The Jokers Gone Wild secret to success: put on a revolving showcase of local comics, invite everyone and their grandma, add alcohol and wait for the magic to happen. Their April show returned to their home turf at The Fifth in Bountiful and brought with them four of the hardest-working comics in Utah. Hosted by Joker Mike Mireles, and featuring an opening set from fellow Joker Gone Wild Marcus Whisler, the crew welcomed Steffan Reed, Christopher Stephenson, Levi Rounds and Nicholas Smith for a very “shocking” night. Joker etiquette would dictate that anytime someone on stage yells “Sarah says what?” you yell back “Drink, bitches!” and start chugging. Shocknado doesn’t just describe the shock style of some of the best uncensored comics locally, but the best prop addition to any comedy stage—a fully charged stun gun.
Starting off the night was Marcus Whisler on his guitar singing the next Billboard hit, if the next Billboard hit was entirely about excrement and destroys all of your Megan Fox fantasies. If you can answer “Where’s the cat?” let him know. Otherwise, just chant along with “What cat?” He included a new song, complete with ukelele, about “self love,” which is exactly what you are probably thinking about. For decency’s sake, I won’t provide a lot of details on this, but it was pretty funny. He was then shocked by Mireles two times. Though the effects were mild, Whisler does have the picture-perfect “scared face.” Mireles spent a few moments talking about life’s milestones, like when he decided to “man-scape” but didn’t know where to stop. He imparted some brilliant tattoo wisdom: If you have a memorial to someone on your body, make it clear that is what it is or some socially awkward comedian might some day try to make a joke about your living bodily shrine.
Steffan Reed was up next, and was a good enough sport to allow Mireles to shock him on the arm. Reed’s comedic style is comprised of good long setups, satisfying payoffs and some Lewis Black–level rage shouting. Reed had plenty to say about how effective “LOL” is, but he just likes to say it as it’s spelled: “lull.” His thoughts on people who comment on porn websites led to a tirade of epic proportions that ended in amazed silence, only to be broken by a heckler in the back of the room with a brilliantly timed expletive: “fuuuuck you.” Suicide notes were then discussed, and I learned that the way we deal with suicide socially has become a bureaucratic system with requirements. His history of suicide notes was both enlightening and hilarious.
Following Reed was Christopher Stephenson who joined Mireles on stage, but opted instead to turn the stun gun on the host. This decision would later be his undoing. Stephenson shared stories of having to buy weed from some dude in his mom’s basement, which led him to come up with some very interesting thoughts on the legalization of everything—just envision drug drive-throughs. In a special treat, we were brought deep into his psyche and childhood with an embarrassing story about that time he obviously blew his curfew, crawled through his window pants-less and brought shame onto his family. Stephenson has never been more raw and funny than in this moment. He talked about getting so high he was yelling at his coffee machine, how he loves trashy T.V. and how Lady Gaga wants to go to space—yes, space. In the end, Stephenson craftily defeated our resident hecklers and he left the stage victorious, only to then be shocked with the stun gun by Levi Rounds.
When Levi Rounds got onto the stage, his stunning spree was far from over—he also decided to turn the stun gun on Mireles. He talked about male insecurity and why he has to wear suspenders, resulting in a time when he was unjustly called a hipster. The best thing I’ve ever heard was a simple math justification on paying for abortions, then he explained a correlation between dentistry and suicide. He’s also had some hardcore metal-sounding moments that, when explored, weren’t very metal at all and would make anyone feel kind of bad for his cat (the cat is totally fine, by the way). Finishing his set, the audience listened intently to his rock n’ roll comedian story, and we all learned, for better or worse, that Rounds has more game with the ladies than many of his counterparts.
Finally, the headliner of the night Nicholas Smith went up to face the stun-gun. Proving that there was still a brave soul left in the room, he turned around, dropped his pants, and took that stun-gun like a man. He did his usual set about puppies, sunshine and charity work with youth groups. Just kidding, it’s mostly about suicide. Smith filled us in on his ideas for brutally honest dating videos. He compared his manhood to the loneliest ghost “that haunts the men’s bathroom of a lesbian bar.” His stories don’t disappoint for shock value, so there really isn’t a good way to talk about his horrific accidental bonding experience with his cat. It includes some, well, bodily fluids and the cat being in the wrong place at a really wrong time. When Smith talks about his mother and Alzheimer’s disease, it’s actually very sweet and funny as well as raw and extremely real. He also expressed the ethics of why he could never commit suicide (good thing he’s not a dentist). His preferred death would be at the altar of metal, and there was a lot of cursing that followed that could not be written down.
In the best twist of the night, and a secret which the majority of the audience was able to keep, the whole show was dedicated to Nicholas Smith. Whisler and Mireles brought Smith back on stage to honor him for being such an integral part of the Utah comedy scene. He was honored with an interesting bouquet of barbie heads and a carrot cake including a picture of him and the text “NDS- Impregnate us all!” A recorded message from Steve McInelley praised his hard work and dedication, as well as what a great guy and friend Smith is. The audience gave Smith a standing ovation, then all in attendance signed the show banner as a final present to him. Smith began to tear up, and still made it look like the most metal thing ever. This gesture capped off a great night of comedy, honoring a great comedian and all around great guy. Check out Nicholas Smith, Jokers Gone Wild, and the amazing comedians on the show at any one of their local gigs performed all over the state.