SLUG Localized: Stand-Up Comedy Showcase
Over the last five years of doing stand-up, I’ve had the chance to meet many creative and hysterical comics, among them the four comedians set for SLUG’s upcoming Localized Showcase at Urban Lounge on Dec. 16 (doors at 7 p.m., show at 8 p.m.), sponsored by Huge Brands and Uinta Brewing. After a long, painful hiatus due to the pandemic, the show is finally back live and in person! We couldn’t be more excited to share these funny and wonderful people with you all.
Stand-up is an individual sport. What is said on stage is the result of one person’s ideas, which is often what makes an average comedy open mic feel like a roller coaster of personalities and themes. Dallas Briggs takes a rather straightforward approach to stand-up. He would tell you that he just tells jokes and that the significance of them is simply to be funny. “If someone saw my act and said it was really poignant or something, I’d probably write that person off as an idiot,” he says. “I’d probably be upset if they liked me.”
A lush to be envied, Briggs can almost always be found with a seltzer of some sort in hand, when telling jokes or otherwise. His slurred, lucid musings pack a punch that some would call reminiscent of Norm Macdonald, but Briggs’ approach to standup is not as casual as one might observe. It is cynical, and as such he does not have a specific process for coming up with material and does not write in one particular way all the time. “It’s a major hindrance in being a good comedian,” he says.
“If someone saw my act and said it was really poignant or something, I’d probably write that person off as an idiot.”
Sam Poulter is a familiar face among Salt Lake City comedians. His career is the longest of the group, spanning eight years since late 2013. He thinks that “there’s nothing like laying an egg right as the sun peaks over the horizon.” With a rather protracted and dark style, Poulter will lay that egg with his entire life story inside right on your head. A more lackadaisical approach to coming up with material, Poulter simply waits for divine inspiration, laying down or going birdwatching.
Tanner Nicholson views comedy as a tool for interpreting the world around us in a way that adds levity to what can be an otherwise messy place. “Comedy is, in my opinion, our best vessel for talking about difficult subjects—racism, mental illness, etc.—without getting too rough,” he says.
In another light, Jordan Harris is a force to be reckoned with. Harris has a high energy and bawdy style. Her approach to coming up with material is not much different. “I live my life and if I find myself laughing really hard at something, I write it down and come back to it later,” Harris says. “I also follow a ‘fuck around and find out approach,’ where I just record myself telling a story at open mic and finding the laughs that way.”
“Comedy is, in my opinion, our best vessel for talking about difficult subjects—racism, mental illness, etc.—without getting too rough.”
Briggs may seem like a sweetheart with a penchant for making his own hot sauce—and he is—but he is also a skinny caveman who will pick a bone with anyone for any reason. Briggs started doing stand-up in late 2017—“I don’t really remember why, but it was probably a stupid fucking reason,” he says. In the time since, he has pulverized audiences with a blend of non-sequiturs and harsh contradictions.
In contrast to Briggs’ curt approach, Poulter is apologetic about being histrionic from the get-go. His comedy weaves a verbal tapestry of drug experience and abuse, family trauma and a violent love affair with trains in a muted style of absurdist confessions. “I try to keep an air of, like, ‘don’t hug me’ about it,” he says. Poulter is a talented writer whose jokes have a literary quality about them, especially in his more autobiographical material. He chronicles his life from childhood to step-fatherhood through endearing, clever and sometimes uncomfortable observations.
As a labor and delivery nurse by day, Harris has a unique perspective on life itself. Her stories and funny observations about the job will make you laugh and remind you that you’re a disgusting little slime ball that slithered out into the sun just as gross as we will leave its rays. Despite her self-described adult and gross content, Harris has a clear ring of joy that permeates all her work—a welcome change from the more cynical and anhedonic attitudes of most comics. For someone with a job as messy as hers, joy is a fitting tool for hope. “You don’t have to have trauma in your life to be funny, but it definitely helps,” she aptly says.
“You don’t have to have trauma in your life to be funny, but it definitely helps.”
Nicholson’s comedy blends stories and jokes inspired by his life—some of which include encounters with rambunctious customers in the bar he works in, Johnny’s on Second—stories about working in a youth correctional facility and observations on race and culture. “There are so many different ways to be Black that it’s impossible to count,” he says. Nicholson’s presence on stage is interknitted with a cheeky, thoughtful outlook. At several shows that I’ve seen Nicholson on, he takes a giddy delight in recounting the events of some perfectly odd or drunken stranger. With each story, audience members feel as though they’re privy to something they won’t hear anywhere else. Nicholson would describe his comedy as “good enough to get me laid once in a while”—a truly Herculean feat among comedians. We fear and respect him most of all.
Briggs has opened for such names as Rachel Feinstein and Paul Virzi and can be seen at provincial shows around town and at Wiseguys Comedy Club, frequently. You can also find him on Twitter @thedallasbriggs and Instagram @dallasbriggsy. You can see Nicholson at the open mic he hosts every Monday night at Johnny’s on 2nd. You can also follow him on Instagram @funnymanntann. You can see Jordan Harris on Dec. 9 on Provo Uncensored. Follow her on IG at @jordanleilaniani for more updates and upcoming shows! You can also follow her stand-up comedy production page on IG at @buxomandbawdy, where she produces and hosts local shows with her partner in comedy, Rachel Rothenberg. You can get more of Mr. Poulter on his podcast about addiction and other related subjects called Junkyland, which he does with comedian Andy Gold. Follow him on Instagram @sampoulter69.
Come see these talented, wonderful people at Urban Lounge on Dec. 16 by grabbing tickets here! Bring your vaccination cards or a negative test; masks are required and be ready to laugh! I’ll be your host for the evening—I simply can’t wait to see these comics perform and I hope you can’t either!