and Tasting, or go on the hunt for hidden treasure during The Great Mexican War Streets Yard Sale.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
Explore Your Future with Point Park University

Explore Your Future with Point Park University

The university will host three summer workshops for high school students from July 17-20.

Comments