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Just for Laughs


Posted on March 22, 2009

These five local comics may be the funniest people in Sacramento.

Photography by Beth Baugher

Being funny for a living is hard work. The hours are lousy. The pay is low. And Sacramento is not exactly Comedy Central.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t find plenty of laughs right here in River City. We found five great comics plying their trade in Sacramento’s comedy clubs.

Brian Crall [ Watch Video ]
Improvisational comedian and teacher; co-owner of Sacramento Comedy Spot

Vital statistics: 34, married with children
Comedic style: Physical
Knew he was funny when: “I used to do magic and clown shows when I was 8 years old for the neighbors and my family.”
Comedic influence: Matt Besser, a founding member of Upright Citizens Brigade
Day job: Skycap at Sacramento International Airport; clocks in at 4:30 a.m.
Sample material: Anti-Cooperation League, Crall’s regular Friday-night comedy crew, builds its sketches around stuff from audience members’ purses.
Favorite subject matter: Everyday life
Rating: Somewhere between PG-13 and R
Words to live by: “You only get good at doing something that you fail at over and over again.”
Catch him at: Sacramento Comedy Spot (1716 Broadway) Friday and Saturday nights, or sign up for one of his improv or sketch-writing classes (saccomedyspot.com)


Del Van Dyke [ Watch Video ]
Stand-up comic and comedy teacher

Vital statistics: 52, married, five children
Comedic style: Observational
Knew he was funny when: “A lot of us comics have been funny all our lives. It’s just the way we are. It’s in the heart.”
Comedic influences: Richard Pryor, Bill Cosby, George Carlin
Day job: Booking agent/owner of Class Act Comedy Entertainment
Starting out: In the late ’80s, he performed at the legendary Holy City Zoo comedy club in San Francisco, finally going on stage at 1:45 a.m. “The only ones left in the house were the bartender and the two comics waiting to get on after me.”
Sample material: “I remember taking my twin girls to see Curious George when they were little. They fell asleep. I put them over my arm and snuck them in to see King Kong. You should’ve seen their faces when they woke up.”
Favorite subject matter: Family and relationships
Rating: PG. “I teach in my workshop that you can dirty up clean material but you can’t clean up dirty material. . . . As a family man, the reason why I preach clean comedy is that I would want my kids to be able to come and watch me perform.”
Catch him at: Black Oak Casino in Tuolumne every Thursday night

 


Keith Lowell Jensen [ Watch Video ]
Comedian and writer

Vital statistics: 37, married
Comedic style: The nonangry politico
Knew he was funny when: “The first time in junior high that someone used the term ‘class clown’ about me, I wasn’t sure I agreed. . . . I like to think of myself as a really serious person who’s funny.”
Comedic influence: Woody Allen
Day job: Roofing company marketing and sales
Worst gig: “It was at a pizza parlor in Fremont at a comedy night that a friend of mine booked. Two girls sat in the front row texting each other and laughing loudly at their own jokes.”
Sample material: “Knock knock. Who’s there? The atheist. The atheist who? The atheist. . . . Oh, wait, never mind. I forgot we don’t actually knock on your door and bother you when you’re doing other things.”
Favorite subject matter: Religion
Rating: R
Catch him at: Luna’s Cafe (1414 16th St.) April 17, 18 and 24; check upcoming dates for The Coexist? Comedy Tour at coexistcomedy.com. (Jensen is the atheist on the five-person team, which pokes fun at religious differences.)


Kelly Pryce
Stand-up comic

Vital statistics: 32, married, two children
Comedic style: Brazen and fearless
Knew she was funny when: “In elementary school, I created an impression of a teacher, a dance she might do and the way she would speak. I would come home and my mom, who had my (three) younger siblings all two years apart, would look exhausted. I would do these impressions and make her laugh hysterically.”
Comedic influences: Dave Attell, Rosie O’Donnell, Louis C.K.
Day job: Mom. “I have an 18-month-old and a 6-year-old. My days, in between writing dirty jokes, revolve around motherhood things.”
Worst gig: “I had some horrible road gigs. You drive for nine hours to do 20 minutes of material for 50 angry bikers in Elko, Nev. The hotel is so bad you literally have to look under the mattress to make sure there isn’t a dead hooker there.”
Sample material: “There is a scientific theory called the fat mouse theory: If you take a group of mice, put them all in a cage and feed them the same amount, one mouse will always get superfat. Then that mouse will get a mike and tell the rest of the mice jokes. I am that mouse.”
Favorite subject matter: “My life. It seems so unreal that it comes across as hysterical.”
Rating: R
Catch her at: Punch Line Comedy Club (2100 Arden Way) May 14–17

 


Mike E. Winfield [ Watch Video ]
Stand-up comic

Vital statistics: 31, married, three children
Comedic style: Irreverent
Knew he was funny when: “I think it was after high school that I
became comfortable with myself, came out of the shell. Hanging out with my buddies, they [said], ‘We don’t know what you’re going to do, but we know it’s going to be entertaining.’”
Comedic influences: Martin Lawrence, Chris Rock, Mitch Hedberg
Day job: Substitute teacher, periodic grocery store clerk
A humbling start: “I thought I was going to show up (to open-mike night at Laughs Unlimited) and shred the place. I thought I was so funny that I didn’t write any material. I saw the other comedians there going over their notes and was like, ‘I can’t believe those guys.’ It went terrible.”
How many years before he tried again: “Three. This time, I wrote it. I had notes. It wasn’t stellar, but it was much better.”
Sample material: “I sell a lot of my funny just on how I look. People think I’m happy ’cuz I’ve got big-ass teeth. ‘Look at that Mike. He’s always so positive.’ . . . When I close my mouth, it’s uncomfortable.”
Another sample: “Women, don’t send your men out to buy a pregnancy test. I looked on the shelf. It was $26.99. I was like, ‘We’ll just wait and see if she gains weight.’ For that much, you could get a pizza—with toppings and everything.”
Favorite subject matter: “Probably my relationship with my wife. It’s therapeutic in a way. We go through something and she knows where it’s going.”
Catch him at: Punch Line Comedy Club (2100 Arden Way) April 30

 

 

 

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