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  • Planet Ant presents A Steady Rain

    The Planet Ant Theatre in Hamtramck will present a police drama called A Steady Rain May 2 through 24. Planet Ant veterans Ryan Carlson and York Griffith will star in the play, written by House of Cards and Mad Men co-writer Keith Huff. Tickets ($10-$20) are on sale now at According to the press release, “A Steady Rain by Keith Huff focuses on Joey and Denny, best friends since kindergarten and partners on the police force whose loyalty to each other is tested by domestic affairs, violence and the rough streets of Chicago. Joey helps Denny with his family and Denny helps Joey stay off the bottle. But when a routine disturbance call takes a turn for the worse their loyalty is put to the ultimate test.First produced at Chicago Dramatists, A Steady Rain appeared on Broadway featuring Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig. The Planet Ant production of A Steady Rain is directed by York Griffith featuring Ryan Carlson and Andy Huff. This marks the return of two of Planet Ant’s founding members. Carlson and Griffith. Griffith has served as the theatre’s Artistic Director where he directed the critically-acclaimed productions The Adding Machine and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? […]

    The post Planet Ant presents A Steady Rain appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • You can wear Detroit’s blight on your face

    There is no easy answer to the question regarding what should be done with Detroit’s abandoned homes. However, an Eastern Market company has a solution that could reflect Detroit’s possibly bright future. Homes Eyewear has set out to make the city a little more stylish, and do their part in cleaning it up by repurposing select woods from neglected homes for sunglasses. All of the wood that Homes uses is harvested from vacant houses with the assistance of Reclaim Detroit. A lot of work goes into prepping the wood to be cut and shaped into frames. Homes goes through each piece to remove nails, paint or anything else detrimental to their production (it’s a bit strange to think that your wooden sunglasses could have had family portraits nailed to them). In order to produce more durable eyewear, they salvage only hardwoods like maple or beech, which are difficult to come by as most of the blighted homes were built with softer woods like Douglas fir and pine. If you’re worried about looking goofy, or shudder at the thought of salvaged wood resting on your nose, you can rest easy. Homes currently offers frames in the popular wayfarer style and are developing their unique spin on the classic aviators. For as […]

    The post You can wear Detroit’s blight on your face appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Lily Tomlin coming to Ann Arbor

    Detroit home-girl Lily Tomlin will perform at the Hill Auditorium in Ann Arbor on Saturday, June 14. A press release reads, “Get together with Lily Tomlin for an unforgettable night of fun and sidesplitting laughter. “Tomlin is amazing” The NY Times and “as always a revelation.” The New Yorker This unique comic artist takes her audience on what the Washington Post calls a “wise and howlingly funny” trip with more than a dozen of her timeless characters—from Ernestine to Mrs. Beasley to Edith Ann.” “With astounding skill and energy, Tomlin zaps through the channels like a human remote control. Using a fantastic range of voices, gestures and movements, she conjures up the cast of characters with all the apparent ease of a magician pulling a whole menagerie of animals from a single hat.” NY Daily News “Her gentle touch is as comforting as it is edifying.” NY Time Out She has “made the one-person show the daring, irreverent art form it is today.” Newsweek Her long list of awards includes: a Grammy; two Tonys; six Emmys; an Oscar nomination; two Peabodys; and the prestigious Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. Find more info here. Follow @City_Slang

    The post Lily Tomlin coming to Ann Arbor appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Welcome Valerie Vande Panne, the new Detroit Metro Times editor

    The Detroit Metro Times, Detroit’s award-winning alternative weekly media company, is proud to announce the recent hire of Valerie Vande Panne as Editor-in-Chief. An award-winning independent journalist and Michigan native, Vande Panne’s work has appeared in Crain’s Detroit Business, The Daily Beast, and Salon, among other publications. Previously, Vande Panne attended Harvard University and was a regular contributor to The Boston Phoenix, and a news editor of High Times magazine. She has spent years covering drug policy among other subjects, including the environment, culture, lifestyle, extreme sports, and academia. “Valerie understands our business and what we expect to accomplish in Detroit. She has an excellent sense for stories that will move our readers, as well as experience with balancing print and digital content. I’m excited to have her at the paper and trust her leadership as we move forward,” said Detroit Metro Times publisher Chris Keating.

    The post Welcome Valerie Vande Panne, the new Detroit Metro Times editor appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Joumana Kayrouz to cover ‘Metro Times’

    She welcomes you when you enter Detroit, from every direction, with the one word that might just be Detroit’s biggest philosophical question: Injured? Joumana Kayrouz is deeper than the inflated image watching over Detroit, peddling justice to the poor and broken of the city. This Wednesday, Drew Philp takes us behind the billboard and into the heart of the Kayrouz quest. (And all of Brian Rozman’s photos of Kayrouz have not been retouched.) Check out MT‘s cover story, on newsstands Wednesday!

    The post Joumana Kayrouz to cover ‘Metro Times’ appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Fire at PJ’s Lager House, no people hurt

    There was a fire in an upstairs apartment at PJ’s Lager House on Monday evening. No people were hurt, although three cats belonging to the tenants died after CPR. The fire broke out around 10:30 p.m. during a show featuring Zombie Jesus & the Chocolate Sunshine Band, Curtin, and Jeffrey Jablonsky. “We just smelled smoke and someone yelled everyone has to get out,” 33-year-old Nick Leu told MLive. On the Lager House Facebook page in the early hours of the morning, a post said, “We at PJ’s lager House would like to thank everyone for their care and concern. Also, a very big THANK YOU to all who stepped up to do what they could this evening. The fire was contained to the upstairs but due to water damage in the bar, we will be closed until it can be assessed. Everyone is safe and we will keep you updated.” A later update read, “Update from the big boss. Since there was no damage to the stage side of the bar, the show will go on tomorrow! You may have to enter through the back door and there may not be a large selection of booze but we are going […]

    The post Fire at PJ’s Lager House, no people hurt appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.



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Cover Story

What's so funny?

Five comedians give you some advice

Photo: Justin Rose, License: N/A

Justin Rose

Photo: , License: N/A

Related Content

Why perform comedy in New York, when Detroit has all you need?

My best advice if you are going to tell a joke is to commit. Go big or underplay it. No middle. If you believe it is funny, then it is, and if you're good enough at believing it, you might fool someone else into thinking the same. Good luck, don't stay in school. Quit your day job.


Follow @thechrisarmy on Twitter or see



Michael McDaniel

Being funny is being yourself. 

It's the unique perspective of the individual who has the "gift of comedy." Dave Chappelle said that comedians are born, not made. I agree with that. You can only try to be someone you're not. That's no fun! Nor is it funny!

Telling a joke has to seem like you're not telling a joke. 

Telling a joke is outthinking your audience. You have to take them on a journey that seems opposite of where they believe you are going. For instance: "I just found out I'm going to be a father." Good news, right? Audience claps because they are happy for you! "... on Facebook." This shocks the audience. Then you add to it, "I deleted her as a friend ... I ain't poking nobody else!" The basic anatomy of a joke is setup, punch, then tag-twist. The series above is a display of this anatomy.


Follow @IamMcDaniel on Twitter to stay up-to-date on future performances, or see



Mike Green

I have used my sense of humor as a defense mechanism my whole life, and if I think something is funny, beware, because I will beat it into the ground until someone laughs. My kids hate it when I goof around with them 'cause they don't find me funny, so I will not stop until they laugh or go to their room.

My best example of when not to be funny happened in court when the judge told me: "Mr. Green, someone is hit by a drunk driver every minute in this country." I said, "We better find out who this guy is ..."

In high school, I had a teacher who reprimanded me for eating a snack in class. He said if I didn't have enough for everybody, I couldn't have it in class. That was all well and good, until he introduced his wife to us a month or so later, and I told him, "If you don't have enough for everybody ..."

My advice is to understand that just because something is funny doesn't mean it's the right time to say it. I can do my act, the same act, two different ways: clean enough for my grandma or priest, or dirty enough for drunk twentysomethings to enjoy.

I think that comes from doing so many shows in so many different places. 

I have worked on the altar of a church, in a church rec hall, and countless country clubs. Conversely, I have performed in a strip bar, a nudist resort and a gay bar. 

Bottom line: Know your audience.


For updates on the latest news, see


Simply Shanell

I believe that anyone can be funny. However, not everyone can be a comedian.

Being a comedian is more than being funny. Comedians are a combination of storyteller, keynote speaker, therapist, friend, political analyst and motivational speaker, while keeping it funny, entertaining and thought-provoking. Comedians ... we're healers. We make people feel good.

I can't tell you the number of times after a performance that people come up to me to tell me how much they needed "to laugh," and to thank me for making them laugh.

I once read: "Comedy is the truth exaggerated."

With that said, many comedians don't like to touch on subjects of religion, politics, etc. But in my performance, I love including politics ("America found Saddam in a hole in the ground, but can't find my babydaddy to get my back child support."), religion ("You think Jesus ever told Mary, 'I can't wait to go live with my real daddy'?"), and social issues ("I live within a gated community in Detroit; everyone on my block has bars on their windows.").

I believe that comedians have a responsibility to be funny and express a point of view without preaching. Finding a platform that fits your style of comedy is the toughest part of comedy. 

I find that Christian and family-friendly comedy works best for my style of comedy. It allows me to perform for audiences that include both grandchildren and grandparents. Working as a clean, Christian comic also challenges my creativity. I focus more on subject matter. I don't have the luxury of falling back on a cuss word, or inappropriate subject matter to get a laugh. 

Working as a clean comedian also affords me the opportunity to be seen by individuals who would have never considered hiring a comedian to perform at their parents' 50th anniversary gala. Working clean has given me the opportunity to produce comedy show fundraisers for several metro Detroit churches and nonprofit organizations such as the AARP and the Red Hat Society.


Contact Simply Shanell at She plays the Clean Side of Comedy on Oct. 6, at the Millennium Center in Southfield, with headliner Jonathon Slocumb; ticket info at


Cornelius A. Fortune resisted the urge to mention Sigmund Freud's 1905 rib-splitter The Joke and Its Relation to the Unconscious. His editor couldn't. Send comments to

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