SLUG Localized: Stand-Up Comedy Showcase
As we get ready to close out another year and prepare for all the holiday festivities, it’s time once again to take a look at the Salt Lake comedy scene and check out a new group of comedians that are making the city laugh. This edition of the SLUG Localized Comedy Showcase has a wide variety of talent—those just beginning their comedy career, those in the middle and some who have maybe been doing this way too long. Come to Urban Lounge on Thursday, Dec. 15 (doors at 7 p.m., show at 8 p.m.) to see Gabe Olson, Alaina Hirschi, Brian Higgins and Karan Reddy for just $5.
Alaina Hirschi has been doing standup for about a year now and is progressing faster than most. Like the majority of the comedians on this lineup, she has an observational style but identifies herself with a more offbeat delivery and is one of the more original voices in comedy heard recently. This might be due to the fact that Hirschi never saw standup until her late 20s. “When I got a job at DryBar Comedy, I had never really seen standup before, because I grew up Mormon,” she says. “My parents were like, ‘standup is inappropriate so you can’t watch it.’ They said standup is bad because they swear, and they weren’t wrong.” Hirschi started doing stand up after her introduction to it through DryBar Comedy—she thought it just looked fun! She is an extroverted presence off the stage. Hirschi has always loved writing, especially comedic writing, as well as being on stage in front of people. Standup seems to be a perfect fit! Alaina Hirschi has opened for Maria Bamford and performs regularly at Wiseguys. You can find her on Instagram for upcoming show dates @alaina_n_hirschi.
What’s that, dear reader? You yearn for the dulcet tones of a pretentious know it all to talk down to you? Oh, you’ve got it! Brian Higgins is a Connecticut transplant to Utah but has quickly become a mainstay of comedy here in SLC. Higgins takes a more hardline stance on comedy when it comes to what he wants out of it: “I would like to kill myself … and I’m hoping that somebody else does that for me onstage. I saw Will Smith at the Oscars and I said, ‘That’.”
Higgins is eight years into his comedy journey and is the personification of a comedic truth teller. “I think the essence of comedy is saying a thing that most people agree with and getting claps,” he declares bravely before looking into his attaché case for a pen while muttering, “How many times can I say ‘foibles’ in a 30-minute set.” Higgins is an avid fan of the New York Times crossword. He “likes when the themes are fun” and enjoys riffing with the boys in his spare time. Higgins is a writer by day, comedian by night. He has a spread of comedic talents ranging from extensive improv experience, standup and his ceaseless daily submissions to the NYT political cartoon section. One could say he lives, breathes, eats, sleeps and even shits comedy.
Higgins’ jokes are silly and, in comparison to some of his fellow comics, avoid more real and heavy topics. After a show one night he was told that, “he’s a fun guy on stage,” which absolutely delighted him. “That’s what I’m going for!” he replied gleefully. Brian Higgins hosts a semi-regular show called Locals Only at SaltFire Brewing Co. and has opened for headliners such as Mark Normand, Joe List and Eddie Pepitone. You can find him on Instagram @brianhigginscomedy. Higgins would also like to plug The Joe Rogan Experience Podcast and InfoWars, neither of which he has been on, nor is he even loosely associated with.
Karan Reddy has been steadily climbing his way up the local comedy scene ladder for about two years now, opening frequently on weekend shows at Wiseguy’s Comedy Club. Reddy’s style is observational and oftentimes boundary pushing.
Originally from India, Reddy watched a lot of stand up in high school and says, “I always wanted to do it but I never had the courage to go up. I moved to Utah and had no friends, no family. I was like, ‘Oh this is the perfect place’—if I bomb, no one knows.”
Reddy recounts some experiences of being an immigrant and how some are not as understanding as others. “Sometimes people think I’m only funny because of the accent. Some people come up to me and say, ‘Hey man, good thing you have that accent’,” Reddy observes of some audience member’s racist attitudes.
Offstage, Karan Reddy is not a funny man, he is timid and meek. Everytime I see him, he takes one hand out of his hoodie to point slightly away from whoever he’s talking to. The stage is where Reddy can express himself, most of the time. Especially in the early stages, it can be hard to know what to do with someone shouting out at you during a show. Reddy quips that the thing that brings him joy in life is “owning a heckler 24 hours after a show in my bathroom.” Karan Reddy can be found at @karanreddycomedy on Instagram, and has opened for big names such as Dina Hashem, Duncan Trussell and Nimesh Patel.
Gabe Olson loves sex workers; it is the linchpin of his personality. This is a fact of Mr. Olson that is so clear, were I to not mention it, people who know him that are reading this would think I’ve never met the man. He is due to be a new father, any day now. Olson’s material focuses on his experience in the military, his love of sex workers, of course, and a deep passion for anime.
Olson is an energetic and giddy presence onstage. Despite some of the darker topics he entertains through his act, he keeps a consistently positive energy throughout. “My style of humor is aggressive and not consensual—people will laugh whether they like it or not. I’ll tickle someone if I have to” he says, one eye drifting out of alignment with the other. Olson’s aspirations with comedy are not far off from the classical definition of fame and fortune “My aspirations with comedy is to make it to a place where I don’t sleep on a couch anymore. In five years, I see myself on a futon.” He continues, “When people see me perform, they understand that I’m a ladies man and I have lots of money”. Gabe Olson has performed with the likes of Stavros Halkias, Fahim Anwar and Sean Patton. You can check out his bi-monthly roast battle show that he co-hosts with another local favorite, Scott Fillmore. As well as his Instagram @thegabeolson.
You can also find all of these comedians regularly at Wiseguys. The interview overall had to be cut short because a bee flew at me and chased me around the patio of the coffee shop we were all at for about 10 minutes. In that time, every last one of the comedians had scattered like rats and left me to die. Hope to see you all at the show!
Read more from past Comedy Localized Showcase articles here:
SLUG Localized: Stand-Up Comedy Showcase
Localized Comedy Showcase: Jasmine Lewis, Greg Orme, Rachel Rothenberg and Sam D’Antuono
Always FREE, thanks to READERS LIKE YOU!
Donate $10 OR MORE to get a SLUG sticker pack!